14 July 2017 12:34:36 PM AEST
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Red Hook Crit series, the world’s leading track bike criterium race. What started as one-off race organised by David Trimble to celebrate his 26th birthday has morphed into a global annual race series with crits in Brooklyn, London, Barcelona and Milan, bringing together the best riders in the world.
It’s a race series Knog are proud to have been a part of for many years, supporting great teams such as 2015 Champions Team Cinelli Chrome, Cykeln and F.A.S.T Amsterdam. This year we’re sponsoring new fixed gear crit team Revo Racing, who you can catch at the London Red Hook Crit on July 22nd.
That’s all great and everything, but what the hell is a criterium?
A criterium is an action packed and somewhat frenetic bike race that is commonly raced on a closed road circuit loop for a duration close to an hour. Road bike or fixed gear, the pace is intense and is generally faster than that of your typical bike race. It can also be a hell of a lot of fun.
WATCHING A LOCAL CRIT RACE
Crit races are a great spectator sport. Unlike the tour or other road races where you might catch a glimpse of the riders once in the race as they ping past in a blur, crit racing tends to be held on smaller urban courses, where spectators can pick a spot and watch the action unfold lap by lap.
I want to race, not spectate.
One of the beauts of crit racing is that it is probably the most accessible form of bike racing to get into as an amateur racer. However, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Criteriums are one of the hardest and most technically skillful forms of bike racing to compete in. Riders on average will be pushing 50km/h for the duration of the race, navigating tight corners, short straights all while trying to stay in contention at the finish.
WHAT ARE primes?
Primes are basically sprint sections of a race, signaled by the ringing of the lap bell, where racers have the opportunity to win additional money or prizes by crossing the line first at the end of that lap. These occur regularly throughout a race and are super entertaining for spectators.
The final countdown
Unlike road racing where you know when the finish will be, in crit racing, you often don’t find out until a few minutes before the end of the race. Race officials will be monitoring the lap times and will try to end the race as close to the set time as possible. About 5 minutes or so before the end of the race the officials will ring the bell and display the lap counter to show how many laps there are to go. This is when the race intensity really kicks on a gear as riders jostle to position themselves for a sprint to the finish.
Photos by Caro Paulette