Cyclocross Category Archive

©Earl Harper

With more than a century of cycling heritage, Raleigh is one of the most respected bicycle brands in the world. The company is also a leading innovator and supporter of the Gates belt drive revolution. For 2015, Raleigh USA has expanded its lineup of Gates Carbon Drive equipped bikes to six models. Pictured above is the colorful XXIX singlespeed 29er mountain bike–a flashy yet low-maintenance machine for SS racers–or a dream quiver bike for geared riders who want to simplify. It features a Fox Float 100mm fork and hydraulic discs on a nimble Chromoly frame.

Not a mountain biker? Raleigh offers a broad spectrum of belted bikes, from cyclocross and urban commuting to fitness and comfort models.

©Earl Harper
Above is the brightly colored Alysa i8 women’s fitness bike. The Shimano Nexus 8 internal gear hub paired with a Gates belt and women’s specific frame geometry make the Alysa i8 a speedy and functional machine for riding city bike paths. Mount fenders and a rack and this bike doubles as a grease-free daily commuter.

©Earl Harper

The Cadent i8 is a fitness bike with a Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub. Hydraulic disc brakes, a lightweight carbon fork and commuter-friendly geometry make the Cadent ideal for riding to the gym or work.

©Earl Harper

The Mesika 4.0 i8 above is in Raleigh’s urban utility line. Raleigh USA calls it “the perfect, hassle-free commuter.” It comes with a Gates belt drive attached to a Shimano Nexus seven-speed internal hub, a comfy Selle Royal saddle, Kenda tires with puncture protection and “set it and forget it” Shimano roller brakes.

©Earl Harper

The RXS is a performance singlespeed cyclocross race bike with a lightweight alloy frame, carbon fork, Clement tires and TRP hydraulic brakes for added control while cornering or charging downhill on muddy cross courses. The Gates Carbon Drive CenterTrack belt system is a proven winner and eliminates the hassle of cleaning and lubing a chain after a race. Just hose it off, put it away wet and go grab a beer. After you get off the podium, of course.

©Earl Harper

The Misceo 4.0 is a do-it-all fitness and country road ripper with hydraulic disc brakes, puncture resistant tires and an eight-speed internal hub mated to a Gates belt. The styling is sleek and understated, perfect for no-nonsense bicyclists who want a clean and fast tool to get the job done. With a Gates-equipped bike for everyone, Raleigh has joined the Carbon Drive revolution that is simplifying cycling. How about you?

©Earl Harper

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The Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross team battled mud, sloppy conditions and a large singlespeed field at the Cyclocross National Championships in Boulder, Colorado, emerging filthy and dirt-caked but happy about their performance against the best racers in the United States.

Mud?  What mud? - Photo courtesy of

Mud? What mud?

The tough course was made even more difficult due to the eight inches of snow that fell just days before the race, turning the surface into a mess of deep off-line snow and slippery, bumpy lines and deep ruts. More than 100 riders lined up for the singlespeed race, and riders jockeyed for position in the large field, struggling to avoid any falls or mistakes.

Jesse Swift only knows how to have fun

Jesse Swift only knows how to have fun

Taylor Nye posted an impressive race against the country’s best singlespeeders, finishing in 10th place. The other five Gates riders were spread out through the field, with multiple finishers in the top 20. Mitch Westall grabbed 15th and Jesse Swift 17th. The best result, however, was joy of the riders following a long season of many victories.

Gates CDX Carbon Drive and TRP Hylex brakes just ignore the mud

Gates CDX Carbon Drive and TRP Hylex brakes just ignore the mud – Photo courtesy of

The Spot Brand Rallye bikes performed flawlessly, and the Gates Carbon Drive belts and sprockets powered through the slop. The Hylex brakes from TRP were amazingly responsive in the tough conditions, while the Stan’s NoTubes wheels let all the riders run ideal tire pressures for the mud and off-camber sections of the course. Even caked in mud, it was impossible to miss the “Agassi Yellow” of the Spot Rallye frames.

Ryan McFarling on the 5280 Stairs

Ryan McFarling on the 5280 Stairs

The team’s Ryan McFarling was unable to make the mud-fest singlespeed race, so he lined up for the drier conditions on Friday for the 40-44 Master’s race, finishing an impressive 22nd against the geared competition.

With the season officially over, the team riders are already looking forward to mountain bike season. See you on the trail and on the race course in 2014!

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For the fourth consecutive year the Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team has taken the overall victory in the Colorado Cross Cup’s Team Competition. Those blue skinsuits, bright bikes and belt drives have become a dominant fixture on the Colorado cross scene and will be evident this week when the National Championships come to Boulder.

Jesse Swift and Ryan McFarling battle to 4th and 5th at the Colorado State Championships - Photo credit

Jesse Swift and Ryan McFarling battle to 4th and 5th at the Colorado State Championships – Photo credit

After several weeks of bitter cold temperatures, the Colorado State Championships races saw temperatures rise into the 60s, melting the snow and creating some classic cyclocross course conditions. The race was held on a popular course in Castle Rock, Colorado, and the singlespeed category had nearly 50 racers lining up to do battle.

Taylor Nye staying fueled in the pancake and sausage feed zone - Photo credit

Taylor Nye staying fueled in the pancake and sausage feed zone – Photo credit

Last year’s champion Colby Pearce flew through the course and took the individual win again in style. While the Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team is finding that individual rider State Championship jacket hard to snatch, the race did give them their 4th consecutive Colorado Cross Cup Team win. Most importantly, the team was all-smiles throughout the race, as everyone had a great time getting out to play in the mud with close friends.

The Gates Carbon Drive CDX system excels in muddy conditions - Photo credit

The Gates Carbon Drive CDX system excels in muddy conditions – Photo credit

The season isn’t quite over for the team, as Colorado is lucky to host the National Championships this year. But it has already been another very successful, and FUN, year for everyone involved with the team. Team Gates Carbon Drive will be racing in the SS races on Wednesday, with the Elite races on Sunday. The course has 10 inches of fresh snow sitting on it right now, with temps in the teens. You can check out a preview of the course here.

The team wants to thank its sponsors, who through their incredibly gracious support and phenomenal products make it possible for us to have all this fun!
Gates Carbon Drive – The drivetrain of choice for singlespeed racing.
Spot Brand Bikes – Their incredible and versatile Ralleye framesets.
Stans NoTubes – Their lust-worthy Iron Cross wheelsets and NoTubes sealant that kept us rolling.
TRP Brakes – Stopping was never easier with their Hylex full-hydraulic brakes.
Crank Brothers – Candy pedals are THE pedals for CX.
Full Speed Ahead – Cranks, seatposts, stems and handlebars.
Jinji Cycles – Awesome mechanical support.
Primal Wear – Kits that keep us warm, cool, protected and really, really good looking. Really.

Team Gates Carbon Drive 2013 - Mitch Westall, Derek Strong, Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung, Brian Hutchison (Missing: Taylor Nye)

Team Gates Carbon Drive 2013 – Mitch Westall, Derek Strong, Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung, Brian Hutchison (Missing: Taylor Nye)

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Team Gates Carbon Drive flies to Philadelphia to represent Colorado in the 2013 Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships!

Gates Intergalactic Planetary Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team - Ryan McFarling, Jesse Swift and Derek Strong

Gates Intergalactic Planetary Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team – Ryan McFarling, Jesse Swift and Derek Strong

While part of the Team Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross team were racing in the frigid Colorado temperatures this past weekend, team members Ryan McFarling, Derek Strong and Jesse Swift flew off for the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. This year, the SSCXWC were held in beautiful Philadelphia, PA, and the guys were excited to do some team representing on the East Coast for a change. To qualify for the big race on Sunday, racers had to compete against other racers in six “Feats of Strength” spread throughout the city, designed to test a wide variety of riding skills, as well as your ability to adapt and of course, have a blast riding your bike with like-minded crazies! First, the iconic 72 step Rocky-run at the Art Museum. Then followed by a ride out to the Delaware River to complete a mini cross race, consisting of a sandy hill, log jump and ramps below and underpass. The third feat was a 90 second sprint up an extremely steep dirt climb.

When the racing gets serious - Track Stand Karaoke

When the racing gets serious – Track Stand Karaoke

The fourth feat took in some more Philadelphia scenery as racers sprinted for a single lap race around an abandoned reservoir. The penultimate feat had racers lining up for a 100-step run-up from the river into one of the nearby neighborhoods. And then another group ride heading back to town, where racers faced-off in the final feat; a track stand/karaoke competition. No doubt, the riders were judged not just on their track standing ability, but with an equal amount of the scoring considered for their ability to belt out the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are The Champions”. It was a long 5 hours and 35 miles of riding around the city, but the guys were committed. And that showed once the scores were tabulated and the guys all qualified for the “Big Day” on Sunday!

Sunday when it was time for the big race, the racers woke to cold but dry weather. That wasn’t going to last long though as the racers began to get warmed-up for the race, the first snowflakes of an unexpectedly strong snowstorm began to fall over the city. The start of the race was handled “Braveheart-style” as the racers were lined-up in a long straight wave.

I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of gearing! (SSCXWC start line)

The course was a ton of fun featuring optional routes, a steep hill, off-camber grass, fallen trees, mud puddles and even punching bags and Liberty Bells littering the course. All through the race the snow was piling up, making the racing tricky, but not dampening the fun or spirits of the 100+ racers. At the end, as the other racers cleared the course, the first two places were lined back up for a one lap battle to determine the new World Champion. Jesse Swift was crazy-close to that final battle, finishing an impressive 4th place, but you never would have guessed he was was “only” fourth, when you saw the smile on his frozen face.

Fourth place for Jesse Swift at SSCXWC '13!

Fourth place for Jesse Swift at SSCXWC ’13!

By the end of the day, that storm had dropped 8.5″ of fresh snow over the city.

The team's distinctive Spot Ralleye bikes making a snow-covered appearance in Philadelphia

The team’s distinctive Spot Ralleye bikes making a snow-covered appearance in Philadelphia

All of the guys agreed that SSCXWC’13 was a very fun, and also beautiful event. Getting to explore the city and see so many different historic areas, the stonework, cobble streets, bridges and architecture that this city showcases; and even the ghettos and the surprising number of trails scattered through the city, just blew away the guys!

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Mitch Westall of Team Gates Carbon Drive takes the top stop of the Shimano Cyclo X Series podium, while the team takes a total of six of the top 10 placings!

Mitch Westall and Taylor Jung take 1st and 3rd in the Shimano Cyclo X Series

Mitch Westall and Taylor Nye take 1st and 3rd in the Shimano Cyclo X Series

After seven races, the Shimano Cyclo X Series presented by Without Limits Productions, still had several possible winners as racers lined up for the eighth and final race! And it was sure to be an epic race, as single digit temperatures and and a shortened snow-covered course at the Boulder Reservoir greeted riders Saturday morning. And if the arctic temperatures weren’t enough, the snow made for an extremely technical course, offering up just a narrow lane of solid snow which turned to loose snow and sand just inches off-line. The battle was on from the start, and it didn’t take long before the leaders were into lapped traffic on the course, which made passing another technical aspect of the race. Without a doubt, Mitch was able to put his past years of mountain bike racing to the test, taking aggressive lines and maintaining traction, because of the superior traction of his low-pressure Stan’s No Tubes setup.

At the finish line, Mitch stayed upright to take second place, with just five seconds covering the top three places. That was just enough points to ensure he maintained first place in the series to take the win! I’m sure much of the other racers were jealous of the Carbon Belt Drive and TRP Helix full-hydraulic disc brakes both of which were completely unaffected by the ice and cold temperatures. Overall in the series, Team Gates Carbon Drive took a commanding six, of the top ten placings in the series. Congrats to Mitch Westall in 1st, Taylor Nye in 3rd, Ryan McFarling in 6th, Taylor Jung in 7th, Derek Strong in 9th and Jesse Swift in 10th!

Sunday’s race was less dramatic, but no less miserable, as Taylor Jung and I lined up in Morrison, Colorado in more single-digit temperatures. Another tricky, icy, yet very fun course laid out by the RLW crew, with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. I can tell you, the race was all about survival, even as we waited for the signal to race. But in the end, Taylor did an awesome job learning from a crash on Saturday, and took an impressive 4th place on the day.

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