Red Hook Crit: Navy Yard
Yesterday was the RHC at the Navy Yard in Brooklyn. The course was much faster, technical, and sketchy then previous courses. It made for a crazy day of crashes, punctures, and delays.
During my qualifying, I had a puncture while going through a sweeping turn and slid what felt like 10 feet into the curb. My tire was blown. People were asking if I was OK but I couldn’t answer anyone. All that went through my mind was assessing the damage and trying to get back in to qualify. I was able to grab a front wheel from another racer who already qualified, and jumped back in. I only got one hot lap in and ended up qualifying 50th/100. I was a bit shredded up from the fall but didn’t feel it until after I got off the course.
We waited what seemed like forever for the actual race to start. No matter how many races I’ve done, nothing gets me more wound up and anxious then this one.
This may sound cheesy, but when you actually enter into the race, you feel like a warrior being let into a cage battle. Its survival of the fittest and luckiest for sure. When you sit there looking at the 100 people in the field about to start the race, you think, fuck… how is this going to even work on this course? Its going to be a shit-show. That it was.
The race started, everyone went hard. I had a good start and made up about 10 positions immediately. I hung on to a fast group, but once it went into the back section of the course it was chaos. It was like a 30mph funnel of bikes trying to take different lines into a blind turn.
There was a crash in the 2nd lap which I avoided, but once I came around on the next lap there was another crash. I wasn’t so lucky this time. There were literally people or bikes covering the entire width of the course. I was able to get around most of it and thought I was going to make it. Just then the racer in front of me crashed. He was on the ground and I ran right into him and flipped off my bike.
My bike was tangled with another bike and it took me awhile to get them apart. After that, my race was shot. I was at the back of the race and just picked off a few riders as I tried to make up ground. I was pulled off about 3 laps later.
All in all despite 2 crashes and all I went through yesterday, I’m glad to have been a part of it. My teammates fared better than I did but still suffered their own. Chris flatted after qualifying 18th and being in the front of the race. James flatted too. Dave crushed it until there were 3 to go and ended up 11th overall. Only 5 people out of 100 finished the race!
Being my 4th RHC I’m unsure if I will do it again. I have said that the past 3 times though, so we’ll see. It was a pretty epic day for riders and spectators. Part of me just wants to be a spectator for once!
Angelo got a good shot of me, torn up with some random riders front wheel after my qualifying crash.
Photo © Angelo Calilap