In 2016 two REN Brand Ambassadors -- Podium and Walrod, who else -- made the poor decision to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of a(n) (in)famous event that they had helped stage in Portland back in the day with another running. It was like the worst band you ever saw in high school was getting back together to play the SuperBowl halftime show.
After a great start in Portland the founders of the Single Speed Cyclo-Cross World Championships, better known as SSCXWC, let the beast loose on the world. The annual event was held in a number of different cities for the better part of a decade, and over time became less of a legit bike race and more like a Burning Man for flatbar CX bikes with Dugast sew ups. As the debauchery ratcheted up the complaints became ever louder. The race's tenth anniversary, with that sexy one-character Roman Numeral X, was deemed the perfect time to bring it back home to PDX to get cleaned up and supersized. SSCXWCXPDX was on and in tune with the goal of turning everything up to eleven, REN signed on as the event's official bike sponsor.
But it wasn't just the bikes that went to the next level. So did the competition. Defending SSCXWC Champion and renowned fun ambassador Adam Craig was returning. Hundreds of racers signed up as soon as registration was open. OBRA agreed to officiate. A special surprise guest appearance by Sven Nys -- a multi-year UCI Cyclocross World Champion and arguably the greatest racer the discipline has ever seen who would suit up under the pseudonym Stan Nice -- was shockingly kept a secret for weeks. Legit course builders signed on to build the course. Lavender course tape was ordered. Farmer Don got stoked to host the event on his Sauvie Island farm. We agreed to host a bloody mary buffet on Sunday morning. Other contributors agreed to even dumber ideas. People found out about it and the Internet lit up.
When it finally did go down, SSCXWCXPDX was a fantastic success. We released a limited edition IVAN graphic to mark the occasion. HiFi wheels had a special edition wheel graphic. Challenge did a limited edition Limus tubular tire. River City Bicycles brought jazz cigarettes. Santa Cruz brought their trailer. Pabst and Olympia set up a bar under a giant mid-winter bare tree. Participants made elaborate and no-effort costumes in equal measure. PDXTI went as Dumb & Dumber & Dumberest. There were several unicorns. Gallons of bloody marys. Pounds and pounds of mud. Sven Nys was really cool.
The course had berms, beehives, and enough beer to drench anything not soaked by the Pacific Northwest winter. An effigy of the Space Needle was burned. The traditional Le Mans start was made more complicated. There was a drum line. Parts of the course were best navigated in a canoe. There were strippers, male and female, gatekeeping a short cut. There were both foam machines and fog machines used on the course.
Eventually the smoke -- some of it from bonfires, some of it from the fog tent, some of it from bongs and joints -- cleared and everyone went home. The race was clearly a success, if for no other reason than nobody died and no arrests were made.
For a while afterwards it seemed too fantastical to have been real. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there is visual evidence to go along with the legend of SSCXWCXPDX.