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“It demands a lot of different types of skill,” said Rudy Melo of 5th Floor, “so it makes people question their gearing and it favors different people’s skills—those guys who are used to riding the streets with the sharp stops and fast accelerations; those guys who are used to riding the velodrome and can just maintain that endurance, high speed.”

The unconventional track bike criterium format draws enthusiastic cyclists from the traditional road and track racing domains along with dedicated street racers, from the United States and beyond. Amateur and pro, man and woman; at Red Hook Crit all racers are on the same level and are out because they love the challenge of a good race, especially one as well curated as RHC has become.

“All these guys are coming down and really showing their A-game,” said Christopher Rabadi of Washington D.C. “I’m unaffiliated; I don’t really race for a team so it’s just kind of cool to be in this atmosphere. I’m just a kid that rides his bike and delivers packages for a living.”

Many of the cyclists at Red Hook Crit were supported racers who had earned their backing by proving their mettle within local racing arenas, garnering support from companies that believed in the sport and the racers. Eight women were among the field of 200 racers, including Olympic road racer Ingrid Drexel, coming out from Mexico, and Kacey Manderfield, winner of the first RHC in 2008.

The Red Hook Crit began as a fun way for David Trimble to celebrate his birthday.

“I was a bike racer; a lot of my friends were bike racers,” Trimble recalled. “I was racing alleycats and road races at the time, and I wanted to try and make a race that would attract both alleycat racers and road racers at the same time.”

Before racing bikes Trimble raced shifter go-karts professionally. “My background’s in motorsports, so I took a lot of my ideas from grand prix racing,” said Trimble, “more so than any other established bike racing. I tried to do something in cycling that was completely new.”

Trimble’s grand prix-style bike races provide a spectator-friendly environment, and continue to draw several thousand spectators each year. Another element that comes from grand prix is the circuit design. “I wanted to ride a lap of the course kind of like a racing