Last week the Gates crew jumped into planes, trains and automobiles, and headed west for good ol' Interbike. It sounds like the Gates crew had a great time at the outdoor demo, with lots of people stopping by to check out the bikes! With limited time off, I wasn't able to make the outdoor demo, and got in late the day before the show started. Jesse was traveling with me, and first thing in the morning, after a few more asprin, we were off to the show.
Overall, I was pretty dissapointed in the show. It seemed pretty much like a repeat of last year, with just a few minor additions being shown off. Though I've got to say straight away, I'm pretty much in hardcore lust with the new Raleigh SSCXWC carbon cross bike, setup with the Gates Belt!
I must have one! The smoothness of the 1,050g carbon, the new Enve cross fork, the crazy-smooth belt-drive... with some proper handbuilt tubular wheels and safe parts pick, you're looking at a ride in the 15lb. range without even trying too hard. Speaking of single speed parts... the new TRP RRL Singlespeed brake levers. They combine the Campy 11 and new Shimano style levers into one, that somehow feels even more like the original Mektronic lever. Awesome. I hope Hudz gets to work on a aftermarket hood for those!
Anyway, after a couple hours on the show floor, it was back to the hotel to prepare for the Wheeler's and Dealers Cross Vegas race! Whew... the legs were definitely feeling the hours on the show floor. I'm glad I chose to ride the bike out to the race, even though it was uphill and a hot headwind the entire way. Then it was time to meet up with the Gates crew before the race, chat, and do some pre-laps together. In town were Carlos, Derek, Brad, myself, and Peter riding with us from "The Michigan Branch".
The pre-ride confirmed my thoughts going into this race... the 99% grass course was going to be hard as hell for me. Being a smaller guys makes it tough when it's time for courses that favor absolute power. On the good side, I LOVE grassy corners that you can just rail, technical sections and ridiculously fast barrier sections. This year the course had three barriers, which definitely made me smile.
It was going to be a downright vicious start, as callups were based on registration, so plenty of fast guys would be surging to get to the front right away... and that's exactly the way it played out. Luckily for me, while in 60th place, I had Matty Pronovost directly in front of me, and Mike Robson directly behind. With the three of us, we attacked hard, winding our way through the crowd together, until I had to leave them to go on their own. Carlos absolutely drilled it and made it up to the front group... yes, with all the geared guys!
I moved up well at the start, but then mostly just held my position, moving up a bit through the race, and not getting caught in the no less than 3 crashes that were right in front of me. I was feeling good on the bike, but it was hard, hard work. Hard enough that I was actually wishing for some of those dry, loose corners that we have in Colorado, where I can make some time. The crowd was much bigger than expected, already for our race, and that definitely helped the motivation! Some vid that lets you see the course, and a couple good shots of me and Derek and some other Gates kits in there;
In the end, Matty Pronovost had an incredible ride (on his sweet 14lbs. Moots - that he's now sad isn't built with a belt!) took the single speed win, with an incredible 7th place finish overall. Gates faired quite well ourselves, with Peter in 2nd, Derek in 3rd, Carlos in 4th or 5th, and myself in 6th! After the race, all the pressure was off, and it was time to drink some beer and watch the pros go at it. I wish I would have ridden better, but if nothing else, it was a super fun race - plus Colorado riders took the SS and Overall wins! I have no doubt the entire team had a great time at the race, and I know all the Gates crew that were still in town from the Outdoor Demo, had a great time cheering us on as well - all while providing incredible support for us! The Mantis...
And for your tech update? Everyone's belt drives were incredible! Just spot on, without a single creak or issue, and everyone was completely stoked with the performance from the system. No doubt, it was super-smooth and felt great.
And then... more time out on the town in Vegas... getting back in quite late... or "early" depending on how you look at it. The next day was more time at the show, and the highlight being an autograph session with Ale-Jet himself. Awesome! That will be a good one for the collection. It was also a good chance for probably my favorite part of the weekend - watching the laugh from Pettachi when Jesse told him; "You make me so happy when you beat Cavendish".
The weekend was a bit more quiet, after a very busy week. And feeling a bit under the weather, I decided to skip the racing. That's okay, because the team absolutely CRUSHED it. Carlos won on Saturday, with Ben making his first team appearance in 5th, while on Sunday Mitch took the win, and the team went 1st thru 5th in the results! Instead, I snuck out for a mountain bike ride with Craig, in Golden. It was the first time I had been on gears in several weeks, and man... it felt like cheating. But some relaxing flow on the mountain bike did wonders for clearing the head!