Wolfpack Hustle: Austin Finale Crit
Words and photos by Chris Lee
A group of 30 or so men straddled their bikes as they looked around for their teammates in coordinating outfits. All of the sudden a voice rang out over the large amplifiers near the opening of the smoothly paved racing track.
“Men’s track please come to the staging area!”
This was the beginning of the last race that would close out the Unified Title Series, hosted by Wolfpack Hustle, and the season for fixed gear criterium racing around the world.
Austin, Texas hosted the finale race at The Driveway, a paved race track normally used for cars and kart racing, this past weekend. While it’s usually used for motor sports, The Driveway does see it’s fair share of bicycles as Holland Racing, an Austin based business that organizes and facilitates bicycle races, hosts a weekly crit series every Thursday during road season. So with the Unified Title prize on the line, this crit drew racers from all over the US and it’s territories, from New York and California to Puerto Rico.
While the caliber of racers were indeed high, the scorching heat of the Texas sun kept racers on their toes and near their water bottles during much of the day. A recorded high of 95 degrees (f), many, especially those from cooler climates, were not prepared for the weather as they sought out refuge from the sun in any shade available when not on the bike. But as the day went on and qualifying rounds drew to a close, the heat started to wane off and the final races for the day began with a little more ease.
Racers fought tooth and nail through exciting break aways in each category and victories won by fractions of a meter and at the end of the day, Chris Carlson and Ash Duban, both local Texas racers, stood at the top on the podium for men’s and women’s track, respectively. And Colin Strickland, a local Austinite, and Kimberly Lucie, from Arizona, took home the gold for men’s and women’s road, respectively.