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Red Hook race canceled 2019

Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Red Hook race canceled 2019

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Old 02-22-19, 02:08 PM
  #26  
AmahlAmahlAmahl
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I was really looking forward to attending the race too.
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Old 02-22-19, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
or impose gearing restrictions.
What would be the gearing restrictions? Perhaps impose a rather low gear, forcing riders to spin out? That, of course, would benefit some riders, but be a serious impediment to others.

I assume the Red Hook courses are relatively flat.

One option would be to add say a 1/2 mile 5% climb/descent into the middle of the course, and force riders to choose gearing for the entire course.
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Old 02-22-19, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
One option would be to add say a 1/2 mile 5% climb/descent into the middle of the course, and force riders to choose gearing for the entire course.
That either turfs the course as the rest of the loop has to be a mild descent down and around back to the base of the climb. Or it makes it significantly more dangerous with a steep descent and/or corner somewhere that needs to be negotiated. The red hook courses have been very well designed and I think this is masked by the fact that there are so many crashes. The crashes are much more an effect of the open registration and inherent difficulty of fixed gear criterium racing than the course design, IMO. I've known several racers who went to a Red Hook race and to a one the actual race was their first fixed criterium. Using qualifying heats guarantees a fast group of racers but there is no accounting for skills. It's the same issue seen in lower classification USAC criteriums, just magnified. It's also kinda assumed that if you've raced on the track then you can just drop into a fast fixed criterium and be fine. That's naive, I've only done one fixed criterium because it was obvious the skill level required was vastly higher than I would be able to develop before becoming injured or injuring someone else.

Descending in a pack of fixed gear riders without brakes is an intensely frightening experience, if you haven't done it before you won't understand. A big descent would certainly exceed the skill level of even more racers than the current course designs.
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Old 02-22-19, 03:11 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
What would be the gearing restrictions? Perhaps impose a rather low gear, forcing riders to spin out? That, of course, would benefit some riders, but be a serious impediment to others.

I assume the Red Hook courses are relatively flat.

One option would be to add say a 1/2 mile 5% climb/descent into the middle of the course, and force riders to choose gearing for the entire course.
Yeah, I don't know exactly what kind of restriction, but for instance a cap on gearing that riders can't exceed. Keeping the gear lower would keep the speed of the race lower, and presumably safer as a result (ie, fewer riders overcooking the turns and crashing because they can't hold the line).

Climbs/descents in FG races are a bad idea, IMO. I recall a video from one of the youtubers I follow where he showed up to a fixed crit to discover that the course featured a descent into a hairpin turn. And then it started raining. Another example of bad course design creating an unnecessarily unsafe race. The guy making the video wisely chose not to race it.

The points above about the open registration are also an issue. There's just so many things that coalesced to make RHC a ridiculously dangerous race. I think they should make some significant changes if/when they come back for the sake of the riders.
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Old 02-22-19, 03:30 PM
  #30  
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We had a local crit that I raced as a kid. Moderate hill climb/descent with a hairpin turn at the bottom, and a slight uphill sprint to the finish. Straw bales lining the corner, they knew it was problematic. But the race has been stopped for a couple of decades.

But, I'm not convinced that it has to be designed that way.

One race I went to (don't remember if I raced or my brother raced) was on a paved outdoor track, maybe a mile or two loop on a small hill. Unfortunately now converted to the local garbage dump. I don't believe there were any corners too tight for a bicycle as I'm sure the track was designed for cars, motorcycles, or gocarts.



I'm not sure I know of many public streets that would have drops and lead-outs or rollers to slow down cyclists, and gentle corners (banked or not, but without any negative banking). Certainly not all hills and overpasses have corners at the bottom, but closing major intersections can be problematic.

Perhaps I should look at the local community college parking lot. It might be easy enough to get it made available for a Sunday.

It would be a unique to design a new city subdivision to specifically build a bicycle track into the street design.

Of course, one could say that dangerous corners, pinch points, & etc are all part of the sport.
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Old 02-22-19, 04:13 PM
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I'm not a fan of any turn that requires braking. You have to consider the turn itself and then the course conditions and then how fast some one might be taking it on an attack. I'm a good bike handler as well but braking (whether manual oy by FG drivetrain resistance) is an inherent hazard, esp. if you're in the pack.

The best solution? Attack! You can take technical sections faster as a solo rider and it's safer too
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