Well, what can I tell you about the First New Zealand Singlespeed Championship experience?
I rode a mountain bike with 36 inch wheels
Half the Pugsleys in New Zealand were racing (that's Dave the Surly importer on the left)
There were pirates on tandems complete with hats and swords
Men had breasts
Men had skin suits
The male and female winners got tattooed and had to show them at prize giving
There were also;
- Neon orange Boiler-suits
- Men in tutus
- and a guy wearing silk boxers (that's all he was wearing!)
It wasn't quite as manic as I was expecting but the organizers did a fantastic job and a field of over 250 racers was impressive for a fringe sport in a little country like ours.
The start was a 200 meter run to your bike followed by 3 laps of a figure-of-eight course. Each half-lap was about 7 kilometers of amazing single-track, most of it ridable, and when you came back into the transition area you had to take the opposite side to the last one you rode on. This was confusing under race conditions and was made even more confusing by the consumption of a can of beer on each lap if you wanted to take a shortcut. I managed to get it right (and drank the beer at every opportunity) but a number of people made a wrong turn and ended up doing the same half of the lap again! It all added to the fun but a simpler format might be better for next year.
My ankle was painful but held up and I finished the race somewhere down the back. That was OK, I was happy just to finish and the more social competitors pulled out at various times during the race to join the crowd and cheer on those still riding.
One of the main sponsors was the Pig & Whistle pub so for a NZD$75 entry fee you got a movie the night before the race, vouchers for free beer at the bar, the race-pack, the prize giving party and a cooked breakfast at the pub the morning after the race. It was really good value.
The whole weekend was great fun and with any luck I'll be back next year in better shape for number two.