A man emerges from the rain in a pale yellow smoking jacket and a Cossack-style winter hat. He is faceless in the crowd of costumed singlespeeders, all gathered here for the pre-race packet pick-up and impending pub crawl. At the registration table, the man gives his pseudonym—Stan Nice—and for perhaps the first time in a decade and a half, his name carries no prestige and inspires no awe, no instant recognition of his incredible accomplishments.
He wanders through the crowd at the dimly lit café, unrecognizable in the intoxicating haze of the party. Here, cloaked in the safety of his costume, he is just like any other racer who travelled to Portland to embrace the chaos and debauchery of the Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championships.
But his carved legs tell a different story. Here in Portland, he goes by Stan. In his home of Belgium, he’s “The Cannibal.” But you could also call him two-time World Cyclocross Champion Sven Nys.