My 5th Red Hook and by far the most eventful yet and this is really saying something because I’m still shouting about the last 4 races to anyone who’ll give me an audience.
The events surrounding the race like the pre-party, the after party, transportation, accommodation, food, weather and people was just smooth sailing. The racing on the other hand was off the hook fast, furious and so much ‘fun’. How I’d really describe it is that its one of those things that at the beginning there’s apprehension, a worry and a ‘should I really do this’. Then after the actual event it’s that total, unequivocal, full and freeing ‘HELL YEAH!!!’ succeeded by the understanding that it was the one and only decision you could have made and the adrenaline and experience will be with you from that point through to the next pant filling and life affirming thing you want to do.
Sunday was the first cyclocross race of the 2015/2016 London CX League for myself and Alex Blomeley. I have a feeling it was the last day of summer, the sun was out, was nice and warm, dry race, etc. I believe it will be a mud fest from now on. #CrossIsHere.
Photographer and friend Jon Baines was there with us and as usual captured some great shots. Click more below for the full set.
Theres always a lot of stories that come out of crit week. Most of which are super positive. You can’t avoid breaks, bruises and all sorts in racing like this but everyone comes away with something and no matter what it is you always want to go back. Red Hook Crit Barcelona 3 really had everything, even tears (quickly followed by some serious dancing) and we weren’t without our fair share…Read More
Concrete, marble, roundabouts and racing. Chuck in Nandos and a very ‘local’ hotel and you’ve got the Milton Keynes 2 day race. Don’t get me wrong, we all had a blast. Its just that well, Milton Keynes is a bit shit isn’t it?
Organised by TeamMK at the Milton Keynes bowl the weather blessed us and it was going to be a good weekend of racing. It started with a very short 3km time trail. New lesson learned, 3km time trails suck! We did pretty good, I came in 8th with George in 12th and Rudy and Daniel not too far behind.
This led a little time to wait before the crit scheduled at 3pm. Not much food about at the venue and we were hungry so George, Rudy and I smashed back a bacon and egg bap from the only food vendor which was a burger van. It wasn’t really what we wanted, but it was pretty good. A couple of locals in the queue laughed at me, stating ’proper athlete this one’, I could only shrug and smile in retaliation.
The crit was good, fast paced with a lot of attacking. I managed a breakaway for a bit, got pulled back in and then the attack went that stuck to the end. We missed it and spent most of the rest of the race trying to organise the front into chasing properly which ultimately failed and we lost 40 seconds. The last lap was a bit of a nightmare as we were lapping a large group of riders who had been mistakenly given the last lap board as well which meant that no-one moved and there was an inevitable crash (this was caused by someone, number 73, dropping a shoulder and riding into some poor lad who hit the tarmac like a sack of spuds). Ended up coming in the top ten with George close behind to secure my GC position in the top ten also.
The next day started early in the countryside for a 90km road race in the morning fog. It was great fun, although at one point I was pretty sure I’d lost it all. I punctured at about 50km in just as I was in a good move off the front. Hand up and pedalling slowly, the bunch and my team mates fly past, I heard George shout in protestation at my bad luck. It was gutting and I was sure then that GC and the race were over for me. God bless neutral service. After a quick wheel change I spent the next half an hour pedalling like mad at 60kph behind a BMW estate being dragged back to the field. It was amazing but also properly exhausting, its not easy. I was back in the pack for the last 20km and just had to focus on staying up at the front and setting myself up for the sprint. Going cross eyed with the effort I was praying that around every corner the 1km to go sign would appear. When it finally did Rudy was on the front looking back at me. I knew he wanted to lead me out, he was ready and he’d got it fucking perfect. I nodded and Rudy dropped the hammer. The bunch dragged out into that familiar arrowhead with me 4th wheel. Rudy pulled off with 400 to go, a few riders in front meant I could hold back and at about 100 to go I let it loose.
There was another breakaway which had stuck that day and I came in 7th overall. Leaving me with 9th on GC. The team did a great job and having Rudy up the front in that last KM was one of the best race experiences I’ve had. Chapeau boys and thank you.
After a long time waiting (over 2 years) the famous Red Hook Crit was finally held in London. You never know what the 1st time in a new city is going to be like, but RHC LDN 1 was very successful. Huge congratulations to David Trimble, from RHC/Trimble Racing and Rockstar Games for throwing an amazing event in our home turf.
We had Reece Wood, George Garnier, Alex Blomeley and Rudy Melo from the #5thLDN taking part on London’s round
We had a team plan for the qualifying round and had a really good run, but unfortunately our fastest lap was neutralised just before we made it across the start/finish line due to a crash. We were told that our hot lap would have put us all in the top 20 on the grid for the main race. But we strongly managed to qualify to the final with our second fastest lap, Reece 45th, George 47th, Alex 53rd & Rudy 81st.
After an unlucky start for Rudy, having to avoid 2 riders that crashed into each other at the start line, he spent half of the race trying to get back into it, while George, Reece and Alex were having a really strong race with all 3 riders in the main group.
George was strongly sitting in the top 20 before he got taken out in one of the corners, unfortunately similar thing happened to Reece on the same corner, but that didn’t stop them to get back up and finish. Alex was having a really good race, moving up places and staying out of trouble.
The first Red Hook Crit London was won by William Guzman with Mario Paz Duque in second and Thibaud Lhenry in 3rd, Alex came in a few seconds later, in the same group with a strong 25th placing while George and Reece recovered to finish in 35th and 41st with Rudy stopping and finishing 78th.
On Saturday Daniel and I (Rudy) worked well together in the Cat 3 race and it paid off. We made sure we were towards the front of the race, chasing any attack, bridging gaps, staying out of trouble, etc. Coming up to the prime lap, Daniel rode hard on the front for nearly the whole lap, leading me out coming up to the hill finish, I just went for it, wasn’t planning to, but thought “Why not?”. When I looked over my shoulder no one was near me. Coffee was on me.
The race carried on as normal, and after just over 1hr of racing the commissarie put the 6 laps count down (instead of 3). I heard a few people in the group complaining as they wish it was 3 to go. I was feeling okay, so I started to think of position and go with any attempt to break away. A couple of guys did, I chased and brought the bunch with me, I wish it was just me, but no, people like to follow. With 2 laps to go it started to rain HARD, which made the race more epic.
In the last lap Daniel and I were up there, 1st and second, we slowed down letting a couple people get in front of us and coming up to the hilly sprint finish, I went for it, just like the prime lap, but this time was too early, someone went past me, but I saw in the corner of my eye that it was Daniel who ended up winning it and I came 3rd. Another guy just managed to go around me at the last meter or so (see photo 2).
Unfortunately it wasn’t a 1, 2 but a 1, 3 and a prime was pretty good. And to make the day even better we found out that team mate Luke Clark got a strong 3rd place in the Cat 4 race, getting enough points to move up to Cat 3.