This is it. The main event. After Friday’s party, Saturday’s qualifying rides and Junkyard ‘Cross, then Saturday’s party, it was time get some racing on for the Golden Speedo and tattoos. The first SSCXWC to be held on the East Coast, Philly was an amazing host for the weekend. Despite some horrible weather for driving to and from along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, it was 48 hours I will never forget.
The weekend started with a sign-in and packet pick-up at Keswick Cycle. Between Hodala and the Belgians, I thought we would tear down that jawn. Saturday presented riders with two options: choose the Feats of Strength Ride or take your chances racing the Bilenky Junkyard ‘Cross. Those who performed well were rewarded with an entry to the main event. Those who favored style over speed could enter the Everyone’s A Winner race, complete with #1 number plates for everyone. Saturday’s after party presented one last chance to make the Big Show: free beer and gold sprints at Lucy’s Hat Shop. The ’80s tunes were blasting and I can personally verify both World Champions were throwing down on the dance floor late into the night — as they should be!
With the sleep rubbed out of our eyes, we gathered on the Belmont Plateau, and as the robots and lobsters took the start, the snowflakes started to fall. By the time the men’s race was over, it was a full-blown white-out. I don’t even have photos of the women’s race because it was snowing so hard I had to put the camera away.
Pressure was high on reigning champion Adam Craig to repeat, but he not only held off all comers, he did it in costume while taking beer handups for his third World Champion tattoo (SSCXWC12 and SSWC07). The women’s race was wide open, but Vicki Barclay (a.k.a. Batwoman) ran away with it — BANG! ZOINK! — to take the women’s win.
At the awards ceremony was held at the majestic Moshulu—the world’s oldest and largest square-rigged sailing vessel still afloat. Racers and fans were greeted at the door with a complementary PBR and many rounds of hors d’oeuvre before the main course, a giant roasted pig, peppers and the best macaroni salad on the planet. Drinks were bought and new friendships were sealed as the party raged on. There was a secret poker game to determine the host city for next year’s race, with Belgium and Kentucky having lobbied hard all weekend. Adam Craig was publicly rooting for Boston. In the end is was Louisville, Kentucky, that took the chips for the win.
The drama wasn’t over though, as a hijacked Twitter account led many fans eagerly awaiting the announcement astray by saying Kentucky had deferred to Boston.
But now the
dust snow has settled, the bags are unpacked and the bikes are… still really, really dirty. At least we have a full year to prepare for SSCXWC14KY. See you there!