April 22nd 2017: The Mission Crit was born in a parking lot 4 years ago, and by it’s second year, it grew into the streets of San Francisco. It is common these types of events are on the outskirts of town in some industrial complex but Mission Crit is different. In the heart of the city, on traditionally busy streets, the barriers go up at noon, and racers are qualifying within a few hours on the streets we commute on daily. The vibe is very grass roots, with no alpha sponsor logos pasted everywhere, but instead a grocery store from the neighborhood printed on a small banner. The event takes place the weekend before the New York Red Hook Crit event, giving racers a chance to get a solid practice in before the start of the international series. Enclosed is a set of photos and notes from the night of qualifying, and racing for the men and women, and a cargo bike event in the mix.
Crit racing lends itself to be spectator friendly, with short lap times, fans can scream at their friends constantly.This is the first year we are seeing more live streaming feeds on social media.Course changes for 2017 brought a ton of excitement to qualifying and the main races.
James is the race organizer, and has done an incredible job keeping a grass roots feeling to the event, while still drawing a good size crowd in the middle of the city. Eddy qualifying for the men’s main raceWe see this contrast every day here and hope that each community can help one another thrive as much as the cycling one has.Sam moved here from Portland five months ago. He works at the shop, leads the Tuesday morning rides, and we are happy to see him suit up for his first fixed criterium. He qualified for the main event, and was really stoked to rub shoulders with some very fast racers out there.Marc Marino can help you fix your kits, just hit him up.Chas qualified with the lead group. 2017 is his 7th year racing the Red Hook Crit series, and is excited for New York this weekend.Having a grocery on the race course was convenient for both racers, and spectators.There are to motocycles on course during the races. The first leads the front of the group, and the second one signals racers at the back of the field to exit the race course as they are about to be lapped by the field.Sean raced with the B group, then jumped on a TCB cargo bike, to race back to back heats.Dylan putting in an aggressive qualifying lap to go on to the men’s final.A parking garage is converted to racer staging, and is steps away from the start. On a cool windy evening it made for a perfect spot to sit on rollers before the race.The race is annually held in the Mission neighborhood in the center of the city. The radio tower acts as weather gauge when the fog rolls in for the evening.Dylan is designing for Specialized, and had the opportunity to create the graphics on bikes for their fixed crit team. Look for more images as we roll into Red Hook.SameAddison Zawada was a marked man for this race as he held the #1 spot from last year. He loved the course changes this year, including the descent into the chicane.Sean with a winning smile as he finishes the cargo race.Always love seeing Nick’s Giant TCR Health Net Team bike at events.Jo Selso is a veteran to this race format, and it showed as she finished with a solo win on this night.Coming from the film era, I see modern camera sensors as a superpower of sorts, in that they can see in the dark. It is tricky to shoot these night races with strobes. The racers eyes are dilated for the dark, so when they are railing into a corner, and get pounded by flash, it is harsh on the racers. For these reasons, I love shooting these events with natural light, and sharing these grainy moments as a fly on the wall.The light of the moto pace vehicle makes the crowd roar, as they know the mens final race is on course.Fifty racers qualified to the main event, and the field was FAST. It took spectators a couple laps to adjust to the race tempo. The field was quickly split with two lead groups, and a large chase group.Chas worked with the chase group helping drive the pace, but could not bridge up. He finished 7th for the night.Cesar Valenzuela surprised the lead group, by attacking and chasing down a few breaks before taking his own go. His break stuck, and took home the win on this night.Colin Strickland won 3 of the 4 Red Hook Crits last year, and lead the attacks in an attempt to shut down Cesar, but did not have what it took to bridge the gap.