Women’s cycling and Red Hook Crit

2018 has seen many positive in the cycling world. A few of the highlights included women’s races getting equal pay-outs, longer and more exciting stages, perhaps slightly more tv and media coverage and in general more buzz around it. There was an epic win by Anna van der Breggen at the World Road Champiopnships and in cyclocross news Bicycling Magazine’s ‘bike race of the century’ saw Ellen Noble battle Marianne Vos till the last drop in Waterloo. This is the stuff that will help move women’s cycling forward with the hope of it being somewhat on the equal level one day.

Locally, we saw bigger fields than ever enter road crits, track leagues and fixed gear criteriums too. This year I dragged some friends to their first ever race, where they started kicking my butt a few races in. When I brought my friend Jess to her first road crit at Redbridge cycling centre a good few months ago, she felt slightly intimidated by the fact that the men race on the same circuit during our race, but nevertheless gave it a go. I was worried she may never return to racing (thanks to me), but there she was lining up at the next crit soon after and doing us all extremely proud. I couldn’t be happier seeing all the bad ass women out there showing what they’re made of!

It doesn’t take that much effort to increase this snow ball effect and get more women involved with racing and being competitive. What you definitely need is a good support network. This was one of the reasons I have joined NLTCBMBC this year as I was keen to train, ride and race with my pals and perhaps offer more to the cycling community going forward. I have a few ideas for the next season, so watch this space.

When it comes to fixed gear races and especially Red Hook Crit, who have equally supported women’s fields for years now, it’s always great to attend and be a part of these type of events. This year has started with RHC Brooklyn and what was already a massive women’s field with two separate qualifiers and the ‘another chance’ race, where I sadly went into the barrier when a crash happened in front of me. My sore elbow allowed me to cheer on my friend Aoife from the 5th Floor team, who was killing it in the moody final – I have so much respect for her, she’s a total machine. But then again, so are all the other women in the field taking on this crazy sport.

Unfortunately, this year RHC could only host two events and the last one of the season took place in Milan for the 9th time. This was a first for me and going away as a team was a new experience. There were Jo, Jess, me and Dimi – most of us didn’t really feel we were in the best shape, but were keen to have fast fun on bikes regardless. The chance to ride the iconic Vigorelli Velodrome and see the extended fixed gear crit family were going to be huge part of the experience. We had the most fun, so fingers crossed there will be more of this to come.

The biggest women’s field in Milan you say? Perhaps strongest too? Looks like this year women’s field would have almost lapped last year’s front group – total madness. This race is becoming more and more competitive every year and attracting some of the best talent in the world. From amateurs like us, to UCI champions – all get to compete together in the race. This in turn is a huge boost for the sport and makes for very exciting racing and spectating. One can only hope Red Hook Crit will return next year in one shape or form to bring all the racers together once more. Even though I personally found the race pretty challenging and perhaps something I should have trained for more, me and the crew are keen to hit up RHC again and add a few extra fixed gear crits to the calendar.

Events like this with equal coverage and opportunity are so vital for the scene. I am sure we as a team and as individuals will continue to support these events as well as putting on our own races and training sessions to help grow the fixed gear scene and women’s cycling especially. Of course this would be even more challenging without the support from our partners and sponsors who are also keen to take women’s cycling to the next level. So thank you to the brands, event’s organisers and all forward thinking allies for this. 2019 will be an even more exciting year.

If you’d like to continue this conversation or have suggestions/questions, hit us up on social media – always keen to hear your thoughts on this.

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