After getting a good healthy buzz off of Gothamist and the NY Times I thought it would only be fitting to follow up with David August Trimble and find his personal insights to the Redhook Criterium.
I asked him the following questions:
Who won? (race results)
Only 7 riders finished on the lead lap and were scored.
1. Neil Bezdek
2. David Trimble
3. John Kniesly
4. Chris Thormann
5. John Taki Theodoracopulos
6. Gabriel Allen
7. Lyle Driver
What were some of the challenges of putting on this race?
The most difficult part of organizing this race was attracting the
racers. Perhaps the average alley cat racer was intimidated by the
promised speed of the event but the average road racer was terrified
about the idea of racing on an open street. In conceiving the idea I
received a lot of negative feedback about the format and seemingly
reckless nature of the race. Trying to convince a roadie who is
envisioning his entire season down the drain because of a cobbly crash
was extremely hard. In the end I had a much smaller field than I
anticipated (which actually worked out well considering the
conditions on course). I think the word is out now that this race is
relatively safe, fast, hard, and fun. I didn’t receive any negative
feedback about the race from anyone who competed.
For about a week before the race I was obsessively checking the
weather forecast. The day before the race there was a 90% chance of
thunderstorms. I was frantic and was exploring options to postpone
the event. I stayed patient and the rain gods smiled down on Red Hook.
The rest of the race organization while difficult was enjoyable. I
somehow attracted a stand up crew to help run and promote the race.
Every element from the party, race directing, to the press coverage
came together seamlessly. It even started on time (more or less)
which is unheard of in unsanctioned bike races.
What was the turnout like from the racers?
We had approx. 30 entrants which was lower that I anticipated but
actually pretty good considering the misty weather conditions and late
start time. I think everyone also expected the race to be shut down
after all exposure in ended up getting in the press. I am forever
grateful for the racers that showed up. Several of the guys in the
field let me know they were only racing because it was my birthday.
How was it with the Roadies mixing it up with the Alleycats?
The roadies don’t give themselves enough credit. Before the race I
could see the terror in their eyes. Eric Robertson was muttering
under his breath about how fucking dangerous and crazy it was.
Gabriel Loyd was very calmly panicking about the wet cobblestones.
After the first lap I could see in their eyes that they were no longer
concerned with the danger and were racing race hard. I actually felt
relief in the race when I realized the fast roadies were mixing it up
through the corners. The alleycat racers were in their element.
Monstertrack champion Crihs was a monster out there. Every-time I
struggled through the chicane he would yell at me to go faster. The
bike handling skills displayed by everyone were impressive. There was
a lot of strong communication in the bunch when approaching the
What was challenging about the course?
The original course could not be used. For some reason I thought I
would get away with running the pack through the IKEA parking lot.
The police barricaded the entrance and I was forced to go to plan B
which I wanted to avoid because of the tricky chicane on the back side
of the course. I had no idea if a fast pack could make it through
there safely. When it started misting the cobblestone corner picked
up a nice shine to it which is a tell tale sign that you’re about to
crash. The pack communicated well and everyone filed through the
corners with extreme skill. I still can’t comprehend how no one
stacked it over the slick cobbles. I held my breath every lap as I
turned in and transitioned onto the cobbles.
What was the cops reaction?
The police were strict and professional. About an hour before the
race I heard rumors that they were stopping bike riders and trying to
find information on the race. I immediately went to the course with
Al and sought them out to do damage control. They were very concerned
about the use of the IKEA facility. We quickly reverted to plan B.
More cops kept showing up and Al had to speak to each one
individually. The police officer he was speaking with before the
start of the race warned that he would shut down the event if it
looked like we didn’t know how to ride our bikes properly. Al just
responded “Yes sir, I can ensure you these all are very skilled riders
sir”. During the race they even cheered us on a bit. Hopefully
next year I can get a permit.
How did you go about getting sponsors?
My original sponsor was my friend Katherine’s homemade granola. She happened to make me a jar and it instantly dawned on me that all
cyclists love granola. After that I was contacted by Eddie from the
Coffee Den who is an avid cyclist. He expressed interest in
supporting the underground race scene. Through these two ideas I came
up with the breakfast and dinner themed Primes. All cyclists are also
obsessed with good food so it was perfect. I got Magia Zaferiopoulou
to donate the Greek olive oil and pasta. I donated the rest of the
food based off my favorites. Luckily my roommate won the Primes so
I’ll get to enjoy some of it.
My uncle Sam and I are forming the Trimble Racing entity and decided
to sponsor the race through that. Sam donated the first place cash
($300 in all $1′s!) and the bike swag. The day of the race we went
over to NYC VELO to buy the prizes and the owner Andrew hooked us up
with some heavy discounts which amounted to a sponsorship from his shop.
Did someone really win a cobblestone?
I found the cobblestone in Red Hook. I wanted a pedestal to display
it on so I designed the trophy. Another uncle Roo fabricated the
trophy at his shop in Massachusetts. He is an industrial designer who
is currently designing a green “Alternative Vehicle”. He calls it the
Roo Pod (roopod.com).
What changed about your expectations? Were they met?
My expectations were surpassed. All I did was organize the original
idea for the race and everything else followed. I never expected the
amount of exposure this race obtained. It was a combination of a
bunch of interesting people coming together and trying to create a
cool and completely grassroots event. The racing also couldn’t have
been better. We had an epic break away followed by a tactical and
unpredictable chase group battling for the final positions. The
podium celebration had very real energy as well. I knew that I had to
hold it immediately after the race to contain some of the excitement.
My only real regret was the amount of flats suffered by the field. I
guess that’s part of racing at night in the rain in a post industrial
part of town. Next year we’ll be more prepared to deal with this.
What may change for next year?
I have lots of ideas for next year. I want to keep the basic feel of
the event but will definitely include many improvements. I also have
a feeling that I will have to accommodate a much larger field. I’m
going to look into what kind of permits I would need to ensure the
race doesn’t get shut down. One thing for sure is that I’ll have a
free lap and wheel in/wheel out policy to help take care some of the
flat problems. It will be very exciting to see if people are fast
enough to change a wheel and make it back into the field within one lap.
What did you think of your performance at the Race?
I was suffering like crazy. I wasn’t able to train much leading to
the event and the night of the race was stressful and busy. I didn’t
get to warm up but nevertheless tried to attack straight from the gun
as I went for the 1st Prime. This was probably the stupidest thing I
could do on cold tired legs. Neil drove around me at the end of the
first lap and soon disappeared into the darkness. I was in serious
oxygen debt at that point. Aside from Crihs I pulled more than anyone
in the lead pack. After awhile I knew we were fighting a losing
battle against Neil and switched tatics. With (3) laps to go I
silently slipped to the back of the lead pack and recovered for the
most crucial part of the race. With (2) Laps to go I attacked hard
down the long front straight. Only Crihs was able to respond and we
put a gap on the field. I pulled for most of that lap before waving
him through. Crihs was probably the strongest rider in that bunch but
he pulled me around (and maintained our gap over the 3 chasers) on the
last lap. I made sure to stay tight into his draft through the
cobblestone corner and as soon as with hit the smooth pavement I
Who came to watch?
Many people came to watch. Most of the racers had friends spectating and partying. The press was there along with the film crew. I had family fly in from far away to attend. A large contingent from my
Kissena Cyling Team showed up to cheer on the race. I’m pretty sure a
lot of the neighborhood also came out to watch. You get used to
racing road where there is never any spectators. To have a
(relatively) large and enthusiastic crowd cheering you on the whole
time makes you dig just a little bit deeper each lap.
what was with the video crew?
John Hoppin and Kalim Armstrong contacted me soon after I posted
details of the race on the internet. That had the idea to cover the
race like a real sporting event. I was instantly sold on the idea.
John Hoppin looked and sounded the part. I can’t wait to see the
final cut in the Bicycle Film Festival.
What was it like getting in NY Times article?
I would like to thank Colin Moynihan for covering this race. I think
his article captured a realistic picture of the race atmosphere and
was very positive. Everyone I’ve talked to in the cycling community
is surprised with the exposure. We realized that writing an article
about a bike race that appealed to the general public and to the
cycling scene would be difficult. I hope he comes out and does a
follow up story about next years event.
Nice work David. Thank you for daring to promote competitive cycling here in NYC. I know it can be a stretch, especially when the safety of the Ikea parking lot at night might be compromised. (sorry I couldn’t help myself)
All kidding aside, you did a fantastic job and your efforts really benefit the cycling community as a whole. Thank you for daring to dream and bring together the different worlds of cycling.