Race report by Shawn Lortie
(June 4, 2011) Rollinsville, Colo.-Single Speed USA came to the Republic of Boulder over the weekend, and as expected, it was a magnet for all those inspired by the two wheeled, single speeded mode of dirt travel. Riders from New York City showed up in purple cords with matching furry scarves, a gal from Austin made the trek to ride in her “ref 69” uniform. Folks from Vermont, Arizona, and California all left their shifters at home and came ready to ride some great Colorado singletrack.
The festivities started Friday evening. A “mandatory cruiser ride” around Boulder that included some key watering holes, eventually ended up at Shooters Bar for registration, and then continued on into the night. Not to say this event was fueled by beer alone, but the golden liquid flowed freely, lubricating the mental machinery of many a racer in their pre race preparations.
The neutral roll out for the nearly 70 riders left Nederland High School the next day at 9 AM, for the 6-mile spin to the town of Rollinsville where the ride proper was to begin. A mile or so up Rollins Pass road, a narrow, unmarked jeep road climbed sharply to the south. Rounding a bend in the rugged jeep road, there it was, like the lights of Vegas from way off in the desert, like a cool mountain spring on a blistering hot day, The Oskar Blues Bus!
How they got the full sized bus up the tiny little road, then turned it around, is still a mystery to most, but the start/finish line had been established, and the beer was on ice! The course went directly into the toughest climb of the ride, gaining drastic elevation in a short amount of time. Once at the top of the jeep road climb, the riders hit the trail, with nothing but prime singletrack between them and the finish.
Out on the course, route finding turned out to be a bit of a challenge for some, as a few disgruntled locals had removed course markings the day before, forcing a last minute remarking of much of the route by the promoters. The webbed nature of the trail network in the area also lent itself to many “did we miss that last turn” moments, but everybody eventually found their way and finished with huge smiles.
Eszter Horanyi lived in Boulder for years, and learned to ride on the trails outside of Nederland. “The course really highlighted the best trails in the area. I'd ridden them all before and it was fun seeing how they were going to be linked together for the ride. Not knowing the course ahead of time made for endless entertainment trying to figure out where they were going to send us next.” Eszter was pretty entertained, as she rolled in first for the Women, and finished somewhere near the top 5 overall.
Out in the woods during the ride, there was more hootin’ and hollerin’ than a pig-calling contest. A race is a race, but a group ride like this is all about the love of the ride. Quite a few heavy hitters were out for the event, including riders from Trek and Niner, and though these guys were giving it their all, the bottom line was never forgotten.
Jordan Williford was out in his killer Reno 911 shorts, showing off his wicked tan lines. Riding for Epic Endurance Cycling, Jordan was the first rider back to the beer. “The ride and surrounding activities were all about having fun, and reminded me of why I got into mountain biking. Everyone was there to have a good time in that crazy single speeder way.”
And it was a crazy single speed kind of way all weekend, as the highlight of the day was the race for Dead Fuckin’ Last. Ref 69, a girl named Michele, with angel wings and pink knee socks, and a dude named Sam, all inched down towards the finish line, on the brakes and holding their best track stands. Ref 69 came off first, then The Angel, leaving Sam with the honor of DFL. And what better honor at SS USA 2011 than DFL!