The Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross team has been getting warmed up for the USGP, by doing the high-altitude races in Frisco and Buena Vista as well as the weeknight Golden races. The two US Gran Prix races being held in Fort Collins, CO this weekend are right in the teams backyard, and have just recently announced they have added a single speed competition to the overall series competition. Yet another great example of the growing popularity and competition present in the single speed classes!
Saturday brought some colder, high-altitude racing for the team, as Jesse Swift, Taylor Jung and Tim Lucking toed the start line at a mere 9,000ft in Frisco, CO. This is always a favorite course, with a hard paved climb, twisty off-camber sections, sand and lots of power-robbing grass. The early morning cold was tough on all the riders, and by pushing especially hard on the very steep and sandy run-up, Jesse came home in second place. Not long after Taylor rode consistently for 6th, and Tim finished up in 17th.
A little later in the day it was only slightly warmer as Mitch Westall, Ryan McFarling and Carlos Casali lined up in the 35+ Masters Race. The paved climb at the start is always tough on the single speed, as you quickly top out on speed and have to chase back onto the geared guys. Mitch did just that halfway through the first lap, moving up to a group of five that were working to chase down the two leaders. The group shed two with Mitch pushing the pace hard, and encouraging the others, but in the last lap the geared guys were able to outsprint Mitch. But still, 5th place was more than impressive for Mitch on a single speed racing a very strong field. Behind, Ryan and Carlos were also impressive, showing that single speeds were competitive, in 11th and 19th places.
Sunday the team only had Garrett Davis lining up for the Cross the River race in Buena Vista, CO, but that’s all we needed as he stormed to a great win! Garret’s win didn’t come easy though, as he noticed right at the start that his front tire was quickly losing pressure. Making the decision to push the first lap as hard as he could, he hoped to get to the pits with some time in hand so he could make a fast wheel change. Unfortunately the tire change wasn’t fast, but Garrett had lots of time still left in the race. He used that time wisely, catching the lead group after another lap, and then attacking hard and creating a gap. From there, it was just a matter of maintaining his lead of about 20 seconds till crossing the finish line alone and in first place!
We live in such a great area for cyclocross racing, evidenced by well-attended weeknight races in Golden, CO that the team loves to hit in order to keep the skills sharp. This past week the team featured strongly with Jesse sprinting to a second place finish in the A-race. In the same race Carlos was 4th and Garrett carrying his form to 6th place. Taylor Jung was 7th in the single speed race, and now the team is prepared to roll up to Fort Collins for the big crowds and fierce competition. Gates will have their tent and some bikes on hand in the vendor area, so stop by to check out the great technology we race on, and say hello to the team.