Gates Carbon Drive

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Team Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross and the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships

  December 12, 2013

Team Gates Carbon Drive flies to Philadelphia to represent Colorado in the 2013 Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships!

Gates Intergalactic Planetary Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team - Ryan McFarling, Jesse Swift and Derek Strong
Gates Intergalactic Planetary Carbon Drive Cyclocross Team – Ryan McFarling, Jesse Swift and Derek Strong

While part of the Team Gates Carbon Drive Cyclocross team were racing in the frigid Colorado temperatures this past weekend, team members Ryan McFarling, Derek Strong and Jesse Swift flew off for the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. This year, the SSCXWC were held in beautiful Philadelphia, PA, and the guys were excited to do some team representing on the East Coast for a change. To qualify for the big race on Sunday, racers had to compete against other racers in six “Feats of Strength” spread throughout the city, designed to test a wide variety of riding skills, as well as your ability to adapt and of course, have a blast riding your bike with like-minded crazies! First, the iconic 72 step Rocky-run at the Art Museum. Then followed by a ride out to the Delaware River to complete a mini cross race, consisting of a sandy hill, log jump and ramps below and underpass. The third feat was a 90 second sprint up an extremely steep dirt climb.

When the racing gets serious - Track Stand Karaoke
When the racing gets serious – Track Stand Karaoke

The fourth feat took in some more Philadelphia scenery as racers sprinted for a single lap race around an abandoned reservoir. The penultimate feat had racers lining up for a 100-step run-up from the river into one of the nearby neighborhoods. And then another group ride heading back to town, where racers faced-off in the final feat; a track stand/karaoke competition. No doubt, the riders were judged not just on their track standing ability, but with an equal amount of the scoring considered for their ability to belt out the lyrics to Queen’s “We Are The Champions”. It was a long 5 hours and 35 miles of riding around the city, but the guys were committed. And that showed once the scores were tabulated and the guys all qualified for the “Big Day” on Sunday!

Sunday when it was time for the big race, the racers woke to cold but dry weather. That wasn’t going to last long though as the racers began to get warmed-up for the race, the first snowflakes of an unexpectedly strong snowstorm began to fall over the city. The start of the race was handled “Braveheart-style” as the racers were lined-up in a long straight wave.

I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of gearing! (SSCXWC start line)

The course was a ton of fun featuring optional routes, a steep hill, off-camber grass, fallen trees, mud puddles and even punching bags and Liberty Bells littering the course. All through the race the snow was piling up, making the racing tricky, but not dampening the fun or spirits of the 100+ racers. At the end, as the other racers cleared the course, the first two places were lined back up for a one lap battle to determine the new World Champion. Jesse Swift was crazy-close to that final battle, finishing an impressive 4th place, but you never would have guessed he was was “only” fourth, when you saw the smile on his frozen face.

Fourth place for Jesse Swift at SSCXWC '13!
Fourth place for Jesse Swift at SSCXWC ’13!

By the end of the day, that storm had dropped 8.5″ of fresh snow over the city.

The team's distinctive Spot Ralleye bikes making a snow-covered appearance in Philadelphia
The team’s distinctive Spot Ralleye bikes making a snow-covered appearance in Philadelphia

All of the guys agreed that SSCXWC’13 was a very fun, and also beautiful event. Getting to explore the city and see so many different historic areas, the stonework, cobble streets, bridges and architecture that this city showcases; and even the ghettos and the surprising number of trails scattered through the city, just blew away the guys!