Red Hook Crit Milan 9 started grey and stayed that way but it didn’t stop over 400 men and 70 women riders lining up to take on the 1270m circuit. It wasn’t cold but the rain started as the opening heat got underway. By 5 laps in, the desperation of riders wanting to be in the top 20 to qualify for the final, mixed with an increasingly slick surface took its toll with riders coming unstuck on each of the corners.
Ray rode his heat positioned between 10-20 and came into the last lap inside the top 20. Unfortunately he lost his front wheel in the final 90 degree corner and hit the tarmac hard. Banged up and ruing the lost opportunity Ray spent some quality time in the medical tent.
Meanwhile Hal lined up on the second row of the grid in his heat. The pace was hot and the conditions wreaked havoc on the back end of the field with the race having to be restarted twice. The final restart was for a 3 lap shootout. Hal started in the chase group behind the lead group of 8 riders and got across quickly. Staying upright and out of trouble, he rolled over the line in 10th and qualified comfortably.
It’s not an easy decision to pull the pin on an event you have trained for and travelled a long way to race but despite bandages on each limb, a questionable shoulder injury, a chipped tooth and a split lip, Ray borrowed a wheel and got on the rollers to warm up for the last chance race. I honestly doubted if Ray should be on a bike at all let alone racing but he and Hal sorted out a plan and he lined up at the back end of the grid. It was always going to be a struggle to get to the front in such a short race and after a very tough day at the office, Ray’s day was over.
All the racing to this point had been during the day but after a dinner break, the women’s and men’s finals were under lights. The weather had cleared and thousands more fans started lining the track. Hats off to the event organisers - it was a wild crowd.
Hal lined up about 11 rows from the front in a field of 100 riders. With the first lap prime on offer, the pace was white hot and the entire field was single file very quickly. Hal made the front group of about 35-40 riders and each lap it got whittled down. Half the field was gone by 10 laps in and by 15 in the pace was too hot for Hal and his earlier effort to reach the front had taken a toll.
It was definitely not the day we were hoping for. Ray and Hal were disappointed to have travelled so far and to come away with so little in terms of the goals they had set. It’s a huge event and the depth of quality riders is another level up from Brooklyn so just to be here and competing is not to be dismissed but today was not our day.
Thanks so much to our family, our friends here and at home, and our brand partners for all the love and support. Thanks Red Hook Crit and thanks Milano - so good!