Had to avoid the au­thor­i­ties.”

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

New York City. “I was get­ting pretty se­ri­ous about the al­l­ey­cat races and US Cy­cling ama­teur road races,” he ex­plains. “For my 25th birth­day, I had a lot of friends in both worlds, so I fig­ured the only way to get both com­mu­ni­ties to come to my birth­day party was to or­ga­nize a race that ap­pealed to both of them,” he says. And thus the Red Hook Crit was born. It was the first track-bike cri­terium of its kind in the world.

That first year, 40 rid­ers – what Trim­ble de­scribes as a mix of elite rid­ers, bike mes­sen­gers and ran­dom am­a­teurs – showed up. “I had the right kind of mix right from the be­gin­ning,” he says. Now, the track-bike-only race con­sis­tently sells out. There are spots for 300 men and 75 women to com­pete and an­other 100 or so on a wait­ing list. And though it is not a pro race, it does at­tract a healthy mix of pro rac­ers.

What’s amaz­ing about the rise of al­l­ey­cat races, the first Red Hook Crit and its sub­se­quent suc­cess, is that they hap­pened be­fore the so­cial me­dia had the strength to re­ally pub­li­cize events and gal­va­nize sup­port. Trim­ble posted in­for­ma­tion about that first race to nyc Fixed Fo­rums, an ac­tive com­mu­nity that still ex­ists. “If you were in the scene, you had to be on that fo­rum,” says Trim­ble. “It was the only place you could get in­for­ma­tion.” In fact, his orig­i­nal thread is still there. Some­times he goes back to look be­cause he finds those first com­ments en­ter­tain­ing.

Trim­ble also al­ludes to the in­flu­ence that pho­tog­ra­phers and doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers had in at­tract­ing rac­ers and by­standers to the an­nual event. “I think that’s what first started get­ting the race off the ground,” he says. “Be­ing in New York City, the race is re­ally in­ter­est­ing vis­ually and these guys are al­ways look­ing for in­ter­est­ing things to shoot.”

As far as the orig­i­nal Al­l­ey­cats’ in­flu­ence it­self: “They def­i­nitely helped in­form what I was go­ing to do,” ex­plains Trim­ble. “There were some things about al­l­ey­cat races I re­ally liked – there was a lot of hype and a lot of ri­val­ries. I didn’t re­ally get that in road rac­ing.” Fur­ther­more, the races re­quired a lot of ath­letic abil­ity and train­ing. But to Trim­ble there was also a down­side, in­clud­ing favouritism among or­ga­niz­ers who made up rules to help their friends. “Part of the rea­son I tried the Red Hook Crit was to fix what I found an­noy­ing about the al­l­ey­cats,” he says.

While traf­fic and gen­eral city con­ges­tion were a part of the al­l­ey­cat routes, the Red Hook Crit rac­ers have al­ways used a closed course, usu­ally at night. For the first three years, race or­ga­niz­ers had to close the course them­selves, se­cur­ing in­ter­sec­tions on the down-low, but now the proper per­mits are se­cured ahead of time.

Races usu­ally last less than an hour and are set up for speed, not en­durance. Rid­ers must have brake­less track bikes and ride mul­ti­ple laps around a tech­ni­cal course.

When asked what he thinks the ap­peal of the race is, Trim­ble says, “I think it’s su­per sim­ple and any­body can un­der­stand it; as spec­ta­tors, you

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