The Red Hook Criterium series (RHC) represents a look into the “current” future of professional road cycling. Why? Because the RHC is an international series of highly specialized races which showcase and demonstrate the purest, rawest and most exciting exhibition of speed that cycling has to offer. It’s part NASCAR, part Professional Rodeo, part Fight Club, part Friday Night Lights, part modern-day gladiators, and ALL SPEED! While enthusiasm for traditional road cycling continues to flounder in the eyes of mainstream America, excitement about the Red Hook Criterium is growing at an exponential pace—from existing fans of cycling and sport enthusiasts to friends and family, randos, and common citizens.
- Real Cities!
While criterium racing has always been popular in America—it’s how we race!—until recently it hasn’t managed to gain much traction as an international export. The Red Hook Criterium’s modern, progressive approach to race promotion and its modified, highly specialized racing format is changing that; and in turn, fans all over the world are changing how they look at criterium racing. The RHC has ushered in a wave of enthusiasm for this style of racing from fans around the world.
In 2017 season Manual for Speed is calling our focus on the RHC phenomena Wheels of Speed or WHOOSH. WHOOSH is an essential part of a larger editorial project called Road to Rad. The objective of Road to Rad is to critically assess Professional Road Racing: what’s working, what’s not working, what’s missing and how should the sport move forward to bring Professional Road Racing into the 21st century? [Plenty more details on R2R re forthcoming.] We believe that the unique style, location, and access that the RHC gives to racers and fans will be an essential part of cycling if it hopes to grow and flourish in the future.
Manual for Speed represents the position of both curious outsider and passionate insider; it’s our thing, it’s an integral part of our Performance Journalism process. So to make a study of the whole RHC phenomena, we’ll look at it from the outside and the inside, taking the position of pseudo-academic cultural anthropologists while simultaneously working as an embedded documentary crew with a team, following their season as the ultimate insiders. The goal is to give you a comprehensive look at the RHC, a complete picture, the whole shebang.
We’ve partnered with race organizer David Trimble to gain unprecedented access to these events, and by the grace of God we’re going to use it. Videos, Photos, Words, Arts, Sounds, Smells, Feels, the whole thing, all of it, not just the races but the traveling, the cities, the crowds, the pits, the after-parties, the after-after-parties, and all the scenes in between. Think Bill Cunningham meets Les Blank meets Alan Lomax. Or don’t think that and just conjure what you would hope to experience with this coverage in the most idyllic sense. Got it? Now double it.
To properly capture the Racer’s POV we’ve partnered with Specialized’s five man RHC super team: Specialized/Rocket Espresso. We’re talking about Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slovenia), Eamon Lucas (USA), Alec Briggs (UK), Stefan Schafer (Germany), and Akinori Yamamura (Japan); 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.
While we’ll be publishing our findings in reports throughout the year on our web-blog, we will also be reserving the finest content for a Yearbook to be printed and sent into the real world on real paper with the purpose of being held, ogled, and fetishized in real time. If you have a table or drink coffee, you’re going to need this thing.
THURS APRIL 27
544 Park Ave Unit 605
RHC Racers ONLY!
Optional: please provide 2-3 childhood photos via email!
WHOOSH is made possible by:
Artwork by Michiel Schuurman.