Rainey Park CX, Queens NYC
Yerrrrrr, yesterday was race day here in Queens, New York thanks to Keith Garrison as well as King Kog/Sun&Air. I’ve only raced a handful of CX races over the past couple of years, but from what I understand there hasn’t been cross racing in the city since Hurricane Sandy. Yo, that sucks b. When I think of sports and their accessibility it always makes me shed a single thug tear. In order for folks to develop their skills they need to be provided with facilities that accommodate their goals. Cyclocross is easily my favorite kind of cycling at this stage in my life, but I’ve always been a BMX’er. Part of riding bmx when I was growing up was recognizing the limits of your locale. Not having a car meant you couldn’t develop outside of your immediate city or town. To be a cylocross rider in NYC means virtually the same thing. Not having a car severely reduces your odds of racing should you live in NYC. Now of course I know about the one or two races a year you can take the bus to, but the only problem is when you’re a beginner like myself, your race is often the first of the day. Talk about a rough start! So to get back on track, no cx in the city since Sandy, along comes local bad ass, Keith Garrison, who I’m pretty sure worked with Austin Horse on the inaugural Rainey Park race last year on New Years Eve. I’ll never forget it, I was on the island of Coron out in the Philippines when it all went down. Enough about last year, I know why you’re here.
Yo I love the race predictor! If this is how we determine call ups, I’m with the shits. After yesterday I only need one more CX race and I can voluntarily move to the 4’s. I actually applied for an upgrade prior to this race because I wanted to race both single speed and a standard category. Since I’ve only done 2 races there’s no way they would upgrade me. This meant I’d be racing a 40 minute race at 9:30 with the single speed group and a 30 minute race with the category 5 group at 10:15. I wanted to race the ss because I knew I’d be in there with guys who race on the pro level, but I wanted to race wit the 5’s so I could have a chance of getting on the podium. Well, I got everything I asked for. And the muthafuckin’ race predictor got both races right. I’m starting to think there’s some brujeria going on over there.
As I mentioned the single speed race was set to begin at 9:30AM. I linked up with Young Pedro around 8AM and we rode over to Sal, Chris & Charlie’s in Astoria for that good jelly & cream cheese roll n a coffee. When we got to the park the course was already taped off and a couple of brave souls were having at the frozen snow covered path. Totally manageable but surprisingly difficult. Regardless, by the time 9:30 rolled around there was a clear line. The defined line was 18″ wide max, meaning any sort off passing was going to be done out in the unforgiving snow. What a game of tactics, I always forget about the casual contact in cross racing, especially during the beginning of the race. When you don’t expect it you might feel like you got the puck in a game of hockey. All things aside, I knew I was in a race with some savages. I stayed in the top three for the first two laps then slowly fell off. I was kind of over dressed but I refused to wear less clothes in that kind of cold. The barriers were right after a quick u-turn and insanely difficult to ride. I don’t know if anyone else tried or succeeded in riding them but it wasn’t happening for me. I rolled the dice on maybe the second lap and tried to ride them. I made it over the first successfully but had to stop and dismount before the second. The section on the backside was a true test; after the barriers there were two off camber climbs, followed by a stair climb, then a gnarly curb at the bottom of a decent which led you into a long climb with Belgian barriers. Sheeeeeesh, that shit was tiring bruh! Long story long, race predictor was correct, I took 6th place.
I had big hopes for this race to say the least. Everyone likes to put on for they squad. I know that my team went super hard at Kissena this season and did they thing so I just wanted to do right by them and their efforts. Before the decision to split the 4/5 field into two separate races, I was on the waitlist for that race and registered for the single speed. Knowing I was going to be racing this race, I think I held back in the SS a little. Not like that would have changed the result, but it made the SS a warm up for the 5 race, n boy was I warm. Came out of the prologue in the 2 position and never looked back. By the time we got to the back end of the course I was already in a fluid rhythm with the course. I knew how fast to take certain turns and where to conserve energy. As soon as we made that first left and started the climb towards the Belgain barriers, I knew that was my feasting ground and I was going to eat up all the seconds right there. I finessed those barriers so clean spectators started calling me a sandbagger.
Dude, thanks for the compliment! Honestly, I think that’s beautiful, someone thinks so highly of you they believe you should be in a higher category than you are. As I mentioned, I applied for an upgrade before the race and was declined because I’ve only raced twice prior to Sunday. So there I was, way off the front and relentlessly pushing myself to see what I was made of. I got some great advice from my teammate Gio, “Give a hundred two times… Show Cisco what Cisco’s made of.”
It’s amazing what the human body is capable of. In the single speed race all the homies and my teammates were cheering me on but in the 5 race, the sideline was pretty silent, I guess they didn’t think I needed any help with that one, haha. I ended up finishing with a 55 second gap.
By the last two laps I was the guy lapping people getting the wave by from other competitors. That shit felt amazing, you know, hard work and focus paying off. Shouts to the race predictor for holding me down yet again.
Much love to the lil homie Young Pedro for racing the SS race as well as winning the junior race! Mans never raced cross and did two races back to back on a Brooklyn Machine Works, running long reach road calipers. Keep your eyes on the next generation people.
Which brings me to my final note, do it for the kids y’all. I hope more kids like Pedro become involved in racing and more racing is organized in metropolitan areas like New York City. The more we get these kids outside and connected the better communities we’ll build. If you don’t take the time to teach them something good, someone will take the time to teach them something bad. Each one teach one, let’s build!