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The "Unofficial" Single Speed World Championships by T Spradley

and the pockets are great for quick flate tools
Single Speed Champ Cam Chambers!

Race #12 Crowder's Crank and Cruise drew a nice group of the non-shifters to Trenton MO, September 29th.  This was my first trip to Crowder Lake and I was pleasantly surprised.  The small lake has some sweet singletrack trails.  I understand race promoter Doug Long is largely responsible for getting these established.  The race course only covered a small amount of what the lake has to offer.  The course was well maintained and manicured for Sunday's race.  Cameron and I even saw somebody on the trail with a leaf blower while we were pre-riding the course.   Saturday's practice ride was topped off with a burger cookout sponsored by HyVee and Trenton Bottling, Coca Cola.  The Fellowship of Christian Athletes provided a pre-race breakfast for the riders on Sunday morning.  A young kid in a red full coverage helmet demonstrated some nice airborne flights on one of the dips in the staging area during the day,  the evening finished off with good music, and conversation around the campfire.

      Besides the group of non-shifters there was also a good group of technology lovers as well.  The big name and big lung guys,  Steve Tilford and Doug Plumer were in attendance.  24 and 27 speeders milled around warming up before the race like vultures circling road kill. While I was warming up I noticed the emergency medical personnel over by the start finish area.  Feeling a little like road kill, I took the opportunity to stop by, introduce myself, and tell them who my insurance carrier was! 

      The course started out on a beautiful green slightly downhill section (which also served as a slightly less beautiful uphill finish).  At the end it funneled into a tight uphill section of the Tall Oaks Trail leading you deeper into the trees and shadows.  With the changing fall colors, swoop-swoop-swoop fast winding sections, and just enough technical stuff to keep it interesting, the course was a blast to ride!  The kid races started off the day as a group of tough youngsters sped down the starting chute.  They ascended onto a section of the singletrack trail that was uphill for the most part, and then finished flying down Rock-N-Roll Hill back to the start/finish line.  The young speedster in the red full coverage won his class and finished with a nice sideways slide that would make a flat tracker smile.

      Once the dust settled from the kid's race, our group of beginner classes staged up for our once around the loop.  James Shifflet lead our group into the trees, then powered away from me early in the climbs.  A short time later while overtaking some riders from the earlier class, I met a tree.  Not hard, nothing serious.  Actually after the last two crashes it was kind of nice to hit something that had a little give to it, and only stopped my forward motion for a bit.  It did however give a couple of riders a chance to go around me though, quickly putting me into fifth place.  On the next corner one of the riders that passed me was getting up and asking the ground why it did that to him.  I moved back into fourth.  The singletrack trails wound through several nice woodland trails, occasionally spilling out into an open field for a little breather.  Being from west central Kansas too many trees in a row confuse me.  I get dizzy if I wind around too much, I gotta go straight for a bit and let my internal compass quit spinning.  I passed a few riders along the way, at least one of them must have been in my class.  I ended up finishing third, a few minutes behind Mike Ball, and a few minutes more behind Shifflet who held onto his earlier lead for first.

      James Fields claimed an impressive 6th series 1st place finish in the 30-39 year olds class.  Stacy Fields complimented Jame's double hat trick with 2 of her own for 6, 1st place wins in the women's beginner class.  Kurt Zschietzschmann registered his fifth series win.  Cliff Roberts placed first in the junior mens. 

      My traveling companion Cameron Chambers was pumped for the Crowder race.  There was an impressive group of fixed gear lightweight speedsters staging with the Sport and Expert riders.  (They better be light, cuz I would be carrying mine half the time).  Dressed in the latest styles, of Backwater S.C., Cam jumped out to an early lead in his denim attire.  By the first asphalt road crossing Cam had a comfortable lead powering his Vicious Cycles rigid frame single back into the trees.  The lack of derailleur and extra chain gives the single speeds a cat like stealthness as they move through the terrain.  The Single Speed challengers rode two laps around the fast course.  Rock-N-Roll, a fast downhill in the kids race, was now a tough uphill with a log lip at the top.  A tight left turned followed and continued the ascent at a lesser angle for several more feet.  Cam powered up the gradual ascent to start/finish banner then took a wide right turn and exploded up the climb picking up speed as he went.  Cam held onto his lead finishing a few minutes ahead of the second place rider.  Cam was dubbed the Unofficial Single Speed World Champion!  Later on our way home he also won the title of unofficial 99 cent menu  world champion with a couple return trips!   

      Steve Tilford won the Expert mens class with Doug Plumer claiming second spot honors.  For full race results of Export and Sport racers check out the Fat Tire series website at www.midwestfattire.com

      The race was a good challenge, the trails, were great.  The camping facilities were also first rate.  One of the few times I have considered a campsite shower more than just a necessity.  The campfire and campout was fun, just a little advice.  If you like to go to sleep before midnight and are a light sleeper, don't camp real close to the communal campfire.  The sponsors from Trenton, Chillicothe and surrounding communities help provide some impressive trophies and amenities to the event.  Tony, the district rep for Trek and Fisher provided some very sweet swag items along with other sponsors of the event.  Recent e-mail from Doug informs that next spring's stage races will be April 12th & 13th.  I highly recommend this event.  Watch Tracks Online for more info this winter.

communal time

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