Ben Deal is a brand new tri pro enjoying the vagabond life of traveling to races on the cheap, and trying to build up his bikes just as cheaply. Despite his limited budget and new status, he and wife Summer (she's not a pro, yet anyway) both have some very slick rigs, and we were excited to touch base with them and get some photos. Once we met Ben in person, we were amazed at how gracious and humble both he and Summer really are. That can be a rare quality among pros, especially new pros who sometimes want the world delivered on a silver platter. Ben and Summer both have great respect for the sport, humility for where they are, and an optimistic drive to do the best they can and enjoy the journey. Ben has real respect for the sport's greats like Andy Potts and want to do their best to emulate the longevity and success of his career.
There isn't much on Ben's Ceepo Shadow-R that can be replaced, as most of the parts are quite integrated. However, we gave him a Kappa cage for his rear hydration, and some Aero Bar Plugs to finish off the front of his non-drive-side extension, which has no shifter due to Ben running a 1x setup. Check the gallery for lots more detail!
Ben + Summer
These kids are happy, humble, and excited to start their journey in triathlon. And at just 25 years old, they have a long and bright future ahead of them.
Details: Ben's Shadow-R
Ben said he mainly wanted to get on the Shadow-R to stand out. As a new pro, he is looking for all the press he can get (which is a great idea!), so he figured one of the rarest bikes in the field would get him some attention. He mentioned that at 70.3 Eagleman, he would walk around with Adam Feigh (who rides an Omni, and they had a hard time getting around due to being stopped so much when people wanted to look at their rigs. Ben is riding a mechanical 1x setup, plus Princeton wheels, with parts he has scrounged from the internet, used sales, and more. Given his very limited budget, he is absolutely killing it. Given Ben's great attitude, personality, and aspirations, don't be surprised if you see him officially sponsored in the future. Go Ben!
Details: Summer's Viper-R
Summer Deal is not (yet) racing pro, but she has a rig as slick as Ben's. She is riding the Viper-R, the same rig we profiled for Andy Potts last year. Hers is a 2x setup, build with a similar ethos to what we described above for Ben, with the key priority being budget. She has some used debadged FLO wheels on the bike, a used Quarq Riken power meter, and a Force 22 group. For a bike on the cheap, it is very very good. And of course, there is a nice Omega X brake up front, keeping everything as clean as possible.