Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Brian is an idea man.

Earlier this month I got an interesting email from Brian Hancock the course design & guerrilla marketing genius behind the Ithaca GP:

In all seriousness...

I’m totally not joking about this - ever thought about pushing DICX into the national stage with hosting the single speed world cyclocross championships?

The atmosphere, course, event, and tequila are a perfect fit.

Think about it...


Ever get hit with an idea so good that it practically unlocks a part of your brain that you have never used before? This letter made me feel like Vin Diesel operating a manual transmission: "What? I can upshift six or seven more times?  I've only been using the first five gears!" (RIP Paul Walker, you are a good guy and I enjoyed your movies)

For those of you that are not familiar with the the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championship or SSCXWC. It is the Gold standard of non-sanctioned races and to give credit where credit is due, parent to the Detroit Invitational Cyclocross.

Let me paint the picture.

It was several years ago, and upon learning that my position was to be outsourced, I sought employment on the east coast.  Prior to moving from the great lake state, I began to divest some of the larger possessions because they wouldn't fit into the high rise apartment where I would be living.  One of those items was my 20 gallon air compressor.

Daniel at cycle to fitness, was having issues with his, so we began to negotiate a price.  Now the relationship between Daniel and I has evolved to the point where we rarely transact business by exchanging cash.  I recall serious barter negotiations where he wanted to swap a really nice waffle maker that was a wedding present for my accord coupe with 230K miles. I forget the exact details, but it involved some cash and a single order at cost for the air compressor.  I used to order to buy some Paul hubs, velocity hoops and a bunch of other goodies that allowed me to build up a really sweet Salsa La Rosa, that had lost it's derailleur hanger, but thanks to the skill of a UAW welder on the team, had a new life with track dropouts as a single speed CX bike.  I built up the bike and rode mostly for commuting through the mean streets of Wilmington Delaware.

Fast forward to cyclocross season.  I entered my first race, the Rockburn Cross, about forty minutes south in Maryland.  I think I registered for the C race... I don't think they had a Single speed class.  It was a perfect day for cross.  Wet, Rainy, cool.  the other competitors were noticably excited about the race.

Like most of us, my first CX experience was miserable.  My conditioning was nonexistent & my gear ratio was an obscene 50x18.  Not only did I finish DFL and got lapped by the leaders... I got lapped by the leaders of the women's class.


When I crossed the finish line, I was met by everyone else in the field that was just as happy as I was that the race was finished.  I instantly fell in love with cross.  I met several people from the proteus shop in College Park, MD.  One of the ladies (who lapped me) asked me the following question:
"Hey, we are going to a really cool race up in a junkyard in Philly, want to come?"

Two things influenced my decision.  1) about a month before, I ventured to a club in baltimore to see Mix Master Mike.  It was both the most terrifying and awesome experience of my life.  My comfort zone had been nicely expanded.  2) I have never really ever been able to refuse a request by a woman with the trailing "a" of a mid atlantic accent.

So off we go to Philly, To Bilenky's Junkyard Cyclocross. Which was and is the most irrational, boundryless cyclocross race ever raced. we went through a decapitated school bus, around engine blocks, over the shadiest climb over you had ever seen.  Guys were dressed like Evel Knievel, team kits or in nothing at all. By the end of the day, I was sore, cold, covered in god-knows-what kind of automotive fluids, but beside myself with joy.  This on-two punch of cyclocross races was like meeting the woman of your dreams, then having her ask you if you want to go back to her place to get stoned and have sex. Yeah, THAT good.

Fueled with this new found fix for Cyclocross.  I consumed everything I could on the interwebs about the subject.  I eventually found out about the Cross crusade & SSCXWC.

Any race that first prize includes a golden bikini brief (with the world Championship colors) and a tattoo, is ok in my book.  I followed the race for several years before they announced that the race would be moved to San Francisco the following year.  My daughter lives in NorCal.  I visit her every month, I couldn't wait to withness the race, in person.  It didn't disapoint!  Though not as irrational as the Junkyard CX, SSCXWC pushes the limit with cesspool obstacles, using 3' dia. redwoods in place of barriers and world class talent.

last weekend, Philly was good enough to combine these two events into a fantastic weekend, that I regret missing.

They have just announced that the 2014 SSCXWC will be held in Louisville, KY.  Anyone who attended the real world championships last year will tell you that they have a wonderful park down there.  I will certainly be in attendance!

Which brings us to Brian's letter above.

I am inspired.  I want to bring the SSCXWC to the Motor city!

Possibly to Dorais park, but having attended both of these races live, I wonder if the park can match up to the scale of this race and the significance of Detroit.  The race location should be Iconic.  Maybe we could have the qualifier at Dorais and have the SSCXWC at Belle Isle?  Perhaps on the riverfront under the Ren Cen?  On the roof of Cobo?  Hell, lets run it up around and through the train station, Around the DIA & Cultural center.  At this point, no idea is out of bounds.

I need the help of the cycling community to make this happen.  If you know of someone who knows someone, let me know.  if you have a lead for a truly epic location, let me know by emailing me at

I'm not saying we deserve it, because at this point, we don't.  But we have a lot of creative and talented people in this community, and I think we can make anything happen.

The CX Czar

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