WHOOSH: Red Hook Criterium – Brooklyn ’17
Saturday April 28, 2017 | Red Hook, Brooklyn
WHOOSH there it is!
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
28 laps; roughly 22.40549242 mi
The LOOK hotel Red Hook, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member. This place was great and I want to tell you about it but first, thank you Specialized for our individual rooms!—very, very, classy. Also, staying in the same hotel as the Team Specialized Rocket Espresso team made documenting them in their natural habitat very seamless. And seamless is EVERYTHING. More on that later. Anyway, this hotel looks like a pile of shit on the internet so on the way there I was a bit dubious. Maybe that’s why Delta delayed our flight for an hour, then let us sit on the tarmac trapped in their peanut-fart-sack-of-a-plane for another hour and half, and circled Manhattan from 20,000 feet for an hour before eventually, begrudgingly, landing and thusly releasing us. And maybe that’s why they kept our bags from us for 37.9 minutes at the baggage carousel. Because they were worried our hotel sucked and they wanted us to check-in at four in the morning instead of nine at night to save us from any unnecessary rest and relaxtion in a shit hole. Here’s the thing though, the hotel is great. The rooms are great. It’s clean. And the staff, while kinda unorthodoxed and non-traditional in their approach to just about everything, are super friendly and rad, and they kinda operate like friends and family. Also, the hotel is basically adjacent to the race and the parties and a few good places to eat. Also the Whole Foods isn’t that far. Also, the Whole Foods is basically on the way to and from Prospect Park which is also close, like 15 minutes away by bike.
- Reacquaint myself with the Red Hook Critical Mass environment and landscape.
- Recover from yesterday’s Cippo-crit in Prospect Park. Six 3.2 mile laps of pure terror and thrill.
- Video interviews with the Specialized Rocket Espresso team.
- Take at least one “in focus” photograph.
- Don’t cause a crash.
- Colleen Gulick
- Eleonore Saraiva
- Carla Nafria
- Stefan Schafer
- Colin Strickland
- Aldo Ino Ilesic
Sperm-shaped. Or hook-shaped. Listen, it’s a little bit of a Rorschach ink blot deal. Also we’re tired of telling you what we think it looks like. Why do we have to do ALL the work? Why don’t you tell us what shape it is? Please tweet us @manualforspeed with your vote or opinion or whatever you want to say about the shape of the course. Otherwise yeah, it’s kinda flat, they go in circles, there are hay bales (I think?) and barriers everywhere, lots of Castelli and sponsor banners everywhere. It’s dark. Flood lights. Smells A LOT like weed. When it’s not a race course I bet it’s a pretty regular stop on the dogging circuit. Strong warf vibes.
You really really really really really CAN wear rollerblades while documenting a bike race. Well, a crit for sure. A Spring Classic might be tougher.
We’re calling our Utopian version of Red Hook “WHOOSH”. In the last few weeks I started to doubt that name and concept because maybe we tried to hard to do an onomatopoeic thing. That was silly. That name and concept make so much sense. It’s the greatest name and concept for gladiatorial exhibitions of speed on track bikes ever. Just stand on the side of a RHC course for one pass. That’s all it will take, one pass and WHOOSH there it is—the name for this component discipline for the future or Road Cycling presents itself.
WHOOSH there it is! Come on!
It’s been a few years since Manual for Speed was at this event and wow, it’s all grown-up. It’s that much closer in every aspect really to what Professional Road Racing looks like. Not in a bad way, in a good way. Also, don’t worry, it still smells like weed. We saw messenger bags. Brakes are still for fakes and stuff. It’s just legit is all.
Really can’t stop thinking about that dude owning the race coverage in rollerblades.
Nothing exciting to report. This is easier to write in France.
I Road to Rad, Exhibit A: RED HOOK CRIT BROOKLYN
We’d like to share our Key Thoughts with you about the race, but first some background:
- This is the only Red Hook Criterium location we’ve ever done.
- This is the third time we’ve covered Brooklyn (2014, 2015 and now 2017.
- This year we will cover the whole series, but for now all we know is Brooklyn.
- After a series of extensive interviews with the Specialized Rocket Espresso team it’s clear that, from their perspective at least, this particular race has a slightly exalted or special significance within the series. Brooklyn is the origin, the birthplace, it’s a little bit of the holy ground.
We’re almost ready to share those thoughts. But real quick, we came to this event, as well as the whole WHOOSH project (along with WHOOSH’s relationship to Road to Rad), with some assumptions and preconceived notions. I think we should share those here and now. It will only take a second.
- From a spectator’s POV, criteriums are the coolest form of cycling to watch and attend and spectate.11In America. It’s basically an outdoor party. You can mill around and mingle. Drink. See friends. Talk. Listen to music. Eat a pan-Korean vegan taco or Belgian Frites or whatever from an artisanal, locally-sourced cart. The only decision you need to make is: “Should we watch the speed exhibition from the infield or the outfield?” Every three minutes 70 gladiators in speed suits come past you at insane speeds on bikes, too close to each other to even fathom, before literally diving into a corner and disappearing again until the next time.
- Circle-shaped courses22Circle-shaped courses are a type of course defined as having a closed-loop shape and a distance of less than a mile. Some, but not all, circuits are circle-shaped. Technically speaking, circle-shaped races can be hooks, button-hooks, figure eights, swirling molly’s, lollipops, under/overs, etc. are smaller and easier to manage and enjoy than non-circle shaped courses. For E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E everyone. Staff. Local governments. Police. Crowds. Fans. EMTs. Traffic Control. Etc. You can do circle races in the country. You can do circle races on a highway outside of Fresno. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand you can do circle races in a city where people live. And people, as you probably know, love entertainment. Which brings us to our Key Thoughts for the day.
- Red Hook Crits are entertaining.
- Cycling as Entertainment is a novel idea and but it shouldn’t be.
- Outside of cycling, fans of racing sports (in a general sense) like the culmination and cocktail of drinking, bright lights, carnage, exhibitions of speed, impossible physical feats, jock jams, TV cameras, cornering, alcohol, food, crazy outfits, luck, chaos, skill, heroes, villains and rock stars.
- Most cycling events are designed, presented and “covered” such that they’re ONLY interesting if you’re a cyclist. And even then, only just barely.
- None of the millions of people who follow NASCAR actually race cars, for all intents and purposes. None of them. Cycling doesn’t get that. Cycling needs to get that.
- You don’t need to know shit about bikes to enjoy a Red Hook Crit.
Red Hook Crit Testmonials Provided by Authentic RHC Competitors
III Women's Race
IV Men's Race
WHOOSH is made possible by:
Artwork by Michiel Schuurman.