What a weekend.
Two rides and three parties. Parties were sponsored by New Belgium and featuring ridiculously cheap beer. Blue Paddle happens to be a favorite of mine.
Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship is an non-sanctioned event that straddles the line between race and party. Costumes are not mandatory, but are encouraged. A few people take the competition seriously…a couple of pros usually come to win. This year,Rapha-Focus pros Chris Jones and Julie Krasniak came and rode away from their packs…until he lapped the field and had to make his way through dudes dressed like bananas, fairies and beer kegs.
I signed up not really knowing what to expect…but I’m game or almost any racing, so there it was.
Saturday was the qualifier heats. 300 men had to be split into two groups, and this was determined in a ride through the city in groups of 10 that featured five “feats of strength”. They were: a race up California Street, a dollar grab in a field of dollars placed in beer bottles, a sprint to replace your front wheel, a sprint and run up some insane set of 288 stairs, and sprint from the water to up the beach and up a sand dune. I flubbed the wheel change and the dollar grab and ended up not qualifying. Ah well. The ride was sweet. It included a few parts of the city that I’ve never been to…Land’s End and the Legion of Honor in particular. Great ride and I had some nice chats with folks from Seattle and Michigan.
The party on Saturday night featured a pixie cross race where folks could qualify by winning a heat on a mini bike in a course set up in the parking lot. I tried but also failed to qualify. This video wasn’t my heat, but gives you and idea. When the pulled the plastic on me, I came to a complete stop. http://www.flickr.com/photos/plattyjo/6368093253/in/set-72157628046590627
So, I lined up today with 150 non-qualifiers for a 45 minute race. The course was insane. A lot of next-week’s GGP course with some craziness thrown in. Every year they throw in a gigantic feature. Last year, riders rode through a Thunderdome replica made from Yakima rack parts. The year before was a gigantic foam party. This year was the “Cesspool of Filth”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O9uqSc6-90&feature=youtu.be. There was also a serious of barriers that were logs about 3ft. high. Lap times were probably about 15 minutes…it was huge. I ended up starting near the back, but sprinted my way into the top 25 before the first pinch point. The rain turned the course into a sloppy mess, which I think caters to me for some reason. About half way in, my brake pads were ground down and I had no brakes at all. I thought about dropping out, but the course was riding so slow, that I could just drag my foot in the dirt when I needed to slow down, Fred Flinstone style. So, I finished a little slower than I would have with brakes, but I have to say that I rode some of the corners faster than my comfort zone, and never slid out.
I skipped tonight’s party, which probably featured tattoos for the men’s and women’s winners. (If you don’t accept your tattoo, they don’t let you race thee following year. I think Barry Wicks is the only winner who refused the ink.)