Friday, December 13, 2013

Redbull SSXCWC Junkyard Cross - 2013 wrap up

With the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) happening in Philadelphia the same weekend attendance was down and many of the local riders were at Belmont Plateau. It became readily apparent that this was not the Bilenky Junkyard Cross, instead it was the Redbull SSXCWC Junkyard Cross.

Colin Firth and his unique brand of heckling was MIA, replaced by a Redbull announcer who did a very bad imitation of the old monster truck commercials. There was a higher douche bag to spectator ratio than normal. The worst occurred at the shot tent at the van tunnel, which created a great deal of confusion about which way racers should go and backed up the tunnel entrance. One racer not realizing what was going on followed the to riders ahead of him. When he failed to take a shot he was restrained and forced to start at the end of the pack.

The addition of the ramp by Redbull at the car hurdle was questionable since it was mean't for bikes with heavy frames, 26” wheels, and inexperienced trick riders. The ramp was designed to launch cyclists up instead of guide them across.While it created some spectacular jumps There was one serious accident that required an ambulance and a second before the ramp was removed.

There were some shining moments though in spite of the corporate makeover. Ones that I hope will inspire and carry over into next years race.

The beards were beardier and iconic. Maybe next year there will be a best beard award, real and faux.

Stephen Bilenky  - The man, the beard, the legend
The mighty Unicorn from last year was back.

One competitor raced on a 80's era Dahon folding bike and rode over the ramp.

There was a preview of a Trek Fat Bike that will be available in 2014.

The car hurdle was a single car instead of two which gave everyone time to get the running start needed to clear a higher than normal barricade. The ramp added some advantage in several heats when two or three racers at the same time would vault the car and run or ride over it to gain better position.

The single walkway at the tractor was changed to two, which avoided back ups.

Redbull sponsors high speed motor sports and when it comes to bicycles its BMX, mountain bike and downhill mountain bike racing. The type of riding that involves high speed maneuvering, big air, and the potential for spectacular crashes. Everything that cyclocross is not. This years Redbull SSCXWC Bilenky Junkyard Cross were best summed up in response to the Redbull audio truck, “you know how it goes, when the corporate world gets a whiff of a grass roots happening.” I look forward to next year when it returns to its local roots.

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