Ice baths, prescribed burns, mandatory tattoos: Santa Cruz hosted the most raucous World Championships of the year

The shenanigans of the 2023 Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in words and photos

(Image credit: Kevin Saborit-Guasch)

I was soaking wet and laughing, standing in my red and blue flame boxing shorts, huge leather belt, netted shirt and temporary neck tattoos, my hair crusted into the shape of my helmet from a heavy poof of flour I had ridden through as I’d launched off a soaked ramp following a  20-foot-long ice bath pit.. Above me men in leopard suits launched over the flyover and two locals loaded doughnut holes onto sticks for handups. This was the 2023 Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) in Santa Cruz, California, and people were ready to rumble. 

A keg stand on the middle of a cyclocross race? Common sight at the SSCXWC.

(Image credit: Kevin Saborit-Guasch)

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Emily Schaldach
Freelance writer

Emily Schaldach has taken to writing and riding, both to near obsession. Her favorite moments are riding above tree-line, racing CX, or coaching high school mountain bikers. Schaldach writes a weekly Substack newsletter called Too Many Socks and has written for VeloNews, Gear Patrol and Experience Life. Schaldach was born in Durango, Colorado and currently lives in Reno, Nevada with her two best friends and big old black lab named Hoola. She races for the BitchnGrit Cycling Team with Firefly Bikes and TenSpeed Hero - creating a dream dynamic of artwork and hardwork on every ride. 

With contributions from