SSCXWC has become a staple in my annual race calendar. Actually, it’s become my favorite event of the year. It’s a great excuse to travel somewhere cool and get rowdy with a bunch of crazy folks. When this debacle headed out of the fine USA for the first time, I had to be there. The Canadians are known for throwing a fun party, and I had high expectations for Victoria.
And let me just say: Victoria delivered a damn good time.
A crew of us from the Santa Cruz area headed north with a bevy of Santa Cruz Stigmatas and Rock Lobsters. I was riding my trusty Stigmata, and while the bike doesn’t come stock as a single speed, just throw on an EBB and you’re ready to rally. Of course, we also had our costumes. We went with a Peter Pan and the Lost Boys theme, with Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, and Peter Pan all making appearances.
But before we even got to the big race, we had to survive what basically felt like a solid 36 hours of partying. There was the Warm Up Party Friday night, the Feats of Strength ride all day Saturday, and the Pre Race Party Saturday night. Whew! Going into the weekend my good buddy asked if I had any tips for SSCXWC, and all I said was “Be ready for anything, prepare your liver, and your costume better be dialed.” I stand by that advice, it’s really all that matters.
The Feats of Strength ride is one of my favorite parts of every SSCXWC experience. It turns into a really cool sight-seeing tour of the host city with 10 of your new best friends, riding roads and trails that only the locals know, all with a bunch of weird contests mixed in—and of course, lots of booze. I don’t know who decided that Fireball should be the theme drink of SSCXWC this year, but I’m not mad at you.
The goal of the day was to earn as many white zip ties in the Feats of Strength events as possible: the more white zip ties, the better your chances at qualifying for Sunday’s Championship race.
Assuming you survived till Sunday morning, it was time for the big show. When we heard the race was being held at the Western Speedway, we knew the course would be jammin’—and we were right. Huge berms, fast straightaways, twisty turns, and muddy conditions made for a fun and challenging course. And weird obstacles in typical SSCXWC fashion made for a party—we’re talking about snow banks, tractor tire barriers, lemon drop shot shortcuts, spectators equipped with water balloons, and a somewhat sketchy boat jump.
When it comes to this race, if you’re taking things too seriously, you’re not doing it right. As the women lined up for the Le Mans start, the announcer called out, “The race can start anytime in the next 30 seconds. Don’t forget, cheating is encouraged, and now would be a good time to start cheating.” We immediately started sprinting towards our bikes, and from there it was 45 minutes of absolute chaos. Course tape was rendered meaningless. Face plants off the snow bank and boat jump were a common sight. More calories were consumed in lemon drop shots than burned off in the race. And pixie dust was sprinkled on everybody (you’re welcome).
While my Tinkerbell wings didn’t help me fly to a win (congrats Mical Dyck!), I had the most fun SSCXWC experience to date, and I came home exhausted. The crew in Victoria did a killer job putting this event together, and they all deserve a shot of Fireball for showing us out-of-towners such a good time.
SSCXWC requires some serious stamina. And while you think I would have learned my lesson with these things, I’m already excited for SSCXWC16PDX next year.
Oh yeah, and after that, prepare yourselves for SSCXWC17SC. That’s right: Santa Cruz. We’re fighting to get it back, and we’re going to do it right this time.