From track racing to racing at Floyd...
On behalf of HH Racing, we would like to thank Avery Gilbert for his volunteerism in helping out at the registration table in the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series. I always arrived at the race an hour earlier to prepare for the shoot and to setup the finishing cameras. And I often see Avery got there before me or soon after. He lives in Queens and his trip is somewhat long. While everyone was racing with their carbon stallions in what looked like something from the pro ranks weighting in sub 15 pounds, Avery instead relied and raced on his steel bike and boxy rims. He managed to race the entire series since April to late July. Not only that, he managed to place third in the overall standing in the Cat 4/5 field Maglia Gialla jersey competition during the second part of the race series. He was on the podium for several times too. We in HH Racing congratulate his achievement and what he was able to accomplish as someone who only has been racing for 4 years and racing track and fix gear bike races mostly. The 2018 season was the first year he tried competing in road races at FBF, as a Cat 5.
Left is Avery. Center is Alex. Right is Simon.
Avery started racing in the Alleycats races and the unsanctioned night time park races in Prospect Park back in 2016. These events were organized by TrackOrDieNyc, also known as Shardy. He was later introduced to track racing in the Kissena Velodrome. By the middle of the 2018 season, he earned enough upgrade points to upgrade to cat 3 in track racing. According to Avery, racing as a cat 3 in track racing is a whole another level. Everyone could be riding at 25 mph in one moment, on the next lap, everyone is doing 35 mph. Everyone is riding with a bigger gear ratio as well, and is more tactical. However, his first Cat 5 race at the Grant’s Tomb Crit was challenging. He almost lost the interest in road racing (criterium) when he got dropped so hard during the inaugural race of the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series. And he was later discouraged in racing for about a month. He didn’t gain enough confidence until he placed 3rd during the first part of the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series, which happened to be his 4th road race.
Avery taking third place in the field sprint during 5/3/18 race.
Currently, Avery is racing for the C6 Racing team or known as “Cat6.” He joined the team last year. The team members consisted of Jason Colon, the team captain, Cisco, Gabe, Lester, Shawn, Anthony, Mike, and Avery himself, and they race track, CX, and road races as well. Not a large team but small enough that everybody is getting the support and attention they need to succeed as a team. All of the team members share the same track racing and Alleycats background and largely from an underrepresented demographic segment of the NYC racing community. For the 2019 season, Avery is hoping to upgrade to Cat 3 in road racing and to place first as well. He is currently a Cat 4 in road racing.
Photo credit: Miki Marcinkiewicz. Avery with our own Parker Chea at the NYS Track Championship 2018.
One of the many challenges for a new race series such as the HH Racing Thursday FBF Race Series is to create competitive, fun, and safe racing for everyone. No one wants to pay $30 to register to race and to find out you are doing a group ride for 30 minutes or 50 minutes. Or the pace gets so hard at the start and putting everyone in the red for the first 10 minutes or on the first lap. Avery clearly remembers how the race was unfolded when he took second place. It was on the 6/14 race when the series was racing in the reverse course. Two Merrick Bicycle team riders went off the front since lap one and got a sizeable gap as well. Avery spent 2 laps alone trying to bridge up but he was later disappointed that no one was helping him. He saved his energy for the last 2km long stretch before the finish and went with another attacking group. He was about to attack this group and gained himself a 2 second gap and to take 2nd place. He thought he was sprinting for third but one of the Merrick Bicycle team riders got a flat.
Avery loves the podium presentation because the Kissena Velodrome track racing series does not have any podium presentation. He particularly likes the Most Combative Rider award, in which he has been awarded twice. He thought the horse shoe turn was a bit too challenging because he was being gapped at the section. In the last race of the series when we have added the horse shoe turn, he was later developed a slow leak as well while in a break, which led to the field catching him in the end. He placed 15th that day and he has enough points to retain his third place in the overall series placing. Like other cat 4/5 riders, he is hoping in 2019 the race duration for the Cat 4/5 field would be extended beyond 30 minutes.
Avery gained 2 seconds on the attacking group and took 2nd place during the 6/14/18 race series.
Avery, on the left, took 3rd place in the overall Cat 4/5 field Maglia Gialla jersey competition with Chris Pulomena from Merrick Bicycle taking first and Andre Abdool from Verrazano Team Racing taking second.
Avery receiving the Most Combative Rider award from our race director Liam Richmond.
Avery looks up to Justin and Cory Williams, two US Cat 1 criterium specialists and with Justin winning the 2018 US National Criterium Championship, because he could relate to them. They are also from an underrepresented demographic segment of the cycling/racing community in general. Avery believes that the Williams’s brothers success would pave the way for more riders like him getting interested in bike racing. And he is also a fan of our local champ Scott Savory too because he owns everyone in the Kissena Velodrome. On the pro level, he likes Peter Sagan because he looks like he is having fun racing. For the most part, he looks up to his team captain Jason, and other team mates such as Shawn and Lester because they can motivate and coach him to become faster.
My last question for Avery is about the night time unsanctioned Prospect Park races he has been racing in…if it is something no one should be talking about it..you know. It is organized by the CoreyTheCourier. Racing 8 laps for men and 7 laps for women. The race starts at 10 pm at night. It is usually more than a dozen riders showing up and Avery has been winning these races so far. Winners get small prizes ranging from caps to Nuun electrolyte tabs.
For anyone interested in joining the C6 Racing team or curious about the unsanctioned night time races in Prospect Park, you can contact Avery at Averyyog@gmail.com.