Flat, Flat, Flat / Red Hook

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The title says it all.  I’ve flatted 3 times in the past week.  That is a record for me in races.  I need to check out the tires.  I know one was a cut and one was the valve stem, but the 3rd is still on the wheel and I haven’t looked at it yet.

Yesterday’s flat was a drag.  I woke up before 6 am feeling pretty much like racing.  It was a 87 mile road race around a local reservoir.  Kind of hilly and kind of windy. It was a pretty good group of guys and I was really looking forward to helping young Alex win the race overall.  But about 2 miles into the race, my rear tire was soft. There was one pickup truck with wheels and by the time I got a new wheel I was way too far behind, so got my wheel back and rode back to the start on a flat.

The racing was good though.  It all came down to time bonus sprints because the Olathe Subaru guys kept the field together, even though it was aggressive.  Dylan Postier beat Benn Stover for the stage and overall win.  Alex was 3rd, 8 seconds back.  Pretty close.

I posted that crash below at the Red Hook Criterium yesterday.  It is so funny because that is the first most people had heard about these races.  They have been going on for a while.  I was looking into going to one a couple years ago.  I missed the boat because lots of good “real criterium” riders are doing them now.  Daniel Holloway, Aldo Ino Ilesic, Colin Stickland, who won, even Tristan Uhl, Texan MTB/Cross/Road Racer, was in the top 10.  I envy those guys for making the effort to go there to race.

It is too bad that the motorcycle crash is how most of us were exposed to these races.  I like the energy and freedom this race series is exhibiting.  I talked to a couple of the Lupus racing guys last weekend at Joe Martin and they said that they had done Red Hook races and that they had to be super focused for the whole time.  Picking the right gear, they are fixed gear races, qualifying and then the race.

I sometimes wish that “normal criterium” racing would take some deviations and try to capture some of this enthusiasm.  I think that any night criterium on a short course, with a ton of corners, is super exciting. Brakes or no brakes.

Fatboy racing on MTB was exhilarating.  I remember after winning the Fatboy in Scottsdale, Julie Furtado, who had done some crazy exciting sports herself, from downhill skiing, MTB cross country, National Road Champion, etc., came up to me and said that was the most exciting bike race she had ever seen.  I could see in her eyes how much she loved it.  The race was a lot like a Red Hook race.  Less than a minute course, at night, lots of lights, on MTB’s with skinny tires. And the course was lined 5 deep with spectators.  There is no downside to that.

So, before you start judging these Red Hook races as ghetto bike races and a silly fad, give it a chance.  It is bike racing and these guys have a ton of skill.  I very much doubt that Alberto or Chris would make it a lap without paying their dues.  I like it and would like to ride one sometime.

Benn and Dylan sprinting uphill.  The line is still 200 meters up.

Benn and Dylan sprinting uphill. The line is still 200 meters up.

Dylan, left and Benn talking it over.

Dylan, left and Benn talking it over.

Finn, Shadd Smith's son, was dog sitting again  yesterday.  I saw Tucker pulling him all over.

Finn, Shadd Smith’s son, was dog sitting again yesterday. I saw Tucker pulling him all over.

I thought Kelly was watching Tucker, but then she road by on Finn's bike.

I thought Kelly was watching Tucker, but then she road by on Finn’s bike.

Finn, Tucker and Kelly. These guys are tight.

Finn, Tucker and Kelly. These guys are tight.

Tucker was a very happy puppy  



30 thoughts on “Flat, Flat, Flat / Red Hook

  1. jc1

    be interested to know what wheels and tires you’ve tried in the past and what worked/what didn’t work.

    For me, during mtbing, I use hutchinson pythons tubeless with a tub filled with stans and pinch flat tape. Sure it adds a few extra kgs, but better safe than flatting.

    for road, I typically ride continentals. I’ve tried many many others, but I find they wear fast then susceptible to flatting. I typically ride cyclocross as I like the versatility, if I want to do road… I do road. If I want to jump onto trail, I jump onto the trail with 700×25 which can be a challenge.

  2. Joe C

    @jc1 – what’s pinch flat tape?
    And I can’t believe people haven’t heard of Red Hook. Been going on so long it’s spread to Europe. It’s kind of like a crits answer to Red Bull Rampage. I’m a middle aged non-racer in west Texas, of all things, and I’ve been seeing it.

  3. Barb

    I used to use “sewups” on my Mokba 80 and had flats a couple times a month, of course I was riding a LOT more miles “back then.” Gluing tires on is a pain too, just wondering if you’re using sewups where you’re flatting? I can understand using tubeless for mountain bike racing, the benefit of lower tire pressure and all that, but it seems like in the long races people with tubeless flat more than people using tubes. I must have an invisible force field around me, or just lucked out with the right tires cause I rarely flat on the road or the mountain bike, and am still riding lots of miles. I use 700 x 23 Conti GPX 4000 on the road, and Conti Trail King on the trail..bombproof tires. What’s the weight difference between a flyweight race tire and Conti GPX? Maybe 100 grams? I could run tubeless on my mountain bike, but why go there? I can run 25-28lb with tubes and have never flatted…. Point is, it seems like people running tubeless are always the ones you hear about who flatted in a race.

  4. channel_zero

    Daniel Holloway, Aldo Ino Ilesic, Colin Stickland, who won, even Tristan Uhl, Texan MTB/Cross/Road Racer, was in the top 10. I envy those guys for making the effort to go there to race.

    Part of the agreement made when you buy a USA Cycling license is the athlete will only participate in USA Cycling sanctioned races. Will USA Cycling sanction them?

    I’m confused by all the people watching the event. That’s how you know it’s not a USA Cycling event.

  5. channel_zero

    Point is, it seems like people running tubeless are always the ones you hear about who flatted in a race

    So, so true.

  6. KrakatoaEastofJava

    Just search the term “criterium crashes” on YouTube, and Red Hook is the predominant result. Those races are (themselves) inherently unsafe. I don’t know why anyone would do them. Look at the live can footage. There are no tactics. You qualify well, ride fast, don’t crash, and you’re in the money. There’s no point in drafting, because you have no ability to ease up on the pedals. If you have a mid-pack starting position, you’re just going to be part of the conga-crash line. The only thrill for the spectators is to watch guys on fixed gear bikes careen around blind corners and crashing into guys who caught pedals and went down (because they were on fixed gears).

    This isn’t true sport. This is like watching gladiators or bullfighting. The participants have no choice but to deliver to the bloodthirsty crowd what they came to see, as they’ve been set up.

  7. KrakatoaEastofJava

    The fact that the moto crash happened at the START OF THE RACE proves the absurdity. Guys have to start as fast as they humanly can, and there you are. Crashing within meters of where they first began pedaling. Even with a moto stall, road bikes would have avoided that crash. The whole thing is stupid.

  8. Gabby

    Isn’t the tactic the specialized/allez allez team used the same tactic you’d use in a crit when you only have 2 guys? So there’s no drafting bc you’re on a track bike? Then why is there a derny in derny races? What about team pursuits? Those guys aren’t recovering in a draft? You can ease up on the pedals, it’s called slowing your cadence. Go read Holloways take on it. The guys that race them seem to like them. They don’t like it when motor stall in front of them but wasn’t it Athens where riders with brakes smashed into the back of a moto parked on the course (albeit trying to protect a crashed rider) ?

  9. Fausto

    No different in most ways than mass start events at the velodrome. I have seen many bike messengers from Philly and NYC come out to T-Town and fail even with their mad handling skills and saddle time. Then you have a guy like Nelson Vails. The event has gone from fancy alley cat to big corporate, international fun and attracted more crit racers than just messengers now. Still think there are as many crashes as most big pack crits. ATMO

  10. Stephen J Schilling

    Agree on your last point. Just watch the finishing circuits on the Champs Elysees, which isn’t even that tight, for validation. Guys all over the place exiting the u-Turn.

  11. RT

    “I’m confused by all the people watching the event. That’s how you know it’s not a USA Cycling event.”

    lol, so true!

  12. Bolas Azules

    By the looks of it the whole Red Hook thing might be a bit out of your ‘wheel house.’ I mean this looks like racing, a bit loose on the politeness rankings and who knows there might be more than a little contact…stick to T.T.’s and road racing.

  13. jinglenuts

    http://redhookcrit.com/ love it! need more of this sort of stuff…

    away from the typical “stay in the norm” sort of races…

    should see more off the wall sort of races, like iron cross, midnight crit races throughout the city, NYC messenger races etc…

    all is good! get out and ride!

  14. Krakatoa East of Java

    Ok guys, I will lay down my sword on this stuff and just stipulate that this style of racing “just ain’t for me”.

    But Tilly, if you EVER decide to take that hip, that shoulder, and your fingers to Red Hook, dude, you’re a fucking dumb-ass 😉

  15. mike crum

    steve, if im reading your post correctly, you flatted 2 miles into an 87 mile rr, and after you get a wheel you rode back to the start line? why didnt you keep racing? there was 85 miles to go.. i dont think the pack would have hammered for 85 miles. i bet there was some down time in there.. no matter what, you hate getting up that early, so while you’re up and paid to race, why not race the 85 on your own? way better training that riding two miles back.. and you’re supose to be helping this young guy. you flat and drop out???? you should have kept racing. you could have caught some stragglers that were dropped and worked with them.. that truck had to of been right behind the pack as you said it happened 2 miles into the race, so the change had to be pretty quick. probably not like the pros on tv, but still, you should have pressed on.cant believe you quit.

  16. sillypuddy

    I guess I’m kinda stunned also. There was lots of road left. The wheel truck would have paced u up, maybe not all of the way, but most of it. I mean your Steve fuckin Tilford. Im not gonna question your judgement. U where there not me. But it doesn’t Sound like these where teir 1 racers. I think the record for 100 mile TT is just under 3:30 hr. I know u could cover 85ish under 4 on a standard road set up. Where u just not feeling it in this race?

  17. tippycup

    Questioning Steve Tilford…..about his jumping back into a race or lack thereof…..no wonder I ride, race but still hate the average cyclist.

  18. sillypuddy

    Lillypop, im not questioning Steves ability to race, but his willingness to race in an event that was obviously not very important. ST is a legend. No doubt about it. He still had 85 miles to go. You wouldn’t expect a baseball team to call it quits if they were done 4 or 5 runs after the 1st inning. IMHO, seemed way to soon. Flat tires, bad officiating, what’s next, Tuckers got flees, The penut butter was to penutty. When’s it going to end? How about,” I just didn’t have it in me today ” or ” Hey,…those guys where way to fast today.” I don’t mind when ST is boasting about a good finish. But you have to own the bad ones to.

  19. mike crum

    just got finished watching and reading about all the paris roubaix’s.. advice from the vets to the young ones.. KEEP RIDING.. it closed with stewart o’grady thinking his race was over cause he punctured at a bad time, but he kept riding and WON.. i’d like to hear why you stopped 2 miles into a long road race, espically after you’re supose to be working for this young teammate.. he was probably pumped knowing he has you as a domistique, and after you quit hes probably ready to switch teams..

  20. sillypuddy

    To mike crums,
    Give ST a chance to reply. Most great athletes don’t let others know when they r under the weather, having aches and paines, or even over trained. It could be anything. ST has nothing to prove. His resume says it all. Maybe we aught to see yours. I bet you could put it on a post-it-note with room to spare. I’m just interested in the reasoning. Race fees, time and travel expenses, not to mention a young racer fired up and ready to go. How do you explain it all to yourself. I bet when Tucker saw ST coming back to the Subaru 20 minutes later he was like ” WTF,…what the hell did you drag me all the way out here for?…on the way back just drop me off at the Humane Society,..I rather be gassed” Guess I’m getting a peak behind the curtain and disappointed with what i see.

  21. mike crum

    sillystring, dont get on my case, am just a guy getting into cycling. all i do are 10 mile time trials on my own, just trying to better my time as the months go by.. but , i am thinking about doing a road race and was questioning steve on why he dropped out with 85 miles to go.. and like i said, it happened very early, and he was supose to work for a young teammate, and as many miles that were left, even if steve wouldnt have caught the main guys, he still would have got in 85 hard TT miles, but i still say he would have caught some stragglers and could have worked with them.. but a great point you had, was the wheel truck would have probably paced him up to close to the front with the flat happening so early on.. im just hoping steve comments on my comments, so i can learn..guys been racing 40 years !!!so the few times i have questions for him……. he never answers..lots of his followeres say how much he does for cycling, but he sure dosent get back to me re: my question on why he dropped out…. ill just wait and check back…..i do gotta hand it to you sillysrting, that bit on tucker was funny.. tucker knew he probably had about 5 hours to scope out the dog babes, and he probably saved a few milkbones to break the ice with the babes, but it just didnt work out that way when he seen steve limping back in..

  22. sillypuddy

    Yeah its called being a bad wing man. Poor Tucker, he suffered the most. He had to endure another 4 hr ride back listening to ST rant about the lack of technological break throughs in pinch flats. I wander if everytime he hears ST start packing if he starts to play sick. Starts pissing everywhere. “Don’t take me, I’ve gotta a weak bladder” I’ve got ten bucks says Tucker is gonna run away tonite. I can see it in his face,..he’s embarrassed. Hey Tuck, you can come stay with me bro.

  23. William Benton

    I wondered why I saw you going the other way on 237 when I was wheeling for the Womens 1/2/3

  24. Krakatoa East of Java

    A fair question to ask here… How many of you have ever flatted in a road race, gotten a wheel change, and then actually made it BACK to the peloton? I’ve gotten several wheel changes and must admit that I never once even came close to succeeding. I’m curious to know how many of y’allz have gotten back up.

  25. Steve Tilford Post author

    Guys – Here’s the deal. I felt pretty good in the morning. Was really looking into the “battle” of being outnumbered, but felt that Brian and I could really protect Alex’s lead. I flatted and there was a wheel truck with a topper on it. On the back was a 4 bike hitch rack. It was slow to start with, but at first I was given an 10 speed wheel. I told him I needed an 11 speed wheel and he told me to take whatever wheel I wanted. I took another wheel and by the time I got it in, it had been a couple minutes. It was pretty windy and I was close to a mile behind. I wasn’t going to ask the one guy following the race, this wheel truck, to try to motorpace me back to the field. It would have been nearly impossible with the rack. So, I just took my wheel, which had about 10 psi in it and rode back to the finish line. I wasn’t much into doing a one to two hour time trial, with little chance of being successful. The race was nearly 90 mlles and took about 3:30. I can’t do that in a time trial with that wind. No way. I don’t very often quit bike races, but this was different.

    And I nearly always get back on after a flat. But that is because I’m usually riding bigger events with long caravans. Or smaller races where I can catch. Without drafting, or having a few teammates drop back, it is nearly impossible normally.

  26. sillypuddy

    Good enough 4me ST. Just bustin your balls a little bit. We’ve all said skrew it. We’ve all been yanked from a race or two. I know i have. We all like to think what we would have done in any given situation. But untill your locked n2 those pedals it’s all just make believe. Gotta go, those brawts keep a callin


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