in 1997, one of the biggest expert race series in the midwest region was the midwest fattire series. it was 15 races long and had anywhere from 20 to 40 experts at every event, which were spread out across the state bigtime. corning, st. joseph, kansas city, pineville, columbia, springfield, st. louis, etc. it was a criss crossing nightmare, but i managed to get in 12 of the 15 with 3 wins and nothing out of the top three. it was enough to clinch the championship before the last race in the series, which was krugg park in st. joseph. ethan and chris and i traveled a lot together for the series, and our buddy blane even flew us in his little 3 seater airplane to the banquet in kc at the end of the year. it ranks as my best year of mtn bike racing, when taken from beginning to end. i had turned 30 at the beginning of the year and things were certainly looking good for the old man.