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.
Meet the new Team Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross bike, the Rallye from Spot Brand. Don’t be fooled by its pretty looks. Rallye likes to get dirty. Based in Colorado, Team Gates Carbon Drive launches into its fourth CX season with plans to once again belt the competition and dominate the singlespeed race category in the Rocky Mountains and beyond. The goal: be ambassadors for SS cross and spread the gospel of belt drive. The team roster includes Cristina Begy, Brian Hutchison, Taylor Jung, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Nye, Jesse Swift, Derek Strong and Mitch Westall. Thanks to “Hutch” for the photos of the Rallye in its natural habitat.
The team bike is equipped with some of the best spec in cyclocross: Stan’s Iron Cross Pro wheels, TRP Hylex brakes, Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals, FSA seatposts, cranks, stem and bars. Jinji Cycles is our bike shop sponsor, and Primal has once again created some spanking kits for us.
Smooth, strong and clean, Gates Carbon Drive provides a winning edge due to its low maintenance and light weight. Just hose it off and go grab a beer: no post-race lube job required. And if you do toe the line with us this season, make sure to grab a wheel, go for the hole shot and jump on the Gates train–we don’t wait for greasy chains.
The belt drive bikes dominated the singlespeed category in Saturday’s cross racing at Sea Otter Classic, where Amanda Schaper and Alan Danger Zinniker took the top podium spot in the men’s and women’s races. Photos courtesy of Corey Keizer.
Amanda (above) barely broke a sweat in winning the women’s race. Check out the dude from Las Vegas in green over her shoulder, who is racing on a Raleigh Hodala with Carbon Drive. Danger (below) leads the field.
Danger wins the Sea Otter jersey and the top podium spot.
Throw ya hands in the a-ya! Maraya Morse took the second place podium spot on her Raleigh Hodala with Carbon Drive.
The money shot.
The guy from Vegas, Roger Morse, never caught Amanda but he finished eighth overall and his wife Maraya finished second in the women’s race on her Carbon Drive Hodala.
Amanda and her bike before the race. Crappy iPhone photo by Pablo Frijoles.
Jordan Czajka is the technical services manager for Advanced Sports, the parent company of Breezer, Fuji and Kestrel, so he knows how to wrench a bike. Also, apparently, when it’s Miller time. Jordan sent us these photos of his customized Raleigh HiLife cyclocross bike that he retro-fitted with Carbon Drive.
Jordan knee slides over a barrier during a cross race, looking mighty stylish.
“I built the frame set up with a bunch of different parts trying to stick with the color theme of the frame,” Jordan says of the Miller High Life-inspired bike. “I rode and raced it for a while with a chain. Once I saw the Gates Carbon Drive system I knew I wanted it. My HiLife seemed like the perfect bike to set up with belt drive.”
“A buddy of mine who is a welder and a machinist carefully cut out a piece of the frame and the end of the drop out to allow the belt to pass through. He then welded a piece of bar stock in between the two dropout saver plates to fill in the cut out section of frame. The drop out savers slide onto the drop out from the rear and the bolts keep everything in place.”
While Gates encourages cyclists to buy a stock belt-compatible frame, Jordan clearly had the chops to do this retro-fit. The resulting bike has served him well for many years of cyclocross racing and commuting.
“HiLife is perfect for cyclocross: no gears to stop working, no chain to clog up and rust, just a perfect setup. Washing the bike after a race or ride is so simple. I ride this bike everywhere and love the simplicity of it.”
As the brewers at Miller might say, it’s the champagne of bikes.