It’s a party on Wednesday night. Tiki torches, pink flamingos, live music and the beer flows. Although the beer is not the only thing that flows because this party on a Wednesday in Seatac also hosts about 200 MTB’ers - smiling, pedaling and racing their way around the 3 mile circuit.
The smiles are the most important part of the night to Russell Stevenson who took over the reigns of the Wednesday Night World Championships in 2014. There was no grand plan initially, no big dream, but fatherhood changed that a bit, as it can do. Having a son opened Russ’ eyes to the importance of community. Shortly, building this community around his passion for riding developed a life of its own. Stevenson is a US Master’s Cyclocross Champion and a Cyclocross Master’s World Champion so community and smiles run a little contrary to type.
The success of anything can sometimes be its downfall and Russ is working hard to make sure that Wednesdays don’t become a victim of their’s. The changes that happen now to WNW are to enhance the rider’s experience and the focus is on keeping it real, accessible, chill and staying true to its roots.
Outside of everyone looking like they’re having a great time one of the things that’ll strike you about WNW are the kids. There are kids everywhere and in fact there are 3 separate kid’s races. These are the dreamers according to Stevenson and he’s making sure they have the window to live that dream. Us 40 some-odd-year-old cyclists know we may not be world champion but ask a 10 year old ripper and the answer will be ‘heck, yes I will’. These rippers are what keeps Stevenson involved in the sport, “We are enabling kids to dream a bit and are putting a high pulse to it”.
Even after a long career Russ still loves to ride and to be invested in the sport, the difference now is that it’s not about him. According to Russ his greatest achievement in cycling is not any one win its that after all these years he still loves to ride his bike - must be something about all those smiles.