December 2011 Archive

Team Gates Carbon Drive has wrapped up first place in the Team Competition and Jesse Swift has won the individual category in the Colorado Best Cyclocross Rider competition. Swift bagged the top honor following his second-place finish at the Colorado Cyclocross Championships over the weekend, where strong finishes by his teammates allowed Gates to grab the top five spots in the Best Rider competition.

Lots of Gates light-blue on the front of the Colorado State Championships!

The Colorado State Championships took place last weekend at Ryolite Regional Park in Castle Rock. Warmer temperatures and sunny skies melted the snow and created a sloppy, slippery course. The competition was fierce with the state title on the line in the ever-growing single speed category. Several pro racers including Brady Kapius and former Olympian and National Track Champion Colby Pearce showed up to battle with the amateur field, which was dominated by the light blue kits of Gates Carbon Drive.

Jesse Swift chasing hard!

The course started with a long paved uphill start then entered muddy singletrack. It didn’t take long for the familiar faces to hit the front of the race. From then on, the only tactic was for everyone to charge hard while staying upright in the slippery conditions, saving enough gas to clear the monster fly-over that the race organizers placed on course.

Clearing the flyover was no small feat!

Two laps in Jesse and Brady Kapius had a huge gap on the field, and things got dicey as they both battled through traffic from the Cat3 race on course. Jesse worked hard to close the gap back down on Brady, but Brady was well in-control of the race by that point. At the end Jesse was still plenty strong to hold off a hard-charging Colby Pearce, holding onto the second step of the podium. Behind, the rest of the team fought hard, solidifying their individual points for the series. Following Jesse Swift, the Colorado Cross Cup was all Team Gates: Mitch Westall in 2nd, Carlos Casali (last year’s winner) in 3rd, Garrett Davis in 4th, Taylor Nye 5th, Derek Strong in 7th, Taylor Jung in 11th, Brian Hutchison 14th, and Tim Lucking 18th.

It was an incredibly successful season for Gates Carbon Drive, with multiple wins and podium sweeps that showed how incredibly well-suited the Gates belt drive system is for cyclocross. Just as importantly, the entire team had a great time riding, traveling and suffering together. Afterward, everyone was bummed for the racing to end, but some post-race hydration from beverage sponsor Oskar Blues brought out the smiles and camaraderie. But the team will be back next year, looking to grab a few race wins that eluded us this year! Of course, some of us aren’t quite yet ready to break out the skis and snowboards yet. Cristina Begy is off to the National Championships in Wisconsin in a few weeks, where we know she will hammer the competition in the singlespeed category.

Check out the video of Jesse Swift’s racing over the weekend here:

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With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to get belted. Know a bicyclist in need of a new clean, quiet, light, strong and low-maintenance drive train for 2012? Gates’ new CenterTrack system, aka CDX-CT, is available and ready to ship. Multiple belt and sprocket sizes are available. Check out the options on Gates’ product page. If you need help, contact Gates at for ordering information or technical questions. If you’re trying to figure out what size system to run, download the Gates iPhone app, which has a sonic tension meter and gear ratio converter. Chains are so 2011.

The rear sprocket makes a pretty sweet Christmas tree ornament as well!
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The River City Bicycles/Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross team has wrapped up its first season with some impressive race results–and some good memories and foolishness as well. The team placed two guys in the top 20 of the final standings in the A Class of the Cross Crusade series.

Based in Portland, the belt drive singlespeed team is comprised of John Walrod, Ryan Weaver, Alex Criss and Seth Patla. Criss headed to Bend, Oregon, last weekend while Seth Patla represented Gates Carbon Drive in southern Washington, where he raced at Washougal.

“All in all, it’s been a super-successful season for us,” says Patla. “We have demonstrated the durability of Gates CenterTrack belt drive design and proven that racing a singlespeed cyclocross bike against geared competition is a viable option. “

You can read more about the team’s race results and see more great photos at the River City blog by clicking here. Here are some of the highlights as compiled by the RCB squad:

Number of races: 76

Number of times the drivetrains required maintenance: 0

Best race results: Ryan and Seth, 20th and 7th Overall in Cross Crusade category A
(full team results here: )

Best video: Seth

Thanks for representing Gates Carbon Drive in the PacNorWest. Here’s to kicking butt again next season.

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Scott Upton on his Rocker. Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography (

Scott Upton started singlespeeding seven years ago for reasons of simplicity and low maintenance. So when the Colorado resident heard about Gates Carbon Drive, he was intrigued. “I had to try it out.” After reading some bike reviews and talking to other singlespeeders, he bought a Rocker from Spot Brand last August and had it built up with Carbon Drive.


Upton's belt drive following a recent race win.

His first ride on the Rocker took place over the Labor Day Weekend near Frisco, Colorado. “Cranking over the risers on the Peaks Trail and climbing up to Georgia Pass on the Colorado Trail, I put the bike (and my legs) to the test. The steel frame was a huge improvement over my old bike, but Carbon Drive was the standout,” he says. “Nothing but smooth, smooth, smooth mile after mile.”  For 2012, Upton plans to race the Breck Epic and ride some of the best singletrack locations in the Rockies: Fruita, Moab, and Crested Butte, as well as the trails around Boulder and Summit County.

He has since gotten a Spot Brand cyclocross bike, which he has raced through this CX season. Upton also uses his Spot Mod Ti cyclocross bike for commuting and has logged more than 3,500 miles on his belts.  Keep an eye out for Upton on the streets of Boulder, and get ready to suffer if he lines up next to you in a race. Riding the two bikes with Gates’ new CenterTrack system has been a blast, he says.  “From the dry, dusty conditions of the Original Growler and the Laramie Enduro to the mud of Crested Butte and October cyclocross races, CenterTrack has taken the simplicity of Carbon Drive to a whole new level.”


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This past weekend in Colorado saw frigid temperatures, snow, ice and mud out on the cyclocross courses. What better conditions to test both riders and Gates Carbon Drives? While the riders suffered, the belts shrugged off the cold and mud, working flawlessly.

Team Gates Carbon Drive leads them out onto course!

Saturday’s race was super cold, with high temps in the teens, and even colder when the single speed race went off at dusk. A heavy coating of snow from the days before meant that it was going to be a tough day. Right from the gun there were crashes aplenty, as riders struggled in the course beat up from a day of racing. The main line was a muddy, icy mess, and getting out of that line meant a sudden stop in 8 inches of snow. Most of the Gates guys started on the front and avoided most of the crashes, and by the second lap a group of five, including three from the light blue team, led the race.

Garrett Davis sliding through the slippery course.

Just before one of the big run ups another competitor made an aggressive pass and nearly took out those behind, causing a gap with Taylor Nye and Taylor Jung chasing. On this day, given the conditions, bike choice was a tough decision, with some riders choosing a mountain bike. Everyone was in survival-mode on this course, and Jesse Swift had to settle for third place with Garrett Davis taking fourth. You can’t win them all, but the team was happy to see that the eventual winner was also sporting a Gates Carbon Drive on his Spot mountain bike!

The mud and snow made for some extra dismounts in Louisville, CO.

Sunday’s race in Westminster offered up temperatures slightly warmer but still below freezing. And of course, no shortage of mud and snow again. Not one to shy away, Mitch Westall lined up for the morning’s 35+ race against the geared crowd. The belt drive once again worked flawlessly, but the sloppy mud and fast paved sections meant Mitch had his work cut out for him. In the end he was happy with a well-earned third place. At the other end of the day, Carlos Casali lined up for the singlespeed race, where he was anxious to make amends. And he did, leading from the gun and never looking back, taking an impressive win in terrible conditions.

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