And now for something completely different.
Many Pinkbike readers are familiar with the XC Singlespeed World Champs: a raucous circus of an event that is equal parts fun, chaos, and serious racing. And in no way is it recognized by the UCI as a legit event. The Singlespeed CX World Champs take that level of chaos and turns it up to 11. And dials the serious racing waaaaaaay back. And in no way, no how does the UCI want anything to do with it. The original race was held in Portland, OR ten years ago. After a few years, it was turned loose to run amok about North America, with stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Kentucky, Philadelphia, and Victoria, BC. This year, the race came back to its spawning bed in PDX, an ungainly adolescent with zits and an attitude as compared to the goofy toddler that wandered off a seven years ago. Attendees included the four-time master of fun and SSCX winning Adam Craig, Belgian Cross legend Sven Nys (the Nico Vouilloz of CX racing), Josh Bryceland, EWS racers Mark Scott and Iago Garay, Jessica Cutler, and Mical Dyck, and 593 of their friends (the field was capped at 600). In other words, a lot of people interested in having a ridiculously good time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a photo epic that is completely different from what's typically found on Pinkbike. Special thanks to Dylan VanWeelden, Brad Urban, and Nikki Hollatz for helping me be in four places at once.
This year's event was capped at 600. But that didn't mean an automatic entry into the SSCXWC elite races. Oh no. To make the cut, riders had to qualify in a time trial format with only the top seven male and female riders from each heat securing an arm bracelet entry into the main event. Fail to qualify, though, and not all was lost; racers had 3 other chances to qualify: the hole shot challenge, a dual slalom race, and karaoke (only a few were willing to submit to this torture).
So you failed at the Hole Shot Challenge? Well just maybe a bit of head to head Dual Slalom racing will see you redeem your piss poor qualifying time trial failure and your utter lack of sprint legs, and thus secure you an entry into the WC races. If not, riders had only karaoke left in order to gain a chance to vie for a tattoo and the coveted gold speedo/bikini.
With Qualifying in the bank, most participants headed for the showers and an early night. Sure, a few got loose at a party in North Portland, but with heavy rain in the forecast, many of the riders opted to save their livers for the after party and get rested up. After all, to be at your peak for a hard day of riding and partying, you have to get some sleep. And it did rain. In buckets. All night long the sound of pounding rain was the only sound heard. But come morning, the clouds blew off and revealed a completely mud bogged venue, but glorious sun.