Hodala Does Belgium

As I pulled two cans of silly string out of my bike bag for fear of causing an international incident at thirty thousand feet I realized I was flying all the way to Belgium from Seattle mainly to goof off. The basketball outfit, slingshot and clown nose all stayed packed inside. I was committed to the antics, but it was suddenly tough to swallow the fact that I wasn’t really planning on doing much riding in the motherland of cyclocross and cobbles. Still, if I took a step back and tried to think of any other way for me to participate in the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championship 2018 (SSCXWC18be) I couldn’t come up with a single way I’d rather do it. Frankly, playing a mean game of defense during our, on course, sportsball game WAS my race, and I was going to crush it.

By the time my flight landed in Brussels on the Friday of race weekend, I was already playing catch up with the majority of my team who had arrived in the days previous. Luckily, single speed bikes are a breeze to put together and my Hodala teammates had left me a trail of bottle caps from the rental flat to the brewery they had made base camp at.

The event Friday night was not only a kickoff for the weekend, the warm-up for any antics, but an homage of sorts to the year the dream of bringing this race to Belgium was born. The evening’s race and metal show took its cue from the junkyard race Bilenky Cycle Works put on in 2013 for the events seventh year in Philadelphia. Five years later, the course once again had riders racing over and through broken down cars. Heats of twenty racers each were taken out to the parking lot, divided in half and stuffed into the two, still fresh smelling, porta-potties. As the small blue box rocked to and fro as it was being shaken by LeDav, the event’s organizer, like a crazed gorilla from the outside, I tried to assure myself the sheer weight of eleven grown men would keep it upright. How top-heavy are we? How much poop is already in the bottom?

The cap blew off our blue can of snakes and round one was unleashed, where the lead riders promptly left the start line backward. The accidental start directional mixup couldn’t have been a better start to the weekends racing had it been planned. Halfway into that first dark, backward lap, three lead racers would top out on a course feature all approaching it from different threads of single track. We all filed through the start-finish line that first lap in a sort of foggy mayhem that would continue until the wee hours of the morning. The fine edges considered details are as dark as the course outside the dim illumination of the bike’s headlight on the course. The metal band rocked. The customary Singlespeed Worlds late night sojourn cover charge seemed oddly high because (as we later learned) it was actually a brothel. And by the time we all went to bed the next morning, most of us were not going to be in any shape to race GoGo Hellcross.

Saturday morning existed in those early hours before we all fell asleep. Then there was only Saturday afternoon, which did not spell well for making it to the venue on time, let alone qualifying for the race. Luckily for us, there was only one thing on the agenda of our European Vacation and as the last of us staggered into the kitchen for the morning, erm, afternoon coffee, quick work was made to move on to the venue.

I made zero effort in preparation for having an authentic Belgian cyclocross experience, expecting SSCXWC18be to have more of an urban flair. As we staggered onto the course, which holds an annual race called GoGo Hellcross, halfway through our weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by everything I expect of cyclocross in the motherland. A rutted out farm field, piles of cow shit outside the mainline, puddles of beer surrounding the party tent and a raucous crowd yelling at racers. With the urgent matter of finding beers attended to, Sally and I noticed the course being routed through an old, decrepit camper. As we gazed at the hollowed out shell of fond memories, I will never forget the words he so innocently said. “I’m surprised one of you fuckers isn’t up on top of that thing yet.” I looked at him and left him a few paces behind as I said, “There is an easy way to take care of that.” We spent the rest of race day on top of that camper, doing our best to make it fall down beneath us. We took bikes as hand ups over the top when the inside got crowded and then demanded beers in order to get the bikes back. Beverages were thrown at us in pure cyclocross fashion and other spectators, terrifyingly, joined us atop our swaying plasterboard box. And although we didn’t know it at the time, as we stood up there and made fools of ourselves, by simply doing what we do best, we were helping someone through a rough spot in their day. The light of the short winter day came to an end not long after the last racer staggered through the finish. We arrived back at our rental house in the dark, making a quick turn around for the party in the city.

The race provided dinner on Saturday night as well as a euro dance party with a smoke machine that was so prolific that every time the circus tent doors were opened a column would soar into the sky. After the solid current dance hits transitioned into proper euro-techno and things started to get strange, we headed out into the drizzly night. Opting to forego another attempt at “strip clubs” that featured pictures of beds in their Google profile we stopped at the corner bar, Le Columbophile, for a nightcap on the way back to our beds.

SUN DAY! SUN DAY! SUN DAY! The morning of the main event, scheduled to officially start before noon, was met with sore heads and red eyeballs. Slowly, one by one, Sally pulled more wigs out of his bag than should have been allowed through customs. As short shorts and long socks were pulled on, we realized that we’ve always been a better looking 80’s sportsball team than a bike squad. Let me tell you, there is only one thing Holdala collectively enjoys more than buying its own merchandise and it is dressing up in costume. And nothing pushes aside any shred of dignity more than Singlespeed Worlds. Whether we were admitting it to ourselves or not, we’d all flown halfway around the world, to race in this race, but also to play a makeshift game of basketball right in the middle of it.

Somehow as we rode up to the venue, the few loose threads we had to tie together a basketball game wove themselves into a three-inch thick steel cable. The lone, runty orange ball from the ball pit was appropriated as our own. A mostly empty garbage can was held aloft from the gazebo overlooking the start finish. The adjoining, unusually wide, spot in the course offered the perfect half court set up. And after the first qualifying heat went off on their first lap, we slowly went out to warm up and then play some mean defense.

The fact that cyclists were constantly cutting through the game made for some strategic planning. With teammates riding on course, sometimes the game would whittle down to one on one, at which point a pair of racers on a tandem made the perfect screen for an easy layup. At other times, two or three fast riders would confuse the defense with their speed and lack of participation and you could spring off them for a mean dunk. Other times, the best strategy may have been to simply take someone’s bike from them and use that as your defensive tactic. It was the kind of game you needed to be able to adapt in to succeed. We scored lots of touchdowns and I am fairly certain America won.

Sometime near the last lap, the ball was stolen by some little kids who thought it was their turn to show us how it was done and we turned to doing stunts on the pallet ramp and watching the one-man band. And it was during the closing show in the gazebo that we struck up a conversation with a young woman and her mother. Where we learned that the race the previous day, Gogo Hellcross, was a yearly event thrown to commemorate a local racer Hugo Manteau who died of brain cancer in 2011. The race raises money for Belgian Brain Tumor Support and the mother we were getting a translated conversation with was Hugo’s wife. She told us that the previous day is generally a festive one, but she had been struggling. That was until she looked up and saw us “dancing” on top of the camper. She was the nicely dressed, very timid woman who had been hoisted up to the top of that mud covered, crumbling trailer and shimmied like she belonged there. She told Sally and me that when she saw us up there, she knew Hugo was still with her and she had to be up there with us. That he was a goofball just like we were and he would have loved to be dancing on top of the trailer too. A lesson learned that if you are gonna bring your goofball game to make sure it is your A game because it might just be the most important part of the weekend for someone.

Polka Dot Crosser

“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” – Ron Swanson

We’ve decided to brush the dust off a classic Seattle event (in our minds), put a CX twist on it and whole-ass an event this Sunday. Is it a race? Is it a ride? Hell if we know. All I know is we put the idea together over a beer and it sounded awesome. So we waited a couple days, had some more beers while discussing it some more and it STILL sounded awesome. And then we went on a scouting ride, drank a few beers and put together a route that had us hurting but feeling pretty good that we had crammed as much shit into a sandwich as possible.

What do you need to know?
We’re going to start at the South East Corner of Genesee Park at 11 am Sunday, April 1st. Rolling out at 1130 after grabbing names, giving some instructions and collecting $10 to go on the ride. Why $10? Because we have expenses and shit! That’s why.
We recommend gears. Lots of them. But you be you and feel free to bring a SS, Fixed, unicycle (FPDX) and heckle the shit out of us for putting on a non-SS friendly event. (Put on your own event and you can make the rules.)
We also recommend larger than 25c tires. Please refer to the above but substitute tire sizes for bikes.
We’ll be ending at the Slowboat where we might have prizes. We’ll probably have Hodala Merch for sell. We’re trying to get a beer special. We’ll definitely be watching Flanders.

I can hear you now…’this is pretty last minute and seems like a pretty shoddy event’. And I’ll remind you that this is a Hodala event and we “Never half-ass two things. We whole-ass one thing.”

A Festivus Miracle

Alright…here’s the deal.  I want to push some stuff out of the Hodala Warehouse (aka…Sally’s Basement)  So for the rest of the month of December, I’m going to throw in a Hodala Pin that was made specifically for Sally’s wedding this fall on any order over $30 (shipping included) until the few I have left are gone.

“Is that a pledge pin…”

That’s it.  Now go to the store…purchase some merch…and support your local SSCX Aholes.  Slip-n-slides don’t magically appear out of unicorn’s butt-holes and land in Woodland Park you know….

Yup. We did that.

Here are the words we put together about the Woodland Park race. You can read about it here or take a look at All Hail The Black Market or CX Magazine for their personally edited versions :

It’s been randomly known in some circles that Hodala is a team that was built without giving a shift. Part of this is due to the nature of the Single Speeder and the culture that has helped cultivate this mentality. The other part can be attributed to the amazing people who repeatedly host events and tolerate us year after year. Case in Point, the fine people at MFG Cyclocross here in Seattle who have often turned a blind eye, or merely crossed their arms and shook their head back and forth like a disappointed parent when our “soup kitchen” of a trailer shows up.

With no intent on traveling to #sscxwc in Italy (you’re welcome EU) we turned our full attention to the crown jewel of Seattle CX….Woodland Park. In years past we’ve hosted luau’s, beach parties, a disco, 80’s metal fest and have often created a winter wonderland at what has been dubbed “Hodala Corner”. This year’s plan was a little more ambitious…make a ‘long cut’ with a giant slip-n-slide and a foam pit. We figured it would take 30+ pallets, some plywood, a big roll of visqueen, over a dozen bottles of dish soap, 3 kegs of tasty beer and a leaf blower. No problem. Right?

Disclaimer, this is not legal in most forms of racing and I’m sure would be punishable at an OBRA race with a DQ and forfeiture of all Rapha apparel. We did not alter the course in any way (we merely created an ‘option’) and we got permission from MFG in the form of a subtle ‘don’t make a mess’ response.

To be totally honest we had NO idea about what everyone would think of it and were hopeful that people would partake in the little bit of fun we were trying to create. By the end of the day we were beyond stoked with the number of people who ‘opted in’ for the shenanigans and completely blown away when the leaders of the Pro ½’s race (Steve Fisher, Spencer Paxson, Russell Stevenson and Kaler Marshall with the overall series title on the line) came to an accord and giggled their way down the ‘illegal’ course option covered in Hodala foam. Like finding the true meaning of Christmas, I guess it really is possible to race a bike and have some fun.

I’m sure there are some people out there who will find some kind of fault in what we did and maybe claim that these kinds of antics are ruining cross. To which my only reply is to crack a beer and salute them in their pursuit of outstanding results in their athletic endeavors. Meanwhile, we’ll just place another 6-pack in the pit area and continue to spread our own kinda racing around.

That’s a wrap on the 2017 CX Season.  Time to put the Hobago back into storage and start planning shit for CX Nationals that will be in our backyard in 2 years.

Hodala Hill

This is one of those posts that could easily turn into an Illiad of writing. Instead, I’ll try and cut it down to a palatable amount of words fitting for a 140 character society.

The first prints received from KCE

#KCE is a little-known celebrity in the cycling industry.  Going back 5+ years random people involved in the trade began receiving envelopes with pieces of bicycle-themed art in them with the only a PO box and KCE in the in return address. These little Random Acts of Art (or Awesome) became a massive ‘thank you’ to many of us who were lucky enough to receive them. It’s widely known that working in the ‘industry’ is one of pure passion…because it is a thankless, time consuming, low paying job that gets ripped apart daily by arm-chair-comment-trolling-I-can-do-better a-holes that have no idea what it actually involved in getting a bike from concept to consumer…and when these envelopes showed up in our mailboxes, it was a moment of pure excitement to see what new rendering we had received.

When KCE approached us about doing a piece, everything quickly went to the Schwinn Exerciser bike we perched atop a pile of wood chips at SSCXWCXPDX. It was an easy choice to represent Hodala and all of our years involved in SSCXWC as it made the cover of ROAD magazines FINAL publication in a grand send-off as it goes to the EU this year.

Hate to see you go….

We (honestly) do not deserve something as rad as this…but we are extremely excited to share it with all of you. Only 50 of these have been handmade…and we’ve already grabbed a few for ourselves…and once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

Hodala Hill print. Click the link below for the details

Order yours now. 

(if you live in the Seattle area and will be seeing Hodala at the remaining CX races, enter SOUTHPARK for hand delivery at a race…just swing by the Hobago to claim your goods and a beer)

Rainier Beep Bop Boop RE-Post

Holy shit!  First Gary Busey replies to Sally on Twitter… 

THEN Rainier Beer goes and reposts Sally’s Rainier2D2 May the Fourth pic!   

All we need to do now is figure out how to get Ke$ha to reply to our DM’s and world domination can’t be far behind.

Head to the store and grab your R2Beer2 and assimilate with the rest of us.


Proof that Zombie Jesus loves our new shirts so much, he did not smote Cheever and leave him for worm food.

“And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”  –  Acts 12:23

Thus making you invincible when you wear it.

Drink from his cup…we dare you

Patches? You bet your sweet ass we have patches

And now available in a more portable size to add to your jean jacket.

Proof that a solid thrust hug, an exercise bike and clown makeup will get you noticed by even the most conservative of bike brands.

Any more proof and you’d be able to fire a musket.

No Bothans Were Harmed Acquiring These Coozies

In fact…in all my years of Star Wars Fanboy-dom don’t I ever recall even seeing a Bothan.

Just in time for the release of Rogue One, a fat batch of Rainier2D2 Coozies have landed in our store.

We have both sizes. 12 AND 16oz

Lovingly hand made by the legendary Corndog of Dank Bags, these coozies are as unique and elusive as the man who made them.  A man so shrouded in mystery he is found only on social media under the tag #corndogdoingthings and talked about in loud bars as a Coozie craftsman with no equal in the lesser Seattle area.

Order one now, grab a bunch of your favorite yellow beer, drink every time someone says “Rebel” or Rebellion” and toast them on their successful mission to steal the plans for the DeathStar.  (if that’s a spoiler, you have no business being our friend)

Where the ROAD ends

“Don’t worry….we’ll turn off the lights when we leave”

Like all unwanted guests, we’re often the last to leave the party, bar or cross course.  So perhaps it was destiny we found ourselves on the cover of the final issue of ROAD magazine from the shit show that was SSCXWCXPDX.

Tubthumping may have been our theme song for the weekend. Please don’t ask why…

We swear Adam…we did NOT steal your race packet and take it to the gentleman’s club

2016 really needed to fuck off. Is it to early to tell 2017 to do the same?

We enjoyed a particularly indecent relationship with the fine people at ROAD that included trips to Philly, Bikini Baristas, the grail (RIP) and our very own Hot Laps Craig contributing to a number of issues with a column titled Hot Topics with Craig.  The shuttering of their doors is further proof that we just can’t have nice things.

Within a week of the announcement the website was turned off, and we were informed that no print version would be available.  We did manage to download a copy and have it available if you want to give it a gander.

Should you trust something we put on the internet for you to download?  Probably not.  But go ahead and do it anyway.

Download  click it….go on…do it