Tim Lucking and Taylor Nye of Team Gates Carbon Drive traveled to western Colorado to compete in the 18 Hours of Fruita last weekend. Racing on their belt drive singlespeeds against geared competitors, the speedy duo won the two-man category. Lucking recounts the winning race strategy below.
Taylor Nye and I hoped for a podium spot, but that seemed optimistic given that we were racing our single-speeds against geared teams. We drove out Friday so we would have time to set up camp and get in a couple of laps and determine our gearing, settling on a 46 x 26 sprocket setup. It’s a relatively flat course with two punchy climbs. The rest is winding single- and double-track through sage and juniper bushes while skirting the twisty edge of Highline Lake. There were no long flat sections. Perfect for a single speed.
As the sun set on tent-town we got 2-3 hours of sleep before waking for the midnight start. Taylor was going for the hole-shot and had a great starting position, but the race director pulled the old switcheroo and started the race backwards, so Taylor started at the back of the pack. The race began and Taylor hammered like crazy and came through in 2nd position in the 2-man category after the first lap.
The night laps were tough because there was no wind and the course was dusty with lots of ambient dust in the air, making it difficult to pick our lines. We chased the leaders and caught them 7 laps in. We continued on through the night, morning, and afternoon knocking out fast laps with no mechanicals. The Spot Rockers gobbled up the twisty trails that became more wash-boarded by the lap, the TRP Dash Carbon brakes allowed us to wait until the last possible second to scrub speed before diving into a corner, the Lazer Nirvana helmets kept our noggins cool and protected, the Primal kits kept us comfortable all day, the Crank Brothers cockpit parts ensured that we were dialed for ergonomic efficiency, and of course the Gates Carbon drive required no maintenance all day even in the billowing dust.
With fast transitions we were able to lap the field by the mid-afternoon and finish in first place with 32 laps completed in 18 hours. That worked out to 117 miles per person. Not too shabby for a couple of single-speeders! We were wrecked afterward and enjoyed our sleeping bags greatly.
It was a wonderful event with fun competitors and hosts. It’s great to be part of a sport where you can go out on the course and be competitive and polite at the same time, then come back and hang out to swap stories when it’s all said and done.”
Travis Braun adds to the list of SS state champions who are winning on Carbon Drive. Hailing from the great cheddar state, Braun took home the Wisconsin SS cyclocross championship last month. The Trek employee, who rides for Team Magnus, raced a prototype Trek District with a 55 x 24 belt drive setup. “My drive train was smooth and silent all race.”
Judging from the photo above, Braun is clearly a man who knows how to relax in style. “Just another day at the office,” he says of the photo. Which raises questions: how do we get an office like that? And what are your plans for that poker?
Our pals at Oskar Blues Brewery and REEB Cycles took a trip East to compete in the Pisgah Stage Race. Riding his REEB 29er with Gates Carbon Drive, Chad Melis and his ride partner took first in the relay category, which involved the two riding alternate stages during the five-day event. Congrats gents.
Check out the video of Chad talking about the roots and rocks on the course, and the Carbon Drive on his bike. Says Chad: “The belt was money.”
And check out the rutted, rocky and wet-leave-covered, root-crossed action in this video, which looks downright scary to this dusty and bone-dry Western rider. Carbon Drive has a big following in the singlespeed community in Colorado, where Gates is based. REEB’s foray East will hopefully create a beachhead for belt drive racers on the right coast–especially with the opening of the new Oskar Blues Brewery location in Brevard, North Carolina, tucked in the singletrack Mecca of Pisgah National Forest.
Is there any cooler way to win a race than boosting a wheelie over the finish line? (Wheelie photo courtesy www.danieldunnphoto.com) That’s what Macky Franklin did on Stage 6 of the Breck Epic, scoring some style points and showing he still had some gas in the tank after the grueling stage race. Franklin, of Taos, NM, is now preparing for his next big race: Singlespeed World Championships 2012 in South Africa on September 29.
Photo: Syd Schulz
Franklin sent us a note about his Breck Epic win and the REEB with Gates Carbon Drive that he used to slay the competition in Breckenridge and will bring to South Africa.
“I love the Gates Carbon Drive! I raced the Breck Epic the last two years, but always with gears. Since I wanted to race another world championships (once again unsanctioned) and wanted to get used to my new REEB single speed before I attended Single Speed World Championships in South Africa, I decided Breck Epic would be a great way to spend a lot of time on the new bike. And I ended up winning it! So aside from being very used to the new REEB (240+ miles in 6 days will do that), I can add “World Champion” to my resume.”
In true singlespeed style Macky took a Dale's Pale Ale feed during Breck Epic. photo: Jim Schulz
Macky lost a cleat during Stage 4 but still hammered it. photo: Sydney Fox
Check out more photos of Franklin’s bike on CyclingDirt. Anyone else planning to ride Singlespeed Worlds on a bike with Gates Carbon Drive? Send us a note here or contact us on Facebook and let us know what bike you’re riding. With wins in the 2012 Tour Divide, Megavalanche and now Breck Epic, as well as the success of Team Gates Carbon Drive’s mountain bike and cyclocross teams, Carbon Drive is proving itself to be a race-winning application for singlespeeders. Live in Colorado? Get yourself to Lyons or Longmont to have a cold Dale’s Pale and check out REEB Cycles headquarters.
Macky Franklin of Taos, NM, has won the singlespeed division of the Breck Epic, making him the first winner of the inaugural Singlespeed Stage Race World Championships. Franklin rode a REEB 29er with Gates Carbon Drive in the six-stage race, which covered 240 miles and featured 37,000 feet of climbing, all above 9,600 feet. Here’s what Franklin had to say on the Mountain Flyer blog:
“The REEB was AWESOME! Especially paired with the Gates Carbon Drive. It climbed well, handled the descents well and dealt with mud better than any bike I’ve ever ridden. It was nice and quiet, strong, and had great engagement. I quickly learned to just ignore it and was able to focus on cranking up the climbs instead of worrying about mis-shifting or my chain breaking. Single speeding is FUN!”