traveled down to the quad cities for the devil's cross race put on by local riding club D.I.C.E. honestly, this course was awesome. there wasn't one thing that was totally outstanding, but as a package it was just cool. a beautiful park, gently rolling, tough cornering over walnuts and acorns, well-placed barriers, downhill turns through soft mud, a tough but manageable run-up and a spectator friendly course of which about 90% could be seen by barely moving. as i lined up for the 3/4 race i looked around and instantly felt a little silly for wondering if there was going to be a single speed category. i was the single speed category. not one other ss seen except what another guy was just rolling around on. oh well, nothing wrong with having my vassago fisticuff stand out in a crowd. ready set go and we're off on a flat, paved sprint to the first corner. the shifty riders big ring it and i'm somewhere mid-pack. the big run-up was about 2/3 through the lap and the first time we got to it i realized that it could be big for me. i ran my way back into the top 5 at the top of the hill, then got picked off by a couple guys and found myself looking at the backs of the top 5 as we got near the end of the first lap. a muddy downhill corner ended one guys race and put me into the top 5. a quick look around made it obvious that we had pulled away from the field, but the top 4 had split into pairs and pulled away from me. one and two were running a tight race and i started gauging my gap to three and four. by the end of the second lap i had a decent grasp on how far behind i was. halfway through the third lap (of seven) i saw fourth falling off. i put everything i had into laps 4 and 5, making up big chunks every lap on the run-up. i passed him at the start of lap six but couldn't shake him. i was afraid i had put everything into passing him and not left enough to hold the pass. the run-up on lap 6 gave me less than 10 yards of breathing room so i just kept hammering. through the final lap he didn't seem to be closing the gap so when i hit the run-up i shouldered the bike in stride, put my head down and dug in. by the time i got to the top and doubled back i was pretty confident all i had to do was keep the bike upright. i finished fourth in the 3/4 race as the only single speed in the field. considering i still don't consider myself much of a cross racer, terribly inexperienced at best, i'll take it. the bike rode flawlessly and the getting rid of the carbon seatpost for the thomson masterpiece with a wtb carbon devo saddle gave me a bit more confidence hopping back on the saddle. anyway, race was awesome. thanks to dad for the hand-ups and trudy for hanging with larsson so julie could take pics. say andy for probably the last time before he heads out to colorado...probably for good. he's a great guy and its been awesome racing against him for the last however many years. favorite memory...check out the picture of him and kyle sedore stopping to pose DURING a race like 4 years ago. during the pose i made my final pass and finished the last 2 miles of that race on a flat front tire. the only reason andy didn't pass me was because he rode the last 2 miles on a blown up wheel with only one break and a handful fewer spokes than one should. we still had enough time to stand at the finish and laugh about the way it ended while waiting for third place to come in a few minutes later. good luck in colorado.