Oliver “Ollie” Whalley is getting a well-deserved rest following his record-setting victory in the Tour Divide mountain bike race, which he finished on Sunday. Whalley smashed the old course record by two days with his time of 16 days, two hours and 46 minutes. This is the first time the 26-year-old Kiwi from Christchurch, New Zealand, has raced the Tour Divide. His winning bike was a Ventana “El Commandante Ultimate” 29er with Gates Carbon Drive and a Rohloff internal hub.
Whalley is Ventana’s dealer in New Zealand. He arrived in San Francisco on May 5 and stopped in for a visit at Ventana before making his way to Banff, Alberta, the start of the course. The 2,745-mile (4,418 km) self-supported race follows the Continental Divide from the border of Canada to Mexico, finishing in Antelope Wells, NM. Tour Divide has been called the world’s toughest mountain bike race, an epic feat of endurance, strength, strategy and grit.
The Carbon Drive-Rohloff combination has proven to be a winner in epic endurance races and global touring; James Bowthorpe held the record for fastest bike ride around the world on a Santos touring bike with Gates and Rohloff. Stay tuned for more news and in-depth interviews with Ollie. In an email exchange with Gates Carbon Drive, Whalley said he is enjoying his time off the bike, adding that the United States is a good place to recuperate due to the “huge portions of food you have here.” Gates looks forward to buying you huge meal, Ollie.
Jesse Swift of the Gates Carbon Drive Mountain Bike Team, couldn’t wait for the usual weekend racing. And after a quick trip up to Breckenridge, he stomped straight to the top of the podium at The Gold Rush Run race last Wednesday!
The Summit Mountain Challenge is a great serious of high-altitude weekday races. Finding himself up in the mountains last week, Jesse was able to cruise over and catch the race in Breckenridge. While there wasn’t a huge field, it was made up entirely of fast locals, used to the 10,000ft elevation, and with a huge knowledge of the trails. The 14 mile course featured over 2,000ft of climbing, and Jesse was able to steadily move himself up through the field, finally catching the leader half way into the race. Jesse had no time to rest though, and had to keep the pressure on, to create a gap. He knew the downhill skills and local knowledge of the rider behind him, and it was going to be a race to finish. Digging deep, his Spot Rocker SS and the super-smooth Gates CDX Center Track system was flawless, as Jesse held everyone off by a mere 30 seconds at the finish!
If you want to try and beat Jesse, check out his Strava file from the race!
In a race that was warp-speed right from the starting gun, Mitch Westall was the first rider over the summit at the Winter Park Hill Climb.
Brian Hutchison climbing to the thin air of the finish line at 11,142ft. - Photo courtesy of Mountain Moon Photography
Racers were greeted with warm temps and clear blue skies this past weekend in Winter Park, Colorado, as they lined up for the first race of the Epic Singletrack Series. But while the relatively smooth fire road leaving the lodge at 9,080 feet looked pleasant enough, the racing was full-tilt, as racers wound their way 5.2 miles up to a finish line after more than 2,000 feet of elevation gain. A group of riders split from the pack right at the start, with Mitch following the group and waiting to make his move. About half way up the climb, riders in the lead group began launching attacks and counter-attacks. Mitch helped chase down one last attack before launching into the lead and crossing the line alone.
Hill Climb Winner Mitch Westall, and teamate Brian Hutchison at the Summit
Further back, I had a rough time getting the legs to respond to the explosive starting pace, and I tried to settle in. At mile two the legs felt better and I clawed back some time on the top half of the course, finishing in 7th place. Despite the suffering we all endured, it was all worthwhile thanks to the great views at the top. Plus it was the opening weekend at the Winter Park resort, so all the trails were clear for the twisty descent back down to the lodge. No doubt, several more members of Team Gates Carbon Drive will be out in two weeks for round two of the Epic Singletrack Series!
“This was by far one of the classiest, comfiest bikes I’ve pedaled.” That’s what Bike Rumor has to say about the Sprawl, a stylish commuter bike from our pals at Spot Brand Bikes.The Sprawl features the Gates Carbon Drive CenterTrack system, an internally geared hub, disc brakes, full fenders and a comfortable but speedy riding position. Here’s what Bike Rumor says about the belt drive:
“The drivetrain is Gate’s top of the line Center Track model. We had zero problems with it the entire eight months we had the bike, and it still looks good as new despite many miles. It’s amazing how quiet this drivetrain is, something you need to experience to truly appreciate. If you’re building up your dream commuter bike, test ride a belt drive and you’ll likely be sold.”
Read the full Bike Rumor review here.
Outside Magazine has previously written about the Spot Brand Rocker, a singlespeed belt drive mountain bike that they called their 2011 singlespeed of the year. In this year’s Outside Buyer’s Guide, the magazine featured a commuter bike that is getting lots of media buzz–the Gotham, from REI’s bike brand Novarra. The Gotham has received praise from magazines including Bicycle Times, Popular Science and Business Week due to its mix of leading technologies.
“This understated townie features some of the coolest bike technology out there, starting with the Gates belt drive, which is quiet, low-maintenance and totally grease-less,” writes Outside’s resident bike geek Aaron Gulley.
The Gotham from REI bike brand Novara has been called one of the best commuter bike values due to the pairing of technologies it has on the drive train: a Gates Carbon Drive belt and the Nuvinci N360 continuously variable hub system. Popular Science recently had a Gotham in-house for a long-term test, and writer Michael Berk has posted his review on popsci.com. Berk calls the Gotham a bike that delivers “a new world of commuter convenience.”
“Without having to lube the chain, the bike remains remarkably clean — you’ll still have to wipe the thing down of road dirt and water, obviously, but it’s really refreshing not to have to deal with grease (and you can say goodbye to stains on your pants cuffs or the good ol’ chainring tattoo). It’ll never rust, no matter how much you neglect it.”
You can check out the Gotham at an REI near you by clicking on the store locator.
Business Week, one of the most respected business publications, has just posted a story about the new DeLorean bike brand. DeLorean is the latest automotive brand to produce a belt drive bike, with others including Audi, Porsche and Smart–maker of the Smart car and the new belted e-bike. Check out the writeup here.