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Aldo Ino Ilesic

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To properly capture the RHC Racer’s POV we’ve partnered with Specialized’s five-man five-person RHC super team: Specialized/Rocket Espresso. We’re talking about Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slovenia), Eamon Lucas (USA), Alec Briggs (UK), Stefan Schäfer (Germany), Carla Nafría (Spain); an international hit squad of RHC specialists with the express goal of taking the overall championship. To better understand their individual and team motivations, hopes, dreams, wants, needs and desires, as they relate (and don’t relate) to the RHC, MFS is going DEEP. We will live with them, sleep with them, follow them, eat with them, race with them, talk with them, video them, photograph them, write about them, etc etc etc. If we can mind meld with them, we’ll do it.

Twenty-and-tweleve Questions With Aldo Ino Ilesic

What’s your name? Age? Hometown? Current Residence?

Aldo Ino Ilesic, 33, Ptuj, Slovenia

What/how/why/when did you start riding bikes?

I was 14 years old and saw a race back home. I liked it enough to start riding.

What are your cycling career High Points? Awards, palmarès, life defining moments, wins, religious experiences, etc. Make a list. Don’t be shy.

Winning a stage at the Olympia’s Tour in Holland, winning a stage at the Giro d’Elle Regioni, second place at a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir, second place at the 2012 Philly Classic, winning the Air Force Crit in 2013 and Boston Crit in 2015, my 2016 RHC season.

What are your cycling career Low Points? Crashes, mistakes, fuck-ups, etc. Make a list.

Getting hit by cars twice, not leaving my U-23 team after getting wins in Holland and Italy, and not focusing on the classic races while I was a U-23.

Do you have a day job? If so what is it? How does it make you a better racer? How does racing make you better at your day job?

I own my own business with over fifty employees, and racing is something different to challenge me.

Manual for Speed thinks of the Red Hook Criterium series as the future of cycling. It’s urban, it’s gladiatorial, it’s thrilling, it’s colorful, it’s a knife fight. Cycling fans and non-cyclists think it’s thrilling. To us it represents an evolution of bicycle racing. What do you think about this idea? What makes these races so special?

I agree that this kind of racing is the future. The stadium atmosphere and exciting racing makes it entertaining to spectators even if they don’t know anything about cycling. It’s constantly growing, but the big thing it’s missing is a professional live stream. Hopefully investors will jump on board.

Why do you care about racing? Why is it important to you?

Bikes, cars, skis… I’ve always raced for as long as I can remember. No matter if I was doing it recreationally or professionally—I can’t just cruise, it’s either full gas or no gas.

How do RHCs compare to regular crit racing? How do RHCs compare to World Tour stage racing?

It’s more exciting and thrilling than normal crit racing, but compared to the World Tour it’s a completely different race.

Do you think of yourself as a “gladiator of the street?” If not why not?

I see myself as a racer. I like to compete, even if there is no reward.

What’s the one thing you wish fans and non-racers understood about racing the RHC?

The thrill of cornering in a race on a fixie.

What would make RHCs even better?

A live broadcast and one or two banked turns per lap.

In what ways are RHCs similar to the new Mad Max movie? Or any Mad Max movie?

[Aldo did not provide an answer.]

We imagine that you’ve raced non-fixed gear criteriums as well. What are the big differences between these two styles of racing? In terms of speed, strategy, time of day? Promotion? Location? Media? Vibes?

RHC has much better promotion and vibes, as well as big city venues. The tactics in the race are also different.

Is there a different sense of risk vs reward in the RHC races? What’s on the line for you as a racer?

All racing has danger, you are always risking something. The reward is the feeling you get after finishing.

What about fixed gear racing makes it more interesting than geared bike racing?

The no brakes part.

Tell us about bike handling, reading a race, and fitness. How do you think about them as they apply to RHC racing? How are they different from regular crits?

The tactics are different. Even though the race is easier to read, handling is more important.

What about the event itself? These races have a party atmosphere. Lots of action going on before, during, and after the race. Are you into it? Do think it’s an important part of the culture of these races?

I think it’s very important, because it’s not all about the result. People come out for the atmosphere before, during and after the race. You don’t just go and watch the race, it’s a full weekend. And I like the parties!

How intense is the contact between you and other riders when you’re out there on the course? If possible please use a metaphor to describe the feeling of this contact.

It’s as intense as the riders around me want it to be. I know where I want to be in the pack, and if someone else is there, we will battle for the spot one way or another.

What metaphor best describes the feeling of the race in general? For example: Scorpion Rumble, Badger Brawl, A Storm of Falling Glass, etc.

Flowers. 😀

Speaking of gladiatorial combat, what is your favorite action movie fight scene?

Any scene where the fighters keep getting back up until they pass out.

What is your biggest fear? What is your biggest hope?

Losing my drive. I never stop believing.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a race? Don’t be shy, just own it. Dish.

Knocking another rider off his bike.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done in a race? Tell us all about it!!!!!

I sprayed a dog with water during the Tour of Turkey so he wouldn’t run into the peloton. I made it on Watts with that move. 🙂

Speaking of fear, one a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how afraid are you when you’re racing in one of these events? Please explain.

3. I still have respect for the event, it keeps me focused.

If you weren’t racing the RHC series what would you be doing?

Car racing.

Is racing the RHC series your dream? If not what’s your dream? Tell us about your dream.

My dream is about car racing, more to follow in the future…

Do you have non-bike, non-athletic related hobbies/interests? If so what are they?

My business.

Do you have a power animal? If not you should, please assign yourself one. What is it? Why?

[Aldo did not provide an answer.]

What do you like most about your bike? Get specific.

The stiffness and responsive handling.

What do you like most about your sponsors? Go big and get specific!

The support, their custom/personal approach, the exposure, the great stuff they produce, and their willingness to expand into new types of racing.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done, or thought about doing? Yes, we are going to publish this but that’s not relevant right now. More importantly, this is therapeutic. We’re asking this for your own good. Please take a solid step outside your comfort zone and tell us something you’ve never told anyone before. Trust, reach deep, it’s part of the process.

I wanted to become a criminal investigator.

Maybe you have a hero all lined up for this question, maybe you don’t. Either way, who is your hero and why? It does NOT need to be an athlete, but it’s okay if it is.

I don’t have any specific heroes. My heroes are all people who keep trying after failing multiple times.

Fun Facts With Aldo Ilesic

Favorite Food

Apple strudel.

Favorite Color


Favorite Band/Song

Armin Van Buuren.

Favorite Movie/Video Game

Lone Survivor.

Favorite Cartoon

Ice Age.

Favorite Book (Can You Read?)

I can’t read, don’t have a single favorite.

Pre-Race Superstition


If you weren't a cyclist what would you be?

Car racer.

What do you do when you're bored?



No kids yet.

Guilty Pleasure(s)


If you were a superhero what would your power be?


What's most surprising about you?


Celebrity Crush

I remember their looks, but not their name.

Bad Habits

Can't stop working.

Favorite Quote

“Everything happens for a reason.”

What's your favorite smoothie!!!???


Hidden talents

Being alert and aware of my surroundings.

Fanmail Address

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