Engineering Speed: Ricardo Ledesma’s Journey with the CEEPO Viper

From Founding a Triathlon Community to Mastering Aerodynamics in Cycling

Ricardo “Ricky” Ledesma is a significant figure in the Philippine triathlon scene, known for his contributions to the community and advancements in cycling performance. From starting FirstWaveTri, the first triathlon e-group in the Philippines, Ledesma has played a pivotal role in fostering the triathlon community. Transitioning from his initial focus on promoting high-quality bicycles through the bRIdes segment to his involvement with the CEEPO Viper, his journey reflects a deep commitment to the sport and its technological progression. This interview delves into Ledesma’s experiences, the development of the triathlon community under his influence, and his perspective on the future of cycling technology.

In a full-circle moment for this interview, the interviewer, previously featured by Ledesma in the bRIdes section of FirstWaveTri, now turns the spotlight on Ledesma’s own story and achievements. This unique twist adds a personal layer to our conversation, underscoring the interconnectedness of the triathlon community and the shared passion that drives its members forward. Ricky, before we go on the bike, take us through the inception of firstwavetri and how it feels to see the triathlon community evolve from there.

Ricky: Triathlon social media started from Yahoo Groups. Carlo Carrasco, son of Tom Carrasco, was in charge, and we were handling kids’ triathlon with FirstWaveTri way back in 2000. When Carlo left the scene, he passed it on to us. It grew from there. Looking back, how has your experience with firstwavetri influenced your perspective on cycling and triathlon?

Ricky: FirstWave was initially created for our kids’ triathlon community initiated by Lito Fugoso and Raul Cuevas. We had children that we wanted to do triathlon, and the community grew. When Carlo passed it on to us, it was at the cusp of triathlon’s growth in the Philippines. It was so inspiring to see it growing along with executive cycling & the running boom. Let’s delve into the specs of your CEEPO Viper. What makes the HED Jet 180 and RON Ultron the “fastest all conditions wheel setup” for you?

Ricky: The HED Jet180 rides like a disc wheel but handles crosswind better. I really felt it in the last Audax. The RON Ultron front was so easy to build to speed, small effort and it’s there. But I felt a slight effect with crosswind in the open rice fields. Share the story behind choosing CEEPO Viper for your personal ride. Was there a particular feature that sealed the deal?

Ricky: The Viper had a unique aesthetic appeal. The low seat stay, disc covers, aero tubes…and the silver color. Nothing overdone in design, just in the areas needed. How does the integration of components from brands like Shimano and TriRig elevate the Viper’s performance?

Ricky: Integration of different brands was flawless. Mind you, I built this at home (with fine tuning in the shop) and nothing was difficult. I just couldn’t figure out the FD cable exit at the start, which was secretly hidden. Everything else was easy. Your bike features an intriguing mix of wheels with the HED Jet 180 and RON Ultron. Can you discuss the synergy between them?

Ricky: Started with rear HED 180 with the disc & hole in the middle. I felt it needed a unique front as well. Was choosing between tri-spokes and chanced upon this 2 spoke made in Poland. Ordered it with red decals to match. As someone who’s seen and featured many bikes, what unique elements does your bike possess that you’re particularly proud of?

Ricky: I guess everything put together, the wheel combo, custom frame bottle & BTA bottle. Could you walk us through the customizations you’ve made to your Viper and the rationale behind them?

Ricky: I liked the look of the Colnago TT bike with the frame aero bottle designed to align with the low seat stays. I kept my Cervelo P4 frame bottle and thought I can do that. Made my own mount (don’t have the original mount anymore) and painted to match the frame.

The BTA bottle I wanted hidden under the aerobar so I fabricated a mount for it. But now with my new Vision TFE aerobars, still have to figure out how. How does the CEEPO Viper align with your riding style?

Ricky: It fits just right, it’s a regular tri geometry and I have a regular riding position. Also, I’m happy the head tube isn’t too small to have to use too many spacers. In your view, how has bike technology evolved since the days you started FirstWaveTri?

Ricky: The disc brake revolution really changed things. Before, the rim width greatly affected your setup with the opening of your rim brakes; couldn’t just interchange wheelsets with your bikes. Now, as long as you’re using the same rotor size (140 or 160), you can rotate all your wheels. Wireless shifting also makes a lot of builds easier, just pair them and good to go. A lot of designs now are wiring integrated into the frame and sometimes into the handlebar. Makes for very clean builds. What advice would you give to cyclists looking to build a bike that’s both fast and reliable in varying conditions?

Ricky: I’d go for an aero road bike and slap in aerobars for the long haul. Choose the right wheelset. Before, 19mm tires was the way to go…now, 25-38mm is the norm for road. So comfortable and lower psi. How do you approach maintaining and tuning a bike like the Viper to keep it in top racing condition?

Ricky: Always clean after a ride. Check for any damages. Keep the chain/drivetrain clean & always charge the battery. Can you share a memorable story from a race or ride where your bike’s setup made a crucial difference?

Ricky: Only tried it out once in Audax Tarlac. At the rollers, when the road was downhill I simply had to tuck in and the aeroness of the frame and wheelset did its job. 50kph just freewheeling. Not a lightweight build so some effort going up but made up going down. Looking ahead, are there any new innovations or trends in cycling that you’re excited to explore or integrate into your bike?

Ricky: I look forward to learning 3D printing and its many uses for customizing parts. Also interesting to see more integrated frame storage and internal wiring solutions to make bikes look cleaner. Thanks for the time, Ricky!

As we wrap up our chat with Ricardo “Ricky” Ledesma, it’s clear that his impact on the Philippine triathlon and cycling scene is both profound and enduring. Through initiatives like FirstWaveTri and his personal achievements with the CEEPO Viper, Ricky’s dedication to the sport shines brightly, offering both inspiration and a roadmap for enthusiasts at all levels.

Ricky’s journey from founding a pioneering triathlon e-group to fine-tuning speed machines on two wheels underscores a simple truth: passion, combined with action, can drive incredible community growth and innovation in sports technology.

Stay updated with the latest in aquathlon, cycling, running, duathlon, triathlon, and multisport by following on Facebook and Instagram. Here’s to more races, rides, and inspiring stories ahead. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about the bike or the race; it’s about the community and the journey. – Your Multisport Source.


comments Team

A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)

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