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that mindset got thrown out the window.
In the end, the pressure lifted and my normal demeanor returned moments after I crossed the finish line, in first and just inches ahead of last year's winner.
For weeks, online forums have been lit up with speculation and trash talking about the course and how pre race favorites who don't usually race against one another would stack up. Milan's locals had been meeting on the course to train, test and re test different gear ratios in an effort to find the fastest. There was the ever growing list of prizes. The media coverage made the race feel like an all or nothing contest.
"It doesn't matter," said Antonio Columbo, owner of Columbus tubing and Cinelli bikes and of my machine for the evening.
As our 80 rider field rolled off the start line, it hit me that the next hour would be the most important of my three week trip to Europe.
A 2011 Red Hook Criterium Milano Race Report
With its offbeat format a nighttime crit raced on with no brakes the Red Hook draws athletes from all walks of sport and throws each a curve ball.
The relief was immense. And not just because I'd won. With the race over, I could relax and enjoy Europe.
example, my aim was to show the competition that America can produce a skilled, etiquette abiding cyclist.
The Red Hook happens just twice a year, in Brooklyn in the spring and in Milan in the fall. Unlike a lot of other races, there's no event the following weekend to offer redemption. The outcome bolsters or haunts each racer for half a year. And after taking second place in the last two races, let's just say the monkey on my back had worn a deep, painful groove.
Note: The Red Hook Criterium has been an astonishing success, and not just because it generates a great deal of hype and suspense. The event brings together cyclists, fans, and photographers who would never cross paths otherwise. While the occasion for the event is the race itself, it's almost a distraction for the participants. To travel halfway across the world, stay in Europe for three weeks, and focus entirely on the outcome of a 45 minute bike race, well, that'd be an enormous waste. Strangely enough, now that the race is behind us, we can enjoy the best parts of it.
Roadies like me have to adjust for constant pedaling and limited gearing. Track riders learn to negotiate changes of speed and tight corners in a dense pack. Fixed gear messenger types contend with athletes who treat their bodies as if they were science experiments. Even the most seasoned racers have to deal with something new.
The Red Hook Criterium is the most stressful event of the year for me. This is no routine park race. The hype's been building.
All during my stay, I've been aware that I'm essentially a representative of my country and its cycling community. So I've striven to be a polite guest. In the previous week's granfondo, for Nike Hoodie 2017
But on the Red Hook Crit course, Nike Jackets Sports
After agonizing over this race for months, I had one concern: winning. No fun. No mercy. A diplomatic Dr. Jekyll replaced by a bloodthirsty Mr. Hyde.
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Beneath me was a borrowed fixed Nike Sb Long Sleeve gear bicycle, and I didn't want to upset the owner by tacking a bulky Nike Women Sweatshirt
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