Team Gates Carbon Drive turned in another weekend of strong riding on Oct. 9 and 10, placing four riders in the top 10 on Saturday and grabbing 2nd and 3rd on Sunday. The results catapulted the team into the early lead in the Colorado Cyclocross Cup team standings. Saturday was the second race in the popular Boulder Cyclocross Series, and it drew a large field. This race features one of the more popular courses in Colorado, located in the Interlocken Business Park. The course allows Colorado riders the rare chance to race on grass, in addition to slick sidewalks, sand pits and several tough run-ups. The singlespeed race drew 27 starters including five members of Team Gates Carbon Drive Team.
Ben Ollett flew from the start and found himself in 2nd place chasing cycling journalist Matt Pacocha hard as the first lap sorted out the riders. Pacocha is no slouch, and Ollett settled back into the group, taking up the chase. Mitch Westall worked his way back up through the field after having an issue with his shoes, putting him in chase mode. Derek Strong was his usual smooth and consistent self, getting faster throughout the race and lurking with the lead riders. Meanwhile Carlos Casali was putting his choice of flat bars to good use by bunny-hopping the barriers and saving himself a few seconds per lap. Garrett Davis was a bit tired this week after his great ride in Frisco the week before, and he hovered safely in the middle of the pack.
In the end, Pacocha was on his own for the win while Westall attacked the group to get 2nd for Gates–a great result in a very competitive field. Strong and Casali continued to attack their group,finishing5th and 7th, with Ollett and Davis holding on for10th and 12th as the wet and energy-sucking grass put everyone on the rivet. All and all, and great showing for the team, with every member finishing in the front half of the field!
Oct.9, Boulder Cyclocross Series #2 Team Results:
2nd- Mitch Westall
5th— Derek Strong
7th— Carlos Casali
10th— Ben Ollett
12th— Garrett Davis
On Sunday, Casali and I packed up the car and headed over the Continental Divide for Buena Vista, Colo., where Cross at the River was held. This was the first race of the Colorado Cross Cup series. With cooler temps and the threat of moisture, especially at the venue altitude of 8,000 feet, the field was smaller than on Saturday.
While the forecasted rain and snow never materialized, there was a strong and steady wind on the course. Being along the river the course was pretty flat, but that was made up for with the constant wind, lots of sand, some sharp uphill corners and two big run-ups; not to mention the thin air!
While small, the field was extremely talented, with anyone capable of winning. To get into the twisty section cleanly, I attacked hard on the first lap, going into the headwind with three other riders. Unfortunately I got mired in the sand and was forced to dismount as Matty Pronovost hammered the pace. Casali stayed with Pronovost until he stumbled and Pronovost sprang free. Carlos saw me coming and we joined forces, working together to chase Pronovost and drop another rider hot on our tail. When I saw we weren’t going to catch Pronovost I drilled it for two laps, launching Carlos on the last lap and helping him grab 2nd while I took 3rd.The two podium finishes were enough to get the team into the lead in the Colorado Cup series.
Following another hard weekend of racing, the team continues to marvel at the smooth ride, low maintenance and power of the Gates belt drives. I had
decided to do a quick gearing change before my race on Sunday, and it was as simple and quick to do as it would have been on a chain-drive bike. Kudos to the great drop-out design on the Spot Brand Mod SS, which helps make adjustments nice and easy.
October 10th, Cross at the River
2nd Place — Carlos Casali
3rd Place — Brian Hutchison
Next weekend watch for Team Gates Carbon Drive at the On the Cross Cyclocross Race in Denver, and at another high-altitude race in Allen spark, the Aspen Lodge Cross Race.