The first race in the 2013 Red Hook Crit (short for Criterium) tore through the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal piers last night–a beautiful, 40-degree cloudless evening, the course along the Hudson lit by towering flood lights, powered by clapping generators, and a waning gibbous that had turned from a full moon just days earlier. The scent of herb lingered in the crowd, and skinny-jeans and Vans-wearing spectators convening on the truck docks and sitting high above on the roofs of trailers pulled on shared bottles wrapped in brown bags. EMT crews stood ready.

The 24-lap, 30km (18.6 miles) RHC ripped around a 1.25km track, or a loop a little over three-quarters of a mile. About a 100 racers raced fixed-gears and wore helmets. Both are mandatory. The lapped get disqualified. Surely half of the pack didn’t finish because they were too slow. 

The RHC is a series of four races–a modification new to the unsanctioned race as of this year; it used to just be two events, the other in Milan–where some of the finest track and urban cyclists compete. These racers–dudes and chicks alike–are professionals in something other than bike racing. Following last night’s opening contest, “riders will again take to the streets of Brooklyn for a new event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in June,” according to the RHC schedule. “The series then moves to mainland Europe for the next stop in Barcelona in August before crowning its first ever World Champion in Milan in early October.” It is fast, and it is bad ass, and there is a lot of spandex.

We’ll see you in June, for sure. Until then, here are a few poorly phone-captured videos from race.


[Top photo by Takuya Sakamoto;]