A quirky, out of the way neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York is the focus of relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy: Castelli Cycling and criterium organizer David Trimble have combined to raise money to help Red Hook, whose citizens and businesses were devastated by floods during last month's storm.
The Red Hook Criterium, which Trimble runs, is as unique as the small peninsula that juts out into the mouth of the Hudson River. For five years, the fixed gear criterium has been held on the streets of this neighborhood, bringing together not only the racers but the local businesses who put their support behind the event.
"The entire community gets behind the race and many local businesses have become sponsors," Trimble told Cyclingnews. "The O'Connell Organization, a real estate development company, is one of our biggest sponsors. The local cafe Fort Defiance caters the pre-race dinner and features a 'Red Hook Criterium' cocktail at the restaurant. The local brewery Sixpoint has plans to brew a Criterium Ale to be released in the neighborhood the month of the race. A local carpenter Pickett Furniture built the podium and display walls. A local moving company, Movers Not Shakers, helps us with moving race equipment. The Intercourse, an art gallery, hosts the pre-race VIP dinner. Various local artists contribute to the artwork promoting the race as well as light sculptures around the circuit. The list goes on. If the neighborhood is in trouble the race is in trouble."
That is why Castelli, which has also supported the race, has put up for sale a special Red Hook jersey, which can be pre-ordered now. The proceeds from the sales will go toward two organizations which are helping with the hurricane relief: Red Hook Initiative (RHI) and Restore Red Hook (RRH).
Sales have already been strong, with orders coming in from across the globe. "In the first week of the fundraiser we raised over $25,000 through jersey sales. Jerseys have been sold to Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, UK, Italy, Norway, Australia, and the US.
"We didn't have any expectations going into this project. I realistically hoped we would move 100 of them. The response has been humbling and means so much that we are able to help the community which has supported and hosted the race for many years."
It wasn't just the businesses that support the race which have been impacted by flood waters that inundated this low-lying area. The race headquarters itself was waist-deep in water.
"Trimble Racing (my company that organizes the Red Hook Criterium) and Gage + DeSoto share a storefront shop/office two blocks from the water. We had waist deep water a lot of ruined equipment and merchandise. That being said, our losses are minimal compared to other businesses who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, inventory, and business. Our office is being repaired and we should be able to move back in a month or two. In the meantime we are able to operate online."
The Restore Red Hook jersey can be pre-ordered in short or long sleeve styles until December 1, 2012.
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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