Dirty gold, as a title, is meant as a play on words. Gold medals, won in the dirt. Dirty gold. Kinda like Filthy Lucre, only won through hard work, years of sweat equity, sharp elbows, and powerful fast twitch muscles.
This year is the first time that Short Track XC has its own World Championship event. In the past, this intense, exciting, highly dynamic short-fuse crucible of peak wattage and edge grip was a highly entertaining form of racing unto itself, but was used primarily as a qualifier to determine start positions at the longer, more traditional XC event. This year, with full medal status, short track racing is finally getting full recognition as an exciting and absolutely worthy form of off-road competition.
Chris Blevins managed to do something that hasn’t been done for a very long time. Namely, he is the first man from the United States to don the rainbow stripes in anything XC related since since John Tomac won the World Championship back in 1991. Blevins has been knocking on the door, having dominated US domestic off road racing throughout his junior and U-23 career, and served notice with his U-23 silver medal at XC Worlds last year at Worlds that he is absolutely a threat, regardless of course length. With a solid background in both BMX and cyclocross in addition to his potent XC skills, short track is right up Blevins’ alley.
As part of the Swiss juggernaut in women’s XC racing right now – where the Swiss squad completely dominated the podium in the Women’s Olympic XC race – Sina Frei came to Val Di Sole on a high. Her gold medal here at Worlds proves that her Olympic silver medal was no fluke.
Given that both men’s and women’s gold medals were won aboard Roval Control SL wheelsets, we couldn’t be happier with the result. A looooong time ago, there were these Nike Air Jordan commercials, where Spike Lee (playing his character Mars Blackmon) would badger His Eminence Michael Jordan about his NBA dominance. “It’s gotta be the shoes, right?"
“It’s not the shoes, Mars.”
In this case, it’s probably not the wheels, either. But they had to have helped, right? 1240 grams per pair, 29mm internal rim width, 22% reduced likelihood of race ending pinch flats, super smooth riding but razor sharp handling, these are some of the fastest wheels in the world, period. These are the kind of wheels you need for 20 minutes of max output pain. They are the choice of World Champions. They make us feel like world champions every time we hit the trail. Maybe they help make World Champions (“It’s not the shoes, Mars!”). Now we just gotta figure out where to place those snappy little rainbow stripe stickers. Chris and Sina, congratulations and thank you!