The Notoriously Energetic Party Animals Of Single Speed Gather In Belgium To, Um, Race?
The inaugural Belgian Single Speed Championships took place recently over the last weekend of May, with Brooks happily on board to assist in any way we could. Race organizer Bruno Duquesne has kindly got back to us with some pictures and memories of the event, which attracted Shifterphobes from as far away as the United States to the World’s Conveyor Belt of Cycling Greats.
Another day that will remain etched in my memory, certainly is not easy to recap this day as an organiser but I will try.
Montroeul-au-bois, is a small village in the hilly region of Belgium, his cows, meadows, small woods, hills and good people, like Jacques*, hosted Sunday the 27 May, the first Belgium Singlespeed Champs.
Under the blue sky, 61 participants from Belgium but also England, Scotland, USA, France and the Netherlands are ready to fight.
Bikes are scattered in a meadow and singlespeeders were aligned for a “24h Le Mans” style start. But surprise, we borrow them left one shoe, and immediately throw them in the meadow. Not a sound, we let beasts start into a mastered chaos, dust fly and the ground moves for the delight of spectators.
Few minutes later, everyone is on the track and the stronger stand fast in the first hill, but most are here for fun and enjoy the bucolic landscape of the area. The track is a mixture of fields, meadows, woods and it crosses the village. This isn’t an easy course, there is no recovery area and some rider have a headache after a long Saturday night party on Nicolas’ home.
Despite signs of an error or rather sabotage in the first round, all participants gathers on the course. Loops keep coming in the sweltering heat, the difficulty of the singletrack encourages quiet ride and long stop on the pit where cold beers are available.
Dan, our English friend, is far ahead during the 4 first laps but unfortunately he is wrong on the last lap and it was finally Steve, a Belgian Zombiker who win the first edition just in front of David, AKA Mr singlespeed in France, and Tim an other Belgian guy. As same as at the European Championship, Noa Selosse only 12 year old easily won the women category, she is just amazing!
The beers on finish lane are emptied and everyone stay along in the village festival to enjoy the bottle of Moinette offered to each, watch the demo Trial and take part to the slower race where the battle between a FatBike, a 29er, a 26er, a 650b, a semi FatBike and a Trialist is really intense, they fight hard to win 2 handle bars.
The final awards ceremony takes place in a wild atmosphere, where the various gifts are distributed to more valiant riders. The faster, the lucky ones, the guy who came from most far get some amazing prices while some volunteer and the President of the local club who help to organize this day, win the prizes offered by Brooks England.