A Saturday in Paradise

It's Crit week in Brooklyn! To celebrate RHC's 10th year, here is a look at some of our favorite Chalet coverage from over the years.

Ten years ago, David Trimble decided to throw a race for his birthday. He was determined to make it diabolical: a criterium on brakeless track bikes. When the group of would-be racers arrived in Red Hook, they didn’t know what they were in for. The course wound through a maze of hard corners and dark cobblestone streets in live traffic. Riders dodged irate MTA bus drivers and confused pedestrians. The physical demands of road cycling met the world of the illegal alleycat and a myth was born.

Several years later, in 2012, the race had exploded from a handful of participants and a few curious onlookers, to a field of over 200 racers. Several thousand spectators, lured by the growing folklore surrounding the race, flocked to Red Hook to watch. Trimble had quit his job, found sponsors, secured permits and moved the event into the (semi) controlled environment of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It was beginning to look like a pro bike race, but that didn’t stop a New York messenger winning for the third year in a row.

In subsequent years, the race continued to prove unpredictable: Weather, crashes, underdog winners on bamboo bikes. Trimble is always visible in the background, clutching a megaphone, knee deep in preventing some looming disaster. All the while, he continues to push things forward, tinkering with the format.

Every time we think we have it figured out we are thrown into suspense. This is what gives “the crit” its magic. After ten years, the Red Hook Crit continues to prove itself a race that cannot be tamed.

"You have to fully commit. It’s like taking a line through traffic. If you’re running that red, you have to pick your line and go for it. By the time you think it’s the right time, it’s too late."


The most famous u-turn in all of Red Hook. Photo by Phil Penman

Some call him "Mr. Red Hook". We call him Dan. Photo by Izzy Cohan

"Everyone is shivering on the start line. There was, of course, a crash in the first corner. It was basically pure madness."


No red lights in Red Hook Crit, sucker. Photo by Phil Penman

Red Hook is unpredictable. Always bring protection. Photo by Izzy Cohan

In all likelihood, a crash occured within 60 seconds of this. Photo by Phil Penman

Neil Bezdek (two time winner in Brooklyn) liked it wet and wild. Photo by Izzy Cohan

Chilling. Photo by Izzy Cohan

"Overly Aggressive riding, we can disqualify you for that. Last lap its ok, you can do whatever you want."

- David Trimble

Off the back? Off the front? Photo by Phil Penman

Prior to race time, Kelli Samuelson adheres to the cyclist's golden rule: Why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie-down, why lie-down when you can sleep. Photo by Izzy Cohan

Post race, Walton Brush addresses his adoring fans. Photo by Phil Penman

"The first Red Hook Crit was won by a friend of my sisters, a woman named Kacey Manderfield. She didn’t have any idea what she was getting into and had never ridden a track bike on the street. She came out and destroyed everyone. I finished second to her"

- David Trimble

Shane Ferro posing at the Chalet before the Red Hook Crit. Photo by Marc McAndrews

“Better watch out… I heard some messengers mugged a pro last year."

- Anonymous

Stephan Hoffman - not a pro or a messenger, just a former male model. Photo by Izzy Cohan

The messengers still come to the party, but rarely to the podium. Photo by Izzy Cohan

"As fast as a messenger might be at getting a triple-rush package across town... Smashing beers, chasing those beers with whiskey shots and then finding the best bodega bacon, egg and cheese sandwich at 4am no longer can produce a victor."


Cooper Ray - Not one to shy away from a beer hand-up. Photo by Izzy Cohan

Alfred Bobe Jnr. - The last of the messengers keeps putting up a fight. Photo by Marc McAndrews

Jen Nordhem smiles in any circumstances. Photo by Izzy Cohan

The crit isn't just sex and champagne. Photo by Izzy Cohan

Goodnight, and goodluck. Photo by Phil Penman

Roz Patterson, a week before racing the first Red Hook Crit Women. Photo by Marc McAndrews

For those attending the crit we've created a special, limited run zine. Come find us at the pre-party or race to score a copy!

Lap 24 with Evan Murphy

Produced and edited by Danny Abel, Cinematography by Ben McIntire