Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No.10May 2 | Race · Story | No Comments on Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No.10
It’s was the second time that Mess Pack Berlin was attending the famous Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn. Jojo finished with his best result on 20th position and Hagen came in 53 in the last chance race. This race is a special in many ways. It’s where fixed gear criterium racing started. Ten years ago in the harbor neighborhood of “Red Hook” – district in Brooklyn, New York after which the famous racing series is named.
The 10th anniversary was even bigger, better and more spectacular than any before. The atmosphere in Brooklyn is just top notch: The noise, the darkness, the lights, the high speed and the intense fights for positions in the peloton. It’s a thrill for everyone around, from the early afternoon qualification heats until the late night finals. And there is no doubt that this is the most competitive fixed gear criterium race worldwide attracting pro tour riders and olympic champions of all kinds from 47 countries.
We left in the morning to make our way to the Red Hook Ferry Terminal located directly at the waterfront, with the skyline of downtown Manhattan just on the other side. The day started for us and 300 other riders with the qualification.
Everyone had to go through to one out of five qualification heats in order to select the 95 athletes for the final race out of 300 registered riders in the men category. If you think this is an easy ride for experienced riders you’re wrong. The position you finish in the 12 lap qualification races determines from which position you will start into the final race. which is quite important. So the qualification round in the Red Hook Crit is basically a race for itself.
Jojo finished 10th in his qualification heat, what qualified him directly to start from 50th position into the race. Hagen ended up on 28th in his heat which earned him a spot in the so called “last chance race” later in the afternoon. This is a possibility for everyone who didn’t qualified directly to give it another shot. The top 10 in this race – over half of the distance than the final – move on as well.
Hagen didn’t make the top 10 cut unfortunately, as he struggled when he came out of the hairpin turns, into a headwind section with a too large gear every lap. An important issue in fixed gear races as it variates from course to course and weather conditions. It’s your only gear and you need to be able to slow down to make it safely through the sharp turns but also accelerate to high speeds of over 50km/h on the straight runs all Red Hook Crit courses have. That’s why you need to choose wisely and minor changes can make a huge different in the performance and handling of your bike.
It’s a long day
There are several hours between the qualification and the actual race. ts a lot of sitting around and hanging out. But as always we had good company and for us it’s always exciting to watch our friends race. The waiting time also includes further preparation: Nutrition and hydration are very important all day long. Although, or maybe because, the race only lasts for 40 min, there is simply no time for an energy gel or a zip of water during a Red Hook Crit itself. A few moments that you’re not fully concentrated is not just dangerous in this high pace race. But also most likely results in a couple of lost positions for yourself, since every tiny drop in your own speed will be used by the other riders to gain some places in the field.
The final race of Red Hook Crit
As the sun sets you can literally feel the excitement and tension of both, the athletes and the spectators who lined up all along the 1.2 km long track by then. The ringing little cow bells, the punches on the barrier boards and the loud cheering create an thrilling atmosphere for the final races. It always starts with the women race and right afterwards it’s the men turn. Jojo had a really good final this time. From position 50 he managed to moved up to the front of the race within a few laps and could finish in the first group on 20th position which earned him and the team points for the Red Hook Crit series championships. This includes three more races, which are gonna come up in Europe later this year – London, Barcelona and Milan. Of course we will be there!