This most wonderful time of the year — toe spikes, handups, runups, tubeless knobbies — is special for many reasons, not least of which is the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships, better known as SSCXWC.
This wildly unprofessional, completely unsanctioned, and infamously fun event began in Portland back in the Aughts and came home again for its 10th Anniversary Special in 2016, SSCXWCXPDX. Last year it was held in Italy. This year the event heads to its ancestral home in Belgium for SSCXWC18BE. To mark the occasion our pals @sethpatla and @cloverof4leaves, along with PDXTI teammates and SSCXWC co-founders @gentleman_john and @p0dium, headed across the pond to partake in the festivities.
SETH PATLA FIELD REPORTS
- Spent some time riding around beautiful Tournai, Belgium. Hung with the Belgians last night, they mentioned that a bunch of people had edibles post race last year??? Sounds bonkers!! Totally nice dudes!!
- Time on the bike visiting Kwaremont and the Tour of Flanders route. There was a llama at the base of the Paterberg and that climb is #@&%$ hard!
Cobbles are really tough!!!
- We are all qualified to race tomorrow! Not exactly sure when yet: details are sketchy at this point (as they should be for SSCX worlds!)
It was a rainy, muddy, fun little course that included a beat up camper through-passage and riding through a really cool section of barn. Walrod and I rode the same heat together and destroyed some souls (and possibly his jeans). Maria destroyed a real Belgian waffle: after the fact I've found the recipe on the internet so we will be trying that out upon returning home!
The race was Le Mans start with some creative wheel storage from the race organizers. I didn't tell Wally where my bike was (stashed safely outside of the race course) so my wheels and I could avoid friendly fire.
The photo of the dude farting orange was a James-Bondish smokescreen move from the following heat!
Oh yeah: plenty of beer handups, too! :)
Tomorrow's weather is looking wet and muddy - just the way cross should be!!!
- Sadly, no SSCXWC18BE tattoo. Not so sadly, we finished 4th and 5th, and Maria finished just off the podium in 4th (unless you count actual results, in which case she was potentially further down but got pushed up some points for being the sexpot of Tournai!).
The main event was a super fun, tight, turn-y (Tournai?) course with no passing, really chaotic. It was in a beautiful city park with the course spilling into the neighboring and very manicured front lawn of the Natural History Museum. I think it's safe to say SSCX Worlds will not be held in Tournai again for a while. Oops.
We all had a great time, got a bunch of pics. The ones of John in a skin suit (wait, what? awesome!) were of his 2nd qualifying race, and me in the skin suit in my 2nd qualifying race as well.
Yeah, 2nd qualifying race…. So, we raced Saturday, raced again Sunday morning, then raced again for the finale. The first qualifier (John's) they fastened all the helmets together (we may or may not have snuck John's helmet out to him); for Maria and my heat (#2) they put all our left shoes in a bag and then took the bag away and we had to run after it, find our shoe, and put it on prior to starting. So good!
The finale was equally as good of a start: we might have strategically placed shoes, bikes, and helmets along the course, but were outwitted by drunk Belgians when they just randomly blew an air horn to start the race. Oops! Obstacles included a tunnel, a road flare, a Team Hodala basketball game, a medicine ball zone, Belgian mud, beer handups, and several Belgian stairs.
- Ahhhh Tournai. So beautiful.
After some time to reflect (and clear my head), I can only marvel at how great an event Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships Tournai was.
The course was beautiful and challenging and historic and super fun: I couldn't ask for more!
Equally as amazing were the participants: despite ample opportunity to cut the more difficult and slow sections of the course, no one did. Everyone came to race and ride a great cyclocross course and honor the thought and effort that went into putting the course together and the event on.
Yes, the race had some non-traditional obstacles, extra handups, and a surreal feel, but it was exactly what #sscxwc should be: a celebration of silly singlespeed cyclocross by doing exactly that — cyclocross.