Brooklyn Red Hook Crit No. 9
Photos and words by Chris Lee
The clouds hung very grey and ominous that morning. No surprise since it rained for most of the day prior. Nevertheless, as soon as the announcement was made that qualifying rounds would begin, the sun broke through the clouds and the ninth iteration of the Red Hook Crit was on.
With every year, there seems to be an inevitable metamorphosis. Admittedly, RHC is not the birthday celebration race that it once was. Nowadays, banners of corporate sponsors don the barricades, along with newly acquired bicycle sponsor, Specialized. But the allure and the romance of RHC still remains and the level of competition becoming elevated with every stop. This year brought pro, elite and working class athletes from 48 countries, hungry to represent their team and country on the podium. This was especially true in the women’s field who, in many ways, were the most eager to bring the spotlight to their efforts, which indeed shined brightly.
While this year’s Crit was not without it’s fair share of controversy and bloodshed, a fiercely competitive male and female peloton chose their champions. In the end, Ainara Elbusto, an Italian representing Conor WRC, fought through crashes and sprinted for the win in the women’s race while Colin Strickland, an American representing Allez Allez-Specialized, broke away for a solo win after a devastating crash in the men’s field involving a stalled moto.
Although it’s not certain what the next metamorphosis will look like for the Red Hook Crit. What is certain is that anyone can still earn the top spot on the podium, pro or amateur, which makes this race’s allure even stronger every year.