For the past decade, a group of dedicated folks from Utah had been trying to bring Singlespeed Cyclocross Worlds to the Beehive State with little success.
“Utah had been vying for Singlespeed Cyclocross Worlds since basically the beginning, but we were always shut out. Nobody ever believed we could put it on. Year after year we banged our heads against that wall of injustice,” Utah’s Ryan Miller said.
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This year, Miller and his crew went to Tournai, Belgium for the the 2018 edition of the famed event. The trip this year was about racing bikes, drinking beer and enjoying the show.
“We actually weren’t vying for it because I just started a brewery,” Miller said “I don’t have time to put on Singlespeed Worlds when I’m starting a brewery.”
You probably know where this is going by now.
Said Miller, “The dark, hidden powers that be said, well too bad, we think you’re getting it for next year. I was like, ‘Well, I don’t want it.’ They came back and said, ‘Too bad, you’ve got it.’ And I said, ‘But I don’t want it.’ They said, ‘Too bad, you got it.’
Many are called, few are chosen. Or something like that.
“It was kind of back and forth like that, and we said, ‘Eff it, we’re going to do it. It’s going to be nothing like anything you’ve seen before. It’s going to be a whole shitshow, so we’ll have a good time.’”
And thus the 2019 Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships are coming to St. George, Utah.
St. George, the venue for the U.S. return of SSCXWC after two years abroad in Verona, Italy and Tournai, is a kindred spirit of the 2022 Fayetteville Cyclocross Worlds—a Cyclocross World Championship in a place best known for its mountain biking.
“I’ve been telling people, ‘Bring your mountain bike,’” Miller said. “If you can only pack one bike for this, bring your mountain bike. Or bring your mountain bike and throw some 1.9s on there or something. Swap out your tires for the event.”
Although Belgium is known as the Motherland of Cyclocross, with the SSCXWC first taking place in Portland in 2007, the U.S. could be considered the Motherland of Singlespeed Cyclocross. The last U.S. edition in Portland in 2016 was a banger, and no doubt a lot of American singlespeed enthusiasts are looking forward to attending the event closer to home this year.
“We’re certainly feeling some pressure to put on an event that people will have a really good time at,” Miller said. “In the classic singlespeed sense, nothing makes sense, but it all makes sense.”
When I spoke to Miller, he was pretty mum on what folks can expect from the 2019 SSCXWC. The desert setting—officially in Santa Clara, just outside St. George—will certainly be a far cry from the wet and mud of Portland, but there was at least one secret he was able to let us in on.
“There is still a lot to be determined, for sure. The yoga balls made a reappearance in Belgium. I’m not sure we’re going to have those, but what I can say is two words: green jello.”
Participating in the SSCXWC requires a full weekend of being on top of your game. Before the race itself, you have to qualify. Miller said the Utah crew plans on drawing some inspiration from another edition of the crazy race for the 2019 qualifiers.
“I can tell you there will be Feats of Strength,” Miller said. “People will be expected to participate in those to qualify. It will probably be more along the line of what we did in Victoria, BC. People were broken up into groups, and then you tour the city and surrounding landscape checking out some pretty awesome locations and then expected to work yourself until you puke on some sort of feat of strength. Then repeat.”
Pros and ex-pros like Sven Nys are more than welcome to attend this year, as long as they get the tattoo. You have to get the tattoo.
Zip-tied shifters are also allowed. With one caveat. “Expect to be mocked and taunted by the Hodala crew until you cry and go home,” Miller said.
The hooligans from Washington’s Hodala made the trip to Tournai and are expected to help contribute to the shitshow at the 2019 SSCXWC. Miller had a message for them.
“They are always the guests of honor. Or dishonor. The invitation is there,” Miller said. “I certainly expect them to show up and hope they do. I’m calling you out Brian. You know, they might be too afraid to come to Utah.”
For the rest of the cyclocross world looking to race the 2019 SSCXWC, the race weekend is November 21-24, which is the weekend before Thanksgiving. Camping will also be available at the venue for those looking to stay close, or for those who lose all their money in Las Vegas before the race.
Registration is now open for the 2019 SSCXWC.