RHC BROOKLYN N° TEN
SATURDAY JULY 22, 2017
The event that kept me motivated during the whole winter was finally around the corner and I knew my shape was on a high. Perfect timing!
Race day started with some proper coffee and a little spin through Brooklyn to get to the race venue at the Cruise Terminal.
With the new qualifying format that put me in the very competitive third heat I would have to be ready to race in the afternoon. I was way too excited, nervous and even a bit scared of the possibility of not qualifying for the finals. I tend to underestimate myself and so it came that qualifying was not such a big problem but big fun. Anyone around me probably noticed my relief after qualifying safely in 7th spot without investing too much of my energy.
Nowadays the most important part of the race is the time between the heats and the feature events in the evening, so I had made sure I was well prepared for that time span. Recover as quickly as possible, eat and drink enough but don’t get too lazy!
The hours before the race happened to be very short and I had to get back to Red Hook and warm up.
Within the first few laps of the race I tried to settle myself within the top 10 riders of the field. This would be the area I was going to stick to. I tried not to burn too many matches and stay fresh for the final laps. In hindsight I definitely should have worked a bit moreas there is no saving energy anymore in the crit with high-class teams trying to control the whole peloton. Tactics of riders without a team or with a weak one will definitely change after the experience we’ve made.
With less than ten laps to go it is clear that the controlling of the Specialized team will be successful and the two-man break of Schäfer and Strickland will battle for the win. So this is the point where the racing in the peloton starts to get hectic as everybody tries to bring himself in a decent position. Lots of attacking, but I still felt very comfortable. I felt good enough to secure at least a spot among the first ten riders. Just when I wanted to start working more and try to move up I got involved in the massive crash with 5 laps to go.
It happened right in front of me and I couldn’t help but go over the top of a rider lying on the tarmac in front of me. I don’t know how, but I managed to stay more or less fine and even my bike was still rideable. The race was stopped. I didn’t really know why. I should be happy that I was still able to finish. Unfortunately during the restart a mistake of the race organisator put me in the wrong group and there was not enough time to discuss. Mistakes happen in the heat of the moment but now I have no chance to get the result I know was achievable. With this unlucky mistake I didn’t think about my result anymore, so even if I did not get the result I deserved, I still believe the race was a success! I showed to myself that my training is good enough to keep up with the best and this gives me lots of confidence for London, which is something I had missed here in Brooklyn.
The trip to New York, the event and especially meeting the people involved in the Stanridge Cycles team has been a beautiful experience. To me it showed once again that the Red Hook Crit is not about results only but about having the times of our lives! -Robin Gemperle
RHC LONDON N° THREE
SATURDAY JULY 22, 2017
NORTH GREENWICH, LONDON UK SE10 0ER
The third edition of the London Red Hook Crit brought me to that city for the first time in my life. Most come for sightseeing I did not. My focus was on racing bikes.
Saturday meant Raceday and the weather did not care about that fact at all. I was very scared of the slippery and wet conditions, as my experience under such circumstances is minimal. With my qualifying heat approaching the rain fell harder. I started to feel anxious. It turned out that there was no reason for my feelings. My shape allowed me to ride in a three-man-break without taking too many risks in the turns.
The Super-Pole-Session would have been next as I finished second in my heat. Because of the threat of continued rain the newly born format to define the top25 grid-spots was cancelled. I was happy with that as it meant a guaranteed top10 starting position for me.
As the main race neared around 20.00 the conditions improved slightly. As the rain stopped falling there was no time for the course to dry.
It seemed as if my competitors used the first few laps to get to know the course even better which resulted in a rather slow first third of the race. With the mid lap prime coming closer, the pace finally started to rise.
I felt great and was happy about how easily I had been able to stay at the front. There were a few little attacks but none of them brought me in trouble as I was always able to push a little harder. In hindsight I think that I should have ridden a bit more active and try a few attacks as well. But even though I felt that I might be physically capable of achieving something relevant I just did not have the confidence and courage yet.
Just about in the middle of the race there was a big crash that resulted in a red flag. A stop and restart of the race was required as in Brooklyn.
Luckily the restart went well until the final laps. We all stuck together as a big group on the front. With 5 to go there was a big attack by an Italian that looked like it could force a late break and with me and 2 other guys in it I felt like this would be it. I was wrong as the field was just too strong to let such a strong group leave at such a late stage of the race. After that, it was clear that it was going to be a big group racing for the win and I definitely wanted to play a role in it.
I had to find out, that even though I was not completely exhausted, I just did not have enough experience to get to the very front during the last laps. In the end I finished 8th but was not very happy with it at first. I know that this is a super strong result, but if you race among the Top8 guys all night long and feel comfortable, you will always want to place on the podium. It might sound a bit arrogant but this is how I feel.
It’s been a race that taught me a lot. I’ll be riding more actively and will analyse what I can improve in the final laps to get to where I want to be. Bring on Barça!
DRAAI VAN DE KAAI N° ONE
SUNDAY JULY 30, 2017
After the London Red Hook Crit I spontaneously decided to accept the invitation of the NL Crit Series Team for their most spectacular event of the season. THE race, a fixed gear CRIT took place during one of the most famous post Tour de France GEARED crits.
The national fixed gear series of the Netherlands was able to organize a race with international ultra high class fixed gear riders. This race was conceived to show what our fixed crit discipline is about to a wider new audience. To me it seemed like the many spectators having a rather classical approach to bike racing were pretty amazed. We were able to put on a good show.
I had high expectations for the race, as I know I’m in great shape. But nevertheless I took everything a little easier off the bike, I wanted to have a good time with some friends. We were camping outside and enjoying a few days off. The day before race day I remained highly motivated and focused.
The race was fast and relentless from the first meter. I had a hard time adjusting my rhythm to what was needed for racing at the front. I felt that my preparation had not been perfect. I had to accept that I would have to use the race as good training and learn from my competitors. No chance to launch an attack this time – I just did not have the legs. It is clear to me now, I'm able to keep up with the front group. With the race coming to an end I started to prepare for a sprint and learn as much as possible. At the end I finished 8th in a very strong international field. I can at least say that this is the maximum I was capable of. On a bad day I was able to keep up and finish on an acceptable ranking. Good training, good learning experience, on to the next one!
RHC BARCELONA N° FIVE
Saturday September 2, 2017
When I looked at the weather forecast, the first day of crit week looked like we were heading straight into the second “Wet Hook Crit”. The possibility of rain didn't bother me. As it turned out we’d see sunshine all weekend my anticipation rose once again.
I’ve never looked forward to a bike race as much as this year’s Barcelona-leg of the Red Hook Crit Series. The mediterranean vibe was going to be accompanied by my best friends and myself in great physical condition.
After London I wanted to step up my game. A top 5 result would have been needed to leave me satisfied.
During qualifying my legs seemed to be a little sore so I made sure I’d get some rest for the superpole-session and use this to open up my muscles for the final. In hindsight, I should have taken the one lap time-trial completely chill. It might have been a central reason why the development of my main race came out differently than I anticipated.
The first few laps were fine. I was comfortable and at the front of the pack. After about 8 laps I started to feel that I was going to have to battle with cramps instead of other riders for positioning in the top spots.
I dropped back to the first group. At this point staying connected with the peloton was my goal. Somehow I was hoping to overcome the crisis and my cramps and at least finish without a complete disaster – maybe even get some championship points.
It took me quite a bit of time. There were less than 6 laps to go after working through the cramps. Even though my legs were completely done I knew I would at least be able to pedal normally for the final laps and maybe end up stronger than I thought mid-race – thanks to the economical and smart riding in the back of the peloton.
The race started to get wild. Crashes started to occur after working up to the top 10 again. It was a mental battle with myself. I was about to pull it together. With nothing left in the tank I came in 9th.
I could be happy about another spot among the 10 strongest fixed gear riders in the world, but I missed my goal. I should be able to control my cramps but I learned a lesson!
Sore legs won’t be a thing in Milano, so bring on the grande finale!
RHC BROOKLYN N°TEN
SATURDAY APRIL 29, 2017
Red Hook Crit 2017, one week to go and a week of excitement and nerves all at the same time. Tapering the training, goodbye to work commitments and packing all the bike stuff… including the Stanridge speed machine itself! 8:30am flight mode…
Brooklyn bound!! Skipping the 12hour mammoth sleep, jet lag was well gone! Pre race photo shoot had arrived already, with the awesome Jason Sellers, who I would like to say, is the most enthusiastic photographer I’ve worked with, gaining height climbing traffic lights and making friends with the local hi vis vest workman , just so our latest sponsor ‘HiFi’ VERY FLURO wheels can stand out a bit more! Every minor detail counts for the right shot!
This year Stanridge have a team, Robin Gemperle, with the next awesome Stanridge Deathspray bike! That's right, two bikes ready to race fluro!!
Whilst all the fun continues throughout the whole Red Hook excitement, getting prepared for race day comes first. My pre race routine, spinning the legs around Prospect park, making sure everything on the bike is all set, new wheels riding fast! The legs taking some ice cold prep, tunes and good food! I like to be relaxed, mentally knowing I'm prepared.
Race day!!! I love the atmosphere of turning up and seeing all the riders, friends from other countries! It’s a buzz you can't explain that stays with you all day. This year the new rules took place so things were different, I really enjoyed the new strategy of the race rules. Finishing 5th in my heat and 5th in super pole, I was really happy and felt strong for the final…
The final was interesting and frustrating at the same time, finishing 15th, however chasing against headwind to get back on after a crash wasn’t what I had planned. With only 2laps to go I didn't quite beat the headwind, not even the lady of Liberty could give me push! I gave it everything I had and the legs sure knew about ittoo! Anything can happen in a race, more fire in the belly for the next! Reflecting on this, I turned the negatives into positives. Overall knowing I kept a consistent top 10 prior to the final. I couldn't of asked for anymore, your body races to its limits and so this is what I'll continue to do! -Hayley
RHC LONDON N° THREE
SATURDAY JULY 22, 2017
GREENWICH PENINSULA, LONDON SE10 0ER, UK
Wet hook crit London No3. Racing bikes with a new challenge...
Race day was finally here and my feelings towards racing were somewhat different, excited but anxious, having never experienced racing on a fixed gear in the rain. My feelings aside, I stayed focused warming up on the rollers, ignoring the weather as it stopped. My qualifying heat approached and the rain poured again with a struck of thunder welcoming us on the start line. However, I was gridded 4th so I felt positive this would give me a good opportunity. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. My confidence was knocked and in these conditions I felt it was best to stay safe than be the accident.
Throughout the day, myself and Adam were checking the radar, keeping positive vibes. It felt like my head was in a constant battle with the weather. As I'm sure many other riders felt similar.
After a break between heats, I ran through tactics in my head over and over to push myself further up in the race. 18:30 approached and I was back on the rollers warming up, tunes on and getting my race head together. I would be lying if I said this was easy to just switch my race head on like that, it wasn't. 19:00 on the start line and very frustratingly the rain was back for more. I was gridded 28th and for those who know me and how I race, this already was a challenge, being use to top 10.
Being honest with myself and how I raced was not at all me. I didn't come away with the goal I set out to be in top 10. I did my best, I stayed upright and overall learnt so much all in one very wet day of racing. The weather can't be helped and that's racing, this round however was a difficult one to process. Positive vibes, bring on Barca and bring on the sun!