And what a trip it was. Justin, Maurice, Lockwood and I are still sucking wind as we reminisce about the elevated fun that was had. We all agreed that the townsfolk of Durango have outdone themselves as SSWC hosts. This was about as big and well-organized as an event can get while still maintaining that certain underground-ness (or shall I say, dirt cred). The parties—one before, one after the race—had live bands, food booths, keg upon keg of good-quality beer, good people to meet and some entertaining shenanigans. (Lessons were learned: 36″ bikes are not crash-proof, and liquor does not make brakeless BMX stunts easier.)
The town’s independent businesses welcomed us and did what they could to be accommodating. We even rode over to Ron Andews’ house and got a personal demonstration of the making of a King Cage.
The traditional competitions to decide next year’s host country were over the top in themselves. (Check out the photos of the basketball game between spokesmodel/players representing Italy and New Zealand.)
They even went and made a magazine, for God’s sake, a good-looking one, and we know that ain’t easy. To top that, a documentary will be coming out sometime in the future—there were large, serious-looking cameras everywhere.
Really though, Durango is used to playing host to big bike events—this was just one more in a long line of World Championships that have been contested out there.
The race? Oh yeah, there was a race. The course was pretty tough, but I gotta tell ya right here, Herb Belrose, whoever you are, that we easterners were not frightened. Add some mud, subtract some elevation, and you’d have a classic Appalachian hoedown. We do appreciate all that the course designers did to make us feel at home, though: there were tight and twisty sections, there were big slabs of rock on a ridgeline trail (at nearly 9000 feet, with a thunderstorm brewing, very dramatic), and they even threw in a couple of logs to hop over. It was a blast to ride, at least after that loooong hike-a-bike section in the beginning. But even that was enjoyable, as while close to 1000 racers funneled through, I had some time to chat with the people trudging up-up-and-up with me. In fact, Blair from Flagstaff and I made a pact to blast through the cutoff at the midway point if we hadn’t made it there in time. But we did make it, and lived on to fight another loop, which was victory enough.
Ross Schnell proved his radness once again by winning the pedaling portion for the dudes and claiming his traditional winner’s tattoo. Of course, he had the help of one Terry Bradshaw, so his win was perhaps inevitable. (Damn, I looked for a lucky Steeler card at the sign-in and didn’t find one!) Heather Irminger was the winner for the chicks, and looked quite pleased while receiving her trophy in permanent ink. Jacquie Phelan easily claimed first in Wacky Awesomeness.
Now the gang’s all here in Las Vegas, chillin’ by the pool, getting ready to hit the desert. Check back here tomorrow for our first day’s report. Also check back later for a full Gallery of the SSWC09 adventures.