by Kenton Berg
On Friday night legions of Singlespeeders descended on Hooverville in the SoDo district of Seattle to pick up race packets, down a beer or two, and talk about the pending qualifier race on Saturday morning. With a spot in the SSCXWC final race at stake, discussions ran from tactics to hidden areas that might hold a key piece to the qualifying puzzle. Nerves, for some, were shaky, and for those with neither knowledge of the area nor the ability to scope it online, it became a question of a morning pre-ride or just sitting on a wheel to try and get through the qualifier. Hope, for some, was seen as a strategy.
The other unknown to the day would be the weather. Forecasts called for overnight rains turning showery, which could have played a huge role in the day’s events. Luckily some morning rain tapered off, and some lucky racers were even blessed with sunshine during their qualifier races. Thankfully for the day’s only Speedo-wearing racer, his jaunt was during a sunny period! Look for the weather to play a major role in Sunday’s final race as a strong front is to roll in tonight and 1″ of rain is predicted along with high winds and cooler temps. Suffice it to say it could be epic ’cross conditions for the 2010 edition of the SSCXWC.
On the qualifying front, the format had the top four racers from each flight (scheduled to be nine to 10 riders in each) moving on to the final race with the second, third and maybe fourth round qualifiers happening at tonight’s party. Some earlier flights, which were sent out at four-minute intervals, only had four racers, which guaranteed participants an easy trip to the final. Other groups saw hotly-contested battles with those possessing urban riding skills and a bigger gear prevailing and moving on.
Several flights of women went off mid-day, with Ridley rider Wendy Simms highlighting the last group. 2009 champ Kari Studley watched intently as those that may hope to dethrone her rode off. Kari commented that she had mixed emotions of getting a “hall pass” for being last year’s champ and not having to qualify, but not having to expend energy today would certainly not be a bad thing. Look for Kari to be sporting something new and unique tomorrow for her ride as reigning SSCX world champ.
Festivities for the final race get underway at 3:30 PST with the last chance qualifier being the MFG series Singlespeed race at 1:15. Only the winner of that race gets to advance if he, or she, hasn’t yet qualified.
Tune in tomorrow for the race report, pictures, and video of the 2010 SSCXWC race and shenanigans.
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