Each Red Hook is different and gives us the opportunity to feel several emotions.
The day before, you’re excited to see everyone again and talk about life, bikes and the next country where we’ll going. I would always be surprised by how many nationalities can be found in the same place, at least 15 ! People come from all over the world to share a passion and hang out with people. We all know that, the race is not the only reason we’ve come.
This is it, D-DAY. Riders can’t avoid the feeling of pressure on shoulders. As long they get ready, they’re focus. I don’t have pressure as photographer, but I know how dangerous RHC can be and I always worry about my friends, I shouldn’t, but… We’ve seen several crashes again during this edition !
The qualifiers are over now, some riders are a bit disappointed ‘cause they didn’t get a place in the main race. Lots of things can happen that take you out. A crash, a flat, or simply lots of your teammates and with the currently level it’s quite impossible to get a good time which can give you your place in the main race. Women are on the starting line. Race after race, all these women impress me. Two years ago at this same place they didn’t have their own race because there weren’t enough entries, and now they’re more than 40 or 50 with an incredible level.
Prognostic: Fleur is going to win! She’s always 2nd or 3rd and she’s tired of this rank ! She got the eyes of the tiger. Ainara is the best, nothing can come deflect her. Ash is in the top 5 as usual, with her super concentrated look, I’m a bit terrified by her look at this moment… If I was a rider, for sure I wouldn’t compete against her haha ! Lacey seems to be super solid and confident with her 3rd time during the qualifiers. 3 2 1 Goooooo yells David ! I’m around the 10th turn when a few girls fall down. I can’t see who is it, but Dani said to me « damn it’s fleur », Toms, his teammate is close to me but too worry about her he left to run after her… I’m worried and disappointed for her. I know how much she wanted to win and just hope she’s ok. 5 min, 10min, she’s still on the floor. I’m going to take my bike to join the other side of the race where she is, when the speaker says « Incredible Fleur is back on her bike » ! WTF !!!! She’s still in the game and whatever happens, she never wants to give up! She cried not because she suffered, not at all, she cried because she wanted to finish the race, she begged the race marshall to allow her to get back on her bike ! This girl is f**** crazy ! She crosses the line and finishes 10th ! In the last sprint Ainara lost her winning place by a few centimers and Kacey take the victory !
The men are already in the Parc Fermé warming up their legs. The women join them, pearls of sweat on their fronts, they try to regain a calm breath and explain to their teammates how the race was.
After the first traditional lap with David as leader, the men take their positions.
3 2 1 Goooooo yells again David. I can’t remember the whole race, too many things happened ! Safa Brian leads the pack for 2 or 3 laps, he seems really strong and pushy, but suddenly he slides to the output of the hairpin ! such a pity… and hopefully he gets back on his bike without any injuries. Fish and Thibault take the front. Tim comes around. But Mario decides to make an attack and, like a bird, flies with Ravaioli on his wheel. Lap after lap, the gap between them and the peloton grows, 10 second, 15 second, 20 second in advance ! That’s crazy ! Mario is in front and Ivan still sucks his wheel. Just after the hairpin there’s a crash with at least 10 people involved which makes the race stop, only two laps before the finish. Mario and Ivan restart with their 20s lead. All want Mario as winner, he deserves it, he’s been waiting for this victory for a long time, but in the 6th turn, Ivan, with the energy he’s saved during the whole race, starts a sprint and goes ahead of Mario to the finish line. Exhausted by the race and overwhelmed with emotions he cries like a kid. It’s unfair and Ivan shouldn’t be so proud of himself to win like this, but that’s the game unfortunately. Cheer and applause by the crowd while Mario regains his senses, he’s now ready to party!
A huge thanks to Dodsnoventa for having us and care about us all day long! Love you !