The second race in the Red Hook Crit 2014 series took place at a spectacular waterfront venue, Parc Del Forum in Barcelona, Spain. Being a spanish native I was very excited to finally experience a race like those I have been covering and loving in the United States. Race day was filled with a record attendance of over 5,ooo spectators which had the Forum oozing with contagious excitement. The racer area on the other hand had a distinct atmosphere that was inspiring even to those who were not racing. It was immediately obvious how much dedication, passion and sweat had been given by every team, racer, coach and helpers. Photographing and interviewing racers and event hosts once again set in stone my respect and appreciation for all those who participate in bringing alive such an amazing event for the cycling community.
There were two particular interviews that resinated with me, firstly that of founder of the Red Hook Criterium David Trimble.
What was the moment you knew this would become an internationally renowned event?
Back in the 2010 Milan Red Hook when I partnered up with Rock Star Games. They really brought the race to a whole new level in many ways.
How do you choose each city for the Red Hook Criterium series?
It weighs heavily on how good the production team from the city is. For example, the production team that we worked with here in Barcelona was so good. They really knew what they were doing and were great in helping realize what it is that we wanted to do here.
What is your personal favorite memory or moment of any Red Hook Criterium so far?
I would definitely have to say in 2008, I organized the first ever Red Hook Crit to celebrate my 26th birthday, the atmosphere was intense and the race was a memorable one, with Kacey Manderfield pulling ahead to victory in a tight sprint against her male rivals. She totally destroyed us, at first I was kinda mad, but now looking back it was pretty cool that a female racer beat all of us.
Where do you see the urban cycling culture in 5 years?
I see a teaming up between the art world and the cycling world. There are so many talented artists, especially visual artists in the cycling community that i cant wait to see what happens amongst that partnership.
How do you celebrate at the end of a successful event?
By beginning the next one! Lol, I never really stop, its a non-stop job to keep these events going. You need to keep building moment so that each event can be better than the last.
The second interview that stuck with me was that of racer Edgar ‘Willo' Juarez riding for Wolfpack Hustle from Los Angeles, CA. Willo came into the scene fast and blunt. From the streets of Long Beach he decided on a whim to go alone and compete at the 2012 Wolfpack Hustle Crash Marathon Race a 26.2-mile sprint through the streets of LA. With his first lycra race kit borrowed from his friends father from back in the 70’s when he used it to ride bikes, his friends clip pedals and shoes and unbeatable will and courage, he raced...and won. Two years later he is now a part of the Wolfpack Hustle race team and out here representing California at the 2014 Red Hook Criterium in Barcelona, Spain. Willo has come a very long way from that night and when asked “ Do you think your ready to win?” his response was as memorable and refreshing as he was at his first race. He said “ To be in the top 5 would be considered a win for me. I would love to be first like every racer here today, but the honor of being able to be here, at this race, with these racers is already a win! I just want to prove to my wife and my daughters that the time I spend every day training on my bike is not for nothing, that I can follow my dreams down to the last dollar and make something out of it. I want to show them that as impossible as your dream may seem or feel, if you work hard and love it you can achieve it. Im not going to give up.”
The 2014 Red Hook Criterium, Barcelona was taken by a new athlete I witnessed racing at the cycling event Fijate in Puerto Rico this year, alongside his team mate and winner of the Fijate Criterium race, Eduardo Colon who was also the winner of the Rockstar Games Top Antagonist Award. 21 year old Guatemalan cycling prodigy, Julio Padilla, countered his teammate’s earlier breakaway perfectly to pull away from the lead field with only a few laps remaining, crossing the finish line with his arms raised high.