Sup peeps, what better way to spend a Saturday morning than racing bikes? Even better, racing bikes less a mile away from where you grew up. Thanks to Distraction Circus and Verrazano I and several fixed gear heads were able to take part on the first ever official Wards Island Fixed Gear Criterium. The determined duo of Wade and Alex Koch were able to get race permits, race officials, and even a motor pacer.
You couldn’t ask for a better back drop than Manhattan’s skyline. The race was 50 minutes long with a 10:15am start time. It was a bright sunny day with a bit of a headwind. The course was amazing as it was a good mix of speed and technical turns. Oh did I forget to mention the occasional sand pit and huge rock decor setting as a barrier to protect the grass. .
The race started with a pace/rolling start. Teammate Shawn F. decided to put a hurt on the field with an early 25mph average. Shawn strung out the field in the first two laps as people struggled to make bridges and regain a reasonable peloton. Two laps in, the field recovered and we now had 7-8 riders.
I decided to break early to test the field and see if anyone would respond. Shawn was pulling the field at 23mph when I made my move and brought his pace up to 27/28mph. Mike told Avery to bridge up to me but unfortunately Avery over cooked a turn (I did this myself in the final turn) and went into the grass. This forced Shawn to speed up even more. The pack responded and caught me a lap later.
Now back in the pack, I stay towards the front to see if anyone was going to counter attack. As I suspected, many counters were tried including some from myself. None of these had any serious break away potential with the headwind that morning. Conrad made a valiant effort as he put in some work for two laps which set up D. Spellman to counter and try to gap. Matt had none of this as he chased these down.
With the field back in a lull I decided to break again this time bringing Shawn with me. I burned a few matches trying to work for Shawn but unfortunately we were caught 2 laps into that break. We didn’t have a good rotation going. Field reassembled again and we had a good pace.
Matt decided to break heading into a straight that had hella headwind. Great time to go because if you didn’t want to work or you were tired from the headwind you were not going to catch his break. I decided to go and brought Spellman with me. The rest of the race Matt and I put in efforts to make sure we held podium.
Heading into the last lap I felt super strong. It didnt matter that I had dead legs from winning NSFL Summer Series the night before. Matt took the lead I held second wheel and Spellman held 3rd wheel. Heading into the last turn I held too much speed and overcooked the turn. There was a random guy that got on to the course but I dont want to blame him or take away from Matts and Spellmans sprints at the end. Even though I didnt get the results I wanted, I was happy to share the podium with those that gave it that extra to chase me around. It was a great day for fixed gear crits in NYC. Special thanks again to all those involved and to those that support. See you 8/11 for the next one 💪🏽
All photos cred to Petra (Mikes partner) and Verrazano Bikes
Videos by Avery and Shawn