RED HOOK CRIT: YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST

Red Hook Crit, Brooklyn No.9
For those who don’t know, RHC is probably la crème de la crème of fixed-gear crits. For many New Yorkers, this is probably the one cycling event marked on all our calendars. Competing is a whole other story. While many have such high hopes to qualify into the main race, successfully registering to participate in qualifications is already an accomplishment in itself due to its continuously growing popularity. 

I, along with my DCS teammates, were lucky enough to get on the roster for qualifications. Part of me did feel a bit guilty as I knew there were plenty more skilled and deserving riders who couldn’t participate because of limited slots for registration. However, it is considered an amateur race and knowing very well the competition’s roots and history - I needed to get my feet wet at a RHC. 

You’d think despite being an unsanctioned race, RHC would be a total mess. Even through all its controversy (both past and present), it is a very well-organized and runs a lot smoother than say Monster Track. But let’s not compare a closed circuit race to a street race in open traffic. They’re day and night. Both with very strong followings and respective cultures of their own.

Unsanctioned or not, Red Hook has gotten so big that there is a lot of waiting around, so I hope you didn’t leave a casserole baking in the oven. It could be a while. That’s cool in my opinion - it is an amazing atmosphere to be at. With riders coming from all over the country and globe to NYC, the range of diversity makes RHC Brooklyn to be so much more fitting and special. Needless to say, there is a lot of love going around whether in the form of comradery or simply passion for cycling.

While this was the first of four RHC’s for many sponsored riders, it was the only one I raced this year. The range of talent abilities is far wider than Kissena. It’s a different world. There is more concern about technique and navigation throughout the course. One slip could cause a crash. Yet, it is certainly more fun than a velodrome.

I entered RHC with little to no expectation. As a result, when I failed to qualify for neither the main race nor Last Chance - I wasn’t at all disappointed. Nevertheless, there were plenty of gains and I was thrilled to watch and support my peers from alley cats and the track make it through to the Last Chance and Final race.

With all the technical malfunctions, controversial penalty reports, and Olympic winners throughout the year (at Brooklyn, London, Barcelona, and Milan), it’s not easy being David Trimble. There are some concerns on the future of this crit as the cycling world continues to take notice.

How much longer will this race be open to the public both as competitor and spectator without restriction? If the day comes, then one door opens as another closes.

Until that day arrives, I’ll see you next year Red Hook! 

(Next Blog Post - "Spoke & Word: Behind the Scenes")