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Interview: Mr. Bacon Suit

Philadelphia Bike Ride

Dave Pryor gets paid, SSCX-style.

At least 300 racers and up to 500 spectators, are expected to descend on Fairmount Park / Belmont Plateau for the 2013 Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships on December 6-8 in Philadelphia, PA. We talked with Dave Pryor, race promoter, about what’s shaping up to be a pretty rad event.
For the layman, a bit of history please, what is the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships?

The Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) is an annual event that has been held in major cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland since 2006. This year marks the first time the race will be on the East Coast, and we feel lucky to have the opportunity to showcase the city of Philadelphia and its world-class cycling scene. The SSCXWC holds a unique place in the cycling calendar: Unrecognized by any of the sport’s governing bodies, it’s focused on amateurs — and on fun. One example: Most racers will be wearing costumes.

The Philly crew represents at SSCXWC12 in LA.

What’s your story?

I’m Dave Pryor. 6’2 and 180. Sagittarius.I also go by the following nicknames: Mr. Bacon Suit, The Godfather and Diamond Dick Dave. Since 2005 or so, I’ve been racing underground and unsanctioned cyclocross. Once worked in the cycling publishing industry. Now work in a cubicle farm with a fabulous cross course just outside my window (which is a blessing and a curse). Let’s leave the rest mysterious. My employer doesn’t need to know I have another full-time job as race promoter.

Who is helping you organize the event?

In conjunction with the Belmont Plateau Trails Alliance (BPTA), the 2013 organizing team is a group of local riders and race organizers who have experience staging bike races.

The webpage makes the event look like a lot of fun — can anyone participate?

Yep. While most Word Championships are invite-only affairs for the most elite of athletes, the SSCXWC is an open competition for anybody not scared to go fast while being silly.

That said, it’s not for newbies. The qualifying events on Saturday will definitely weed out the seriously crazy from those just out for a good time.

However, its not for minors (they don’t need to jump all these hoops to have fun) so it’s a 21 and over party.

To quote a wise philosopher, Less gears. More beers. There are practical reasons (less maintenance, less stuff to get clogged up in mud, etc.). But a big reason for me is it gives me less crap to think about while I’m racing.

Is this a race for newbies to the sport of cyclocross?

Cross is a great sport for newbies, because it’s waaaaaaay safer than road or mountain bike racing. Plus, it’s a lot shorter than both.

That said, this one will be a test of skills and will be more dangerous than a typical cross race. Newbies should come spectate, and heckle the living hell outta those making fools of themselves.

How many countries do you expect to draw racers from?

This one, for sure. Though there are rumors of folks coming from Belgium, Germany, and France. With up to 500 spectators expected, we estimate half of these to come from the greater Philadelphia region, and the rest from other parts of the country (with a sizeable contingent from the West Coast).

Why have the world championship in Philadelphia?

It’s high time to show off the killer bike culture in the Fightin’ City of Philly. Philly’s got every type of cyclist and flavor of riding. Plus, this city heckles at a professional level.

I know the exact location has been kept secret — duct taped to the inside of the Liberty Bell — but can you give any details about the race venue or course? Will it be as awesome as Crazy Train?

The exact location is no longer a secret: It will be at the Plateau. Thanks to the hard work of the BPTA. Everybody’s very excited about it. What is still secret is what we’ll be doing for qualifiers on Saturday. Don’t want anybody out there training for it. That’d just be wrong.

Is this sponsored by Red Bull, and will there be a wall?

Red Bull might get involved, in part, so that our sober brothers and sisters can have something to chug.

Like the Single Speed Mountain Bike World Championship, will there be a tattoo for the winner? What are other prizes? Cash, cars, Phillies tickets?

Winners get tattoos and a golden speedo. Everybody else has a good time. And if you’re having a really good time maybe a bit of swag. And hugs. Lots of hugs.

I thought cyclocross bikes were old hybrid bikes fitted with drop bars. Now they have disc brakes? What makes them so special?

Cross bikes are pretty much do-anything rigs. You can ride them on paved roads, dirt roads, trails, railroad lines, whatever. They tend to be tougher than road bikes, so you don’t need to worry as much if you hit a curb or pothole.

Any interesting stories or happenings from previous races that you want to share?

I’ll leave that to the rest of the internet. #delegate

So, in your interview with Cyclocross Magazine, you said this race would be more fun. Can you expand on that?

Cross in itself is a very fun way to race. But, being a race, there are often some very serious racers, racing very seriously. That’s cool. More power to them (not that they need any more watts).

This is not that race. We fully expect people to pull over and share a drink with a spectator, or to hit the brakes and heckle them back.

December?! Won’t it be too cold?

Who knows. We looked back at the history of Dec. 8 and it’s been near-60 degrees, and also 20 degrees with sleet. Besides, we’ve had blizzards and hurricanes the past two Halloween weekends. Anything could happen. Plan your costumes accordingly.

Anything else you want to add?

This event is also shaping up to be a tremendous fundraiser for some of the organizations and charities that have made cycling great in the city (BPTA) and the greater region (Outdoor Experience Organization).

For more race details, registration and parties stay tuned to the SSCXWC Facebook page sscxwc13philly.com, facebook.com/sscxwc13philly or @sscxwc13philly on Twitter. Registration will be limited. But even if you don’t get in, block out December 6–8 with Solo Cup Red crayon and come out for one whale of a party. And if you go bar hopping in Philly that weekend you’ll likely find a singlespeeder drinking up some courage.

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