The Red Hook Criterium at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
BY DAVID TRIMBLE
What is the Red Hook Criterium Brooklyn Navy Yard?
The Red Hook Criterium is a world-renowned nighttime bicycle and running race that is contested over multiple laps of a short, technical circuit. This event, traditionally held in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Milano, Italy, moves into the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Saturday, June 8th for the first time as part of the inaugural four race Red Hook Criterium Championship Series. This spectator friendly race will feature athletes from around the world fighting for championship points and a chance at entering the history books as the first winner of the crit inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
When I moved to New York in 2006, I lived in my uncle’s woodshop in Red Hook. I grew to love the neighborhood while riding the streets late at night to the sound of ship horns. I knew that Red Hook was the only place in the city where I could organize my first race.
I held the first crit in March 2008 in conjunction with my birthday party. At the time, I competed in both the underground bike messenger races and the more serious road races around the region. I created the Red Hook Crit to join two divergent communities of competitors and diffuse oft-held animosity. My only ambition was a friendly, fun competition to celebrate my birthday.
Similar to the original intent of combining different cycling communities, the 2012 addition of a 5k running race has united two separate sports for one night of competition.
How has the race grown over the years?
The dark, post-industrial setting created a magical atmosphere for athletes, photographers, journalists, and most importantly spectators. The event grew quickly. After three years it was too large to continue without permits. Ultimately, with support from the City, we moved inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal where it has steadily grown into one of the biggest races in the country. This past March, the race attracted about 10,000 spectators with many local businesses reporting their busiest day ever.
In 2010 in partnership with the Bicycle Film Festival I brought the race to Milan where it is now held each October, an experiment that permitted me to travel around the world. On August 24th, we will expand once more to Barcelona.
Why is the race being held in the Brooklyn Navy Yard?
Ever since the race took off, I wanted to add a second event in New York. I pitched the idea to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation who immediately recognized the crit as an opportunity to increase public access to the Yard and to highlight their commitment to sustainable development and alternate forms of transportation.
The course inside the Yard features winds around beautiful old buildings against a backdrop of cranes, shipyard structures, and the Manhattan skyline. The course will be partially lit by wind and solar powered street lamps and will loop around BLDG 128– a huge former Naval machine shop that is being converted into a cooperative design lab.
This event will be an historic opportunity for the public to see the Brooklyn Navy Yard in conjunction with one of the most exciting sporting events in the city. I encourage everyone to come early to tour the BLDG 92 museum, take a guided bike tour of the Yard, and then stick around to watch the race in the evening.
Racing activities begin on the Yard at 6pm Saturday, June 8th. Complete schedule at RedHookCrit.com. Bike tours and exhibits start at noon through BLDG92.org.
David Trimble is the race director and founder of the Red Hook Criterium.
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