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Brady Kappius’ winning single speed magic at Castle Cross

December 3, 2012
2012 Castle Cross single speed podium, l - r: Mitch Westall 3rd, Brady Kappius 1st, William Iaia 2nd

2012 Castle Cross single speed podium, l – r: Mitch Westall 3rd, Brady Kappius 1st, William Iaia 2nd

[updated 12/3/2012]

For Brady Kappius 42 by 16 is magic; so is Rhyolite Regional Park where his feet have touched the top step of the podium the last two times he’s visited there with single speed gearing.

In December 2011 he battled Jesse Swift (Gates Carbon Drive) at Rhyolite to become the Colorado state cyclocross single speed champion. Yesterday Kappius, who rides for Clif Bar, fought off William Iaia (Groove Subaru – Alpha Bicycle Co.) and Mitch Westall (Gates Carbon Drive) over six laps and 46 minutes to win the single speed race at Castle Cross on a different course at Rhyolite, which is in Castle Rock, Colorado. Westall specializes in single speed and has earned multiple podiums this season. Iaia has contested single speed and open races and stacked up several wins.

Castle Cross was Kappius’ first single speed competition this season. “It feels good to get back out on it,” he said after the race, which functioned as a litmus test of sorts as Kappius plans to again take on the single speed race at USA Cycling Cyclo-cross Nationals in January. He finished fifth last year.

Kappius described 42 by 16 as a “magic gear” for the normal cross frame he raced on instead of a single speed frame. Single speed frame dropouts slide so the chain’s tension will be correct no matter the gear; the rider can rely on a snug chain that won’t bounce off. With a normal cross frame getting the right chain tension can require a chain tensioner. But with 42 by 16, Kappius said, “The chain’s just the perfect length for this gear without a tensioning system.”

The riders faced-off on a flowing course with a steep short stair section, two sets of barriers, and a steep run-up linked together by several straight-aways and a mixture of wide and hairpin turns. The dry course and its design favored power over finesse, but off-camber loose downhills and grassy sections required a good dose of the latter.

After the gun Kappius moved around the outside of the pack and achieved position near the front. Westall, Iaia, and Kappius established control over the race early on, with Westall riding at the front. Kappius pulled away in the final laps, a handful of cat 3’s in his wake, and built a lead of about fifteen seconds. Iaia didn’t let up; by the finish line he’d whittled down Kappius’ lead to barely two seconds, enough time for the Clif Bar rider to enjoy a victory salute.

Brady Kappius wins 2012 Castle Cross single speed contest

Brady Kappius wins 2012 Castle Cross single speed contest

Colorado state championships take place the weekend of December 15th in Loveland. This year both the single speed and open race occur on the same day. That’s a bummer for Kappius who would like to race both, though said he will likely enter only the open race. But now that the single speed magic has returned, it would not be surprising if Kappius decided to flourish it in Loveland too.

xxx

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