This time last night I was sitting in a strange Greek restaurant in Vienna reflecting on the days events and other fixed gear and cycle related topics over a glass or two (maybe bottle) of wine and eating some odd food that seemed to consist mostly of vinegar. Juliet Elliott (wifey) and I were in Austria for the Red Bull Fuxjagd, a fixed gear race that is a mixture of a minidrome and a hay bale slalom.
Participants gathered on the Saturday to record their fastest lap time of the course, it was approximately 200 meters long and consisted of 2 banked 180 degree corners, a horrible plastic thing to hop (thanks Austin Horse), and each of the 2 straights contained 2 tight chicanes. The fastest 64 qualifiers would go through to Sunday’s main race for a series of knock out rounds. The qualifiers would race in 1 minute 30second heats, then 3 minutes and finally a 9 minute finale for the final 2 competitors. Fellow State Bicycle Company team rider Addison Zawada set the fastest time of the day at a staggering 20.93 seconds.
I managed to qualify right in the middle of the pack in 30th one place below messenger champion and top guy; Austin Horse. I was excited to get my first round underway, though after a late night, lots of food, some drinking and partying and a whole bunch of random goldsprint variations I must admit I wasn’t feeling my best. Though the great thing about the event was it was all about having fun. Anyway…I didn’t have to put much effort in to win the first heat as my opponent was a no show. It was a bit frustrating as I hadn’t really ridden and I really wanted to get a few laps in to get a feel for the course again.
The next round I was to face the number 3 seed, and whilst I would never want anyone to crash I knew that was probably the only way I would win that round, but that wasn’t going to stop me giving it my all. Off the gate I gave everything I had, though as I approached the corners I just bottled it.
The key to getting a good lap was smooth cornering going as fast as possible though the berms, I have only ridden a minidrome once so I was still a bit sketched out and found myself backing off a lot. I held off my opponent for as long as I could until the inevitable loss came my way. But with the racing out the way I could relax and watch my team mate smash the opposition (thanks Juliet for the snaps).
In these elimination races there is an element of luck of the draw, if you get lucky you can get a fairly easy ride, although luck will only take you so far. It was obvious from watching the racers who would be in the final round. Addison Zawada, Greg Falski, Stefan Schott and Christian Striedner were absolutely flying around the course and it was clear a fast paced final was on the cards.
The final round saw Addison face off against Stefan. Addison dominated the race from the start, the 9 minute final ended after just under 3 minutes as he rode like a man possessed in order to catch fellow finalist Stefan to take the win. The final standing was Addison (State Bicycle Co) 1st, Stefan (8Bar Bikes) 2nd and Christian 3rd.
The ladies were also killing it, Sami Moreno, Juliet Elliott and Alice Kralikova all qualified beating a number of guys and battled it out both in the men’s event and then a women’s final. The after the final races the results were in Sami showed an impressive display of bike handling and power putting down some solid riding to get the win. The final results were; Sami (8Bar Bikes) 1st, Alice came in 2nd and my awesome wife Juliet (Charge Bikes) came 3rd. Check out a video Juliet made of the event and our weekend in Vienna here!
It was an amazing event that was made even better by the friendly racers, hyper crowd and great organisation by Red Bull Austria. Special thanks to everyone at Red Bull Austria for the hospitality and to Juliet, Austin, Addison, Sami, Greg and anyone else I have forgotten to mention, for making the weekend so much fun. I’m already looking forward to next years race and the Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn in a couple of weeks.