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CO Cross State Champs: More than One Way to Win

December 23, 2011

2011/12 CO State Championships, men's open riders, Kappius leads pack off turn into park after start (photo by Mary Topping)

Sometimes, no matter how fast a rider starts a cyclocross race, he can’t hold a lead. But he can still make a difference.

At the Colorado Cyclocross State Championships last weekend, Brady Kappius of Team Clif Bar led the men’s open field off the starting pavement onto a grassy track that soon turned muddy. “I’m a fast starter,” Kappius said after the race, “I guess it’s in my genes.” His father Russell raced last weekend too, finishing 11th in the men’s 45+ category. He supported Brady in the pits during the men’s open race. They shared breakfast that morning, scrambled eggs with a kielbasa/hashbrown mix.

Yannick Eckmann rode off the front almost the entire race at 2011/12 CO Cross State Champs

Brady Kappius battles last lap

Brady Kappius lost his lead early to 19 year-old Yannick Eckmann riding for Pearl Izumi/Shimano who finessed the mud  to become the new Colorado state champ. Kappius placed sixth. He and Eckmann spent a few moments together right after the race, each splattered in mud.

It’s probably not a stretch to say Kappius and Eckmann are practically family: Eckmann used to ride for the Clif Bar Development Cross Team. After Eckmann crossed the finish line, his mom handed him a red, white, and blue towel and reminded him to wipe the mud off his teeth.

Mud brothers: Kappius congratulating Eckmann after his CO Cross State Champs win

Another family spun around the course, in name only. A sticker graces Brady Kappius’ Cannondale frame; it reads, “I ride for Tyler Blick.” Tyler is six years-old and in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His Dad, Steve, works as marketing manager at Oakley, a sponsor that continued to support Lance Armstrong during his recovery from cancer. When Tyler joined the family of those living with cancer, pro-cyclists found a way to surround Tyler with support. They have been dedicating their rides to Tyler.

Finding a win in cycling can take a while. Cancer treatment and recovery is a long process too: one more treatment, one more MRI, one more hope.

On Sunday, Brady carried Tyler Blick across one more finish line.

Brady Kappius rides for Tyler Blick

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Brady Kappius said he’ll be training hard in preparation for the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in early January. Yesterday, after it snowed fifteen inches in Boulder, he took the mountain bike to town. He’ll ride two Series 60 Cyclocross races in Kansas City on December 28th and 31st.

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From → Cyclocross

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