GCN at Red Hook Crit
 

While we wait on the Red Hook Race report and content from the Red Bull Last Stand where the team was present in the past couple of weeks, the popular Youtube channel GCN (Global Cycling Network) also made an appearance at the Red Hook Crit Milan, where they put one of their riders in the race and documented the full experience.

Our rider Andre makes about a 5 second appearance in the first video. Give them a watch as they have some very insightful observations.

 
Andre Abreu
On board Red Hook Crit Milan No. 9
 

This past Saturday Andre raced the Red Hook Crit in Milan. He started the 4th heat in 72nd place, below are the on-board videos of his attempts of qualifying for the final.

On board videos with commentary and race report coming soon. Stay tuned.

 
Andre Abreu
2018 Kingdom European Tour - ZuriCrit
 

Weeks of travelling, thousands of dollars invested, thousands of kilometers ridden in training. All for a half hour race. Yet I can’t wait to do it all over again.

You can always make excuses for when it goes wrong, the truth is that everything is not always going to go according to plan and you have to be prepared for it. Welcome to my cup-half-full thinking process.

DSC07080_web.jpg

When I (Andre - Kingdom Founder) did my first fixed-gear criterium back in May, in LA, I had no idea what to expect. I had been training and I knew how to ride a fixed-gear bike yet my goal was to simply not get embarrassed. In every fixed-gear criterium (we’ll just call them fixed crits from here on), the first goal is to qualify for the main event of the day – the final. Then, not to get lapped by the leader, in which case you have to abandon the race, you still get ranked but with a DNF (Did Not Finish) remark before your name. Once you accomplish those two main goals you start thinking about things like positioning: top20, top 10, top 5… then, winning.
Not a lot of people get to that mindset, you’d have to be close to a professional cyclist to do so. Yet in that race in LA I did finish the final (barely) and was extremely excited to repeat it all.

DSC07087.jpg

Fast forward to the “European Tour” where the plan was for me to go to England, the Netherlands and Switzerland to get as many points as possible towards my World Championship qualification. Now, as you know, if you’ve read the Minet Crit and Draai V/D Kaai race reports, I went into those with very low expectations. First to qualify for the respective finals and subsequently to get myself some points, which required me finishing the race on the same lap as the leader. Now I’m in Zurich, Switzerland and I’m only holding the 10 points I scored in England.

England was the “easiest” race thanks to the course not being very technical. Then in the Netherlands, it was a whole different ball game–tight turns, cobble stones and professional cyclists. Zurich doesn’t seem much different from that. Several of the same strong riders are here and the course is not any easier. I’ve stopped thinking about the possibility of finishing the final, now my one and only goal of the day is to “just” make it to the final. How? Top 10 of each of the three qualifier heats advance to the final.

DSC07112_web.jpg
DSC07115_web.jpg

Unfortunately, in events like these, I become a very goal oriented person. Like you read before, there are these milestones I put myself through: qualifying, not getting lapped, etc. Well, that’s definitely not the best approach. Why? When I’m focused on qualifying, what I have to do to accomplish that is finish Top 10 on the qualifying heat, so theoretically, 10th would be fine. It shouldn’t be because that means starting the final at the back of the starting grid, which reduces the chances to finishing the race in the same lap as the leaders to almost zero.

Now, try to guess what I did? Started well, then started getting scared of the one tight corner on the course, moving towards the back. 3rd… 5th… 7th… And where does my mind go?: “I could still lose three spots and I qualify, so what do I do? Sit back and “save energy”, moving all the way down to 10th and pat myself on the back for securing 10th place. Fast forward to the start of the final later in the night and guess what position in the starting grid that self-back-padding gave me? Yup, last.

And now the goal-orientation process restarts all over again. Start as hard as possible to move close to the leaders. I started by passing 2-3 people per lap but by the time I got to 22nd or 23rd place the front 20 were way too far ahead and now I get to race for survival. At least I got some nice skilled new friends to keep me company. I did end up getting lapped but had a blast nonetheless. I got to hang out with some very cool people in a very cool city.

No points again for me toward Fixed Nations Cup qualification but like any of these races, if I finish with all four limbs, it was indeed a success. Fingers crossed for coming back stronger (mentally?) in Italy next month to qualify for the first ever, unofficial Fixed Criterium World Championships.

DSC07137.jpg
 
Andre Abreu
Our new favorite chainrings: Russian Raketa
 
_0006_chainring_pic_01_0001_0001.jpg
_0033_Layer+4.jpg
side_0007.jpg

For a while we were the biggest fan’s of Factory5’s chainrings from Hong Kong because of their clean and unique look. We still think they’re awesome but…

Not long ago we found out about Russian Raketa, a Russian fixed-gear bicycle component company. They make very high quality, very unique and well designed parts. On their website you will only find variants of their three products: chainrings, hubs and cogs (+ lockrings).

Soon you will start seeing these amazing products (chainrings and cogs) on our Elska Team Edition bikes. More to come.

 
Andre Abreu
Behind the scenes of a Grand Tour victory
 

Michelton Scott of Australia is one of the few Grand Tour cycling teams. As the name says, Grand Tour teams are the ones allowed to race Grand Tours which are the three main road cycling races of the year. Races that last longer than 14 days: the Giro d’Italia, Le Tour de France & La Vuelta a España.

Michelton Scott is very similar to Kingdom in some ways. They focus a lot on content creation. Having been around for a few years (even though they changed sponsors which meant name changes), they have created very interesting content, Grand Tour related. It is not common to have a lot of behind the scenes footage of these big races. Michelton Scott started doing that exact thing a few GT (Grand Tour)’s back–creating behind the scenes, consistent content. More specifically daily videos while on the Grand Tours. Last year they even had a TV show made out of their 2017 Tour de France race which is available to be streamed on Amazon Prime; a 6-episode cycling/ cooking show that will have you glued to the screen one episode after the other.

It has been really rad to follow this team throughout their adventures but this year they did something they could never have planned: they documented the behind the scenes of winning a Grand Tour, the 2018 La Vuelta a España. Their British rider, Simon Yates (who has won the “Best Young Rider” award at Le Tour the France), along with his teammates executed the perfect plan to pull of an amazing, somewhat unexpected win. And the whole thing is documented.

What can describe it better than the images themselves? Below we leave you with the 21 videos of the 21 stages of the 2018 La Vuelta a España, won by Michelton Scott’s Simon Yates.

Huge congratulations from the whole team at Kingdom to the entire Michelton Scott team. We can’t wait to see what you guys do next.

 
The best cycling podcast?
 

We have been obsessed with these guys for a while now: The Slow Ride Podcast.

They have been making this podcast for years now, on a weekly basis. A podcast that talks about all things cycling and all things non-cycling… It’s a broad show, ran by three funny American guys that simply want to express the joy that is the sport of cycling.

Give them a listen.

 
Andre Abreu
Draai V/D Kaai Madness
 

You know the intensity of a race is jumping up a notch when the city center is shut down for the racing, beer is cheaper than water, and some of the other riders make large sized bikes look like toys.
Welcome to Roosendaal and the NL Crit series.

All that frantic racing led to an 33rd place finish for Andre, which we're stoked with!
Andre's full race report: https://www.madebykingdom.com/kingdom-european-tour-nl-crit-series-draai-vd-kaai
On board video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWgiHV_6WS4

 
Jonny Kennaugh
2018 Kingdom European Tour - NL Crit Series: Draai V/D Kaai
 

Why didn’t I loosen my cleats if it was already a problem in the last race?!

We’re back at it. This time in the beautiful country of the Netherlands.
Woke up early, explored Antwerp in Belgium, got on a train, changed trains and we’re looking for registration. A Stadium? Registration’s at a stadium? Sounds fancy. Timing chips, bracelets, aero numbers… this is fixed-crit racing taken to the next level. I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous. Why isn’t that working? I can’t even count how many of these dudes have gotten Red Hook podiums… Let’s go find the race course.

Security. Gates. Barricades. Tons of people. Cyclists. I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous.
Ladies are going off soon, this is exciting.
The whole town is shut down. There’s silence as the announcer is counting down. Lead motorcycles go. Gun shoots. Ladies are off. Two laps in and we stop seeing them come through. Something must have happened. An ambulance speeds through the course. That’s not good. Only have a dozen ladies made it out clean and the rest of the race is put on hold. Hours go by as arguments and are had and ideas are thrown around to come to the conclusion that the fixed ladies would race for 5 laps after the pro road ladies and before the fixed men.

Draii vd Kaii NL Crit Roosendaal

Meanwhile it’s my turn to warm up.
This race is so fancy they provided rollers for us, I’ve ever been on one. I put my bike on it and remember the tips I’ve received, pedal fast and look forward. With one hand on the rail I got my shoes clipped in, I’m pedaling, a few seconds later I’ve got my hands on the handlebars and a quarter of an hour after that I’m warm and ready to go. As the ladies finish we’re allowed onto the course for a few neutral laps.
70% of 1.7km are cobbles??
Not only am I not used to cobbles but I’ve never ridden a fixed-gear bike on them and my saddle is an unpadded sheet of carbon-fiber. I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous.

on the rollers NL Crit series Draii vd Kaii
Warm up NL Crit Draii vd kaii

I went and said hi to Eamon Lucas (professional cyclist participating in the race) earlier because we met at Red Hook (thanks to Christina being so popular), so I’m going to ride around the course next to him pretending we’re best buds so everyone else thinks I know what I’m doing. Now we’re on the starting line and he’s on the first row. I’m on the second to last. Yeah, we’re definitely not on the same level… Either way, I can’t do anything about it because there were no qualification heats, so here’s my one chance to give it all. This is going to be a lot harder than the past Saturday…

Usually on my recovery rides my heart rate beats per minute averages in the 120’s. The race is 30 seconds away from starting and my heart rate is at 135BPM. I’m rethinking all the useless crap I thought of in the beginning of the last race. By the time that’s over the announcer is counting down. I have no clue what he’s actually saying, why would you count down in Dutch on an international race?
I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous
Did I mention how this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever raced in front of? We’re in Downtown Roosendaal where the streets are closed and to get in you have to either buy a ticket or be a part of the race. Still, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of people on the barricades. Even more came for our event, there are people throughout the whole course, I feel like that’s given me a whole extra gear to race with, although I bet I’m probably not the only one.

We’re off.
My main goal right now is to pass as many people as fast as possible. I’ve completely forgotten about the cobbles, I’m racing through these professional cyclists like it’s no big deal. I know it’s going to hurt soon but right now I couldn’t care less. Starting from virtually last place, I’ve passed about 5 people in the first lap and probably as many on the following one. Now everyone’s in a straight line, there's no more bunching. I notice this because on very tight turn I loose 1-2 bike lengths to the rider in front of me. That can’t be good. Either I start taking more risks or this race is going to be over for me very soon.

starting line NL Crit Draii vd Kaii
first corener NL Crit Draii vd Kaii

We’re five laps in and loosing space in the corners is killing me. My heart rate’s been in the 180’s since the start and it can’t last forever, I definitely need to be more efficient, especially knowing that I’ll only be able to close gaps for so long. These have been the longest laps of my life, I feel like I’ve been racing forever and it hasn’t even been 10 minutes.
I’m starting to get worried.
The front group is gone and I’m having trouble holding onto the second one, if I drop from this one it won’t take long before I get caught be the leaders. As I drift back, no one around me is willing to help; either they're as bad at cornering as me or they aren’t fit enough to be here at this point of the race. For a couple of laps I’m leading a small group of riders while staring at the backs of the main group. They’re not getting any closer but I can still see them. Eventually someone comes around me and tries to help but it would take something superhuman to get back in the race at this point.

pump the legs NL Crit Draii vd Kaii
heads down NL crit Roosendaal
Race face NL Crit Draa vd Kaii

A few more laps in and it’s just me and one other guy giving it all trying not to get lapped by the leaders. The race is 15 laps long and we’re 11 laps in. Theoretically we just need to last for another 3 because then the leaders finish and we don’t have to worry about them on the last lap. We’re working together and giving it our all. We haven’t heard a motorbike or seen a cyclist in a while. All of the noise is coming from the overly excited (or just drunk) crowd. Half way into the 12th lap and my new friend is not helping anymore. At this point he’s just hanging on to my wheel hoping to make it to the end. We ride the chicane and as we’re heading into the main straight I hear the motorbike. Crap. I’m still hopeful, so I’m about to yell at the guy behind me to help me sprint out and just really try to see this one through with me. I look back and he’s gone.
That’s it.
Now it would just be rude to not follow the rules. I pull aside and not 5 seconds later, the leaders are flying by.

I can say I gave it my all but most importantly I know how much I need to, and want to learn. This is only the beginning, my goal of becoming the best Portuguese Fixed-Gear Criterium racer is only getting started.
Eventually the race finishes and because I wasn’t in anymore I got to watch Eamon sprint to another very impressive win. Thinking that was the end of it I get back onto the course to cool down. The podium is facing the crowd on the opposite side of the course and the participating riders to get to watch it from inside the course. Suddenly the road gets packed with cyclists. I don't recognize any besides the fact that they were all wearing matching gear and it all looks very legit. Not long after that I started recognizing jerseys, then faces… then Tour de France faces… Yes, this year’s Tour de France.
I’m not nervous. I’m not nervous.

The end Draii vd Kaii NL Crit
The stadium Roosendaal
 
Andre Abreu
2018 Kingdom European Tour - Minet Crit
 

My shoes' cleats are too tight, I’m gonna lose time on the start. Over-spun during qualifying; should I change gears? The bib-number was making a little noise in the wind, should I re-pin it? Because you know, aero… *Announcer* “Row 8, #44, Andre Abreu”.
Why are my hands shaking? Who cares, I don’t need them to ride anyway. Wait, I’m wearing gloves, it’s too hot for that. I’m taking them back to my backpack. Is this my starting grid spot? Should my pedal be a little higher? I feel like maybe I could put a little more power into it that way… Why did a dude just sneak into my left? I worked hard for this spot, can you please not cheat? Thank you.
I’m thirsty, should I have drank more water? I feel like my right shoe’s too tight. Is the GoPro on? Can’t see with these ridiculously dark sunglasses. Garmin on? Not making that mistake again, ‘cause if it’s not on Strava… didn’t happen. 10… 9… 8… 7… Tighten the left shoe a little bit to make it even! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Doesn’t matter now. *Announcer* “Go!”

We travelled west traveled west, and thanks to the Dubai - London mission my brain is a couple of hours ahead of local time. Once I got my race socks and slides at Rapha and got fed, falling asleep early was easy.
Breakfast at 7am, didn’t even need an alarm. It seems early but for some reason the race’s organization is up and I know that because they messaged me on Instagram. Wait, why is the organization messaging me? Apparently they saw our post last night and thought I was too fast for the group B qualifying based on that… I’m OK with that, it basically means I race the A qualifying and am automatically qualified for the final.
The nerves went down a bit, now the goals went from having to qualify and not getting lapped in the Final to staying safe in the qualification and not getting lapped in the Final. It’s still 7 hours away though.

Suddenly we’re at the race course. Qualifying is in less than an hour. So much for relaxing after the warm up. Meh, Qualification is only 5 laps long anyway, that should take like 6-7 minutes, plenty of time to chill after that. I think I’m ready… Should I get pinned now or after warming up? You know what, why not just be ready to race now so I don’t have to worry about anything before the start? Good idea. Apparently no one knows if we’re using the starting grid for qualifying or not. Honestly I hope not because I’m #44 which means I’d start last… We’re not! Cool, I’m starting first now, watch me. Now I have no reason to be nervous and I’m as fresh as it gets, this is going to be fun.

Minet Crit Start Line
Tightening the cleats

I know there are no primes (mid-race prizes) but is it just me or are we going pretty slow?… *Taps a button on the Garmin (bicycle computer), looks at screen* “Average speed: 45km/h”. I guess training’s worked. But don’t get excited, this is not the main race, just focus on staying safe. How does one say safe? stay in the top 15-20 guys of the race. Easy, I’ll even take a couple of pulls. Nope, not gonna do that, plenty of full-roster teams out here to do the work and I still have a bunch of races to do, chill. 1, 2, 3, 4. I counted 4, next time though the finish line should be the end of it. I’m gonna move up because what the heck, might as well get a good starting position for the Final. Wow, I was definitely in the Top 5. Wait, why is everyone still going fast? Wasn’t it only 5 laps? *Bell is ringing in the back. That means one lap to go*
I guess we’re doing 6 laps now, oh well. Get back in the group, save energy. Try not to get dropped from the front on the finish straight.
8th. Solid. 
I didn’t expect this but it wasn’t super hard. Feeling good for the final.

A qualifying group Minet Crit
The line Minet Crit
Climbing the hill Minet Crit

Oh my, there’s still 2 hours to go? I’m way too excited to wait! Ladies qualifying starts… B Final goes… Ladies Final starts. 15 laps? Well that’s gonna take a while, I need to warm up though! OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring a roller (thingie you can ride your bike on top of) on the airplane. They better let us warm up before the race. Am I ready though? I spun out a bunch of times during the Qualifying, assuming the Final is going to be faster, I could use a bigger gear. But then are the corners and hills going to be too hard? Huge decision to make. Let’s ask the people of Instagram what they think. It’s taking too long, I’m chaining gears. The people need the speed!! As soon as the first of these ladies finishes, I’m jumping on the course, I don’t care. I’m on the course. 1 lap, 2 laps, 3 laps… Well, we’re obviously not starting on time… Cool, I’ll keep warming up. 4 laps, 5 laps, 6 laps… are we ever starting this thing? I’m pretty warm now. Red flag. It’s on.

[My shoes' cleats are too tight, I’m gonna lose time on the start. Over-spun during qualifying; should I change gears? The bib-number was making a little noise in the wind, should I re-pin it? Because you know, aero… *Announcer* “Row 8, #44, Andre Abreu”. Why are my hands shaking? Who cares, I don’t need them to ride anyway. Wait, I’m wearing gloves, it’s too hot for that. I’m taking them back to my backpack. Is this my starting grid spot? Should my pedal be a little higher? I feel like maybe I could put a little more power into it that way… Why did a dude just sneak into my left? I worked hard for this spot, can you please not cheat? Thank you. I’m thirsty, should I have drank more water? I feel like my right shoe’s too tight. Is the GoPro on? Can’t see with these ridiculously dark sunglasses. Garmin on? Not making that mistake again, ‘cause if it’s not on Strava… didn’t happen. 10… 9… 8… 7… Tighten the left shoe a little bit to make it even! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Doesn’t matter now. *Announcer* “Go!”]

Pushing to the Front Minet Crit
through the bushes Minet Crit

Both feet are in. Sweet! Look down and push! Push! Push! Push! Nice, Top 5 in the start. Now chill in here, you have no reason to do work for these guys, all of them have teammates. A couple of laps in and I find myself at the front. I pull aside. German guy starts yelling at me “10 second pulls!” I don’t like to be rude during races but the hell with that, I’m racing for myself, why the heck would I help you?? Whatever, I’m gonna hide mid-pack. *Riders start passing me* Well this is nice, we’re going 44km/h, it’s half way and I feel good! Wait. This pack is huge, I forgot we were almost 80 guys. How the heck am I going to go back to the front?? Great job you idiot, now you’re neither safe nor in a good place. Well I’m definitely not going to move up being in the middle of the group. *Moves left* hopefully a hole will open here. *A whole lap goes by* Nope.
*Moves right* We’re trying this side now, not much time left so this better work. *Lap is finishing* Everyone is moving left to get away from the wind, this is my window. Out of the saddle. Head down. Push! Push! Push!
Top5 again. 3 laps to go.
That was a big effort but there’s more where that came from. *Attack goes off* I just got here! Can you please chill for a minute?? I guess not. Well I’m not going after those guys, someone else better do the work… Getting pretty mad at these British teams now. They don’t have anyone in the break and aren’t doing any work. The solo Portuguese dude has to go there. Whatever.

Group into the corner Minet Crit
Coming through the finish line Minet Crit

Alright, let’s break this down. There are just under 3 laps to go and we’re about to catch the attack that just went off. That means that there’s only the downhill part of the lap to go followed by two more laps. Because  a lot of people are under geared, attacks are going off on the downhill. I prepared for this but I just caught the break on an uphill, you SOBs better get in there. Nope, we’re letting a group of about 15 guys go. Great, I hate you all (but not really, it’s all love here). Anyway, next downhill comes around and I’m taking a few guys with me.
Done.
10 or so of us have the front group in sight with one lap to go. Alright, I’ll help. Good choice on the bigger gear. It’s downhill and I’m going for it.

There’s a dude on my wheel, there’s one corner left to the finish straight and we’re a couple of meters behind the last guy of the front group. You’re done, next! Oh, my little friend’s going for it! Well, I’m not staying behind either. Two guys down. Why are these idiots giving up before the finish line?? 3 guys down. That’s it, I’m sprinting now, every spot counts. 4 guys down and I stretchhhhhh! Photo finish to for the 11th place. Job done.

Got my 10 points towards the World Championship qualification, exceeded my expectations and we’re off to the Nederlands for Draai V/D Kaai in 2 days. The field’s going to be stronger but now I know what I’m capable of now.
It’s going down.

Andre Minet Crit
The crown Minet Crit
The podium Minet Crit
Andre on the hill Minet Crit
Ladies race start line Minet Crit
Stylin Minet Crit
 
Andre Abreu
The Race Before the Race
 

Before you race you've got to get to the race. We travelled nearly 6000km on planes, trains and buses to race 38km over two crits in London & The Netherlands. But travel is a whole other adventure in itself and we'll gladly do more to race more.

 
Jonny Kennaugh
The First Fixed Criterium World Championships - Explained
 

Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No. 11 Winner, Raphaele Lemieux, before the start of the Women's Final.

Fixed-gear criterium racing is a fairly new sport. Red Hook Crit is one of the most popular and prestigious races. It’s first edition in Brooklyn, NY, started over 11 years ago yet only got popular and very competitive on more recent years. So popular than now we have fixed-gear criterium around the world almost weekly, with several professional road cyclists participating.

From May 31st to June 2nd of 2019, we will have in Dijon, France the first ever Fixed Nations Cup. Now, this isn’t a licensed, UCI or big governing body race but still everyone in the fixed-gear world will and is treating it as the legitimate World Championships of the sport. The organization has come up with a fair qualification process where any rider, of any age or nationality can participate. That means that this is not an exclusively professional race yet it is something where everyone, both pros and amateurs can participate, which has everyone very excited.

The event consists of 3 races over 3 days. On the first there will be a team time trial, on the second a criterium and on the first an omnium (road race). That incorporates all kinds of events that fixed-gear, non-track riders are used to and have access to.

 

Nation selections

In this event, nations and not teams will be represented. That means that each participant has to qualify for their country. Now, Fixed Nations Cup realizes that there aren’t a lot of countries with a lot of possible participants so they came up with a system, fair for those countries with a lot of participants as well as the ones with a lesser amount.

The way it works is more simple than it looks: if a country has at least 30 riders attempting to qualify, the 5 with the most points will qualify. This applies for both men and women. If a country does not have a minimum of 30 athletes attempting to qualify, those athletes will attempt to represent their continent. That’s it. It could be more complicated but all it is is that you have to be top 5 in your country unless your country had less than 30 athletes in which case you have to be top 5 in your continent.

 

Points

The way to acquire points is also not very complicated. First of all, Fixed Nations Cup has provided a list of criterium races throughout 2018, eligible for points. In each of those races, only the A Finals will give out points. And, you can’t be lapped.

Image provided by Fixed Nations Cup

So, assuming you finished an A Final, on the same lap as the winner, in one of the qualifying races chosen by Fixed Nations Cup, this is how many points you can get:

  • 1st of each nation - 10pts
  • 2nd of each nation - 7pts
  • 3rd of each nation - 5pts
  • 4th of each nation - 3pts
  • 5th of each nation - 1pt
  • Plus, if the criterium is in your home country, your points are multiplied by 2.
  • Plus, if the race is organized by Red Hook Crit and you win you get an extra 50pts, if you get 2nd you get an extra 35pts and if you get 3rd you get an extra 20 pts.

It’s more simple than it sounds. It can also sound easy but picture this: if you’re an Italian racing Red Hook Crit in Milan and you’re the 6th Italian to cross the finish line, you get 0pts, yet if you’re Italian and win, you get 120pts. It is expected for qualifications to be as close as 10pts, so we would advise for you to always try to get that extra spot in the ranking (specially if you race for Team Kingdom)

 Team Kingdom heading out to warm up at Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No. 11

Team Kingdom heading out to warm up at Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No. 11

The rankings are updated after each qualifying race on the Fixed Nations Cup website so you can know how you’re doing as the season unfolds.

We wish everyone the best of luck and can't wait to be in France next year watching the first ever unofficial Fixed Crit World Championships unfold!

 
Andre Abreu
Content making motivation

This is the kind of video that motivates us to create more content–and good content at that too. Also the fact that the rider in this video is Portuguese brings out the Nationalism in the house...

 
Andre Abreu
Red Hook Madness

Starting with Red Hook Brooklyn, followed by the 2018 Summer Crits–quick minute snippets of racing.

Thoughts?

 
Andre Abreu
Red Hook Crit Brooklyn No. 11
 

I’ve been racing road bikes for almost nine years; since I was 16 years old. You know, the kind that shift, coast, brake, etc. So, when I received a phone call from my teammate, Johnny Corcoran, asking me if I would be interested in participating in this year’s notorious Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn, New York under the flag of an up and coming local bicycle manufacturer, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

For those who don’t know, the Red Hook is one of the world’s toughest and most dangerous cycling events. Riders participate in heats throughout the day riding fixed gear bikes - no gears, no coasting, no brakes - in an attempt to qualify for the feature event in the evening under the lights on a sinewy, technical, and arguably extremely dangerous race course.

I used to lambaste fixie riders, criticizing them for their reckless obsession with these bikes that were seemingly inferior to those that I had come to know so well. It was incomprehensible why someone would want to speed along out of control to inevitably be taken out by one of a million apparently obvious risks. But, then I rode one for the first time, and my perception changed almost immediately. Our sponsor, Kingdom, provided us with a soon-to-be-released model called the Elska, and within only a couple rides I quickly began to understand why people thought they were so fun. As a team, we spent the six weeks we had to prepare for the Red Hook getting to know these wild, “raw” machines, and by the time we arrived on the East Coast, I think we all felt at least some sense of preparedness. That confidence would be short lived, however.

Race day was Saturday April 28th. Back west it seemed like everyone with a fixation for two wheels was either up in Prescott, Arizona for the Whiskey Off-Road or out in Southern California for the Dana Point GP, both highly prestigious events in their own right. But, at Red Hook we felt like we were participating on one of the biggest cycling stages in the world. The first round of qualifications went well for exactly 50% of our squad. Johnny navigated through the field from almost 60 riders back to secure a top 20 and automatic qualification for the feature race in his very first go. Christina Hashimoto just missed an automatic qualification herself in the initial women’s heat, but easily moved along in what Red Hook calls the Another Chance Race (ACR - although it’s really your last chance). Jace Kuyper, perhaps the nicest human being on planet Earth, and I started the first round men’s heat number two together, although before the race was even three-quarters completed we had both exchanged pleasantries with the tarmac. Officials kept Jace from restarting, but I was allowed to chase on for a 34th/80 finish, which secured me a fourth row start in the ACR.

The Men's First Heat on board with Johnny

 

I was a little shaken after my authentic and abrupt introduction to big-time fixed gear racing, but I found a way to psych myself up for the ACR. After completing some minor repairs to our bikes, Jace and I warmed up and found our way to the starting grids for what we hoped wouldn’t be the last time this year. The race began, but almost immediately came to a pause as what must have been a pretty spectacular crash blocked the road and required a hiatus. After the restart, a rider who had created a small six-second gap began again with his advantage intact and only grew it to the finish line, leaving effectively only four qualifying finishing places available (only the top five out of the remaining 60 riders in the heat move on to the finals in the ACR). Jace and I almost instantly established ourselves within the top ten riders in the remaining 10 laps of the race. We were both feeling confident that we would have the ability to move on if we kept it up, but with two laps remaining we found out that that probably would not be the case. 

As a rider’s tire blew in the apex of corner two, about ten of us experienced one of those “oh shit” moments on a very dramatic level. As can be seen in the picture below, Jace’s day was brought to an immediate close. I somehow managed to find a space between where the gentleman who in the photograph is currently upside down and rider to his right end up about two seconds later. Unfortunately, the time it took me to realize that I was still on my bike and that I had not just ruined my shorts allowed six riders up the road with a pretty unassailable gap. I took the sprint from the group that had reformed around me for eighth place, but in the end I came up just three positions short.

Picture credit to Nicholas Groll

 
 

The Women's Another Chance Race on board with Christina

 

In the finals, both Johnny and Christina rode in a manner they should both be extremely proud of. Neither of them finished, but with starting positions so far back in fields that at some points literally spanned more than half of the course at full speed, they definitely did the best they could have hoped for. Our whole team, including Andre Abreu, the founder of Kingdom; and Nick Wilson, our dedicated photographer, learned immensely over the course of this trip. I think it’s safe to say we’re all hooked, no pun intended, and all want to return next year with even higher expectations. Obviously, SLM Coaching deserves a shout out and thank you as well. Without John Salskov orchestrating my training, there is no way I could have had the legs to even think I had a shot. See you in 2019, Red Hook.

The Men's Final on board with Johnny

P.S. Johnny is far too humble, so the team and I will do it for him. During his frantic chase from the back of the field to the front group during his first heat qualifier, he scored the Strava KOM for the new course. While the big names were busy marking each other at the head of the field, JC was busy going to crown town, so who’s the real winner?

 

To be continued...

We’re working on a little RHC trip documentary about the whole race to provide everyone a more in depth perspective on the journey. Stay in touch via all of our social media platforms to see it first!

 
Jake Spelman
Team Kingdom 2018

2018 is all about the Elska, the Askel and Team Kingdom. Let’s focus on the latter for a minute.
We want to tell you what this team is for and why it exists, who’s a part of it, when and where you can see/hear about them.

 

Why

No breaks + no gears = ADRENALINE. Hundreds of spectators + 80+ brakeless riders per race = MORE ADRENALINE.
Before explaining why we love it, let's explain what fixed gear racing is. Fixed gear racers are the toughest athletes in the world. No, this is not an overstatement. Riders will break bones on a crash, get back on the bike and finish the race. Most riders will average a heart rate of 200+ beats per minute in a 30+ minute race. Oh and these races average 25-30mph (40-50kmh), with hairpins (180 degree turns).
Competitive fixed gear racing happens in the some of the biggest cities in the world. You can't experience that in normal cycling unless you're a professional. And before you start thinking this is a joke for amateurs, professional cyclists do show up and race alongside the everyday commuter who has as much of a right to race as the guy who races his bike for a living. This is why so much more money and sponsors are invested in fixed-gear racing–it's RAW; there is no BS, just straight up bike racing. Spectators love that, and so do the riders, of course.

Now, we love to race. We want to get in amongst the fixie racing scene. We're passionate about bikes and being part of these races elevates our involvement, gets us around other riders and is just plain exciting. As we release new and better bikes we want more and more people to hear about us; in this specific case, at bike races. But in doing this we didn’t want to do a mediocre “job”, or team. We wanted the best possible team we could get and we wanted them racing against the best. All to prove that that’s the level our bikes are at.

Why do riders do all this? Because there's a team counting on them and that's what it's all about–not a single rider, but the team. As long as the riders "empty their tank", the team's successful.

 

 
DSC05577.jpg

Who

As of March 2018, the team has 3 male riders and 1 female rider. There are 2 male riders confirmed to join at the end of May and we expect to grow even more, knowing the limitations of a maximum of 6 male riders per team. (Ladies reach out to us!)
Team Kingdom members as of March 2018:

 
_3310038-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

Christina Hashimoto

18 years old
Aerospace Engineering Student at ASU
Cat. 3 Road Cyclist for Octane Athlete Cycling
From Monterrey, CA (USA).

_3310172-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

Jake Spelman

24 years old
Lighting Salesman
Cat. 2 Road Cyclist for Bike Accident Attorneys
From Gilbert, AZ.

_3310184-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

Johnny Corcoran

26 years old
Leader at Young Life Church
Cat. 2 Road Cyclist for Bike Accident Attorneys
From Tempe, AZ.

_3310369-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

Jace Kuyper

27 years old
Next College Student Athlete
Cat. 2 Road Cyclist for Bike Accident Attorneys
From Phoenix, AZ.

Team Kingdom new members in May 2018:

 

Andre Abreu
22 years old
Kingdom Founder
From Portugal.

Daniel Parkman
DSD Composites Founder
From Tucson, AZ.

There are plenty more people that are part of this team, off the bike. And one that is at every race and we could not skip mentioning is our awesome and very talented photographer, Mr. Nick Wilson.

 

When

The Team’s biggest race of the year is the Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn, NY, this coming Saturday, April 28 2018.

We plan on being present at remaining Red Hook Crits of 2018 (with smaller numbers), the 3-race Copper State Criterium Series in Phoenix, some of the SoCal Fixed Crit Series in SoCal and the Red Bull Last Stand Crit at the end of the year. More information about these races will be posted on our Instagram close to each race.

 

What

Starting in July 2018, Team Kingdom will be racing the brand new Elska Team Edition which was released on April 14, 2018 and is our most prideful release to date. Check it out for yourself.

 

Results

Wait, how does a new time already have results? Well, we couldn't wait to get the rubber on the asphalt so as soon as we had our bikes we signed up, for the first race we could find (a week later). And we won it.

Copper State Criterium Series Race 1

 
_3310416-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

Women's race

1st place.

_3310448-Copper-Cat-No-1.jpg

men's race

1st place & 3rd place.

 

 

What's next?

  • First to all, at Red Hook, this weekend, we'll be releasing our Team Kingdom T-Shirts which will be available online right after the event, so stay tuned for that.
  • Follow us on Instagram for daily updates and live coverage of the races.
 
 
 

Thank you to our awesome Sponsors:

 

slash

Branding Consultancy

resa

3D Printed Insoles

dsd composites

Bicycle Composites

 

Contact us at hey@madebykingdom.com if you're interested in sponsoring Team Kingdom.

 
 
Andre Abreu