Major ink: The Single Speed Mountain Bike World Championship.
Our congrats to Heather Irmiger and Ross Schnell for winning the 2009 edition of the Single Speed Mountain Bike World Championships in Durango, Colorado. Yee-haw, as the cowboy tifosi say.
Instead of some sizable check and a stuffed teddy bear, winners are given, invited, coerced into getting a tattoo. Suppose they did that at the Tour de France — Lance Armstrong would be inked all over with Credit Lyonnaise bears. A scary thought. Dude, I just won Alpe d’Huez, where’s my Jagermeister and Angel of the Mountains tat? Uhh, no, that doesn’t happen.
But we’re talking about a different sub-culture. The single track tribe is much more of a hony tonk, cowboy hat, tequila shot, high heels with cleats, tattoo parlor and indie rock scene. You ride your bike to the race, the bar, the jail — it’s that kind of vibe.
That said, yeah, cool, because a steady diet of overly serious lycra jerks gets tiring. The sad truth is road bikers hardly every buy you a round and their conversation rarely gets beyond training programs and titanium widgets.
The Single Speed Mountain Bike Championship is a huge inhale of fresh air and a really awesome tat. I mean, a chunk of Roubaix cobblestone is great — a nice souvenir. But going under the needle is a whole ‘nother deal. Not an EPO deal either. There is no drug test category for performance enhancing ink.
Our congrats to winners Heather and Ross. You rock. You don’t need a special colored jersey. What good is that? A jersey gets dirty, the color fades and eventually it ends up on ebay or the Goodwill bin.
A championship is an indelible measure of who you are. It’s what’s inked under the jersey that counts.