Scandinavian Jesus Does SSWC 2013 Italy

Coming off the gong show that was SSUSA in Winona, and leaving Colorado fresh from the Epic Rides inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road, I knew it was going to take every ounce of my legs and liver to survive the journey to SSWC in Italy. But I was once called DC’s test monkey, and that’s what I’m here for, your viewing pleasure.

I was traveling with a highly specialized crew of SS veterans. Coldhands, whom I had met while drinking Budweiser and watching porn with the locals during SSWC in Ireland. And Chewy, the Godfather of Fat Bikes and Single Speeds of the Upper Midwest. It had only been two weeks since SSUSA, so our trio hit the ground stumbling right from Customs. We touched down in Nice, France and immediately hopped the drunk train to Finale Ligure, Italy, where we could shred their famed 24-hour course.

Finale Trail 1

After two long nights of wine, beach wrestling, and trampolines; we got our shit together to ride.  Having joined forces with Alvarez and Boozy the Clown, we were now rolling five deep on trails floating directly above the Mediterranean. Two hours of the most ridiculous views I’ve ever caught from a bike. Steep, twisty singletrack right above the goddamn Sea.

Finale Trail 2 If you are ever lucky enough to be in any proximity to Finale, it’s a must ride. Following post ride beers and a quick dip in the Sea, we pointed north to the shitshow gaining steam in Cogne.

Road beers and wine kept the stoke high as we rolled into town late to find that Team USA was already well in the lead for the 2014 hosting after destroying the Pixie Cross race.

Pixie Cross And the destruction continued at the poor unsuspecting little bar we descended upon. Several rounds deep the wheels started to come off when the pixie bikes were brought in and from there the bartender lost all control.

Shitshow 2Scottish women were scared, bikes were thrown, and an Englishman was passed out in a shrubbery. Finally it was a mountain bike race. Sensing the looming trouble his friend was in, Charlie the Bikemonger drops this one on me; “Sometimes you just have to let your friends die in the mountains”. Truth.

Race start Saturday came like a freight train and we found ourselves being shuttled high above town to the start. As the peloton walked down the hill for the LeMans run, Team USA built a modest pile of front wheels and did some other rearranging.

Start Not everyone saw the humor, but fuck you, it’s SSWC. Tears were even shed, sorry young lady, welcome to the party. The course was 30K with a surprisingly little amount of singletrack.

Race TrailSome good steep techy at the beginning, but then it smoothed out along an alpine river. Throw in some good hills to keep us honest and 90 minutes in I found myself at beer station 1. Local kids all too happy to be left in charge of the booze made sure we left with one in hand.

After a good handful of beers, I rendezvoused with Chewy and Coldhands for the second half of the “race”. Trudging through some more double track hills and techy rock gardens brought us to beer station 2 about an hour later.

Race Trail 2We had picked up Surly James and it was now clear that the four of us had a firm grasp on DFL. Could I have rode faster? Yes. Would I have had more fun? Fuck no. We took as much beer as we could and rode on, past fields of dairy cows and amazing waterfalls of glacial runoff. It was stunning scenery; ride too fast and you’ll miss it.

We stopped for a beer along the river when I found myself questioning something. “I either sharted, or it’s just all the chamois butter. Oh well, can’t do anything about it now.” I decided it was the latter, so we pedaled on.

Race Trail 3

Just before the finish we pulled up to a tiny country store to buy some celebratory wine. I convinced the confused owner to give me the bottle and some plastic cups to go. If we were going to roll four deep across the line for DFL, we were going to do it in style.

DFL Finish

Post-race the hosting competition continued with a 4-person short track relay, and a bike toss. And with the big lead from the pixie cross in hand, Team USA again jumped out front and brought it home.

SSWC 2014 – Fucking ALASKA

It seems a very appropriate choice to me, a place most Americans never think about let alone travel to. That will be some real shit, no faking it up there. And the locals just may be up to the challenge.

The after party rolled on to the wee hours inside a classy restaurant turned Discotheque. Jake and Sam got the mosh pit going strong, while one of the REEB ladies kept the DJ in check. “Don’t you play that fucking Britney Spears pop shit!” The Belgians decided to play guest bartender, and soon the Jack Daniels was flowing free.

Guest Bartender Boozy found a nice spot to rest in the back, and it didn’t take long before the crowd had donated a nice blanket of bras and undies. One of the local girls asked me as I came out of the bathroom with boxers in hand, “Is this a mountain bike tradition?”, and I believe I said, “It is now!”. I think they extended last call about three or four times for us that night. Such love.

BoozyBlur

Morning showed no mercy and the daunting task of finding our way back to Nice could only be soothed by breakfast wine. It seemed reasonable to me anyway. As stories were being swapped of the night before, Trevor jumps out of a random van shouting “I come bearing underwear!”

Last Nights UnderwearApparently he had salvaged everyone’s skivvies and began to distribute among the group. Breakfast wine turned to lunch, and from there most of Team USA loaded into the local bus and descended down the valley to Aosta to catch trains to various cities.

Undies

And just like that, it was over. Bikes ridden, beers emptied, wine guzzled, locals frightened. We did what we came to do. I had the time of my life; I can’t imagine having more fun, in a better place, with better people. Not much more I can say but, see you in Alaska homies!

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About Cupcake

Twisted mind with simple pleasures. A bike ride and a beer will suffice.

7 thoughts on “Scandinavian Jesus Does SSWC 2013 Italy

  1. Great seeing y’all in Cogne and we’re (Europeans and lost Americans alike) glad that no one died. Maybe a lot of brain cells and some virginity was lost in the interest of singlespeeding… It truly was an Epic (with capital E) location and weekend. I’m glad that I made the trip down from Oktoberfest land.

  2. Yo that shit is dank yo. Fuck yeah- you guys won that the biggest prize- having the most fun and including bikes in it. ‘Nuff said-Merica bitches.

  3. You bitches are in for some stiff competition up in Anchorage next season. This will be my first SSWC but I have a long and proud history of finishing races wasted and in last place. Some folks don’t appreciate how much discipline, dedication and endurance that can take.