Russell Finsterwald’s S-Works Crux

A detailed look at the glitz and glam of one of the bikes that conquered the mud bogs of the 2023 Unbound 200

Clock22:03, Sunday 4th June 2023
Russell Finsterwald post autographs and pre-interviews on the Friday before Unbound

Logan Jones Wilkins

Russell Finsterwald post autographs and pre-interviews on the Friday before Unbound

Russell “Finsty” Finsterwald is an American gravel and mountain bike racer for Specialized Off Road Team.

Finsterwald broke through last year with a string of top placings throughout the North American off road calendar, before taking the win at the final stop of the Lifetime Grand Prix at Big Sugar Gravel. Finsterwald is the training partner and winter roommates with Keegan Swenson, last year's Lifetime GP winner, in Tucson, Arizona.

For Unbound, Finsterwald had the pick of two frames from Specialized, with the Crux and the new Diverge STR both capable over the Flint Hills of Kansas. Finsterwald ended up choosing the Crux because of his overall comfort with the bike and the compliance that comes from a fully rigid frame.

“I have settled on using the crux because I have spent the most hours on it,” Finsterwald told GCN of his bike choice.

“I felt the Diverge was a good option for this course and I wanted to see if it would work, but I think being comfortable on your bike for nine and a half hours is priority number one.”

In line with the spirit of comfort, Finsterwald was originally set to race 47mm pathfinders. When a rainstorm hit the night before the race, however, he made the switch to the 42mm pathfinders that have become so common on the Unbound podium.

In the end, Finsterwald emerged from the mud in the front group and was only slowed by a flat following a large river crossing about 30 miles in. Fortunately, Finsterwald had his teammate in the front group and they swapped wheels so he could stay in contention. While outside assistance during the race is restricted to the checkpoints, rider to rider support is encouraged.

Finsterwald finished Unbound in 6th place and is second in the Lifetime GP standings.

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