The Red Hook Crit in Barcelona took place more than a week ago and I think that I might be the last one reporting on the event with my pictures – the next race is already on in just about one month. Still I would like to share my pictures with you, which have the main motto “races and faces of Red Hook Crit”.
Because the faces and races are what it is about at a Red Hook Crit. It is about a lot of nice people – and some, who are not that nice – you meet: the faces of Red Hook Crit. And it is about the qualifying, last chance and main races – the races of Red Hook Crit. (If you are only here for the pictures and don’t want to read anything about RHC, then just scroll to the bottom of this page.)
Altogether – and you were able to read that in numerous blogs and team facebook pages and websites – the Red Hook Crit in Barcelona was the biggest of its kind. And presumably also the best. Unluckily I don’t have the possibility for a comparison, as this was the first event of this kind and extent I visited. Also I didn’t race myself, so I cannot speak about how Red Hook feels for a rider. Then again I was no normal spectator, so I can’t give an evaluation from that point of view either. I was there as a journalist, a blogger, a photographer and a friend of a bunch of riders with whom I spent the weekend. So this is the perspective I can say something about. And what I want to say about the event is – in difference to nearly all the other reports – not only positive.
What was good about Red Hook Crit?
Let’s start of with the good things though, because you can read that anywhere else also: The Red Hook Crits are a great show, the riders are super fast. The level on which they ride is unbelievably high and seems to me on the verge of professional racing. The location right on the coast in Barcelona is really sweet and the city in the background gives the whole race a great atmosphere. It is great to see what has become of fixed gear racing in the last years.
And what was not so good?
On the negative side there are a few things that can’t be left unmentioned: Despite the high level that the head of the field is riding on, there are to many amateurs that are unnecessary hazard in the qualifying rounds and the races. A lot of riders simply don’t know how to ride a fixed gear race – you even saw people skidding though corners. A no-go, if you ask me.
To me also the medical assistance didn’t at all seem to be prepared for the number of crashes and injuries. That again says a lot about how dangerous the organizers think their event is – or let’s say: how they misjudged the risk for the riders. A rider I am friends with wandered around for 15 minutes after he had crashed in the main race and tried to find a paramedic. In the end he had to treat himself because all the paramedics were busy with other injured riders. In my opinion this has to happen: If the riders become more and more professional, the organization of an event of this size has to become more professional, too.
Talking about professional: The separation between paddock and “the rest” (where you had the possibility to get something to eat and drink or go to a real bathroom) was not ideal, especially for me as a photographer. You always had to decide on which “side” you wanted to stand and weren’t able to run around freely. Also there were not enough crossings between the sides of the racetrack.
Talking about professional #2: If you issue press passes (even Level 1 & Level 2 passes, but no one knew what that meant), they have to be connected to a benefit (such as a press area or special possibilities to take pictures. Otherwise they are only a way for the organizers to check how many media was at their event.
I guess that is just the way an event like this grows. Sometimes you have to trails some steps in the evolution, because doing everything at the same time often doesn’t work. Let’s hope that the organizers have learnt from their mistakes and will do even better in Milan – especially the medical aspect should be improved.
What sticks to mind in the end?
When looking at the pictures there is one thing that sticks to mind the most: The people that make a Red Hook Crit special. The riders, the mechanics (mostly friends, who don’t want to ride themselves), the friends that cheer the riders on and last but not least the “passive” spectators that might be there just because they heard about the crazy girls and boys racing on their bikes without brakes.
By the way: The women’s race was won by Ainara Elbusto Arteaga, Fleur Faure came second and Vittoria Reati took third place. In the men’s race Julio Padilla won in front of Augusto and Thibaud Lhenry.
The next (and last for this year) Red Hook Crit will take place on October 11th in Milan in Italy.
Picture gallery: Races & Faces
Author: John-Sebastian Komander/ Find him on Google+