VERONA, WISCONSIN—Aaron Bradford (Rock Lobster / Bay 101) improved upon his 2010 third place finish to take the 2012 singlespeed national championship today. With 2010 winner Adam Craig not attending this year, last year’s second place JT Fountain (Raleigh) entered as the favorite, and on a slick course, as the temperature dropped in Madison, Bradford and Fountain battled for 45 minutes before the Norcal racer escaped on the final lap with a jaw-dropping attack through the barriers. Brady Kappius (ClifBar) was an early force at the front before getting caught in course tape. Fountain’s fellow Idahoan Michael Gaertner (Coeur d’Alene Velo Racers) rounded out the podium.
“It was fast from the start,” Fountain said after the race, referring to Brady Kappius, who took the holeshot and pushed the pace on the first lap. “Brady was pushing a really big gear and I just wanted to stay with him.”
Kappius ran into mechanical difficult after the second lap, however, tangling some course tape in his cassette and falling from contention for the win. Taking up the reins was Aaron Bradford, who rode back to Fountain, beginning a back and forth battle that would last until the last lap. On lap three, Gaertner also joined the front group, setting the stage for a late-race showdown.
Beginning with the fourth lap, Fountain had established a small gap but crashed on his way up the long climb, allowing Bradford and Gaertner to join him. But Bradford himself went down moments later and had to push his bike up the hill. “We all went down at least once,” Bradford said afterwards. “That’s when I gave up,” Fountain said, referring to his crash. “We’d gone so hard early, and I was on my mental and physical limit.”
Still, Fountain established a gap beginning the final lap. Once again Bradford joined him on the climb and began to creep away from the Raleigh rider. Coming down from the course’s summit with just a few seconds lead, Bradford made a final big gamble that paid off: “On the first lap I thought to myself ‘I can hop those barriers,’ but I kept it in the bag of tricks for the final lap.” Hop the barriers he did, and it stretched his lead by five more seconds.
Fountain said that was the moment he lost Bradford for good, and the Rock Lobster racer soloed away to his first singlespeed National Championship jersey. Full results below the video and photos.
VIDEO: J.T. Fountain reflects on his second straight silver medal:
VIDEO: Aaron Bradford and his Rocklobster teammates start the celebration:
VIDEO: Brady Kappius, 5th place, talks about his bad luck: