As summer begins to wind down, so does the WMBC Whatcom World Cup race series. Fanatik, along with co-sponsor Kulshan Brewing, returned to SST to support the twelfth round of the 2022 season. At this point in the summer SST has been decimated by thousands of laps by locals and tourists alike. A far cry from the prime trail conditions of the first SST round in June, riders were met by endless harsh braking bumps, blown out turns, and omnipresent plumes of dust. To further shake things up, this round was raced chainless.
Mechanics were posted at the top and bottom of the course to aid in removing and reinstalling chains. Riders were allowed a brief running start before having to hop on their bike and quickly find their footing. The key to this race was maximizing every bit of speed generated from the trail while staying off the brakes as much as possible, even if it meant a death grip or two before reaching the bottom. By popular demand, the infamous SST rock roll was included as an optional line.
The crux of this chainless race was undoubtedly the first road crossing just after Golden Spike. After navigating the two small step downs, riders would need to rail the quick left-right berms. Done properly and riders could carry just enough speed to get up and over the road. If a rider started to wash the front and grab a tiny bit of panic brake (like I did) they would find themselves doing the dreaded “adult strider” across the road, bleeding equal parts time and dignity.
Per usual, the local EWS racers put on a show, riding on another level than most the field were capable of. Fresh off a block of racing, Myles Morgan took a commanding four second victory over Transition rider John Richardson. Impressively, Morgan's time of 3:19.9 was two seconds faster than the time he laid down with a chain at the first SST race earlier in the season.This result would have put him third overall in round one. Among the women, Emily Mallos was the fastest of the day with an impressive 14.3 second margin over second place.
As racers completed their runs, the Fanatik tent began to come to life. Situated along the bottom clear cut portion of SST, Fanatik’s finest were on the grill cooking hotdogs and vegan alternatives. Perhaps the best part of a Whatcom World Cup, the post race gathering served as a picturesque visual of the Bellingham mountain biking community. Riders, many of which donned eccentric outfits, milled about sharing laughs and heckling the remaining racers. With the sun beginning to set it was hard not to become nostalgic of the summer's previous races as the 2022 season nears a close.
The Whatcom World Cup concludes with a pump track race at the waterfront on August 31st.