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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!
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...
Starting with Red Hook Brooklyn, followed by the 2018 Summer Crits–quick minute snippets of racing.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
18 years old
Aerospace Engineering Student at ASU
Cat. 3 Road Cyclist for Octane Athlete Cycling
From Monterrey, CA (USA).
24 years old
Cat. 2 Road Cyclist for Bike Accident Attorneys
From Gilbert, AZ.
26 years old
Leader at Young Life Church
Cat. 2 Road Cyclist for Bike Accident Attorneys
From Tempe, AZ.
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:
22 years old
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.
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.
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.
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
1st place & 3rd place.
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:
Coming to Tempe from Monterey, many people told me I had to bike Mt. Lemmon.
I had no idea what kind of climb it was, but it was one that I wanted to do, especially because of my love for climbing. I'd heard so much about “the cookie cabin” and the wonderful, long climb with the scenery changing from cacti to pine trees.
Finally, after about three months of living in Tempe, Andre told me we were going to do Mt Lemmon. Unsure of what to be excited for, I was excited mainly just to ride somewhere new and leave Tempe for a couple days. We decided to head up Friday night and camp overnight so we wouldn’t have to wake up crazy early. So, after everyone was off work, and school, our little 5 person and 1 small dog crew; Andre, Emerson, Victor, Jonny, Daiki (the small dog) and I packed our bikes, cameras, and gear in the truck, and we were off. Well, after a lot of waiting, attempting to vlog, and arguments of music preference.
Mt Lemmon is couple of hours drive from Tempe and as we drove we were told all about the mountains around us, which were too dark to actually see. Victor found a campsite a couple miles up Mt. Lemmon and we set up camp, unpacked, some vlogged and took pictures, before getting a good night’s sleep under the amazing stars.
Morning came and according to some, it was freezing!
After what seemed like hours of getting ready, we were packed up and descending down to the very bottom of Mt Lemmon so we could officially climb the entire mountain.
Our group of four set off and about five miles in, it was down to three. We climbed at a nice speed, not too fast, or slow, just talking and enjoying riding our bikes. After about one hour and 11 miles of climbing, we got to Windy Point where we met Jonny. We ate some food and saw cool rock climbers, before starting up again.
Riding again hurt a lot! I totally regret stopping that first time before stopping again to fill up water. But after filling up we continued on for the next 15 miles to Ski Valley. The cacti, rock, and desert were disappearing, and pine trees were appearing, leaves were changing color, and the temperature was cooling down. The road continued going up for a while longer before it descended for a little and then came back to being even steeper. Due to cramping, we lost another rider, and it was down to two. Getting steeper and with pain in my legs we got to Ski Valley and were ready to go down to Cookie Cabin to get giant cookies, rest and get ready for the descent.
It was nice to climb for a long time since I hadn’t been able to do that since I got to Arizona. Victor got to the top after cramping, and still decided to go a little further up to the observatory - crazy. But I went down, met Jonny with the support truck, and waited for all to get there.
And the reward at the top? A giant cookie and pizza.
Ready to head down, we put on arm and knee warmers, and jackets to descend. Thanks to Jonny we were able to have awesome support, pictures of the adventure, and change our clothes for the change in temperatures. Immediately after leaving, the road climbed before going down, so I got really warm, but cooled off once we started the descent. I was told to stay on Andre’s wheel or else, so that was the plan – for me to work on descending. It wasn’t too curvy, the road was nice, and I was on a familiar wheel, so all was well. We stopped halfway down at a super cool spot of take pictures, fly the drone, and take off a few layers before we continued down, sticking mostly together for safety, awesome GoPro footage, and to go faster.
Getting to the bottom of Mt Lemmon, it flattened out and Victor decided to go faster, so we all got on his wheel to do one last effort. Ending on a good note, Andre won the “sprint,” kinda, and everyone arrived safely. We met Jonny in the mall parking lot and had finished our ride after about 4 ½ hours of riding, 73 miles, and 7,000 feet of climbing. I had completed the Mt. Lemmon I had heard so much about. Returning with 4 happy and tired cyclists, Jonny, and Daiki, we had already talked about the next time we would return, and head back to the long climb, a mountain which people who don’t even like climbing like, a fun descent, which I even really enjoyed, and seeing the beautiful creation.
It's not official until it's Strava official, so here are Christina's grabs from the ride:
We've ridden our bikes in some pretty interesting places, but this one may have just topped the list.
Just outside of Tucson, Arizona, jammed up against a busy US Airforce Base, on a flat and dusty patch of land, lies the Boneyard. It's exactly as rad as its name sounds - a storage place for an assortment of old airplanes, some being used for scrap and some waiting for a new owner with enough money to afford a plane and enough patience to get it into flying shape.
We weren't there to buy a plane, but we did want to ride on a wing or two and explore this metal boneyard on our favourite Kingdom rides...
From old Navy transport planes, to a NASA Photo surveillance plane used before google maps was a thing, to aircraft that have been doing sneaky things down in South America, ones that would carry nuclear weapons, and a bunch of other craft if various states of decay, the Boneyard is full of parked stories.
The Boneyard Safari tour has jumped up near the top of our list of rad things you can do in Arizona.
It's basically 3 hours of wandering around the airplane graveyard, exploring everything, listening to the history of each aircraft and taking photos you won't be able to get anywhere else.
And a bonus point - that very active Airforce base next door means there are all sorts of military aircraft buzzing around overhead while you're exploring the ones on the ground.
PSA: I AM NOT A BIKER… or Cycler, or cyclist, or whatever they are called? But my close friends are, so I guess by association I am?
Something I learned very quickly is you’re only cool if you ride “FIX” gear… Haha, well to my surprise, bikes are NOT all the same.
There are single speed bikes, fixed gears, road bikes, mountain bikes, etc.
This was news to me.
If you were to ask me six months ago anything about a bicycle, I would have laughed and shrugged. I was in a bad car accident 7 years ago and was in physical therapy for a year where I was forced to sit on a stationary bike in pain for miles upon miles… SO by default when I was finally released the last thing I ever wanted to do was get on a bike.
Life is funny sometimes. I just so happened to stumble into a “biking community” like the klutz I am. When you become apart of something bigger than yourself, a community with a shared passion, it’s hard not to become passionate about it.
But biking single speed wasn’t gonna make the cut. The last step of my initiation was to learn fix gear. (I’m totally joking, kind of, not really).
One day I walked into Kingdom Life and Bike and my friend Christina said, “Kaylie! Let’s go for a bike ride, and you’re gonna ride fix!”
Out of pure curiosity of how bad I would be, I agreed.
It actually wasn’t that bad, and by the end of the ride, I felt like a pro, and a cool kid, lets not forget about that.
As the weeks went on the more I learned how to control my fix gear, how to use my breaks less, and how to absolutely destroy the crap out of my legs.
But now I can rise victorious saying the bruises were worth it, the trips and stumbles bring joy to my life, and the friends and endurance I have obtained through the learning process I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.
So I guess you can say I’m a fixie?
I’m fixing to keep it that way…. Wanna join me?
Race 1 & 2 Are done & dusted and now we're onto race 3 yo! Double Trouble!
The last race of the first ever Kingdom Alleycat Series is gonna be a lot of fun, and we're mixing it up by giving the option of riding in pairs (1 man + 1 woman) for the chance at double points, hence the name Double Trouble.
Here's all the details & an explanation of how you can get involved in the goodness.
Taking part is as easy as turning up to Kingdom, paying $5 and being ready to ride.
And if you don't want to ride, turn up and watch the action as we live stream riders locations in-store. It's a par-tay ya'll!
Double Trouble will give you the option of riding in pairs (1 man + 1 woman), which means that if you do race in pairs, EACH member of the team gets full points and if you race alone, you only get half:
1st place in race 3: 50pts per rider (25 if riding alone);
2nd place in race 3: 25pts per rider (12.5pts if riding alone);
3rd place in race 3: 10pts per rider (5pts if riding alone);
4th place in race 3: 5pts per rider (2.5pts if riding alone);
5th place in race 3: 1pt per rider (0.5pt if riding alone).
Text "Kingdom" to 33222 to jump on our text message list and stay up to date with Kingdom life.
Come get your Alleycat on!
1st place: Cody Goodman and Christina Hashimoto - 100pts;
2nd place: Emerson Senseman and Jared Hsu - 25pts;
3rd place: Karl Senseman and Victor Silva - 10pts;
4th place: Paolo Ranola - 5pts.
It's probably one of the most exciting things you'll ever do in your life - unboxing your first Kingdom bike.
The cardboard, the plastic, the tools, the bike, it's the start of a whole new set of adventures.
But first, you have to put the bike together! Don't worry it's pretty easy and definitely not as hardcore as IKEA, and we made this handy video guide for that moment you get your new Kingdom ride:
If you've got any questions about putting your Kingdom ride together just holla on social media or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We've gone East, way East.
The very first Kingdom bikes rolled out in 2016 straight onto the streets of Tempe, Arizona, so it makes perfect sense that our first international chapter would be in another desert - Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
We're now shipping directly to Dubai with a limited run of bikes and gear, looking for new streets, new adventures, and new rides.
Check out our first frames from the Middle East.
You can click through to the Dubai website here and get your hands on your very own desert adventure machine.
Go Go Go!