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Course tape ruins Colorado Champ’s run at single speed cyclocross national title

January 4, 2012

USA Cycling medal for 5th place in single speed cyclocross nationals (photo by Brady Kappius)

Brady Kappius entered the National Championships Cyclocross single speed contest in Madison today with a winning mindset, having earned a second and a first place last week in Kansas City’s Series 60 Cyclocross races. Just two weeks earlier, he won the Colorado State Cyclocross single speed championship.

Kappius wanted to win again in Madison.

His first row position at line-up, reliable fast start, and hole shot grab promised a good chance of success on a course slick from a layer of melting mud on top of frozen ground. “I was in a good group of three for two laps,” he said, “and knew it wouldn’t be easy – Aaron [Bradford] is a great rider. I was happy to be there. But then bad luck struck.”

At the end of the second lap, course tape sunk Kappius’ odds of winning a second single speed championship. The tape wound around his crank and cassette. Kappius said, “I couldn’t put any power to the pedals.” Once he fell behind because of the mechanical, at that point he was, “mentally out of the game,” he said. “I just pedaled hard enough to get on the podium.”

To reach the podium he completed the third lap with course tape twined in a gear that skipped with every pedal stroke, and ran a climb he would normally ride. A friend from Challenge Tires helped him replace his rear wheel in the pit. He powered off, securing the fifth and final place on the national championships podium.

Kappius tries to be positive even when he’s disappointed. “Being in the top three, I was riding well, so it’s a bummer. But it’s better than getting 5th with bad legs,” he said. After the podium, he strapped on his helmet again on top of a winter hat and rode eight miles to his hotel in the dark.

Brady Kappius, Colorado State Cyclocross Championship single speed race

When the men’s National Championship elite race starts this Sunday, it’s a sure bet Kappius will have to rely on his fast start to achieve his goal of a top twenty in that competition. The call-ups on Sunday are based on UCI points, of which Kappius counts none. When asked where he thought he would end up in the start field, Kappius said, “I don’t want to think about it. There’s a long start stretch; I hope to move up.”

From now until Sunday, Kappius’ schedule includes a recovery ride tomorrow, daily short rides, tune-up efforts (going hard for a lap on the course, sprints, start simulations) on Saturday, and lots of relaxing and trying to stay off his feet.

His Boulder roommate and Clif Bar teammate, Mitch Hoke, joins Kappius soon and will chase a good result in the elite race as well. Giving credit to his teammate, Kappius said, “Mitch is riding well now, and just got back from Europe — I hope he beats me. He’s a good buddy.”

2012 Single Speed Cyclocross National Championships podium (photo via usacycling.org)

(l to r: 5. Braden Kappius (Littleton, Colo./Team Clif Bar) 47:52, 2. J.T. Fountain (Moscow, Idaho) 45:01,  1. Aaron Bradford (Santa Cruz, Calif./Bay 101-HRS-Rocklobster) 44:47, 3. Michael Gaertner (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho/Coeur d’Alene Velo Racers-Vertical Earth) 45:03 4. Scott Chapin (Santa Cruz, Calif./Bay 101-HRS-Rock Lobster Cyclocross) 46:10)

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