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Dani King Blog: Redhook London

Well Redhook criterium was certainly a bike race I’ll never forget. A few months ago I got asked if I wanted to compete in a bike race in London. I said yes straight away knowing I was free and loving any type of bike racing. Well… Always check what your letting yourself in for! After doing some research on the race I soon found out it wasn’t your usual criterium race but a criterium race on a track bike! This means one gear, no free wheeling and most frightening.. No brakes!

With such a busy race schedule I didn’t have much time to prepare for the event so one evening before the race I headed down to my local outdoor track to practise turning right on a track bike. (Something I had never done before). This made me even more nervous as I felt this didn’t come naturally to me.

The day of the race was run like formula one.. We started off with a 25min mass start fastest lap race. The first 10mins was to warm up and the last 15mins was where you had to post the fastest lap time you could which then gridded the riders for the main race in the evening.

To my amazement I managed to qualify first after holding my breath going round the corners as fast as I could hoping to make it out the other side. I was happy to be on the front of the start line as I had been told this makes things a lot easier. However when the gun went of to start the race I couldn’t get my foot clipped in so was down to about 10th before the first corner- not a great start.

It was always my plan to attack and try and go solo off the front. I waited for a few laps to suss out my opposition and decide where the best place to launch my attack would be. I attacked with around 17 laps to go and just put my head down for a lap and thankfully looked back to see a gap that was worth pushing on to try and extend.

I’ve been training hard and racing all season so I knew I had good form. Being out the front was tough, especially on a fixed gear bike where you can’t stop pedalling for a split second. I wasn’t aware of the time gap between myself and the 2 chasers behind until I was coming up to lap them. (To my amazement I ended up lapping the whole field) This was the first time I allowed myself to relax knowing I just had to stay upright to win.

I was so happy to win my first redhook crit- especially after a tough few weeks regarding Olympic selection. The race was really well organised and attracted amazing crowds in Greenwich Peninsular. It was such a cool atmosphere and something I would love to do again in the future!


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