Lachlan Morton has completed his Alt Tour, finishing the remarkable 5,510km ride with a five-day advantage over the Tour de France peloton, and this is the bike he did it on.
Morton reached Paris in the early hours of Tuesday morning (13 July), riding his Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod bikepacking rig.
We caught up with Morton midway through the ride – you can listen to that episode of the BikeRadar Podcast here – and he ran us through some of the details of his setup.
SuperSix Evo, bikepacking style
The Australian has been riding his spare team bike, but the 5ft 11in rider moved up a size from a 54cm to a 56cm to allow him to carry more luggage.
The SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod is EF Education-Nippo’s race bike, sitting alongside the SystemSix aero bike in the American firm’s range.
All things considered, it’s the ideal bike for a ride like this. It’s a lightweight, aero-influenced all-rounder and, in our experience, a bike that combines its racy characteristics with exquisite handling and impressive comfort.
Morton’s ride took place on the road, so there was no need for the additional tyre clearances of, say, a gravel bike or endurance bike, and a professional rider is well-tuned to spending hour after hour in the kind of aggressive position the road bike geometry of the SuperSix offers.
‘Easy’ gearing by pro standards, but pretty normal for the rest of us, let alone for a 5,500km ride over the Alps, Mont Ventoux and the Pyrenees, averaging more than 300km a day, and with the extra weight of a bikepacking setup.
“I have got a pretty heavy bike and it just means once it gets over like five per cent [gradient], you’re down to the smallest gear and just riding more or less as hard as you can to just keep it at a decent speed,” Morton told BikeRadar.
“You just have to change your mindset to what you’re normally used to doing. Things just take much longer. What would normally be a 10km climb effectively becomes a 15km climb.”
Morton’s SuperSix is equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Vision Metron 55 SL wheels, Vittoria Corsa 25mm tyres, a Prologo Scratch M5 saddle and Vision Aero bars – essential for a ride like this, not only for aerodynamics but also to offer a different position on the bike.
Morton switched from the integrated cockpit normally found on his SuperSix to a standard stem and Vision Metron 4D handlebar with round tops, to allow him to fit those clip-on bars.
“I run the pads straight onto the flat bar, just because I find it the most comfortable position,” said Morton.
Morton also started the ride with Speedplay pedals and Rapha cycling shoes but, as we’ll come on to, his footwear was very different by the end.
Dutch company Followmychallenge provided the GPS tracker that allowed fans to follow Morton’s progress on the Alt Tour website.
What is the Alt Tour?
If you’re not familiar (and if that’s the case, where have you been?), Morton set off from Brittany on Saturday 26 June to ride the full Tour de France route, solo and unsupported, with the aim of beating the race to Paris.
However, not content with that challenge alone, the EF Education-Nippo rider also tasked himself with riding every transfer between stages, adding an extra 2,400km in the saddle, with an additional 15,000m of ascent (taking the total amount of climbing up to more than 65,000m).
Morton rode the Alt Tour unsupported, camping and sourcing food en-route. In terms of bikepacking bags, he used Rapha’s rear pack and bar in conjunction with a Rapha + Outdoor Voices bum bag.
The frame pack is custom-made by Utah-based Tolcat and is designed to fill the entire triangle of the frame, in order to maximise capacity.
“Being three weeks, I didn’t want to skimp on the sleep equipment and cooking stuff, because ultimately, if you try and go too light, you’re just going to be uncomfortable – and it’s too long to be uncomfortable,” said Morton.
Throughout the ride, Morton carried a foam sleeping pad, sleeping bag, bivvy bag, camping pot, camping stove, power bank and water bladder (plus a bottle in the bar bag). Rapha, the team’s clothing sponsor, provided the ride kit, and POC the Octal MIPS helmet.
That left lights and a headlight, a stash of inner tubes and spares, and a Silca Tattico mini pump.
Remarkably, Morton wore sandals for most of the ride, partly to alleviate knee pain but also to keep his feet dry after an unseasonal amount of rain in the first week of the ride. No clipless pedals here, just plain-old flat pedals. Morton also cut off the front straps to stop them from rubbing.
“I like the sandals now,” said Morton when we spoke to him after 3,049km. “Because I’ve had so much rain – it’s been every day, except for two or three – I had wet feet and was getting a bit of trench foot, so I’ve been in the sandals just to air them out. They’re growing on me, I just like riding in them.”
When Morton reached the Pyrenees, a fan donated a set of carbon soles to add some support to his improvised footwear. Is this the dawn of a new era of performance bike sandals?
What’s next for Morton? He’s no stranger to testing his mettle in some of the world’s toughest events, having ridden the Leadville 100, Badlands, Unbound and Three Peaks as part of EF Education-Nippo’s alternative racing calendar.
For now, however, all he wants is a comfy bed.
“The idea of getting into a nice hotel bed and just doing nothing for a few days sounds like the nicest thing,” said Morton.
Lachlan Morton’s Alt Tour setup
- Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod
- Vision Metron 55 SL wheels
- Vittoria Corsa 25mm tyres
- Prologo Scratch M5 saddle
- Vision aero bars
- Speedplay pedals (switched to flat pedals)
- Power2Max power meter
- Silca Tattico mini pump
- Garmin Edge 1030 bike computer
- Rapha bar bag
- Rapha rear pack
- Rapha + Outdoor Voices Bar Bag
- Tolcat custom frame bag
- Followmychallenge GPS tracker
In his bags
- Foam sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- Bivvy bag
- Camping pot
- Camp burner
- Water bladder
- Power bank
- Spare lights and head lights
- Spare jerseys, bib shorts, Rapha puffy jackets and extra rain jackets
- Spare inner tubes and tyres