In typical single speed style this year’s world championship has been announced. So, dig the old single speed out of your shed, lower your standards and expectations, and start planning a road trip to Spain.
- Location: Arnes, Catalunya, Spain (here)
- When: October 7-8
- What: The non-UCI sanctioned, unofficial, nobody cares world championships of single speed mountain bike racing
- What else: Beer, food, nice people
- Registration: 65 EUROS
- Friday: Registration, fun ride, beerz
- Saturday: Race, Big Spainish Meal, Evening Fiesta
- Sunday: Hangover Breakfast, Fun Ride.
- Link: HOME | Single Speed Worlds (sswc23.com)
What Is Single Speed Racing?
It’s a XC style race, with a run to your bike Le Mans start, and then over the mountains on a bike with a single speed freewheeling gear. Often you will find distractions around the course involving beer, catapults, swimming holes, picnics, local moonshine, and more. It’s best to prepare for a long day out. It’s the dirty end of the racing scale. But do stick “World Championship Level Mountain Bike Racer” on your CV. HR people love it and assume you are a super efficient turbo overachiever.
There are two basic rules of Single Speed racing at world champ level. Make sure you only have one gear on your bike. And if you don’t want a tattoo, don’t ****ing win. Simple isn’t it – apparently not. I have seen people turn up with gears and say “I have only changed gear eight times”, and then the winner refused that tattoo! “I’m not having a ******* tattoo!”… “Then you are not the winner, where’s the guy who came next?”. The first winner eventually took the tattoo on his lower cheeks.
After the race it is the tradition to hold a contest of some sort to decide who will host next year’s single speed race. These have involved Karaoke, fire, pedalo boats, drinking contests, pinball and other auxiliary sports. In the picture below you can see, but fortunately not hear, why SSWC did not go to the UK in 2022.
They tell us Arnes in Spain is “a charming town deep in the south of Catalunya that’s off the beaten path. ‘Nuff bars, trails, and restaurants for a weekend. Camping available of course, and hotels too.”
“Arnes is about 2 hours from Barcelona. There is no direct train there, BUT, you can drive, train + bus, or train + bike. Or just bike.”
Why would you race around on a mountain bike with only one gear? The three F’s is why.
- Fun: It is lots and lots of fun. You can’t put the power on during a descent as you have spun out your only gear, so you tend not to brake, which makes for some great racing. You also get to chat to people while resting and walking the climbs. For many the race is a rolling party.
- Fitness: You are going to get fit either out of the saddle wrankling that bike up the hills or pushing it up.
- ‘fficency. With only one gear and no drivetrain drag it is really ‘fficent. Your single speed bike is light as an old steel feather and you can unpack all your weighty mech smashing worries too.