In just its first year of existence, Team Gates Carbon Drive swept into the Colorado State Championships on a roll, and by the end of the two-day event last weekend it had some big accomplishments to brag about. The team won the Colorado Cross Team Competition, while rider Mitch Westall bagged a podium spot and Carlos Casali extended his lead in the individual’s singlespeed CX category.
Held at a new course in Louisville, the singlespeed State Championships were held on Sunday. Racers were met with temperatures just above freezing, but a dry course with no rain or snow. The course was bound to be a true throw-down, especially for the single speeders, as it was wide open and flat. Other than a short paved start, the course featured bumpy grass, long power sections, two back-to-back sand sections and two run-ups with barriers.
With the championships up for grabs, nearly 40 racers toed the starting line, the largest Colorado single speed field of the season. Amongst the scrum, Team Gates Carbon Drive had Westall, Casali, Derek Strong and myself in the mix. The start was fast and furious, with Mitch and Carlos setting the pace up front, and creating a separation of 10 riders after going into the first lap. Though after minimal course recon time with the new schedule, Mitch went down, pushing a bit too hard in one section. After quickly settling back down, Mitch chased back to Joe Saperstein, the sole leader at that point, and the two riders quickly separated themselves from the others. Behind, Carlos was in a group of four chasing, and Derek close behind in the next group.
As the race wore on, Mitch realized that his limited time on the course before the race meant that his tire choice wasn’t the best for the many fast hairpins. With power left in his legs, he was held back and losing time in those many corners. Having the ride of his season, Joe Saperstein held on for the win, with Mitch fighting hard behind, though forced to settle for second place.
Still in the second group behind, Carlos surged hard with an attack to take fourth, while Derek fought hard, riding as consistent as ever, and rounded out the top 10. Unfortunately after lots of vacation time at the beach, the end of the season approaching, and a head-cold creeping in, I knew even before the whistle, I would be out of the chase. However I had a great time riding in a larger singlespeed field, and flying the Gates colors as usual!
The entire team left everything out on the course, pushing as hard as they could. The effort pushed the team’s points lead far outside of anyone’s reach. Carlos extended his lead in the Colorado Cross Racer competition, with Mitch and Derek also slotting into the top five of that race! And don’t worry, the season isn’t over yet! This year the Colorado Cross season is pushing into January so stay tuned for some more racing from Team Gates Carbon Drive, and to see how the Colorado Cross Racer competition finishes up!