I was trying for the longest time to get the blog caught-up, but time wasn't cooperating and it just wasn't working out. So now it's time to just start fresh and pick up from right about here. And might as well start with a brand new bike for the first post!
I am lucky to once again be riding the amazing crew at Gates, on the Team Gates Carbon Drive cyclocross team for 2011! We're hoping to have another, increadibly succesful year, and definitely have the bikes to do that! We'll be riding carbon fiber single speed frames from Raleigh, designed to accept the Gates Belt Drive of course. The belt break is very clean, and uses a removeable portion of the metal dropout, to allow the break right at the droupout;
We are riding the newest CenterTrack version of the belt drive. This belt offers a lower profile, even more amazing mud and debris cleaning and tolerates misalignment better than the CDX systems we were running last year. On my first ride, I didn't expect the drivetrain to feel any smoother than the CDX, but I was shocked that it was indeed, noticeably smoother!
And lets be honest... it's not a bad thing that it looks a lot cooler too! The bike itself rides amazing! It was a lot of fun to check out the variety of new trails at the Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. The Raleigh has that incredibly smooth carbon ride that doesn't sound like something you "have to have" on a cross bike... until you ride a carbon cross bike. Then everything else seems old-fashioned! It definitely doesn't hurt the ride (or the run-ups) that my bike weighed in at 15.2lbs. That's even without getting too involved with using extra lightweight parts!
The excellent components from FSA and EA90 wheels from Easton are all great, high-quality bits. Even more importantly, they'll handle the rigors and extra stress on the cross bike. And I was pumped that TRP provided us with not just their EuroX brakes, but also the sweet new single speed brake levers as well! The shape of the hood and lever are awesome; bringing updated shapes to single speed riders, and the push-button brake release is perfect on a cross bike.
10 minutes into my first ride, and I didn't even think about the bike - which means it more than passed the test! I can't wait to mount up the tubulars and really push the bike!
Keep an eye on the Gates Blog for updates from the team's exploits this season, and I'll have some more updates as well!