To many, Sam Whittingham and Naked Bicycles need no introduction. Sam is a staple in the local race scene, a former human powered speed record holder and multible NAHBS awards winner. He is well known around these parts and in the custom frame building world. Nevertheless, since he’s been absent from NAHBS since 2012 some may not know what Naked is all about. So here’s a little background:
Naked Bicycles and Design is run by Sam and his partner Andrea Blaseckie. Sam does the building and Andrea basically handles the rest. They run their whole operation from their property on Quadra Island, which is a small island in the Georgia Strait, just off the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Sam has a long history of single speed riding and racing. He has raced, and often won endurance mountain bike races on his handmade SS bikes. He has a background in track racing, and his training rides on his fixed gear and enormous SSMTB rides are things of legend in Victoria and on Vancouver Island. Sam has raced cross for years on a singlespeed and Naked has sponsored a Singlespeed Cyclocross team for the last two years in the form of Naked Factory Racing. Therefore it’s a fitting partnership to have Naked Bikes as one of the title sponsors of SSCXWCVIC15 and we couldn’t be happier with that.
Sam’s racing goals got altered a bit recently when he tried to take down a tree with his shoulder while mountain biking but he is recovering hard to race SSCXWC. We caught up with him earlier in the season and got to shoot his bike after one of the muddier races of the year at Topaz Park in Victoria. Last winter we also got a chance to check out his workshop, so following/below is a gallery of his workspace and his product:
- Frame: Ti-Naked X titanium frame
- Fork: Whiskey no.9
- Bars: FSA SLK SL
- Stem: FSA OS-150
- Brake levers/shifters (Sam uses bike as a road bike with gears in the summer):
- Shimano Di2 ST-R785
- Bar Tape: Fizik
- Brakes: XT M-785
- Headset: Chris King
- Cranks: FSA SLK
- Chainring: Gates
- BB: Niner Biocentric II
- Pedals: Shimano PD-M780 (XT)
- Seatmast: Naked with Enve Hardware
- Seat: Pro Falcon
- Wheels: Industry Nine Ultralite Tubeless
- Tires: Schwalbe Rocket Ron (tubless)
- Cog: Gates
- SS spacers: Token
- Belt drive: Gates
- Skewers: Rock Shox 15mm Maxle front. Salsa QR rear
What exactly is this alleged Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships that is descending upon my city?
A weekend-long social occasion with a sprinkling of cyclocross racing on bikes with one gear.
This is the ninth iteration of an event that started in Portland OR, and has since been hosted in a number of different cities throughout ‘Merica.
SSCXWC is a real tongue-in-cheek countercultural cycling event. This year, we are proud to be bringing it to Victoria, its first international setting.
When is this happening? What does the schedule look like?
THURSDAY November 19th: Registration closes at 11pm.
SATURDAY November 21st: The Feats of Strength group ride begins at about 11am.
Registered riders will be broken into groups of about 15 racers, from all different hometowns, and towed throughout Victoria by a local ride leader. Between intermittent ‘hydration’ stops, riders will tasked with completing feats of cyclocross-strength at a number of checkpoints. Think hill climbs on single speed bikes, ridiculous sand sections, and some elbow-to-elbow mini races.
That evening Giro is hosting a kickoff party for the event. With roller sprints (Google it!), Hoyne beer, and live music lined up, it should get racers into that festive spirit. As well, the LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER alleycat race goes down. 9pm for one last opportunity to make Sunday’s main race.
SUNDAY November 22nd:
11am-4pm. Western Speedway, Langford.
Show up, check out our crazy course, grab some food from the excellent vendors on hand, including Caravan Cuisine and Wanna Wafel. Get ready to race, or cheer/ heckle your favourite SSCX’ers as they duke it out.
12:30pm- Everyone’s NOT a Winner. The consolation “Open” race.
1:30pm- Women’s championship event
2:30pm- Men’s championship event
The entry fee is a hundred bucks. Isn’t that expensive?
We think it’s great value for a weekend of events. With group rides being arranged for Friday, parties every evening, a killer qualifier in the Feats of Strength ride, and of course the grandiose event on Sunday.
Plus, racers receive a bunch of schwag from our excellent sponsors, including Hoyne brewing, Wolf Tooth components, Nuun, etc. And Hoyne beer tickets. Did we mention the beer tickets?!?
I’ve got a great cylcocross bike. But it has gears. How hard is it to set up a SSCX for the weekend?
Easy-peasy. Start by bringing the bike down to your LBS. Likely the easiest fix is a single speed cog & spacer kit (Aprx. $65) combined with an inverted shift cable that tensions your derailleur to sit where it needs to be. Adjust the limit screws to keep it all in place, and BAM.
Any secret insights into the ‘winning gear’ ratio?
Somewhere in the 55-62 gear inch range is cozy.
39×18 is a good starting place.
Bump down a tooth on your cog size if you are feeling tough as nails.
There are rumours of mandatory costumes. What’s the scoop?
Get clever with it. SSCXWC doesn’t like to have too many rules. But be warned: the winners will probably be wearing some ridiculous outfit. You really don’t want to be the only one ripping around in a silly skinsuit, do you?
Will the race course differ from our usual Cross on the Rock style of racing?
Same kind of idea. But instead of nanaimo-bar hand ups, think Tequila shot shortcuts, and maybe more jumps, berms and whups.
“World Championships” sounds kind of intense. What if I don’t want to race against the fast guys?
The Saturday Feats of Strength ride will seed racers into either the Championship event, or the Everyone’s NOT a Winner race. If you feel like ripping it up on Sunday, go hard on Saturday. If you want to race the NOT a Winner race, have fun on Saturday, but maybe make a couple of extra tall-can stops.
What if I don’t qualify in the Feats of Strength ride? Can I somehow make the Championship race selection?
The LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER! An alleycat race Saturday night. Leaving from the Giro Pre Race Party at 9pm. Super short, super fast. Hit all the checkpoints and get back in the first couple of riders.
The Feats of Strength Qualifier is scheduled for Saturday. I’m working/ busy/ doing super serious interval training that day. Can I still race if I miss this?
Probably. We’d love it if you come out for the whole weekend, but life gets in the way.
Drop us an e-mail at email@example.com, and we can try to arrange for a starting spot in Sunday’s non-championship race.
I’m not foolish enough to want to race. But I want to come spectate. Where do I go and when?
Western Speedway. 12pm-4pm. Bring refreshments, and money for food vendors. Bring a
mega-phone and rubber boots. Maybe bacon-wrapped marshmallows to hand to racers?
Is there an e-mail address that I can send questions/ e-heckles/ kudos/ concerns to?