The Team Gates Carbon Drive Mountain Bike Team had another great showing this past weekend at the Winter Park SuperLoop Cross Country Race! Mitch Westall was narrowly edged out of the win, while Taylor Nye and Jesse Swift took third and forth in a strong showing for the team.
The SuperLoop course was changed at the last minute so no one knew exactly what secrets the course was hiding. One thing for sure, the usual start at the base of a massive fire-road climb, would do some damage and separate out the strongest riders from the gun! Taylor was able to drive the pace, quickly separating the top riders, including both Mitch and Jesse. Mitch and Taylor found themselves battling with local rider Brad Berger, as each section of the course seemed to favor each rider differently. The unknown new section turned out to be an incredibly tight and twisty, very bumpy section of raw trail that favored smooth momentum. After this section Mitch and Brad were locked together in battle, as Brad opened a small gap in the final section leading to the finish. On the flat road into the finish, Mitch was coming back hard, but just barely ran out of road. After 90 minutes of racing, less than 2 seconds separated the two riders!
Taylor was never far out of the battle for first, ultimately finishing on the last step of the podium. Jesse Swift finished just behind in fourth, while Tim Lucking and myself battled further back in the pack. Derek Strong went with the option of racing on the guys in the geared class, and finished a strong 12th place. Impressive on a course that was much more suited to geared bikes!
It was great to see so many belt-driven bikes out at the race. Every guy on the team ended up answering questions about the drivetrain, from other curious riders, at some point during the day. And as usual, the Center Track system was perfect in the varying terrain; from dusty power climbs, to creek crossings and rock-strewn singletrack! The team is looking forward to the next race in the series, the Point-To-Point race and Sunday Short Track in two weeks.