• Boom: A Firsthand Account of a Red Hook Crit Crash

    By Scott Downes

    From the outside looking in, the field of the Red Hook Crit somewhat resembles a swarming cluster of undetonated torpedoes, lurking and looking to target the front of the race. It’s all power and fury, rigid and taut, comprised of pieces and parts that don’t really bend.

    When the lead race moto stalled not even thirty seconds into the men’s final on Saturday night, in the middle of the road, just past a tight right hand corner, those pieces and parts broke.

    In a video clip that made the social media rounds, as the peloton abruptly splits down the middle, you can barely identify an aqua-colored blur of a rider barreling into the right rear flank of the stalled moto, then disappearing from the screen altogether, under a pile of bikes and bodies.

    That rider is Scott Piercefield.

    “I remember hitting the motorcycle straight on, falling to the right of it, and having the entire peloton pretty much trickle in on me,” said Piercefield, 28, who lives in Golden, CO, and races with the State Bicycle Company team. “By the time everything was done, I was screaming because I had a chainring going in my back. I thought I broke my back - it was the weirdest pain. I had probably five bikes on top of me at the time. My teammate got me up, and I looked at myself and was like ‘Holy crap, I made it out alive.’”

    One of the teammates who helped pull bikes off Piercefield was Andrew Hemesath, who was riding in his first Red Hook Crit.

    “I’m pretty sure I hit Scott,” said Hemesath, 24, who lives in Wheatridge, CO. “I landed on top of bodies. I didn’t even see the motorcycle, I thought someone had hit the barriers and the crash had spread across the course.”

    Bike carnage and chaos ensued. The race was red-flagged, and did not resume for nearly an hour. “That gave everyone time to fix their bikes, borrow wheels, do whatever they needed to do to get back into it,” Piercefield said.

    At least five people were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Some 70 of the 85 riders in the men’s final were able to restart. However, the race was suddenly over for both Piercefield and Hemesath.

    Piercefield’s bike looked like “someone took hammers to the back of it,” and he sustained injuries to his back, arm, shoulder, and chin. Miraculously, though, he escaped without any broken bones or worse.

    Hemesath was not able to continue either. His bike broke in the crash - his fork severed, leaving his wheel to roll about 50 meters down the course. He too somehow avoided any serious injury.

    Red Hook began in 2008 as an unsanctioned, underground race with a few dozen riders from the local bike messenger scene. It’s grown into a four-race international series – in Brooklyn, Barcelona, Milan, and London - that attracts major sponsors, tens of thousands of fans, and several hundred men and women who compete on track bikes on a short, technical circuit.

    Saturday’s marquee race in Brooklyn was on a 1.13km circuit with six left turns and four right right-handers. The women race 24km over 22 laps, with a 100-rider limit. The men race 30km over 26 laps, with 250 riders attempting to qualify for 85 spots in the main race. It looks like a high-speed cyclocross course, but on pavement and at night. With one, fixed gear. And no brakes.

    Not that many years ago, “people were qualifying in jean shorts,” Piercefield said. The jean shorts have since given way to skin suits, tubulars, and trainers. The Red Hook field is not just bike messengers anymore. It’s elite crit racers, domestic and international pros, and, in some cases, pros who have raced Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’Italia who don’t even qualify for the final.

    Piercefield has raced – or survived, as he says – 10 Red Hook events, in Brooklyn, Barcelona, and London. And he’s been doing underground races, and other brakeless, track bike crits for years. Both he and Hemesath have previously raced in the Wolfpack Hustle series in California, among others.

    There are almost always gnarly crashes at Red Hook. Five minutes on YouTube shows you what you’re getting yourself into. And that’s part of the appeal for many, the risk and reward of high stakes racing.

    By Piercefield’s estimate, racing Red Hook is one part power, and two parts technical skill, with a dash of “kamikaze mentality...where you’re shutting off your brain to do this race and not thinking about going to work the next day.”

    “I know how to get around crashes, and I’m always thinking ahead,” Piercefield said. “I use the crowd. Whenever I hear the crowd go ‘yay’ and then go ‘ohhhh,’ I know I need to start looking for holes because there’s a crash ahead of me.”

    That’s exactly what he did on Saturday night. The field was splitting ahead of him to avoid the moto. He saw it and immediately found a hole. But there would be no hole.

    “I jumped in that hole to the right, not even slowing down, because that’s just Red Hook,” added Piercefield, who said he was going about 25mph. “As soon as I switched lines, it was instant, boom.”

    Though rider safety is always a concern, especially at a narrow course like Red Hook, both Hemesath and Piercefield carry a healthy perspective on the crash and the race as a whole.

    “It’s a little bit of mixed emotions,” Hemesath said. “But being in it, it doesn’t seem that remarkable, it just happens.”

    “It’s what you sign up for in Red Hook,” Piercefield added. “I was disappointed in what happened immediately, but I wasn’t angry. I think a lot of people were in the same boat, where they’re trying to collect themselves and make sure they’re alright more than anything.”

    This particular crash may have gained more attention because it was caused by a race moto. And it comes on the heels of several incidences in recent UCI pro races where race motos and media cars have caused crashes in the peloton. On Saturday night in Brooklyn, it wasn’t a VIP car or a race moto carrying a photographer, it was the lead moto, which is there as a safety measure.

    “It prevents all the drunk people from getting on the course, it’s making sure the course isn’t disrupted, pulling lapped riders, and showing the lead pack what lap they’re on,” Piercefield explained, referring to the small LED screen on back of the moto. “So it’s a huge convenience to have that moto out there, and makes a world of difference, especially when you’re racing aggressively off the front.”

    “When it’s only one moto, and it’s the ref, that’s not excessive,” added Hemesath, who also noted that this crash likely drew more attention because it was being livestreamed.

    Both riders are hungry to get back on the bike and race again.

    For Hemesath, he qualified for the final but the crash robbed him of a chance to compete. So the next day he was already thinking about coming back. “Yeah, I’d like to give it another shot,” he said.

    Piercefield is unsure if he’ll continue racing at Red Hook specifically, though he couldn’t help applaud the event.

    “I’ve definitely had a blast with it over the years,” he said. “It’s an incredible race and the crowds are crazy. I’ve never done something that’s been so exhilarating in my life.”

  • Georgia Gould: More than a Bicyclist

    Photo: Austin Humphreys/The Coloradoan

    From The Coloradoan
    (Written in January 2016, published today)

    Georgia Gould scoops up The Professor and holds the little, brown hen with streaks of green in its neck feathers.

    Three other chickens join The Professor in Gould’s backyard coop in northwest Fort Collins. Gould tells a story about the time she locked herself inside.

    “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? Did I really just do this to myself?’” said Gould, who won Olympic bronze for mountain biking at the 2012 Games. “I thought I’d be stuck in here the rest of the day.”

    Gould didn’t have to wait for rescue. She wiggled her fingers through the chicken wire to grab a stick and unhook the latch. Good thing, because Gould had a lot to do in the two-acre yard that features the chicken coop, two apple trees, a large garden and three beehives.

    Gould’s garage, which houses a dozen or so bikes — of the road, mountain, cyclocross and motorized dirt variety — is behind the chicken coop. Husband’s Dusty LaBarr’s handmade guitars and other woodworking projects lie across a large worktable. A poster of Gould, in her signature blue LUNA team jersey, hangs from a wall.

    It’s late January, and coming off an impressive second-place finish in the U.S. Cyclocross Nationals race, Gould finally gets to enjoy the offseason in Fort Collins.

    The offseason doesn't last long.

    She started her mountain bike season in March. This spring, UCI World Cup races will send Gould to Austria, France, Germany and Scotland. In August is the Rio 2016 Games, a place Gould hopes to be...

    Read the full article and watch video interview & training footage HERE.

  • Sea Otter Recap 2016

    From Feedback Sports / Katie Macarelli

    Tuck this lil’ buddy away until next year, because Sea Otter 2016 is a wrap!!

    Yes, the van is unloaded (and dust-free, thanks to our tech-specialist, Eric Hockman), with everything is back in it’s place. Ahhhhhhh. Nothing like that feeling you get as a collective company when you look back on an event like Sea Otter and know it’s been your best one so far.

    Upon getting back to Colorado, many people who’ve never attended Sea Otter ask what it’s like. The usual reply that you’ll get from any company that HAS been there is this: “It’s so much better than Interbike.” Don’t get us wrong. Interbike is great for many reasons.

    But Sea Otter is:

    -Not Vegas. And it’s outside. Enough said.
    -Surrounded by every type of bike racing you could imagine.
    -A chance to catch up with industry friends and cycling folks from all over the place.
    -In California, where it’s 80 degrees vs. Colorado where last week here it was like this:

    But all those points aside, here are a few notable high-lights from the Feedback Sports side of things:

    The Bicycle Leadership Conference: Feedback Sports’ founder/President, Doug Hudson has been attending the BLC for the last 5 years. In a our weekly company meeting Doug explained the significance of this annual event. “The BLC continues to be one on my favorite industry events of the year. The keynote speakers, learning sessions and networking are invaluable. The morning rides along the coast are incredible. The networking started as soon as I landed in Monterey when I was able to share an Uber ride with former pro racer Tim Johnson who was also on his way to the conference. I leave the BLC each year with new ideas and inspiration to make Feedback Sports better than ever.”

    We unleashed the Feedback Sports Scorpion–our newly acquired product. This was a huge hit among consumers, media and dealers alike.

    The Omnium made it’s Sea Otter debut as well. It was so fun to talk with the general public and watch their eyes light up when they realize just how bitty and light-weight the Omnium can be.

    Primal Wear’s Women’s Mtb Clinic: Saturday morning, Lisa and I got the privilege of demo-ing two Yeti’s from our Colorado neighbors (literally, Yeti Cycles is about 500 yards away from the Feedback Sports headquarters) and take to the trails with some very rad women. Breakfast and coffee, first of course. PLUS a question/answer session with Sonya Looney, Karen Jarchow, Feedback Sports’ own racer, Caitlyn Vestal and Kasey Clark. More sightings of strong women who crush it on and off the bike abounded throughout Saturday into the afternoon. Team Luna Chix, Courtenay McFadden, the Stans NoTubes-Pivot women, the ladies from Raleigh Clement, the list went on and on. #morewomenonbikes #heckyes

    NICA Omnium Raffle: Speaking of more people on bikes, let’s talk about NICA for a second. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association is a mighty, happy force. Their mission is to develop interscholastic mountain biking coast-to-coast by 2020. YES, PLEASE!!! We love being a sponsor and want to do everything we can to get more kids on bikes and spread the NICA word. Saturday we were able to do just this and raffle off an Omnium to one very excited young man. Check NICA out and see how YOU can help them reach their goal as well.

    And on top of that, there was riding, camping, racing, laughing and maybe an escaped Octopus incident. Still not sure on that last one.

    So a huge THANK YOU to those of you who stopped by and said hello, those who offered us their hospitality (MTBR) and kindness and of course to our dealers and customers. It truly made this the best Sea Otter so far!!

    Original Article, Links & Photos

  • Colo Bike Expo Features Yeti Beti Bike Demo & Skills Clinic

    Colorado Bike Expo: Yeti Beti Bike Demo and VIDA Basic Mountain Bike Skills Clinic Powered by Wheat Ridge Cyclery
    Friday, May 13, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

    As part of the 303 Women's Events agenda, Yeti Bikes and Wheat Ridge Cyclery are offering demo rides and a women's MTB skills clinic.

    Join us on Friday, May 13 to demo a Yeti Beti mountain bike and learn basic mountain bike skills such as gearing, braking and bike/body separation from certified mountain bike coaches with VIDA MTB Series. We’ll work our way through basic drills, the MTB obstacle course and build your confidence both on and off the bike. This clinic is geared towards entry level riders but will be great for anyone looking to brush up on skills. Wheat ridge Cyclery and Yeti Cycles will be on hand to answer any questions you may have on the Beti bike line.

    Yeti Beti bike demos will be available starting at 2:30 pm and will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you plan to demo, please bring your pedals and your helmet. We will have some extra pedals and helmets, but again these will be first come, first serve. Participants are also welcome to ride their own bike. Come in comfortable apparel for riding (yoga pants are even fine!) and be prepared for the elements – sunscreen if it is sunny, rain coat if it is raining. You will be entered in a chance to win a Yeti Beti mountain bike kit!

    Bikes available to Demo will be the Yeti SB5c Beti and the ASRc Beti.

    VIDA's mission is to foster a passion among women for mountain biking through the highest quality instruction, and to create a lifelong community of riders. We are focused on inspiring a movement that promotes cycling as a way of improving lives. We will achieve this by organizing events that communicate our philosophy and reflect our values, and thread together a network of ambassadors who share our passion on a deeper level in communities around the world.

  • 2016 Primal Bike Expo Features Aerial Stunts, Strider Learn to Ride

    Aeriel Stunts, Flatland Demo
    Yellow Design Stunt Team

    Yellow Design Stunt Team specializes in bicycle-stunt performances. Based in Colorado, the YDST has performed over 500+ shows for clients that include the NBA, NFL, HP, Sara Lee, Coca-Cola, Collier's International, the City of Denver, Denver Public Schools, Steamboat, Keystone, Copper and Vail Resorts.

    The Yellow Design Stunt Team was also on America’s Got Talent in Season 6. The team finished in the quarter-finals out of 70,000 acts!

    Boasting 9 members who perform aerials, flatland stunts and live-action bicycle-stunt performances, this amazing group of BMX trick-riders perform choreographed thrill-shows and extreme stunt demonstrations at a wide-variety of special events.

    With over 9 years of performing live at sporting events, festivals, corporate parties, concerts, halftimes, resorts, schools and fairs- the showmanship and talent of the YDST is unmatched! The Yellow Design Stunt Team also runs camps and teaches stunts at Woodward Skatepark.

    Come see these amazing high-flying, on the ground trick performing masters at the Primal Colorado Bike Expo on May 14th, 2016 at Sports Authority Field.

    Learn to Ride – Strider Course
    Strider Learn to Ride Clinic and Strider Course

    Strider is the leader in balance bikes teaching kids how to ride and having fun while doing it! A Strider No-Pedal Balance Bike is the perfect tool for learning to ride, teaching balance, and instilling riding skills in toddlers, children, and adults of all abilities.
    Strider is offering two great fun areas at the Primal Colorado Bike Expo on Saturday, May 14th, 2016. Bring your kids!

    The Learn to Ride Clinic is set for three times at the Primal Colorado Bike Expo: Saturday 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. At this clinic kids 6 and under will get instruction on how to balance, rules of the road, helmet safety and more!

    This free course is available on a sign-up basis and will give beginners and intermediate balance bike kids instruction on how to ride a bike, balance and transition to a pedal bike. Parent/Guardians are required to stay at the Learn to Ride Clinic and sign a waiver before the fun begins!

    The Strider Course is a drop-in fun zone for kids 6 and under to ride Striders around a fun challenging course. The Strider Course is a safe and friendly environments that encourage kids of all abilities to test ride a Strider and play with other kids, while improving and developing fundamental bike handling skills.

  • Ride the MAC Mountain Bike Race Series

    By 303 Ambassador Erin Trail

    RaceCO founder Kyle Sipes was inspired to create a grassroots mountain bike race series that would be fun for racers and spectators alike. He moved to Colorado from California and was inspired to create the Race the MAC series, based on his experience as a participant in a grassroots mountain bike race in Irvine, California. In looking at the Colorado racing scene, he noticed that most series were based in the central Front Range (Golden/Boulder) and that the races catered only to the racer’s experience. His idea was to bring a racing festival to the southern Metro Denver area. The Miller Activity Center (MAC) opened up in October 2014, which includes a 6 mile mountain bike loop, and presented Kyle with the perfect venue for his vision. Kyle partnered up with Bryan Derstine and RaceCO was born.

    In planning the series, RaceCO sought feedback from professional racers and industry leaders on what they thought made events successful and where events stumbled. Based on the feedback, the team developed the series, focusing on a community vibe and a family friendly experience with the goal that everyone, elites and beginners alike, is taken care of and has a great time.

    2015 was RaceCO’s inaugural season. They hosted the first Ride the MAC series, which consisted of 5 races in the summer of 2015, with an average of 160 racers per event. RaceCO secured Grist Brewing Company as an event sponsor, who provided free beer for the racers, obtained local and national bike vendors for give-aways at each race, and developed a rotating food truck list. The result: a race series where EVERYONE – racers and spectators – had a fantastic time.

    Kyle and Bryan describe 2016 as a pivotal year to “kick ass” and to grow the race series. They’ve expanded the event from 5 to 9 races: the first one is on April 27th and the series goes through August 10th (Wednesday nights). Each race has a local bicycle shop as an event sponsor and the group has approximately $3,000 in giveaways for each race. The giveaways range from grab-bag items like shirts and gloves, to high-end bike pumps, to Shimano XT11 group sets, and wheels.

    Each race has multiple entry classes, ranging from beginners (who do a single 6 mile loop), sport class (2 loops), open class (3 loops), and also offer Clydesdale, single-speed, masters, and an “everything” class if you’d like to race your CX or fat bike. Entry for each race is a bargain at $25 ($30 on-site) and they offer a 15% discount if you register for the entire 9-event series. This race series is an unsanctioned event (meaning no USA Cycling license is required), which was an intentional decision by RaceCO to keep the overall price of racing this series low.

    Also included in each race is FREE beer from Grist brewing company, kids races, rotating food trucks, and the opportunity to talk to and win free prizes from race sponsors. Races start at 6 PM, estimated finish is approximately 7:30 PM (depending on class), and the after-party goes until 9 PM.
    Race Dates:
    • April 27, 2016
    • May 4, 2016
    • May 11, 2016
    • May 18, 2016
    • May 25, 2016
    • July 20, 2016
    • July 27, 2016
    • August 3, 2016
    • Race Finale: August 10, 2016

    Special guest for the first race of the series (April 27) is two-time Olympian and mountain bike World Champion Alison Dunlap! How many times can you say you were in the same race as an Olympian?!?!?

    Race Information: http://raceco.org/
    Event sponsor information: https://www.facebook.com/raceco.org/events
    MAC Facility Information: http://crgov.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Miller-Activity-Complex-MAC...
    MAC Course Profile: http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/6479628/phillp-s-miller-park-miller-acti...

  • Cyclist Runs the Bolder Boulder. On Purpose.

    By Cheri Felix

    Running. Two years ago I was holding steady with my personal statement about running; I'm not running unless someone is chasing me. And that someone better be scary and trying to take my coffee away from me. But then something happened and I can't even remember what it was exactly. It's like that old couple when they get asked about how they met and they're a little bit foggy about the details but they can remember the love and the chemistry.

    I think it started with cyclocross. I was running the steps at Valmont Bike Park, trying to get an edge for the running parts of 'cross. I was also trying to trick my body into thinking that it can do more even when it's redlining. And if I'm honest, I was probably avoiding practicing dismounts and remounts. I think that was the gateway drug for me; those darn 5280 steps at Valmont. And then I was like "I'll just run a mile..okay maybe two." I ran the Bolder Boulder with my oldest daughter a few times but wasn't running with a goal. And then I started running more and then I think and I can't confirm or deny this but, I think my daughter would tell you that during the last Bolder Boulder I might have said in response to her telling me she had to pee, "Do you really have to go?". Just maybe this happened. And then my husband caught me in the bathtub. Reading 'Runner's World'. And now I have a two year subscription. My, my, my. How the mighty have fallen. Or risen depending on how you look at it.

    This year I'm running the Bolder Boulder. Twice. Once solo and once with the kids. This way everyone can go pee when they need to. Or eat. Or catch their breath. Whatever. And since I'm being honest, I'd say running the Bolder Boulder was part of the gateway to running. It's so much fun and inclusive and when I run it I have the feeling that I am a part of the best community in the whole entire world. It's that great. The bands, the people along the way, the other runners, the slip-n-slide, the Doritos, the cupcakes and finally, running into the stadium, arms raised and with the largest smile on my face. It's really something to behold.

    Even if you don't run or read Runner's World or ever want to run the 5280 steps at Valmont Bike Park, there's a wave for you in the Bolder Boulder. That's what I mean about the whole inclusive thing. And if you're like me, somewhere in between a newbie and starting to look at running a 1/2 marathon for your first time, there's a spot for you too. As I grow older I'm more interested in expanding the category of what I love and less interested in reducing activities. I'm finding that having more sports to choose from is better for my body and my mind. Plus, I'm making new friends. And who doesn't love a new friend and a new pair of running shoes?

    I'll write again about my arthritis and how I went through a stage in my life where I could barely walk in the morning. When my husband would have to help me get dressed. How I went to the Mayo Clinic and how I could barely change a diaper, open a can of soup or brush my own hair. I'll tell you how grateful I am that I even get to run.

    Look for me on May 30th. And keep an eye out for my next article about how experiencing something akin to rheumatoid arthritis and perhaps psoriatic arthritis, makes me feel grateful. Every. Single. Day.