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  • Writer's pictureBrennan Wertz

Adventure Journal : An Unforgettable Year Aboard My Trusty Mosaic GT-1 iAR

Photo: Alex Roszko

Adventure Journal: An Unforgettable Year Aboard my Trusty Mosaic GT-1 iAR

By: Brennan Wertz (@brennan.wertz)

At the end of 2022, I had numerous meetings and conversations with Mark and Aaron at Mosaic about the upcoming year. We were all thrilled to be working together, planning out a busy year, and looking forward to formalizing a very unique and special collaboration. After nailing down the nuts and bolts of our partnership to-be, it came time to discuss the bikes I would ride and race throughout the 2023 season. I’ve long been a fan of Mosaic and their bikes, building my first GT-1 back in 2021 for my first ever Unbound Gravel 200. I am very familiar with the Mosaic product line and the intricacies of the various models they offer. I have also been racing gravel for many years now and have a pretty good idea of what I like in a bike. Needless to say, I thought I knew what I wanted, what I NEEDED for a successful season. A gravel bike sure, a road bike of course, and I guess a mountain bike too since I would be racing the Lifetime Grand Prix. But in all of these conversations with Mosaic, I never brought up their allroad bike. They noticed. They asked why. To be honest I didn’t have a great answer. I just figured it was a bike that would slot into a gap that wasn’t really there in my ‘quiver’. I could not have been more wrong.

Mark and Aaron insisted I would be making a mistake to not build up one of their allroad bikes, mentioning they had also been working on a concept for a new integrated front end, made possible in part due to some new product offerings from Enve. They generously offered, well insisted, that they build me one of these allroad bikes, utilizing this new fork/stem/handlebar combo from Enve. It would be a bit of an experiment, very much a prototype, and they were convinced I would love it. It was a proposal I was obviously very excited about, but I remained slightly skeptical. I am privileged to have multiple amazing bikes built by the Mosaic team and I worried this allroad bike wouldn’t get the use and abuse it would deserve.

As I look back now, over a year later, I can say with certainty they were so right. My Mosaic GT-1 iAR has without a doubt been the bike I’ve ridden the most in the last twelve months. It’s also the bike I have enjoyed riding the most. It’s been truly eye opening. I’ve traveled the world with my GT-1 iAR, set it up in a variety of configurations, and ridden it to numerous podiums and wins. With this journal post, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite moments we’ve shared together over the last twelve months.

Early in 2023, the freshly built GT-1 iAR was my go-to training companion, accompanying me on many sets of intervals and long winter endurance rides. We had quite a winter in California and this beautiful bike quickly became accustomed to almost daily rides in the rain. For some reason, I waited until the eleventh or twelfth atmospheric river before committing to setting the bike up with full coverage fenders. And of course, once I got them mounted up, the rain miraculously eased up…

Hawaii Adventure Ride (Brennan Wertz)

Midway through the rainy winter, I did manage to sneak off to Hawaii to log a massive week of riding under the tropical sun and get a mental break from the dreary conditions in California that had forced us to cancel our annual Coast Ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.

After a brief break from the rain, it was back to California for one of the first races of the year, the Huffmaster Hopper. Normally this course is ripping fast and won on a road bike. It’s one of my favorite courses each year and I felt I had the absolute perfect setup for the course with my GT-1 iAR. I attacked on the main climb and rode away from the group on the snowy and muddy slopes. The conditions were treacherous, cold, and muddy, but the mud wasn’t clumping. Well that was the case until the final climb, a minimum maintenance road that had turned to complete peanut butter mud with all the rain and snow. My frame packed full of mud and I was forced to walk up and over the climb, giving up my lead in the process. While the GT-1 iAR is a versatile beast of a bike and I still firmly believe it’s the most optimal setup for a dry Huffmaster, it is not a fan of thick peanut butter mud. Now, if I know there’s a chance I’ll encounter that type of clay mud, I’ll opt for my GT-1 45 with more clearance.

After weeks of cleaning and re-cleaning my bike, I finally managed to clear the last of the Huffmaster mud from the crevices on the GT-1 iAR. After taking such abuse, it cleaned up real well and we logged a few super solid months of hard training on the road together.

After this hard block of training (and unfortunately being forced to sit Unbound out due to an untimely Covid infection), I packed up my GT-1 iAR for our first big international trip together. One of my favorite aspects of this bike (as well as all my other Mosaic bikes) is how easy they are to travel with. I use a Scicon soft sided case and can travel with much less stress knowing that despite the airline’s best efforts, the frame is rock solid and won’t be damaged. With how much I travel with my bike, that’s a huge relief!

This trip was unforgettable and featured some of my favorite rides and races of the entire year. I first flew to Finland for the inaugural FNLD GRVL event. After that I flew to Germany to visit my relatives and then drove south into the Dolomites in Northern Italy for a two week training camp. After that, I drove to Andermatt, Switzerland to compete in Octopus Gravel, one of the races in the Gravel Earth Series. The climbs were epic, stunning, and incredibly steep. The race was made up of multiple timed climbing segments and after a close battle with Petr Vakoc, I managed to win! Between the podium at FNLD GRVL, the win at Octopus Gravel, and the many memorable rides in such beautiful places in between, this trip was definitely the highlight of my summer!

After the big block of racing and travel in Europe, it was time to return to the U.S. to focus on the second half of the season. I got another big block of training in back at home before heading into the mountains of Utah and Colorado for altitude training. I was riding my MT-2 hardtail a lot at this point as Leadville was rapidly approaching, but was still doing a lot of specific intervals on the GT-1 iAR. As I did this next big block of travel as a road trip, I could only bring two bikes with me. After spending so much time on the allroad bike earlier in the year, I was fully sold on the concept and the versatility the platform provided. This versatility enabled me to head off into the mountains with just these two bikes, even though I would be racing a wide range of terrain.

The two main highlights from this part of the season were SBT GRVL and the inaugural U.S. Gravel National Championships. I went in the early move with Keegan Swenson, Payson McElveen, Petr Vakoc, and Adam Roberge and we were all in, but unfortunately were caught after a few hours of driving the pace together. After that, my engine overheated and I suffered for the last two hours to the finish. 

After SBT GRVL and a few more weeks of training it was time to line up at the first ever U.S. Gravel National Championships in Gering, Nebraska. I had no idea what to expect at this event, but really loved the course and felt it suited me really well. I made the final selection over the last climb with Keegan Swenson, Alexey Vermeulen, and Payson McElveen. We took turns attacking each other in the final 10 kilometers and Keegan ultimately got away from the rest of us. In the end I sprinted with the other two and ended up third after a bike throw with Alexey. I was thrilled to land on the podium at Nationals, both for the result and the automatic qualification for the UCI Gravel World Championships.

After qualifying for UCI Worlds, I had to change some plans around to fit that race into the already busy schedule, but that opportunity was definitely not one I was going to miss. And it certainly didn’t disappoint! Racing with the likes of Wout van Aert, Gianni Vermeersch, Matej Mohoric, and many others from the upper echelons of the sport was incredible. On top of that, coming together with many of my fellow American professional gravel racing colleagues as teammates for this unique event was really special. Many of us spent the whole week before the event pre-riding the course and getting to know each other better. For this trip, I brought the GT-1 iAR as well as my GT-1 45 since there was very little public information about the course. I’m glad I brought both bikes, because after arriving in Italy and pre-riding the entire course, it turned out to be far rougher and rowdier than we had anticipated. 

After the experience at UCI Gravel Worlds, I headed back to the Dolomites for a week of gravel riding with my Italian clothing sponsor Q36.5. During this week, I was able to spend more time exploring this beautiful region aboard my trusty GT-1 iAR.

After the busy, eventful, and unforgettable summer of adventures with my wonderful Mosaic GT-1 iAR, it was time to return home for the off-season. By this point it probably won’t come as a surprise that the adventures continued… As I began the build up to the 2024 season, I found some fun and creative ways to get the base miles in. First a local bikepacking trip through the California Wine Country with a few of my Orange Seal Academy teammates. After that, another group of friends and I rode down the California Coast to Los Angeles on our ‘Coast Ride’.

Both of these trips featured at least a few days of rather dreary weather, but this year I was much more prepared. During my brief rest period off the bike this winter, I brought my GT-1 iAR down to Above Category for them to reinstall the full fenders. This configuration has been a dreamy winter training setup and helped me log many more hours on the bike in comfort than any year before. But this setup will have to be the topic of another article. It’s been that good!

Thank you all for following along on this journey and a huge thank you to the entire team at Mosaic for creating this incredible bike that has enabled all of these crazy adventures. Looking forward to another year of adventures with this dream of a bike!


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