By Frank Mapel
Durango welcomes the world once again – as in the Singlespeed World Championships.
Similar to the first UCI-sanctioned Mountain Bike World Championships held in 1990 (OK, maybe not really too similar, other than location) the sky is the limit as far as expectations (as in lots of beer) and tradition (as in passing down the race dress from father to son) in the making.
The promoters of the motley event – the race is on Saturday – promise an eclectic stroll of fun, raucous ballyhoo hindered by nothing more than a slight residue of common sense.
Thursday night was a meet-and-greet for bike builders, enthusiasts, race entrants and pretty much anyone walking downtown. The Irish Embassy – that’d be a pub – held the gathering of bikes, pints and minds – in that order. As the discounted stouts flowed, the chatter of new and old technologies swirled like Picasso riding a Yeti.
With no more than 1,000 square feet to the joint – and roughly 800 of it allotted to bike displays from local and visiting craftsman – it was apparent the celebrities were, in fact, the bikes themselves.
As flannel-clad, goofy-hat-wearing, passion-driven pedalers all gawked at the creations the conversation migrated toward discussion of gear ratio and the worlds’ course; a demanding one that will help mold the mountain bikes of tomorrow. The irony is that much of yesterday’s technology will be the first to test its mettle.
Yes, it’s been awhile since Durango has held a major mountain bike race, and with uncorked — literally — enthusiasm the excitement is bubbling all over town.
Check back to Singletrack.com throughout the weekend for more from Durango.