Golden, Colorado’s Tim Allen (Feedback Sports) tried singlespeed cyclocross for the first time last week at the Altitude Adjustment Cross race, and seemed to like it. He’s no stranger to singlespeeding, having done a bunch on his mountain bike, but cyclocross racing with one gear was completely new to him. “I don’t know if I was totally in control,” he laughed post-race. “I was going for it, for sure. When I got a gap, I was really excited. I got lucky.”
He built up a bike, tested it out, and now, with a commanding win at the 2014 Cyclocross National Championships in Boulder, is hooked. “I’m not putting gears back on that bike,” he said, adding, “I didn’t have a pit bike. My other Foundry is geared—I stripped the gears off this a week ago to make this one.”
Video: Singlespeed Men’s Start: 2014 Cyclocross National Championships:
Allen quickly moved to the front on the first lap, along with fellow Colorado local Brady Kappius (Clif Bar). The two quickly opened up a gap over the rest of the field, with Allen pouring it on, spinning his relatively low 36×17 gear and kicking up plumes of mud in his wake. “I was surprised to see USA Cycling had me in the race predictor as first,” he later said, “Since I hadn’t done any single speed races, I thought that was weird. So it was cool to win.”
Behind, Kappius – who has beaten Allen in past local Colorado geared races – chased valiantly, but eventually resigned himself to defending second place as Corey Stelljes (Racing Against Childhood Cancer), William Iaia (Groove Subaru Excel Sports) and Colby Pearce chased him down to form the final four in the race for second.
Allen continued to stretch out his lead, growing it to over a minute, while Kappius relied on a powerful finishing kick to secure second ahead of Stelljes and Iaia. “We always battle it out. Brady’s usually stronger than me in the geared races, so I knew he’d be up there with me,” Allen later said.
One of the other race favorites, Craig Etheridge, wasn’t as lucky today, as a first lap flat knocked him far back in the running. He fought his way back up to 12th place, and we caught up with him post-race to find out what happened in that first lap, and how he made up so much time by the end. “I’m pretty happy to have gotten to 12th, and to start where I did,” he explained, smiling. “My position at the start of the race was a good indication of how I felt at the end of the year.”
And as for the tragedy of a first lap flat? “My third and fourth laps were really good! I exploded a tire in the beginning of the first lap though. The pit’s great… if you’re next to the pit. Just after the big run-up, my tire exploded. That’s never happened to me before. Then I was riding all tentative watching people fly by me. It was frustrating. I had a good start.”
Don’t bother looking for Etheridge in the Elite men’s race, as he has been spotted in years past: “No geared race this year. Time to cross country ski!”
And lastly, for those reading this report hoping to score some tips for racing later in the week, Allen spoke to us about the course a bit, saying, “I hopped on yesterday for a couple laps right when they opened the course, and I did a lap before the race. With these conditions, it was nothing like yesterday. The course is incredible. It’s the most technical it’s ever been—the conditions helped with that, but if it was dry it would be a great course too.”
Results below gallery.
Singlespeed Men Photo Gallery – 2014 Cyclocross National Championships: