Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships Seattle
A little bit of gold, a lot of beer but no bacon
Norm and I have wanted to hit the SSCXWC for a few years but it never fit into the "schedule" (read: serious racing). When we heard that Seattle was hosting the race for 2010 we knew it was the year to go and pretty much signed up when it opened. We dropped Tycho for a fun-filled weekend of grandparents and cousins and we crossed the border for a fun-filled weekend of mud and beer. Saturday was the qualifier event which was an alley cat circle tour of (lower?) Seattle with a few checkpoints. The top 4 of each heat would qualify. After watching the first few heats go off I saw 2 guys dressed in drag nearly get taken out by a car, an entire heat of racers blow through a red light without even looking and a couple dudes trying to outrun a train. I wondered how exactly they had gotten insurance for this little qualifier....best not to ask questions I guess.
Anyone who knows me knows I am not strong on the orienteering.... I was a little worried about getting lost so I quickly scouted my heat for Seattle-ites and made sure to keep a close eye on them. In the end it was no problem as there were enough arrows and racers scattered about town I could figure it out. I did however get snaked while standing in the finish chute by a girl who really wanted to say she had beaten Wendy Simms. I guess I should be flattered. I received my race number for Sunday and waited for Norm, the one in the family with a much better sense of direction. Unfortunately for Norm, he flatted and did not qualify so he was pretty bummed...
Sunday we decided to race the MFG series before the SSCXWC - why not? Norm's luck kept getting worse as he had a mechanical in the MFG single speed race (Nathan asked HOW he could possibly have a mechanical with only one gear...) and then had ANOTHER mechanical in the cat 1 master race. He had obviously spent more time on my flash new Ridley's than his own bikes....My race went much smoother as I got to play in the mud with legend Ann Knapp who was the same chipper girl from years past (her traditional war cry on the start line is "lets have FUN ladies!!") and Kristi Berg who I battled with way back during my first Seattle race when I was just getting into the sport.
The skaters at the start - all nice and pretty. Katie Rabien is the real skater on the left (check out her bedazzled outfit) and I am just a wannabe (no bedazzles). photo by Norm Thibault
The start. Note the water balloons being pelted at us from above. I am tucked in behind a skeleton. Or maybe it was strongbad. Either way I did not receive a direct hit. photo by Norm Thibault
Finally at 3:30 it was time for the big show. SSCXWC. As it got closer more people came out of the woodwork with costumes and the beer fumes got stronger. They lined us up at the base of a steep hill and we were off. I tucked in behind a skeleton and Strongbad as the Rad Racing boys started pelting us with water balloons. I scrambled up the hill in good position and starting enjoying the chaos.
For a brief moment I was even ahead of Golden Speedo winner and now 3X SSCX world Champion Drew Mackenzie. photo by Norm Thibault.
The first lap was pretty crazy with some people going out hard, others having costume malfunctions and some even going the wrong way on the course to get good video footage. The mud had gotten pretty thick over the course of the day so there were bodies down all around. We hit the big run-up to the beer ridge where there was a 6 pack of barriers complete with a wall of beer at each one. These eventually got smashed down and became "floating" barriers that moved every lap. Coolers full of beer were being splashed on everyone by drunk spectators so the entire ridge smelt like a brewery. Apparently I have to work on my beer hand-up as I missed a couple but eventually started completing the transaction. I kept looking for the bacon station but apparently the drunks were not able to work with fire at that point in the day. I passed chickens, wrestlers, santa, saquatches, speedos and pretty much everything in between. I rolled in first girl (although I am not sure how they could tell anyone apart) and earned myself the golden bikini (well more like an 80s style one piece), a SSCXWC heavyweight belt, a custom frame and a SSCXWC tatoo to make it legit. It should go nicely with the white trash panther I got when I was 17. Not too bad for the first race on my new Ridley singlespeed. Maybe Stybar should come challenge Drew next year.
SSCX world champions for 2010 Drew Mackenzie and Wendy Simms (both from Vancouver Island much to the dismay of the Seattle singlespeed hardcores) photo by Norm Thibault