Cascadian Holiday: Naked in Portland
Naked Factory Racing takes on SSCXWCPDX16
2016 was to be the 10th anniversary of SSCXWC and, after playing host in Victoria last year, there was no way the Naked Factory Racing crew was missing out this year. Lured by the promise of no cheating, free weed, zero responsibilities in general, we descended en mass on Suavie Island to escape the weight of our day to day racing schedules for a magical of weekend levity, a sweet glimpse at true American freedom before being dragged back north to a more polite and orderly commonwealth.
Andreas, Danielle, Halldor, Myself, and DEFENDING CHAMPION OF THE WORLD MICAL DYCK all registered, eventually. Even Regan ditched the wrenches for some more mobile, two-wheeled heckling, his race entry serving to project his heckling to all corners of the venue with startling efficiency throughout the weekend. But first, registration. Even the freest of all rule-agnostic events requires registration. Or at least a large crowd of people to stand in a room and drink beer. We joined a solid contingent of Islanders, some Vancouverites, and a whole whack of other loud, well hydrated bike nerds, pretended to sign OBRA forms, and went somewhere else to drink more beer. At some point this involved some sort of freeform bike pubcrawl, which may or may not have been the alleycat race? Who knows!
Qualifying started bright and far too early the next morning. From this point on, there’s really no point trying to summarize what happened into any kind of logical narrative. You’ve seen all the pictures already: a ball pit, a short bus full of naked people, jumps, Ratboy, pumpkins, Sven, lake jumps, some sort of apologetic beaver dam, Hodala, and so, so much mud. Instead of reapeating that, here’s a few things we’re mostly sure actually happened. I make no claim to accuracy, or correct names.
Mical and Regan somehow corralled me into arriving at the venue on time for my qualifier heat, if only just on time. I then consoled Andrew from Mighty, who had arrived to find ‘Stan Nice’ in his heat, before realizing that I was also in that heat, just as it started. Throwing my bag and jacket on the ground, I chased on, Stan/Sven already far up the road. The showdown would have to wait until the next day.
See, I was ‘just’ behind him!
It’s was now about … 10 am? Having somehow qualified, I had nothing to do but find beer and watch the rest of the heats. I watched a beanbag race, something depraved involving donuts, and Ashley Stotts trying to double Adam Craig down a dual slalom course. But probably the most memorable event for all in attendance would be the showdown between Emilie and myself on the dual slalom track. I may have had the intel, knowing the right side was faster, and the superior equipment (Sylvia’s Naked Barney), but I’m still claiming it’s a fair and honest victory.
You can tell this is legit dual slalom racing because that guys wearing a fanny pack
Mical turning heads on her way to qualifying. That’s pretty much it for qualifying. A bunch of us made it through, some other people didn’t There was some other stuff involving pumpkins, karaoke, and ‘big air’ road gap attempts on cross bikes, and beer. It was time to head to the bar, and rest up for Sunday’s main event.
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!
Sunday’s big event arrived and we were all just so very well prepared for what was about to happen. We even arrived at the course on time! Mical was looking imposing in a crocodile onsie and the title belt from SSCXWC15Vic, and the rest of us were ready to race. A Le Mans start through a corn field proved to the TSN Turning Point for both Mical and myself, as we both fell victim to the ‘random’ hiding of bikes in the corn. My fate was, admittedly, more self-inflicted and had much less impact on my race strategy. Turns out propping your bike up for easy location later on is basically like hanging a giant, neon “HIDE THIS BIKE” sign on it. When I eventually made it through the corn, it was nowhere to be seen. The corn left Mical chasing the lead Women, and me chasing … well, Drew eventually slowed up and rode with me for a while.
From here, things get fuzzy. In the Women’s championship race, Mical had a reptilian wardrobe malfunction, her mud-caked onesie drooping lower ever hap, which halted her march baack through the Women’s field and denying her the 4-peat and free ink. Her sister bike, Barney the CX-ausaur, suffered a similar fate, as Cam and Sylvia’s suuuuuuuper-cute Whinny the Pooh / Hunny costume proved equally adept at absorbing mud. I don’t think I saw Andreas all race, and I have only a vague memory of seeing Halldor, so I have no idea what happened to them. But I did see Danielle crushing her way around the course hot on the heels of the lead group. She eventually finished well within the top ten, proving that when it comes to muddy SSCX races, fashion IS function. At some point I was clotheslined by an actual clothes line, halting what little progress I was making around the course. The races ended, and we all retired to the parking lot to drink beer while watching people try escape the mud bog of a parking lot. This was possibly the most entertaining part of the day.
The handup tree // Dodge City Racing’s high performance team
Ariel in the ball pit!
Well, that’s it! SSCXWC is crossing the pond to fair Verona next year, so … see you there?
Ha ha, nope! Not the end! One more time, just in case you missed it, more of the sequence of my glorious victory over Emilie in slalom.