Reigning singlesspeed world champs Ross Schnell and Heather Irmiger will head half way around the world in a few weeks to score more free ink.
Schnell and Irmiger earned their SSWC tattoos last year in Durango, Colorado. This year’s gathering of one-gear wonders will take place in Rotorua, New Zealand on Oct. 23 on the Whakarewarewa Forest trail network.
Along with the reigning champs and 900 other entrants, Olympian and two-time SSWC winner Travis Brown will contest the race. So will Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Irmiger’s husband and teammate on the Subaru-Trek mountain bike trade team.
“Top athletes, and top people too,” said Gary Sullivan, president of the Rotorua Singlespeed Society, host club for SSWC10. “And with a very necessary sense of humour.”
For the rest of the field, Sullivan said the SSWC is about feats of strength, wild costumes, having a laugh, telling lies and, of course, beer.
“So much international sport is about as serious as it gets,” added Dean Watson, one of the event organizers. “It’s nice to kick back and have some fun.”
The 2010 event will have the most countries represented on the start line in its 12 year history, according to organizers.
“It’s well up on the previous best of 17 countries at the 2004 Singlespeed Worlds in Berlin,” Sullivan said.
Locales represented so far include Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Greenland.
“Rotorua’s a major mountain biking destination and we knew we’d get good numbers from the USA, where the sport and the singlespeed worlds started, and from Australia, too,” said Watson.