Team Schindelhauer-Gates is successfully competing at international criterium races on our Hektor frame, it is the only crit team exclusively powered by the Gates Carbon Belt Drive, proving that you can count on it in a tough racing environment.
Our American team rider Roxanne “Sammy” Fox rode her first Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn this year – one of the toughest and biggest fixed gear races in the calendar. Sammy wrote a report for us to give us some insight on what it’s like to race in Brooklyn and her train of thoughts and tactics that went into it. It worked out well for her – Sammy finished 6th!
In the men’s race our Züri boys Adi Merkt and Yvan Morf raced into 16th and 30th place in pouring rain, just 4 weeks after Adi tore a tendon in his shoulder.
Read Sammy’s report below:
My first Red Hook. Incredible race — It’s rewarding to be with a group of girls who want to go fast, to race, to feel the burn, to have the drool escape from the side of their mouths, drawn out across their faces, like rain sliding across the car window. However, it was not full-on fun until halfway through the race— until that point I was pretty nervous. My first “oh-crap” moment was seeing all the rollers to warm up— I never rode on rollers. But Adi helped me out, made me realize it was pretty easy, and it helped maintain my stealthiness, appearing as a non-competitor.
Then came time to line up for the qualifier — I was way back in row #12. I’ve started back in races many times, so I wasn’t too concerned— it meant I would be able to move up hiding within the pack. But that confidence ended at the first corner, where as I was taking the inside line, girls shouted “I’m on your inside“- expecting that I’d happily move to make room for them— they were wrong — the girls who used their voices instead of their legs were not the girls at the front.
From there, I slowly and calculatedly moved up— it was really challenging but I think I cornered better than the majority of the girls, so I used that to my advantage. It was fast and I was struggling. I didn’t want to waste energy, but I did want a better starting position, so I got as far up as possible to safely qualify without overdoing the legs. I ended up 17th. In the down time between the qualifier and the race, my quads totally hurt from the back-pedaling. I was pretty worried. So after refuelling with Thai food, I took a nap with my feet in the air.
I got back to the race area in time for a solid 40min warmup on the rollers. I felt nervous, but confident in my upgrade to the 5th row. Adi reached out for a final fist bump from the sideline, and even now, I am again feeling the stomach churning nerves I have not had since lining up for my first pro road tour race.
My goal for the final was to get to the front in the beginning, to drop the sketchy riders and remain in the top 5 to 10, solidify a break in the second half, and finish top 10. That plan quickly diminished as I failed to clip in. I realized it was a lot harder to clip in on-the-go on a fixed gear bike. I had to slow down, let most of the pack pass me, clip in, and then hit it hard to try to work my way back up.
Just like in the qualifier, I slowly moved up— this time using my momentum from the corners to keep pushing toward the front. There was a crash going into a straight section on the right. Crash on the right, usually means, all riders move left and cause another crash, so I stayed straight and stayed upright. Nerves came back to me again. A few laps later, there was another crash in the 180-degree turn (2nd to last), it was somewhere around me, but I made it out and accelerated with the other girls away from those stuck behind.
From that point on, there were different girls off the front all the time. After one girl was off the front solo for a while and the pack was slowing down, I decided I had to go after her. I tried to solo bridge. I got a gap and did maybe 1.5 laps solo. I felt unstoppable. The crowds were wild cheering my name. I was in it. But realizing there was a chase behind me, strung out, and the girl off the front slowing down, I slowed up to work with the chase.
From then on, it was attack, chase, attack, chase. Eventually there were maybe 8 of us in the front group. I mostly played it smart, mostly following wheels instead of chasing on my own, but I probably did too much work close to the end. I lost my positioning going into the final lap, accelerating a bit too late before hitting the first corner for the last time. I made it up to come in for 6th, less than a bike length away from the podium. I keep regretting not pushing harder in the final sprint — I’ll have to get that podium in Milano, but this time, they know my name ;)
Sammy will compete at Red Hook Crit Milano in October along with a few of our strongest team riders. Follow Team Schindelhauer-Gates on Instagram for updates on the next races and results.