Mitch Westall kicked off the season for Team Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team with a win in the Wheeler and Dealers race at CrossVegas! And just to make sure no one missed the team, Taylor Jung and Taylor Nye secured second and third places, to make it a clean sweep for the team.
Mitch Westall and other class-winners on the CrossVegas podium.
Though the entire team was raring to get the Colorado cyclocross season started, Team Gates Carbon Drive had a smaller presence at the CrossVegas race under the lights on Sept 18th. But only smaller in numbers, because no one was going to miss the vibrant new Spot Rallye team bikes, especially once the lights came on and the usual furious start of the Wheelers and Dealers race warmed up the crowd for the bigger races later on!
Starting from almost mid-pack, Mitch was off like a shot right from the start, quickly moving up through the field. Taylor Jung was even a bit further back, but he wasn’t going to let Mitch get out of sight. As the race settled in, Mitch found himself in a group of favorites chasing a small changing couple leaders off the front. CrossVegas is always a race of survival against the thick grass and dry hot desert air, where battling the geared bikes can be tough for single speed racers. But Mitch fought through to the end and secured 8th overall, and 1st in the singlespeed category. Taylor Jung finished just behind in another group of geared racers, who he wasn’t letting go either, to take 2nd in the singlespeed category. Taylor Nye is just getting started on what is sure to be another strong season, and nonetheless still put in an impressive ride to secure the last step of the podium, making it a clean sweep for the team.
The new Spot Rallye is hard to miss in signature “Agassi Yellow”
The CrossVegas momentum quickly carried over to the weekend races just a couple days later as Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung and Derek Strong raced at the impressive Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado. The first Colorado race on the calendar didn’t disappoint as a quality field took the start. Jesse and Ryan rode together most the race, working together against a group consisting of 3 other top Colorado racers. Going into the final lap, Ryan threw down a vicious attack that the group was able to shut down, which setup Jesse for a sprint out of the last corner where he had to settle for third place. Ryan recovered from his attack to take 4th, while Derek and Taylor finished close behind in 12th and 13th spots.
After getting warmed-up with his 3rd place finish on Saturday, Jesse Swift was back again on Sunday for the Body Sync Cyclocross race in Golden, Colorado. He said the race was for “training”, especially since it was nice and close to home, but tell that to his fellow competitors! Even after a second row start, Jesse blitzed the rest of the field, pushing his way to the front of the field and finding himself in a group with one other rider, Drew Christopher. Jesse and the other rider were able to put a safe gap on the rest of the field, and though I know Jesse would have preferred to battle to the line, he found himself alone at the finish as Drew suffered a flat. That’s what happens when you’re not sporting the sweet new Stan’s NoTubes IronCross wheels and tubeless setup that Team Gates Carbon Drive is psyched to be sporting this year. I’m sure Drew will be back to challenge the team again.
This season, keep tabs on your favorite belted-cyclocross team directly at http://www.teamcarbondrive.com/ as well!
The Team Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross squad had Denver surrounded last weekend as Jesse Swift took a win south of town at Storm the Castle Cross, and Mitch Westall won the Flatirons Cross north of town.
Mitch Westall alone on the brutal run-up at Flatirons Cross
On what will be the State Championship Course later this year in Castle Rock, Colorado, Jesse Swift and Taylor Jung lined up for battle with the rest of the singlespeed category. I told you last time that Drew Christopher was bound to be back for revenge against Jesse, and right from the start he attacked with only Jesse able to match his pace. The rest of the field was left to battle for third, as those two rode away, trading turns at the front, and attacking and testing one another for the showdown at the finish. Ultimately Jesse was able to attack late in the final lap and hold onto his small lead for the win. Behind, Taylor was in a race-long battle of his own, but attacked hard on the penultimate lap, gapping his group and securing the final step of the podium. Though Drew is on a competing team, he found the beauty of the belt and is riding a Gates Carbon Drive setup of his own, making it an all belt-drive podium!
Derek Strong rails a slick grassy corner.
Sunday’s racing moved to the north, on a hillside course for Flatirons Cross in Broomfield, Colorado. From the first pedal strokes of warming up, it was obvious the course was a real monster, consisting of 90% thick grass, most of which was slick and off-camber, and featuring two brutal run-ups. Determined to get a clean shot at the first off-camber section, Taylor Jung blasted from the gates, taking Mitch Westall with him. Unfortunately Mitch did go down on the first lap, but was back up in a flash and chasing for the rest of the race. Derek Strong was playing the race safe, but still using his massive technical skills to cleanly ride the trickiest sections which forced most riders off their bikes.
Taylor Jung kept it upright in the tricky conditions.
Mitch finished thinking he hadn’t made up enough time, but out of his site, the only two riders ahead, had crashed one another out just a lap after his own crash, putting him off the front all alone for the win! Derek didn’t even look like he was working finishing a solid 6th, while Taylor flew home for 11th battling with other riders all the way.
Top step of the podium for Mitch Westall in Broomfield
The weekend results follow Mitch Westall’s podium finish in the Wheelers and Dealers race at Cross Vegas during Interbike. The Cross Vegas momentum quickly carried over to the weekend races just a couple days later as Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung and Derek Strong raced at the impressive Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado. The first Colorado race on the calendar didn’t disappoint as a quality field took the start. Jesse and Ryan rode together most the race, working together against a group consisting of 3 other top Colorado racers. Going into the final lap, Ryan threw down a vicious attack that the group was able to shut down, which setup Jesse for a sprint out of the last corner where he had to settle for third place. Ryan recovered from his attack to take 4th, while Derek and Taylor finished close behind in 12th and 13th spots.
After getting warmed-up with his 3rd place finish on Saturday, Jesse Swift was back again on Sunday for the Body Sync Cyclocross race in Golden, Colorado. He said the race was for “training”, especially since it was nice and close to home, but tell that to his fellow competitors! Even after a second row start, Jesse blitzed the rest of the field, pushing his way to the front of the field and finding himself in a group with one other rider, Drew Christopher. Jesse and the other rider were able to put a safe gap on the rest of the field, and though I know Jesse would have preferred to battle to the line, he found himself alone at the finish as Drew suffered a flat.
We are off to a great start. Now that we are caught up on this season’s results, stay tuned for weekly weekend wrapups of the races Team Gates Carbon Drive attends.
This past weekend Taylor Nye from Team Gates Carbon Drive took a hard-fought podium at the Colorado State Cyclocross Championships!
Jesse Swift testing the aerodynamic properties of the Gates belt.
After wrapping up the Boulder Cyclocross Series overall win just the week before, Taylor was coming into the weekend of the State Championships with great form. Though everyone knew there was going to be no shortage of big guns out for the win in an ever-increasingly competitive Colorado single speed category. The sandy and mostly flat course in Loveland, CO also featured some tricky surprises, a brutal run-up and nowhere for rest. Nearly 50 starters toed the line under cold grey skies, and the depth of the field was obvious, as any 10 of those starters were easy choices to take the win on a good day. Team Gates Carbon Drive had a strong line-up, with Taylor Nye, Mitch Westall, Carlos Casali, Derek Strong, Taylor Jung and myself flying the team colors.
Colorado State Championships featured a tricky, dusty course.
As expected, the start was brutal and the lead group quickly separated themselves, with Nye making the selection. Carlos and Jesse showed great teamwork, sacraficing themselves to get Mitch back towards the front of the race after a tough start for him. Derek, Jung and myself were all flying through the field, making up spots after terrible call-ups at the start.
Taylor Nye chasing hard.
A powerhouse in any field, and any discipline, Colby Pierce was able to separate himself from the duo of Nye and season-long rival Will Iaia. These two fought the remainder of the race, constantly trading and countering attacks and the second place position. At the sprint finish, Nye came up just short behind the road-specialist Iaia. Dropping those around him, Mitch came home safely in fourth place and Carlos just behind in 5th place. I was still making up postions at the end, finishing 11th as Derek was just behind in 13th. After all his hard work, Jesse was still racing well, when he suffered a flat that had to be run back to the pits, dropping him to 19th, still in the top 20. Unfortunately Taylor Jung went down on a particular nasty portion of the course, suffering a broken collarbone and fractured scapula – you can’t say he wasn’t pushing hard! Heal up soon Taylor!
Taylor Nye on a stacked podium at the Colorado State Champs.
After the final points calculations, Team Gates Carbon Drive handily took the Colorado Cross Cup Team competition with no one else even close. Mitch Westall just missed winning the individual competition by a mere two points. But still, the team had three riders in the top four, and five in the top 10. And just as importantly, everyone on the team had a great time this season, and earned a well-deserved winter break. The support we recieved from Gates has been top-notch, and the Carbon Drive System has been an absolutely flawless advantage for everyone on the team. So I know I speak for all the riders when I say thanks for the support, the cheering on the sidelines and endless work behind the scenes to make our jobs easy!
The Gates Carbon Drive cycloross team represented strong against some of the best racers in the country at the Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup UCI races this past weekend!
Garret Davis on the run-up at Boulder Reservoir
Saturday was the Colorado Cross Classic at the Boulder Reservoir, where cold temperatures, melting snow, sand and mud welcomed racers. Team Gates Carbon Drive had Garrett Davis, Taylor Jung and Ryan McFarling at the start. Garrett called it a massively tough course, with nowhere to rest. The belt drives shed the sandy mud that is always present at the reservoir, finishing the race smooth and strong. Garrett rode to a hard-earned 7th place in a stacked field. Taylor battled in a group of his own, finishing in 15th. Ryan had a great start, but fell back due to a broken skewer. Still, he’s never one to quit, and after some time in the pits rejoined to finish the race with class.
Taylor Jung pushing through the pain!
Sunday was bound to be epic as the racing moved down the road to the Valmont Bike Park, host of this year’s Boulder Cup Race. Nearly 50 racers lined up for the single speed race, including some of the best racers in Colorado and the country. The starting line was stacked with Gates Carbon Drive riders, and the first lap up the Belgian Steps was all light-blue as Gates led the way. More mud but warmer temps meant the course was changing and evolving every lap, and all the racers had to stay on their toes on this technical course. Several sand pits, two sets of stairs, lots of bermed descents and muddy turns were the order of the day.
Mitch Westall, Ryan McFarling and Jesse Swift all battled to the front for Gates, but then lost contact with the front group of three as the single speed field caught up to the back of the Cat 3 field. Mitch chased hard and almost closed the gap but finished just off the podium in fourth. Ryan held position for 5th, while Jesse was just barely nipped at the line and had to settle for 7th. Carlos Casali, Garrett Davis and myself took up more spots in the top 18, while Taylor Jung and Tim Lucking battled a crash and even more traffic not far behind. While the team just missed the podium, everyone was happy with their racing against such a strong field, and had tons of support from the sidelines.
Ryan McFarling chasing hard at the Boulder Reservoir
It was great to see so many Gates Carbon Drive supporters at the race–all those people that work to design, market and support the products that we get to go have fun and race on! Gates had a huge tent, some very cool bikes on display and a ton of knowledgeable and passionate people showing off the system and answering questions. Hopefully you were one of the many people that stoped by. If not, look for the Gates tent and truck at several of the remaining races on the Front Range this year. Check out the bikes, and chat us up!
Thanks to Mountain Moon Photography for the photos in this post.
Colorado cyclocross racing offers huge contrasts in conditions. One day you are racing on slow and soggy grass, the next on bone-dry and fast hardpack. That was the case last weekend as Team Gates Carbon Drive battled on the wet grass of the Interlocken course in Broomfield on Saturday, then lined up for the dusty and bumpy Xilinx course in Longmont on Sunday. Out of the dust and mud emerged Taylor Nye, who took the lead in both the Boulder Racing Cyclocross Series and the Colorado Cross Cup Racer competition!
Garret Davis hammers through the soggy grass at Interlocken.
Saturday’s Interlocken course is always popular because it is one of the few in Colorado with lots of grass, plus a good balance of sand, pavement and twisty turns. The popularity means the fields are big and the competition deep. Mitch Westall loves this course and was off like a shot right from the gun. The first two laps saw Gates grouping at the front as Taylor Nye, Ryan McFarling, Garrett Davis and Carlos Casali joined Mitch. Taylor Jung and I were a bit further back, mired in the deep and wet grass. Anyone unfortunate enough to make the front group was worked over by constant attacks from the Gates crew. Finally, Taylor and Mitch escaped off the front.
Photo by Six Degrees to Slush
Both riders worked together to increase their lead until they were safe enough to start attacking one another for the win. Neither rider was giving up though, but a slip by Mitch made it look like the race was over. He managed to close back up to Taylor in the final turns, and even took the lead, but in the end it was Taylor taking the win while both riders celebrated. Behind them, Gates continued a strong day by putting five riders in the top ten as Ryan was 4th, Garrett was 6th and Carlos finished up in 10th. Taylor J was 16th, and I got lost in the mud, somewhere further back.
The dry and dusty course in Xilinx was the polar opposite of the previous day.
Most of the team was back on Sunday, racing on a completely different course at Xilinx. The wet grass was swapped for dry and dusty trails and a couple different styles of barriers. Fresh off the previous day’s win, it was again Taylor Nye leading the first lap. This created a small group at the front, and Taylor had Jesse Swift in the group as well. But this time the team was on the wrong end of the attacks when they caught the back of the Cat3 race and got tangled in the traffic.
The battle for the lead at Xilinx couldn't have been closer.
Soon it was Jesse doing most of the work while powerful Colby Pearce worked with him as they chased the lone leader. On the last lap Colby attacked and Jesse had to settle for 3rd place, but that third step of the podium was some great company to be in! Even after his impressive win the day before, Taylor stayed close: finishing in fourth. Carlos was 6th, I finished in 9th and chasing hard was Taylor Jung in 13th.
This weekend should bring more excitement. There is a UCI race at the Boulder Reservoir and another UCI race at Valmont Bike Park. Better still: it is snowing as I write this, which means great cyclocross conditions!