It was another succesful weekend for the Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team as the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross came to town for two days of racing in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Saturday was the Smartwool Cup #1, and a single speed field of over 40 riders took to a chilly start line, just before the rains started coming down. Lining up for the the team was Jesse Swift, Mitch Westall, Carlos Casali, Taylor Jung, Tim Lucking and Ryan McFarling. Carlos drove the pace hard right from the start, working to setup a group of leaders. Ryan was there, but unfortunately had a skewer break which forced him to drop from the group. He was able to rejoin the race, and put in some of the fastest laps of the day, trying to chase, but unfortunately lost too much time at the start. Up front, the battle was on, and as the rain fell, making the course slick and treacherous, good handling was as important as putting down the power.
The lead group ended up just out of reach for Jesse, who fought his way home for fourth place in a stacked field. Gates wasn’t done representing though, as Mitch and Carlos finished together in 7th and 8th places, while Taylor and Tim weren’t far back in 17th and 24th.
The team was back the following day for Smartwool Cup #2, as the drier but slightly revised course provided just as many challenges under the sunny skies. Sunday Gates was represented by Mitch Westall, Ryan McFarling, Garrett Davis and Taylor Jung facing off against another 35 racers on day two. The previous day’s mud had dried into a fast, but bumpy course for the riders. Once again Gates drove the pace at the start, with Garrett and Taylor pushing hard at the gun. Mitch caught their goup, and as the real fireworks flew, he was able to stick close to the leader by pushing a big gear and riding consistently. Ultimately Mitch finished in 2nd place, while Ryan had some unfinished business after Saturday’s mechanical, finishing close behind in 3rd. That put two Gates riders on the podium, and Garrett was so close–coming home in 5th place.
I wasn’t able to make it to the USGP races, but rather hit the first Boulder Ultra Cross “unofficial event.” It turned out to be a super fun ride, covering 50 miles with nearly 6,000 feet of climbing. Even with the racing in Fort Collins, nearly 80 people showed up for one giant lap of the course. Having the Gates Carbon Drive belt kept things simple and flawless, and it was easy to enjoy the incredible route, great weather, and riding with lots of different people I normally don’t get to. I hope there will be more non-events of this type!