by Joey Mullan (one of the FPDX singlespeed crew and, yes, he’s OK)
Portland and Seattle. They both claim to have the finest in cyclocross around the Pacific Northwest. Let’s be honest, they do. At Cross Crusade #3 this last Sunday, a statement was made about cyclocross. For the last three months, a dubious plan was being formulated by Seattle ’crossers to sabotage one of these Cross Crusade races. The singlespeed category is usually a spectacle that pits men against men (with the occasional likely sick-minded woman), against how fast they can spin their legs without shifting. Needless to say, it’s a category that should be taken lightly, and this is the heart of the Cross Crusade that these Seattleites aimed to pierce. Nat Pellman, rider for Hodala, came up with the plan: He rallied up war cries via mass group emails directed at the silliest of silly (single) speeders that Seattle has to offer. His reasoning for starting this surprise sabotage goes something like this:
“SSCXWC [Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships] had been in Portland for three years, we [Seattle folk] always traveled down in masses to race, party and generally have a great time. Last year SSCXWC was here and they [Portland folk] barely showed up at all. About the neighborhood of eight people showed up. I’m sure over some beers we hatched this idea: FPDX [as in expletive Portland, for those not in the know]. Let’s face it, SS’ers that go to their series race because of points, or even just because they don’t want to travel need to be called to the mat so to speak. FPDX was Seattle getting together to pee in Portland’s proverbial sandbox, like a friend poking fun of you, or pulling your head outta the sky. We felt Portland could take a joke and would see the fun in what we were doing. I think they loved it, and took it for what it was. I’d call it a successful mission, and we’d love to see them come here for a race. We did however never get the Grail, which should really be here in Seattle…”
Brian (Sally) Fornes brought “homebase,” the Hodala singlespeed team trailer, the night prior. The next day as people arrived, kits were issued, number were pinned, and jackets were worn in the 60+ degree weather, sweating it out until the race began. Not a single Portland racer knew what was up for the entire day, though many may have wondered about the group of single speeders throwing back drinks. Being a singlespeed team, plans were made about 10 minutes in advance to make a spectacle of what was to go down. In the meantime, stickers with the letters FPDX were stuck strategically over the course, people, frames and car windows to further the effect.
This race wasn’t about teams anymore, it was about “national” pride. A roar of heckling from Seattle to Portland, and vice-versa, brought the race to a melee of Seattle versus Portland. Teams had no effect. The men in black (Seattle), became the enemy. The race started, and it was the most surly race ever. Throwing shoulders, pushing, ripping off numbers and heckling during the first two laps were key in establishing positions and protecting oneself. This was all in fun – no one was physically hurt in the race. Bikes were rallied and gear broken, but both sides stuck to their guns and spun their legs out.
After the race, it was nothing but racing war stories and smiles. The race promoters came over and were delighted by the overall presence of what happened. Brian (Sally) Fornes had this to say after talking to them: “When promoters and racers alike swing by to say ‘Thank You for putting a little shot in the arm of the racing around here’ … you can definitely call it a success.”
FPDX Video Action:
As race day came to a close, the Hodala tent was alive and kicking ’til dusk, with high spirits knowing that a big deal … just happened! And in spite of all the shenanigans, the FPDX’ers placed 10 in the top 30: Myers 2nd, Aaron 7th, Greg 10th, Nat 16th, Sally 21st, Randy 22nd, John 24th, Tyler 25th, Dylan 29th and Joey 30th.