Update: Check out the new galleries, by Laura Newman, Karen Johanson and Matthew J. Clark.
Kent, WA – Wendy Simms (Ridley) managed to hold off Kari Studley by less than 15 seconds, and Drew MacKenzie had a similarly tight battle all the way to the line in today’s 2010 Singlespeed Cyclocross “World Championship.” The win marks MacKenzie’s third victory, and he continues to collect the telltale SSCXWC tattoos. Both victors didn’t let Seattle’s cold weather and a torrential downpour keep them out of the trademark Golden Speedos with rainbow bands.
Simms & Owen Wend to Wins
The day’s first order of business was the MFG Series race #4, which ventured into uncharted waters (and mud) today as racers took to the PGP Motorsports GoKart complex in Kent, WA. A tough course that ran around the bowl-shaped complex was made even tougher as Mother Nature unleashed her fury on an hourly basis. Torrential rains, strong winds, periods of sunshine and even some hail were delivered from the skies while temps hovering in the high 40s sent racers scurrying for dry clothes and heaters post race.
The Elite ladies jumped into the fray with a great race that featured Wendy Simms (Ridley), who would also race the SSCXWC, local favorite Kristi Berg (CycleU) and Jenni Gaertner (Riverstone CDA). These three would make up the front of the race from the start, with Simms generating a gap on lap 1 and increasing it slowly as the race wore on. Berg hovered around 25 seconds back for a few laps and then the pace of Simms and the conditions would prove too much to overcome as she finished just over a minute down. Gaertner would do the same as she hung around for the entire race around 45 seconds in back of Berg and would finish at just over two minutes down to Simms to round out the podium.
On the Men’s side a group of five would roll away on the first lap and would set the stage for some exciting racing. Logan Owen (Redline), Salomon Woras (Methow Cycle and Sport), Toby Swanson (BRI), Galen Ericksen (Keller-Rohrback) and Eric Atwood (BRI) would take charge and push the pace such that others couldn’t follow. Despite the deteriorating conditions and some strong rains coming down, these five were dead set on playing a game of fitness chicken. By the penultimate lap the pace would eventually set Atwood back by 30 seconds and would leave the final four in a position to duke it out on the last time around. In one of this year’s more exciting finishes, Logan Owen would nip Salomon Woras on the line to take the win by one second and Toby Swanson would roll across just three seconds later.
With the day’s regular racing out of the way, it was time for the SSCXWC to kick off and bring out all the fun and sun possible on a day like this. Not more than five minutes prior to the start the clouds broke, blue sky poked through, and already high spirits lifted just a bit more. As riders lined up, assessed each others’ costumes and jockeyed for position, they were thrown a big curve ball by master planner and head SSCXWC honcho Sally Fornes. The riders were moved from the normal start area to the far side of the course as they would be starting the race with a run up 30 meters of steep, soft grass and then would careen down a ridge and onto the course. For those hanging out to the far left of the cattle herd, this would make for a long, slow start.
Before Fornes could get to “One” on the countdown, the masses had begun trampling everything in sight as they charged up the hill only to be met with 10 Rad Racing Juniors pelting them with water balloons … and with this the show was underway. Local Singlespeeder Joey Mullan took the hole/hill shot and was greeted with a clear and muddy course in front of him as he charged away on the day’s odyssey. He would eventually be caught by a contingent of six riders and the field would get strung out quickly.
Sasquatch, a bunny, a macropod couple and other randomly-dressed riders comprised the peloton as the serious racers raced, and the not-so-serious looked for that first beer hand up. This, for many, would come after the steep and rocky run-up added to the course just for the SSCXWC race. A six-pack of barriers lined with PBR-spewing spectators awaited as the leaders came through, and a steady stream of beer rained down on the masses. The parade would continue as the costumed riders made their way down the gauntlet and stopped to consume the 16oz refreshments or just merely took them to go. Either way, everyone had a chance to sample the sponsor’s suds and move on for more fun in the mud.
As the race wore down and the costumes grew heavier for many, the serious racing was still going on. Two-time champion and our Canadian neighbor Drew MacKenzie was driving the pace with three racers giving serious chase as the bell rang for the last lap. Not to be slowed by his flowing black semi-mullet wig, MacKenzie would hold his lead to the line and take the win to earn the trifecta of SSCXWC titles. Walton Brush (MASH SF) and Mitch Westall (Gates) rounded out the podium.
Not too far behind the men’s leaders the battle for supremacy and a golden bikini was down to Wendy Simms and Kari Studley. Studley managed to stay about one minute back for the bulk of the race despite not knowing exactly where Simms was, and only started to close in late in the race once Simms started taking beer hand-ups. Sharon Gregg claimed the final podium step.
Look for more info to follow, and we’ll let you know where next year’s SSCXWC battle will be held.