The Team Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross squad had Denver surrounded last weekend as Jesse Swift took a win south of town at Storm the Castle Cross, and Mitch Westall won the Flatirons Cross north of town.
On what will be the State Championship Course later this year in Castle Rock, Colorado, Jesse Swift and Taylor Jung lined up for battle with the rest of the singlespeed category. I told you last time that Drew Christopher was bound to be back for revenge against Jesse, and right from the start he attacked with only Jesse able to match his pace. The rest of the field was left to battle for third, as those two rode away, trading turns at the front, and attacking and testing one another for the showdown at the finish. Ultimately Jesse was able to attack late in the final lap and hold onto his small lead for the win. Behind, Taylor was in a race-long battle of his own, but attacked hard on the penultimate lap, gapping his group and securing the final step of the podium. Though Drew is on a competing team, he found the beauty of the belt and is riding a Gates Carbon Drive setup of his own, making it an all belt-drive podium!
Sunday’s racing moved to the north, on a hillside course for Flatirons Cross in Broomfield, Colorado. From the first pedal strokes of warming up, it was obvious the course was a real monster, consisting of 90% thick grass, most of which was slick and off-camber, and featuring two brutal run-ups. Determined to get a clean shot at the first off-camber section, Taylor Jung blasted from the gates, taking Mitch Westall with him. Unfortunately Mitch did go down on the first lap, but was back up in a flash and chasing for the rest of the race. Derek Strong was playing the race safe, but still using his massive technical skills to cleanly ride the trickiest sections which forced most riders off their bikes.
Mitch finished thinking he hadn’t made up enough time, but out of his site, the only two riders ahead, had crashed one another out just a lap after his own crash, putting him off the front all alone for the win! Derek didn’t even look like he was working finishing a solid 6th, while Taylor flew home for 11th battling with other riders all the way.
The weekend results follow Mitch Westall’s podium finish in the Wheelers and Dealers race at Cross Vegas during Interbike.The Cross Vegas momentum quickly carried over to the weekend races just a couple days later as Jesse Swift, Ryan McFarling, Taylor Jung and Derek Strong raced at the impressive Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado. The first Colorado race on the calendar didn’t disappoint as a quality field took the start. Jesse and Ryan rode together most the race, working together against a group consisting of 3 other top Colorado racers. Going into the final lap, Ryan threw down a vicious attack that the group was able to shut down, which setup Jesse for a sprint out of the last corner where he had to settle for third place. Ryan recovered from his attack to take 4th, while Derek and Taylor finished close behind in 12th and 13th spots.
After getting warmed-up with his 3rd place finish on Saturday, Jesse Swift was back again on Sunday for the Body Sync Cyclocross race in Golden, Colorado. He said the race was for “training”, especially since it was nice and close to home, but tell that to his fellow competitors! Even after a second row start, Jesse blitzed the rest of the field, pushing his way to the front of the field and finding himself in a group with one other rider, Drew Christopher. Jesse and the other rider were able to put a safe gap on the rest of the field, and though I know Jesse would have preferred to battle to the line, he found himself alone at the finish as Drew suffered a flat.
We are off to a great start. Now that we are caught up on this season’s results, stay tuned for weekly weekend wrapups of the races Team Gates Carbon Drive attends.