VERONA, WISCONSIN — Without a cloud in the sky and temperatures almost hitting 40 degrees, the snow blanketing the ground at Badger Prairie Park seemed out of place. However, it made for muddy, slushy racing conditions: perfect for the singlespeed races today. Rocking his traditional jean shorts, Adam Craig (Giant Factory Off Road) took his second singlespeed win of the season (he won SSCXWC back in early December), followed by the defending champion, Bicycle Blue Book/HRS/Rock Lobster’s Aaron Bradford. Third place was scooped up by Wisconsin local Isaac Neff (Trek Cyclocross Collective).
Bradford was unable to defend his singlespeed title this year when 2010 national champion Craig stormed the first hill to take an early lead and the win. “I didn’t mess up at the start, and I rode some pretty entertaining lines out there,” said Craig. “I don’t know if Bradford pre-rode so I had a little leg up on him on the first lap and got a gap.”
Bradford provided an early challenge the first lap but was hampered by a soft tire. “I think I might have punctured on the first lap on the gravel descent leading into the barriers,” said Bradford as he squished his tire after the race. “I’m riding sealant and it sealed up apparently. I figured running low and hitting the rim every once and a while would be faster than trying a wheel change and fooling with that.”
Riders were much more conservative than in 2012 race which was hotly contested between Bradford and Idaho ride JT Fountain. Softer conditions created deep ruts in the course by the time the men started at 3 PM. High cold winds started freezing water lining the crevices making each lap different. Craig unsuccessfully attempted to hop the barriers the last lap after establishing a sizable lead and was quickly rebuffed despite his renown handling skills. Interestingly hopping the barriers on the last lap is exactly what last year’s champion Bradford did last year, but with success to gap his competitors.
The race for third was livened up by Adam Myerson who joined a chase group that included Isaac Neff, Jared Nieter, William Iaia, and Craig Etheridge (Raleigh-Clement). Neff, a Madison native and local favorite, was able to hold off a strong last lap charge by Myerson and Neiters to take third place on the frozen course.
Craig, who made a strong showing at the USGP event in Bend, Oregon, is a dark horse going into the Elite race on Sunday, and a dark horse to make the 2013 USA Worlds team [Read our recent post about the Worlds team selection process]. “I’m just going to try and do the same thing,” said Craig about the upcoming Elite race on Sunday. “Take off, consistent laps, make no mistakes, try to take some chances in the corners, and ride fast.”
2013 Singlespeed National Champion Adam Craig Interview:
Photo Gallery of Singlespeed Men 2013 Cyclocross National Championships