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Singlespeed USA 2008

May 20, 2008

Held in conjunction with the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Calendar for Ultra Endurance event #2 "Dirt, Sweat and Gears (DSG)", Singlespeed USA was a fun event for singlespeeders that went down the day before. The event description on the website for Singlespeed USA (SSUSA) described the event as "The Trifecta of Singleness beginning at noon the day before DSG. Participants will ride their single speeds on an undisclosed course for more than one hour and less than 46,000. Five percent of the field will go on to participate in the second chapter of pedal pushing. The third and final chapter is quite bumpy…"

Hmm...sounded intriguing. Initially, I had wanted to race my Rig in this event, but figured it would hamper my ability to defend my title in the 12-hour race on Saturday. Looking back, I should have done both.

The men's field was stacked and the women's field was whacked (only one woman tough enough registered). The event promoter Clay Higgins wanted my personality involved by commentating, so I asked two of my partners in crime Rebecca Rusch and Yuri Hauswald to join me in my freak show on the mic. Styled out in our festive attire we started the event in true singlespeed style with a psych-out in the cross-country. All the fast guys lined up in what they though was the front of the line while talkin' smack amongst each other before the gun went off. Grant (the co-promoter) psyched everybody out when he started the race backwards from the rear of the field, so everybody quickly turned around and chased his bunny ears and mailbox bike into the ground.

The cross-country course entailed two shortened laps on the DSG course, without the first two miles of steep hills taken out for the wimpy singlespeeders. Right away, Jesse and Marko LaLonde developed a gap on the competition and went on to finish one-two in the first event. Did I mention that competitors had to chug a PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon beer - ed.] or a Root Beer in between laps?

The first stage results were close to this:
Women: Rebecca Tomawicki
Men: Jesse and Marko Lalonde followed by Jake Kirkpatrick, Dejay Birtch, Ohio Rob Kranz, Curtis Inglis, Fuzzy John Mylne, Thad Hoffman, and the Reverend Ben.About twenty competitors advanced from cross-country to the next event. That stage was a super short hill climb up to Clay's Tree house. The gearless guys and gal grunted up the hill in a lung buster effort that saw the same leaders as the cross-country.

Twelve competitors advanced to the third and final round. This round had nothing to do with bike racing, but would determine the overall Singlespeed USA 2008 Champions.

Let the games begin! Eight finalists moved to the third stage of "Jousting". Multiple heats went down with the best two out of three advancing. The semi finals had Jake Kirkpatrick against Jesse LaLonde and Marko LaLonde against The Reverend Ben Horton. At the end of the play day, Jesse and Marko went home in fourth and fifth, Jake the Snake took third, and the Reverend Ben gave up the belt to Ohio Rob who won the finals! He joined Rebecca Tomawicki as the SINGLESPEED USA 2008 Weiner's.

This event was a gas! Make sure you make it to Tennessee next year if you missed it this year.

See you on the dirt,

Nat Ross

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As a six-year professional mountain biker who's competed in twenty-eight solo 24-hour races, you'd think that ultra-endurance racing has consumed every waking hour of 35 year-old Nat Ross' adult life. But this lean, long-haired and laid-back Coloradoan has a more complete resume than even the most upwardly-mobile corporate go-getter - although that won't stop him going the distance when it matters.