<SKIP TO HERE.> Okay so what is THAT called, is there a word for it besides ‘inclusionary’? Inclusionary seems hella basic and overly boring for what I’m talking about but maybe it will have to do.
The point is yet another reason RHC racing is so revolutionary and forward-thinking and exciting and unique and captivating is because in the span and space of four hours and several qualifying heats, several hundred racers, representing the widest of wide-ass spectrums, are reduced down to sixty or so and effectively shot out of a cannon into a brakeless eleven-lap pinball game, at night and in front of, in this case, thousands of Italians.
I mean Jesus, they let me line-up. I’m Rick. I was Rick. Only this ain’t no movie. I didn’t befriend a venerable local shaper and mystic named Chandler, although Collin Strickland diiiiiiiid offer me some unsolicited advice about my tire choice. But really, when I think back on that, it feels less like he was helping me out and more like he was trying to get in my head on race day. Fucker. What’s wrong with Roubaixs!??!?!?!
I mean yes, I did basically drop-in on the “Pipe” but I didn’t win the contest. Not even close. I got washing machined into the reef, which in this case was a curb. I didn’t get the babe, I never made friends with Turtle or any of that shit. This is the real world. Fuck Hollywood. Fuck the movies, everybody knows that shit is fake. But but but but but the reality and spectacularity of Red Hook is that I was allowed to paddle out into the line-up with Laird Hamilton and Gerry Lopez. I mean Aldo Ilesic and Alec Briggs. Think about that: me, a mediocre Cat 3 nobody, was given the chance to beat Ivan Cortina, an accomplished Word Tour Athlete. I just didn’t. This time.
Maybe it’s just me, but as I watched the award ceremony I did find myself struggling for a few seconds to reconcile a thing or two. I used to jokingly call these races Red Hook Critical Masses, you know because they reminded me so much of high octane Alley Cats. And then came a number of serious teams like Chrome Cinelli. And now, 10 years after the RHC started, there are a number of well-funded super teams like Specialized / Rocket Espresso.