December 2010 Archive

Casali rides his Raleigh Hodala, a sexy new carbon singlespeed cyclocross bike. Team member Mitch Westall is close behind on his Spot Mod. Photo courtesy of

The new carbon fiber Hodala cyclocross frame from Raleigh is a real beauty. Team Gates Carbon Drive rider Carlos Casali is lucky enough to be racing one. The bike weighs a feathery 14.9 pounds and features components from sponsors FSA and Easton. Casali took his new Hodala to Sunday’s Boulder Cyclocross Series Race #5 in Lyons, where he continued his strong season.

Casali charges the hill in Lyons with his Hodala, which weighs a feathery 14.9 pounds for the large frame size. Photo:

Coming into the race, Casali was in first place in the singlespeed category for the series, with teammate Mitch Westall in fifth. From the gun, Carlos and Mitch took off and quickly separated themselves from the field. Two laps into the race, Mitch and Carlos were still riding well together, Mitch faster on the run-ups, and Carlos using his power and weight to pull around on the flats. With two laps to go, Mitch charged ahead on the steep uphill running sections, grabbing the win for Team Gates with Carlos finishing second.

With these results, Carlos won the Boulder Cyclocross Race Series, and Mitch finished 2nd overall. The season is nearly over, but there are two more races on the ACA calendar in January, and Gates will be present. Carlos needs one more point to win the Best Cyclocross Rider Competition in the Colorado Cup. It has been an impressive season so far for the team, which was just created in September. The team has 12 wins for the season, 11 second place finishes, and nine third-place finishes.

Westall remained in 2nd for most of the race before taking the top podium spot on the final laps, with Casali finishing second. Photo:

And if you missed it, check out the interview that just wrote about Casali and Team Gates Carbon Drive.

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Team Gates Carbon Drive's Big Brazilian Flashes a Smile--and His Carbon Drive

As you can see in the photo above, spectators just can’t help checking out Carlos Casali’s Carbon Drive System. The Team Gates Carbon Drive rider gets asked about it at nearly every race. In an interview with, Casali talks about this and other aspects of racing for the only belt-drive singlespeed cyclocross team on the circuit. Casali says he knew little about the Carbon Drive System before being recruited to race for Gates “but now I am completely sold,” he tells 303cycling. “I now have 3 bikes with belt drives. The system is clean, quiet, and strong.” Weighing 185 pounds, the big Brazilian and Rio native says he is someone who can put Carbon Drive “to the test.” Having seen Casali hammer all season, the article’s author, fellow CX racer Kris Thompson, says it is nice to stop and talk with Carlos and learn about the team after chasing them all fall. As Casali says in the interview, Gates may expand the team in 2011, giving more riders the chance to compete for Team Carbon Drive.  Check out the full article.

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Mitch Westall leading through the barriers - Photo by SportifImages

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.

Carlos Casali leading the second group through the barriers - Photo by SportifImages

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.

Derek Strong feeling the effort of the day - Photo by SportifImages

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!

Brian Hutchison coming into the barriers - Photo by SportifImages

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!

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New 2011 Trek District with Gates Carbon Drive

Bryan Rogers is already getting comments of “nice bike” when he rides his new belt drive bike through his hometown in southern California. Rogers was impressed by the styling of the Trek District singlespeed with Gates Carbon Drive, but he wanted a multi-speed bike for commuting. So he worked with his local shop to convert a standard District into a multi-speed, belt-drive beauty. Check out the video by clicking here.

Belt Drive Conversion Video

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