In the first installment, I talked about traveling to New York, the Messenger Study, and getting to know the local bike scene. Now it's time to race! Let's talk Red Hook, the reason for my trip!
Part 2: The Red Hook Crit
The road to Red Hook gives you a great idea of just how much talent there is out in the world. People who jump into the fixed gear crit scene seem to share a common craving for danger and speed. It's an unspoken truth that keeps us coming back for more. Put all of us on the same track at the same time, and you know it's going to get crazy. And that's exactly what we signed up for.
Heading into qualifying, all I could think about was getting in a good time. Riding alone, it's hard to lock in a good lap, but its doable with the right attacks and a disciplined strategy.
During my qualifier, I was able to snag the 6th best time out of 50+ cyclists in my heat! I ended up working with a local rider named Jacob and, while I didn't expect our times to be the best, we managed to stay in the fight and advance. There were 3 crashes in our heat alone and seeing the carnage (and knowing that the same fate could end my day) left me with my adrenaline peaked and my mind focused.
And then, drama. Right before the race I found both my Gatorskins slashed. I had no choice but to make a dash to the local bike shop to get some replacement tires. Being cheap (and bummed about my Contis), I just grabbed the closest $15 tires so that I could get rolling back to the race. 9 miles away from the course with just minutes before the start, I was running almost every light to make it on time and to rid myself of all that pre-race anxiety.
Ready. Set. Go.
The race began and people were wrecking every few laps. I managed to avoid being caught up in the crashes, but each narrow escape cost me a bit of time and positioning. I knew I'd have to attack to get back in the race. I hammered and before I knew it, I had charged myself into the top 20 only to run over someone's bike and catch a flat. My race was over.
I had hoped to avoid being caught up in a mechanical but, with all types of racing, sometimes these things just happen. You can only learn from each event and grow from it. And, at the end of the day, I am blessed to be out here supporting my company, doing what I love, and hanging out with other people who are passionate about riding.
And just because my race was over, didn't mean my trip was! Pop back here for Part 3 where we meet some more local riders, check out the sights, and get lost in everything that makes New York so special!