Following their recent winter training camp and team launch in Southern California, Giant Factory Off-Road Team racers dispersed last weekend to compete in early-season races, collecting podium finishes and stage wins at events in the U.S. and Australia.
Downhillers Jacob Dickson and Marcelo Gutierrez traveled to Oliver Springs, Tennessee, to race the Windrock Pro GRT, the opening event of the 2019 USA Cycling pro downhill series. Dickson, the two-time Irish downhill national champion, landed a podium, finishing third behind Frenchman Loris Vergier and American Charlie Harrison (first and second respectively). Dickson’s teammate Marcelo Gutierrez joined him in the top-10, finishing seventh.
The UCI-sanctioned race was held at the Windrock Bike Park in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee, which features nine downhill trails with more than 2,100 feet of vertical drop. Wet, muddy conditions made for a challenging race.
“I really enjoyed racing this track,” said Dickson, who rode his new Glory Advanced team bike and wore Giant Shuttle shoes to help tame the mud. “It was hard, physical. Coming into some of the muddiest sections I felt like I was going to come to a stop. I was hoping others were feeling the same way. I’m really enjoying the new bike setup. It all makes it easy when you’re loving it.”
Meanwhile, enduro racer Josh Carlson traveled back to his home nation of Australia to compete in the Bike Buller MTB Festival. Carlson raced both the downhill and the enduro race, finishing second in the DH, missing the win by just half a second, and fifth in the enduro including a couple stage wins on his Reign Advanced team bike.
“It felt great to get a race under my belt on our new 2019 bikes,” Carlson said. “Mount Buller is always a tough and physical venue to race and a good test of body and bike. I was stoked to claim a super close second in the DH on Saturday and have some stage wins during Sunday’s enduro. My Fox suspension performed awesome and I really enjoyed spending time getting dialed on the new platform.”