The summer is as always an exciting time, work slows down, people find themselves with some free time, and everyone can make some excuses to skip town for a bit. This year two of my favorite events – Minneapolis’s “All City Championships” and The North American Cycle Courier Championships coincided within the same two weeks in the blissful late august Midwest. We arrived to mpls on a thursday built our bikes up and started what would turn out to be a pretty wild trip. ACC consists of 3 days of events – SK After dark (alleycat) Bike Jerks Bandit Cx and the Main Shindig on Saturday. Being the pre-event for NACCC many people were brought to mpls for their first time, and once seeing how those fools got down they will likely make it a yearly stop just like myself. After the weekend of events, the few if any hours of sleep, and stupid inside jokes already making the rounds through the group – about 20 of us geared up and started the Pre- ride to Milwaukee, WI which would be a 4 day 3 night 380mi~ adventure through the middle of Wisconsin. A few of us had done the reverse of this ride a few years back when the NACCC was in MPLS, and woah what a trip it was retracing our steps 3 years later. The scenery of WI is Beautiful- rolling hills for days, cows, bluffs, tunnels, and my favorite the rails to trail. Jeff Oneil did a fantastic job routing us and keeping the group together oh and of course telling us how many mile to go every 5 min. We finally rolled into Milwuakee and were greeted by everyone at Cafe with free beers and friends. Turns out that same weekended was the Harley Davidson 115th anniversary so the streets of Mke were swarmed with two wheel Vehicles of all sorts, it was rad. After a long ride no way better to sooth the tired muscles with an out of towner alleycat and Karaoke party which is exactly what we did. The NACCC organizers somehow scored an entire elementary school campus to use as the course for the main race which we spent many an hour at over the next few days. Siting atop a small hill in the Hay-market district, they provided a challenging course with elevation sharp turns gravel and alley ways. By far my favorite course to date.
Just wanna say thanksthanksthanks to all of the Organizers for giving us one hell of a Mess vacation and congrats to Allan Shaw for taking home the NACCC overall win, against all odds we could say. I wish i had the words to describe how fuckin’ insane and fun the whole trip was but I just can’t, guess you’ll just have to see for yourself…
Bay Area racers woke up to rain on November 26th and that is a special treat for this part of California. The CX Nation Cup was a new race course in Sonoma and it was ripping fun. It had the standard long straight grass sections expected at these events but over half of the route was more technical and as the day went on, became a proper mess. Enclosed are some details from a day of racing the CX Nation Cup.AdvertisingChelsea changed her program mid-season this year, and is starting to see those results. It was a blast to see her dig in.The new Santa Cruz Stigmata team bikes are ripping. The carbon is built up to create a more forgiving ride, with this same ripping geo. File tread is a common tire pattern for our dry race season. Skinny mud tires with tons of clearance worked on this day. Always fun to race with the Vive La Tarte team here in the Bay.Red on the racers rightChelsea took 2nd for the Elite Women.Pit bikes would be nice for these conditions, as mud added weight and resistance quickly to all the racers.OakThe team is racing on our new X-Grid tape. Rubberized, so it is super grippy in all conditions.Dylan finding his own way of staying warm and dry. Time to get out of the van and race bikes.Bike Monkey supported the event and ran the timing for all the races. Thank you.Chas coming out of a wet rooted section that was ran more then ridden.This section was made up of a series of rollers both up and down before heading back into the trees.Crihs was in town for the holiday, so was nice seeing him in nature, where there are bugs and poison oak.Lots of this all day.This was the first time Chas raced CX with disc brakes and he was so hyped at the end of the race with no mechanicals and brakes that worked in the wet and mud. Three years ago it was death before…Sometimes the best line was on the grassy edge. The faster line often put you in the bushes.When one racer would bobble a technical section, it was a chain reaction slowing the next line of racers until the gap.Found object.Down + outOut + backChas is always so positive in races and his energy is contagious. Fully muddy tongue for an hour of racing.The oak leaves on top of the wet earth made for some very slippery sections.Glasses did not help on this day, but once racers eyes filled with mud, it took tears to continuously flush them.Kell smashes but found a flat with only a lap or two to go.As a photographer I love these course tape drawings in nature.Brue is 40 and putting in some of his best racing of his carier.Ryan fully coated.Cantis did not stop at all. You could tell the fixed gear riders by hearing the foot jam brakes coming into a corner on a descent.Not recommended.Thank for making this race happen. The proceeds go to help Junior development teams and their campaign to race at cx nats in Reno. Such an awesome reason to come out and race and support the kids.WinnerLoserMakeshift laundry rack.Dylan is new to racing geared bikes but is learning what all the cogs and levers do. This day may have been better suited for a single speed.That’s a wrap. Thank you CX Nation and Bike Monkey for making it happen and helping support the Junior program.
An email message can lead to nothing or something. One was from an old friend, Yohei Hanazwa, who produces crazy events in Japan now. You might remember him from the friends chapter of our 2007 video. He let us know that official Keirin had tracked him down and asked if he knew how to get in touch with MASH. To promote the 2020 Olympics coming to Japan, Keirin was organizing a large event at the Izu velodrome, inviting national and international racers to compete and wanted to invite us. Incredible! Track Party was a one day event that encompassed a fixed criterium, a box jump demo, a flatland demo, live music, comedians as announcers, gold sprints, vendors, and a ton of track racing. Enclosed are details from this special time in Japan getting hyped on bikes.
The Izu velodrome is a magnificent structure. Modern indoor tracks come at a steep cost, but are a requirement for a nation applying to host the Olympic games. The Izu velodrome is five years new and is perfect. It is built on a cycling campus that includes multiple velodromes and a Keirin school, which hosts training and racing for the state and national level teams. Programs like this are crucial for the future of this sport community.
It was a massive rush to be invited to race on this Olympic level velodrome. MASH was born on the street, helping adopt bikes intended for velodrome use and contributing to the fluidity they bring to the streets. Over the past 12 years, the velodrome has been a part of our community, but admittedly, a smaller piece than other cycling formats. It could be location, with the closest track an hour away by car, but a core group from SF have made the pilgrimage year after year to train and race at Hellyer.
Ever wonder what those high speed cameras that record photo finishes look like?
Track racing has been part of the Olympic games for 120 years and with the rise of urban cycling feeding into fixed gear criteriums, there has not been a spike in track cycling that reflects the rise of the bikes born from the velodrome.
Happy to have been able to bring Duke on this trip. He raced, explored, soaked, and ate some new stuff. Outside the velodrome, several events, displays, vendor tents, and a fixed criterium all happened in the rain. Freddy!
A bento tray carrying race
Meet the press
The women’s Keirin racing program is growing in Japan. It still feels a bit sexualized, but we hope to see this component mature in the coming years.
Who’s ready to go back inside?
Beautiful Seiko lap timer for the fixed criterium Nickolas’s Kalavinka street bike
Traveling around the world to race bikes is an incredible opportunity. Rainier and Chas have found themselves in so many inspiring moments together over the years, and this trip was one of them.
Qualifiers required putting in a fast lap. Sub 10 second laps transferred you to the main events.
Ultra-high-performance sports speak less and less to the new generation, and this is a concern for its organizers. A skateboarder has a low buy-in to their sport. They can roll around in the area they live and progress. Cycling has a more expensive entry that can come easier to some. Velodromes can offer youth programs and loaner equipment to help those who show potential, but do not facilitate a support system that can fund the required commitment and expenses. The facility and the equipment seem to be limiters for growth to the sport.
Like a skate park, a velodrome can be a community center – a place where those interested can meet, share ideas, train, learn and race together. This trip was challenging to digest as a high performance sport. It felt like the future of these spaces and this level of competition could be less exclusive – opening these spaces to after school programs, maybe using the infields for mixed use like skate parks.
View from the top of the bank looking down
This is Yohei, you might know him from the friends section of a video we released in 2007. He is an event organizer in Japan, and helped bring us on this trip. Thank you for helping make it happen!
The flatland demo went on throughout the day, making a fun use of the infield.
A racer changing his gearing between race formats.
Roller race set up for adults and kids
Duke warming up in a quiet spot
Chas raced on one of the frames he hand painted
The equipment can make a difference. If you are fast, you simply are. When the races come down to a fraction of a second, the technology matters. A $7,000.00 wheelset makes a difference at the line, and the list goes on. The clothing can shave as much time as the bike and when you are defining winning and losing by a fraction of time, it all adds up.
Duke traveled from London to race bikes. This was his first time to Japan.
He won his race, and felt good about his effort.
Rainier Chas on his last of an eight lap individual pursuit.
Jean and Nick organized a series of fixed CX races last season, and came back this year motivated to get friends together to race track bikes in the dirt. Golden Gate Park was the last stop for the season, and it did not disappoint. Sharing part of a DFL course, women and men lines up to race in some dry loose conditions. Enclosed are some details from Friday night.
DFL is a longstanding tradition in San Francisco. This group of friends have organized underground cyclocross races in the Bay for 23 years and have helped shape the community here, no question. As members grow and have families of their own, the turnout is a mix of new racers learning about these traditions, racing side-by-side with the founding members of the hush-hush race series. It is perfect. The following moments capture the energy and spirit of the series, found by word-of-mouth, on a week night in an empty park, Hunters Point, SF CA.
Cubby Gerry Ride the snake Christina HDTV Ryan Chas Broken barrier
The next generation
Wild fennel often dominates this dry landscape
East side of the course
This part of the city was human made by filling the bay to create more land.
With no rain in the forecast, racers visiting Barcelona for the Red Hook Criterium met at the D’Horta Velodrome to spin legs in preparation for to tomorrow’s main event. With clouds helping keep the temperatures low, a solid group took turns putting down laps on this historic velodrome. It had been years since visiting this track, and was happy to see the remodel wearing in nice. Enclosed are a series of photos from the morning.
Resistance Racing gathered up the crew and headed to the Port of Oakland for stop three of their Track-X series. Racers met on a warm Sunday afternoon, ate tacos, enjoyed a coffee or beer, registered, and lined up to race mostly brakeless track bikes in the sandy landfill that is the port. Enclosed are some photo details for the day. Massive cargo ships unload fidget spinners and whatever else as a backdrop for some bike racing.Tacos and coffee reg was so nice. Thank you!53 for the dirtUCI testing some road disc options for the 2018 road seasonQuick negotiation GO!stopGO!Jeff made a good showing having not been on a track bike in the dirt maybe ever.Chas so was hungry to get out front eary and hold it. He won, and is in the lead for the series.Kel is a beast. He chased Chas on this day, but there is always tomorrow. 2nd for the day.Drez was the only kid out there, and did the entire race. You inspire us!Wild lifeHand up recipient 40 minutes of brakeless ripping in the loose sand and dirt3Ferda BoysNick and Jean counted laps, and placed the podiumPodiumWet PodiumRolling cargo keg stands. Why notThanks for organizing, and look for Golden Gate Park next!
Red Hook Brooklyn has grown to become a cyclist pilgrimage over the past 10 years. A race that was born on cobbles, at night, lit by a few street lamps, with Dave Trimble’s long game vision, it has become the premium bike race for the 200 athletes who show up to qualify at each city stop. As the format has grown in popularity, so has the level of performance, drawing Olympians and pro tour racers along with messengers and working class athletes. The following series was photographed on April 29th 2017 at the 10th Anniversary of the Red Hook Criterium. The quality of this series of races has surpassed what is expected at state-level bike racing. Dave, with a group of employees, and volunteers are able to take this show on the road each year, with stops in London, Barcelona, and Milano in 2017.Dylan began at Specialized as an intern, and was quickly handed the task of designing their RHC team identity for 2017. We met Dylan straight out of High School, and it has been a pleasure to watch him grow into his own person. Jason supports his Affinity team members with saftey pins and emotional support. Dan Chabanov has dismanted the men’s field at these races in years past. He has been creating some quality recap pieces for RHC with Cycling Tips.We met Duke through his community efforts around street racing in London. It was rad to see him come out to New York and take a spot in the group 2 qualifier.The event is shot from multiple broadcast cameras and sent to screens so spectators can keep up with the race. We hope this feed is pushed live online one day.Having come off a top 10 finish at Mission Crit the weekend before, Chas was excited to qualify and race with riders from around the world. The new qualifying format is far safer than years past. These shorter races keep the tempo up for the 20 minutes, which makes it exciting and less confusing. Appreciating each other’s bikes is a highlight of these large cycling themed gatherings.Having had a strong showing at his only RHC race of 2016, Evan was looking forward to the 2017 Brooklyn stop. This is his seventh year racing this series on these brakeless race bikes, and he has a strong grasp on the psychology of racing in close quarters at night.After painting some bikes for friends, it was fun to see Evan make one for himself. Check the full details and specs HERE.Race updates are printed and posted for review by participants. Our friend, Kosuke Masuda, created art by hand for the team skin suits and helmets while Al Nelson also helped with the design for the 2017 race season. Racers who qualified for the main events had time to go rest and come back for some night racing.There is no shortage of media at these events. In the past, there was push back from road racing teams not wanting their team members to race at these events in fear of getting hurt, but with high level of press that comes from these races, the road teams flipped and now want their racers out there in the mix.Crashing is part of these races. It is a rarity to see a crash at a road criterium, and it freaks everyone out. It is not uncommon to have a dozen crashes with some major injuries at RHC.The racer staging area in the cruise terminal is set up with care. Both cyclists and runners have access to equipment that could be cumbersome to fly with.Legs up between qualifying and racing.If you did not make the cut, you lined the course to scream for friends who became the night’s entertainment. The Cruise terminal sits on the water, looking out at Manhattan, and this gift from France. Barriers are set up on the outside of the course. The plastic sponsor advertising becomes a drum during the race and creates a rolling rumble as racers pass.The women’s race started with a terrible crash on the first straight where the route narrowed to a single lane.Without an official live feed, online spectators could search for live feeds through social media.Colleen Gulick took home the W for the women on this night.Dave keeps his cool through this massive production littered with complaints, injuries, victories, and celebrations. He started this race as a self-celebratory birthday, and he has grown it into a career.The qualified men line up in pole position with the fastest qualifying race winner on the front row solo.100 racers flood the final race with the fastest racers moving to the front in the first lap to avoid a chance of crashing in the congested field.By the second lap through, it was clear to the spectators that this was going to be a ripping fast race.Team support was littered along the sidelines if needed during the race.Stefan and Colin break mid-race and with the support of their teammates leading the chase group, they were able to open up a 29 second gap.Chas in the chase.Evan was crashed out in the hairpin and then bridged back up to the chase group before the race was stopped on a red flag.The leadThe chaseCesar Valenzuela dominated Colin Strickland at the Mission Crit the weekend before. On this night, Cesar was leading the chase group with 5 laps to go, but came out of the hairpin into a sprint. Without looking up, he put himself into the barriers resulting in a broken collarbone. He is healing, and we expect this young racer to come back strong.The spectators alley wrapped by one of the hairpin turns.The front of the chase group was dominated by teams invested in racers in the break. Slowing, blocking, and whatever psychological game is going on in this photo continues with just a few laps to go. It takes a strong team to do well in these races in the modern age.Evan and Addison sprinted for 7th and 8th for the night.Partied outDan Chavanov for Cycling Tips.New York, thank you for welcoming racers from around the world to put it all out there. Thank you to Red Hook Crit, its organizers, volunteers, and sponsors for making it all happen. Thanks to the racers for showing up and keeping it fun.