2002 LeMond Tete de Course

For Christmas 2003 I got my first road bike, a lightly-used 53 cm 2002 Tete de Course from LeMond. (LeMond is part of the Trek family, but remains an independent shop, a boutique of sorts that seems to have an unusual amount of cred in St. Louis.)

I had decided on titanium because I was tired of the creaks of my aluminum Trek 8500, and was scared of road harshness with stiff aluminum, coming from a suspension mountain bike. Steel was out simply because I didn’t want to fear rust; carbon fiber is too fragile for someone who’s used to a frame that can take serious abuse.

The Victoire seemed to be a sweet spot in price/performance, so I was looking for one of these from 2002. In 2003, LeMond had a (thankfully short-lived) clownish paint scheme, and the 2004 was too new to find used and integrated carbon fiber outside the “classic” line. As luck would have it, my Tete de Course popped up as a classified ad for far too little money, but was being consigned through a reputable local bike shop in Ohio.

The original owner had added Shimano Dura Ace wheels and pedals. I made minor changes in the first year:

After that, only the most basic of maintenance was needed. The most dramatic change was switching from yellow tires to boring black when it moved to Europe with me. This bike served me well and may be the most important physical possession I’ve had, at least until retiring it in 2022.