Bubblecross was a bit of a turning point in the #5thnyc 2015 calendar. It marked the first ever race in the elites by Chris Pino and with another top step at Bubblecross saw Ryan (despite losing his saddle) join him on the receipt of a UCI license for next weekends Cycle Smart in Massachusetts.
Photos by Krys Blakemore of This Team Saves Lives.
Sand Pit Photo: Rich Soffar
Slide 5: Cycling Pictures
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,
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.
Rookie mistake, I cocked up. My rear wheel wasn’t tight enough and it slipped a fraction letting the chain loosen then it bounced off half way through our flying lap. Up to then team mate George and I had gotten it perfect, we rode the warm up on the front of group 1 allowing us into the first fast train on the green flag (George would qualify around 30th from this lap). Chain dragging I stopped and stuck it back on. Gambling the chance of it falling off against waiting for my team mate to bring over a spanner I hit the start line flying thinking I could squeeze a lap in the clear air I had in front. It failed as I caught the back of the main pack half way through. I found George and screamed ‘ride for me, NOW’. Raffa from Back2Back (friend and incredibly strong racer) offered to bring us up to speed across the line, which he did at breakneck pace. I was near cooked at this point and George proceeded to drill me into the ground until I took the last 3rd of the lap. Even with the perfect lead out I only made 111th fastest qualifying placing me midfield in the last chance race.
An hour separated me from qualifying until the Last Chance Race. I was confident going in and have to say I really enjoyed it. Its the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been in control of a fixed gear crit, I felt at home in the front both driving the pace and chasing the break. Turns out after a little strava snooping the pace of the last chance race was pretty much the same as the main event. Just shorter and in daylight. One thing I learned here was a lesson in cheering. Enter Josh Hayes, Leader Bikes team rider, American, bike shop manager, friend and nutbag. Positive reinforcement is great, and thanks to anyone who has ever cheered me on ‘Go Blom’, ‘You can do it’ and the like. Josh’s approach is slightly different, ‘GET UP THERE YOU FUCK’, ‘PEDAL HARDER ALEX’. He told me afterwards that he was intentionally moving to different spots on the course so I wouldn’t be able to predict where he would be, giving me no opportunity to slack off and not ‘attack the shit’ out of the race. It worked and I came a comfortable 5th place qualifying me for the final. So if you ever find yourself cheering on a mate get loud, angry, swear and just get proper raw. Insult them if you have too. They’ll thank you after.
I was at the back and I have to say I felt relaxed because for me the pressure was off. George Garnier and Reece Wood had qualified straight through so they had it to loose. I’d done a lot already and I could and enjoy it, I had even made peace with the idea of dropping out because of the effort given in the last chance race.
Photo: Jason Sellers
The race starts, into the first corner and BANG the inevitable happens. The back of the race collapses and I run smack into it. I’ve gotten better at crashing so I’m up and back on the bike fast but there’s still a whole load of clean air in-between me and the bunch. A hot mixture of adrenaline and pure fury kick in and I wind it up. The next 5 laps i’m bringing myself back to the group, dodging stragglers and people being dropped. I make it on but just sitting at the back isn’t gonna cut it, the race would split and I had to be up in the front. Every straight I grabbed at least 2 places using the slower cornered sections to rest. This worked and with about 10 to go I could see the front, more importantly I could see George who started 33rd on the grid. I made it over and thats pretty much where my race ended. I allowed myself to relax at this point and the effort needed to get up there took its toll leaving very little fight left in me. I would have gladly ridden myself into the ground to get George up to the front but at that point strategy went out the window and I could only focus on finishing safely. We placed 30th (George), 38th (Alex) and 53rd (Reece) respectively. All finishing and we couldn’t be happier. We learned a lot this year and its going to prep us well for the next. We’re all capable and we all want champagne, fruit baskets.
To make this write up EVEN LONGER I’m going to say thanks. Thanks not just for the RHC but for the whole year.
So thanks to adidas, Oakley, Met Helmets, Workshop Coffee, Vita-Coco, Santa Maria Pizza, Ragpicker, Seabass Cycles, MucOff, Condor Bikes, Halo Wheels, David Trimble, Jon Baines, Angus Sung, Kitty PP, Jammy, Soph, Neil as well as our London brothers and sisters at Why Be Normal, NLTCBMCC, East London Fixed, Full Denim Jacket and Velociposse. All of you are contributing to something great, thank you!
Slides photos: 1 and 4 by Jason Sellers, 2 by Cristiano Gelato and 3 by Carlo Berry.
Next time I will have to yell at you while you set up your bike so you don’t cock it up again.