Brooklyn Night Lights: Erics’ Red Hook Crit Photoreport.
On Saturday April 25th, in the Cruise Terminal of Brooklyn’s Red Hook borough was held the 8th edition of the now international fixed-gear criterium Red Hook Crit. We kept hearing how great the weather was compared to the year before, and that’s true. But the riders had to face a somewhat steady wind despite the sunny day.
The Crit’ is a one-day event, starting with qualifiers: 6 groups for men and 2 for women, for a total of 400 riders. The favourites, or previously qualified riders in the series, rode last for safety and performance reasons; Super, super, fast riders and fast riders don’t mesh well, especially on a difficult course. Because yes, the course is highly technical. It features tight turns, fast straights and a lot of brakeless track bikes.
With the men’s final race average speed of 45km/h over 24 laps, you can understand that it’s not only about going crazily fast, but also about maneuvering your bicycle with great dexterity among the other 95 riders participating in the final event.
The 85 fastest riders of the qualifiers make it to final race. Qualifying positions 86 to 150 compete in the Last Chance Race. The top 10 of this race will fill the 10 last positions of the men’s field.
The Last Chance race was intense. There were a couple of crashes and you could see all riders were really pushing themselves to gain a spot in the final race. Bruno Labelle and Owen Eastmond Jr., both from local team ThePACK, qualified for the final race after giving all they had during the Last Chance race. Congrats. Big shout out to local riders Maxim Garant-Rousseau (Team iBike), Marc Séguin (Team iBike), Martin Roy (Team iBike), Anthony Desrosiers (ThePACK), and Joel Anderson (team SNCK) from Toronto.
After the qualifications, there was the RHC 5k run which the winner, Eliud Ngetich, did in 14 minutes, 21 seconds. Blisteringly fast. Good job to fellow Bikurious Racing Collective team rider Jordan Meadows for his great performance at the 5k run, same to Carole Marti from Team iBike.
At around 8h30PM, it was time for the women’s final race. The sun had set and the crowd was hyped. Blame it on expectations and a couple of Six Point beers, ha! The number of women participants increased since last year with more than 75 riders competing. I will say it now, like Camille often says, there is no need to compare the men and women’s field. It’s an incredible, hard and fast race for everyone.
Every women out there raced hard and went fast. Some went down, crashed and bled, but everyone in the race did all she could. The result was extremely entertaining and breathtaking race. The winner, Ainara Elbusto Arteaga, from Spain, had what it takes to win the title after 18 laps of intense cycling. She was followed closely by Fleur Faure in the sprint.
Shortly after, it was the men’s turn. There was a small delay at the start, during which the riders tried to keep themselves warm. I followed freshly turned 18 y.o. Christian Trenchev (Team iBike), a good friend of mine, in the back of the field. He was pacing steadily to keep himself amped up, ready for the night of his life.
When the race started, all the energy the racers held was released like a wave. A big crash in the last turn of the course, in the last few laps, took down a few of the favourites. Many lost their position but the race was on. Ivan Ravaioli was the first to cross the finish line, followed closely by Luis Junquera San Millan.
Christian did amazing and scored a 9th place in front of Neil Bezdek. Josh Tyrell, from Montreal but now riding for State Bicycle Co., ended 17th and Alexandre Matte, also from Montreal but unaffiliated, got 26th. The other Canadian riders were lapped and taken off course.
The Red Hook Crit’ day is, so far, one of the most exciting race day I’ve witness. After the podiums, David Trimble, the RHC’s founder, led us to a local BBQ joint for a little post crit’ partying. That’s what I call a nice ending to a great day.
Many thanks to Marissa, Kim, Jordan, and (other) Eric for making all of this possible for me.
For all the pictures of the race day, check out our album on Facebook.