Eric Cameron — a city of Frederick resident and two-time high wheel race winner — was dethroned on Saturday by the race’s first international winner.
Per-Olof Kippel, 50, of Sweden won this year’s National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race and lapped some of the competition —even some riders on bikes he designed.
Kippel owns Standard Highwheels in Tomelilla, Sweden, and approximately eight of the bikes competing on Saturday were designed and built by him, he said.
“This is probably the most intense racing we’ve ever had,” said Eric Rhodes, one of the event’s organizers and high wheel enthusiast.
He and his wife Jeanne have organized the one-of-a-kind National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race for the past six years. The high wheel race attracts local, national and international talent with a total of 27 riders coming out this year.
British riders joined the pack last year, and the first two Canadians – Doug Mitchell, 56, and Barry Knight, 66 – joined this year, Jeanna Rhodes said.
Mitchell advanced to the championship high wheel race at 4 p.m. on Saturday, after successfully completing at least 12 laps during the qualifying race earlier that afternoon. He and Knight wore matching racing jerseys with dapper bowties and waist coats printed on them.
“The clothes make the man,” Knight said.
What makes the cyclist, though, is the bike. Mitchell and Knight’s high wheel bikes were lost by their airline, so they found themselves on borrowed bikes at Saturday’s event.
By racetime, both bikes had been found in Toronto, but “the bad part is they’re not here,” Knight said.
For the championship race, riders had to complete as many laps as possible in 30 minutes. The Rhodes’s son, Dayton, 10, kicked off the race with a pacing lap and then the racers took off.
What looked like a close race between a pack…