Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships 2010

By Colin Meagher

Drew MacKenzie racks up win number three, while Wendy Simms takes home her first win the 2010 edition of the Single Speed CX World Championships held just outside of Seattle, Washington.

It's Single Speed 'Cross World Champs for crying out loud--if you have more than one gear, forget it.

It's Single Speed 'Cross World Champs for crying out loud--if you have more than one gear, forget it.

Beer seemed to be the underlying theme of this event. Don’t get me wrong: beer and bike racing have a long and storied history. One I’m not inclined to delve into too deeply here…But put it this way: the current World CX champ is Czech, and the Czech Republic has a solid foundation of pilsner underneath it. As do the Belgians—the legendary hard men of the CX racing universe. And Seattle, this year’s host city for the SSCXWC, has a history steeped in foaming, malty, alcoholic beverage. Thank the lord! Consequently, it was with very little surprise that the “qualifying” event, the day before the main event, had a start/finish at the Schooner Exact brewery (featuring the “Skidmark Ale” brewed specifically for the event).

For qualifying, participants headed out in small groups on a Randonneur style of CX course from the SODO district of Seattle that featured pavement, stairs, dirt, bums, tunnels, run-ups, and check points with exercise gone wrong ‘tasks’ to be completed in order to get into the main event. “Exercise gone wrong”, you ask? Simple: required tasks at each check point varied from “shake weights/chug beer” for 30 seconds to “thigh master/chug beer” for 30 seconds to the always entertaining “spin head down ‘round the baseball bat ten times and then try and run”—in this case over a barricade and a picnic table. This last task was not pretty—shoot, none of the tasks were pretty.

Baseball bat and barricades completed, it was a mad dash for the finish line at Schooner Exact, as only the top four from each group would make the cut—so competition was pretty fierce. Failure on the qualifying track wasn’t the end of the road, though—there was an alternative qualifier to be held Saturday evening at the Belltown Underground in downtown Seattle: four-up roller races with twenty slots up for grabs.

In a side note, there was also a beer chug competition at the Roller Race venue to help determine the host city for the 2011 event. San Francisco took top chugging honors.

Race day was fairly epic. A local Seattle CX race series was the under card to the SSCXWC main event, and having literally hundreds of racers take to the course combined with absolutely torrential rain immediately prior to event saw a soupy and technical track shape up at the Pacific Speedways just outside of Auburn, Washington. As costumed and beer-infused racers took to the field, it was nothing less than the pure sweet hell that CX racing truly is, albeit with a generous dollop of ludicrousness: Luchador racers were in abundance, as were super heroes, racers clad in tighty whiteys, and assorted other random racing kits. One racer that reigned supreme was two-time winner Drew MacKenzie of Canada. That mullet kitted dude was fast. Fast enough, in fact, to notch win (and tattoo) number three for the 2010 edition of the SSCXWC. That’s right: three SSCX World Title wins for the Great White North with McKenzie as the “Great Canadian Hope” (Can Adam Craig or Carl Decker or Todd Wells please make a trip to SF this next year? Do it for your country, dammit!). On the women’s side, Wendy Simms took home the win (and a podium appearance in the coveted golden bikini), making it a Canadian sweep. D’oh!

In a second side note, the San Francisco contingent’s racing “pony”—their pre-selected champion racing for the honor of hosting the 2011 race—edged out the Seattle “pony”, thus establishing SF as the field of honor/conflict for the 2011 SSCXWC event.

All in all, the SSCXWC event in Seattle was everything that a non-UCI sanctioned World Championships should be: raucous, ridiculous, unpredictable, and a damn fine time. See you all in the Bay Area next year.

Once again, Raleigh Bicycles came to the big dance with limited edition SS CX racing machines specific to the World Champs. Only 40 were made.

Once again, Raleigh Bicycles came to the big dance with limited edition SS CX racing machines specific to the World Champs. Only 40 were made.

''Only the top four in each wave of racers qualifies for the big dance, ladies and gentlemen; this ain't no ride of revelry. You don't make the cut, you don't get in.''

''Only the top four in each wave of racers qualifies for the big dance, ladies and gentlemen; this ain't no ride of revelry. You don't make the cut, you don't get in.''

Matt Case and Jason Britton took a train up from Portland to make the event, arriving minutes before the last qualifying heat: a qualifier consisted of lap  up and over Beacon Hill in Seattle's SODO district, through the green belts, and then back into the SODO district.

Matt Case and Jason Britton took a train up from Portland to make the event, arriving minutes before the last qualifying heat: a qualifier consisted of lap up and over Beacon Hill in Seattle's SODO district, through the green belts, and then back into the SODO district.

True to the CX tradition, the qualifier had loads of singletrack as well as a run up--conveniently located in ''the jungle'', an area adjacent to I-5 rife with bum camps.

True to the CX tradition, the qualifier had loads of singletrack as well as a run up--conveniently located in ''the jungle'', an area adjacent to I-5 rife with bum camps.

There were also three checkpoints with a ''task'' to be completed at each stop. Shake weight for 30 seconds, anyone? Jason Britton shakin' what he's got.

There were also three checkpoints with a ''task'' to be completed at each stop. Shake weight for 30 seconds, anyone? Jason Britton shakin' what he's got.

Dan Petersen and Chiba doing the thigh-master/beer chug challenge somewhere on the qualifier course.

Dan Petersen and Chiba doing the thigh-master/beer chug challenge somewhere on the qualifier course.

The icing on the cake: spin 'round on a bat ten times, then up and over a barricade and then a picnic table without killing yourself.

The icing on the cake: spin 'round on a bat ten times, then up and over a barricade and then a picnic table without killing yourself.

Qualifying was followed by some damn fine pulled pork and a beer, courtesy of Two Girls Catering out of Portland, OR and Schooner Exact Brewery in Seattle.

Qualifying was followed by some damn fine pulled pork and a beer, courtesy of Two Girls Catering out of Portland, OR and Schooner Exact Brewery in Seattle.

End of the line if you didn't make the cut during the ''cat 1 qualifier'' earlier in the day: four-up sprints racing in Seattle's Belltown Underground.

End of the line if you didn't make the cut during the ''cat 1 qualifier'' earlier in the day: four-up sprints racing in Seattle's Belltown Underground.

Sally Forness handing out racing bibs to the sprints winners.

Sally Forness handing out racing bibs to the sprints winners.

''It's nice to see that you've all lined up so politely at the starting line-but we are starting over near the base of that hill. Yeah, the one you're going to have run up right from the gun.''

''It's nice to see that you've all lined up so politely at the starting line-but we are starting over near the base of that hill. Yeah, the one you're going to have run up right from the gun.''

Luchador wrestlers were in abundance at this year's races, leading to speculation that Raleigh had loaded the deck in an effort to keep the race in Seattle.

Luchador wrestlers were in abundance at this year's races, leading to speculation that Raleigh had loaded the deck in an effort to keep the race in Seattle.

From the gun, it was straight up a brutally steep hill, and then into some real racing. Seattle's MFG race series earlier in the day had chewed the course up and a heavy rainfall just before the race start had turned sections of the course into soup.

From the gun, it was straight up a brutally steep hill, and then into some real racing. Seattle's MFG race series earlier in the day had chewed the course up and a heavy rainfall just before the race start had turned sections of the course into soup.

A race with Sasquatch as a mascot wouldn't be a race without the mascot on course.

A race with Sasquatch as a mascot wouldn't be a race without the mascot on course.

The bacon hand off mid course. Who wouldn't want some free bacon?

The bacon hand off mid course. Who wouldn't want some free bacon?

Even better than the bacon: one of the many beer hand offs during the race.

Even better than the bacon: one of the many beer hand offs during the race.

It's simply not a CX race without beer.

It's simply not a CX race without beer.

Torrential rain just before the race spiced things up a wee bit.

Torrential rain just before the race spiced things up a wee bit.

One of the Luchador army. Personally, if I was racing in tighty whiteys, I'd be wearing a mask, too.

One of the Luchador army. Personally, if I was racing in tighty whiteys, I'd be wearing a mask, too.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance, this was a legit CX race, not a cream puff affair. Despite the lack of UCI sanctioning, the track was tough--the barricades and run-ups were many, and there was the added pressure of a world title on the line.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance, this was a legit CX race, not a cream puff affair. Despite the lack of UCI sanctioning, the track was tough--the barricades and run-ups were many, and there was the added pressure of a world title on the line.

Dirty Diapers.

Dirty Diapers.

You can't help but race this and have a serious grin on.

You can't help but race this and have a serious grin on.

Drew McKenzie--3x winner, and Wendy Simms sporting the coveted golden bikinis, and the new championship belts.

Drew McKenzie--3x winner, and Wendy Simms sporting the coveted golden bikinis, and the new championship belts.

Post race, Matt Case ponders the train ride to next year's championships in the Bay area.

Post race, Matt Case ponders the train ride to next year's championships in the Bay area.

Related Posts:

The Connect

Instagrams - @bikemag