Berlin, Berlin, Berlin. Eastern city, Western city. That authentic, typical, quiet and out of control, historical and modern, young and old, dirty and charming, warm and cold, dynamic and traditional – the city that’s impossible to define.
There’s always something happening in Berlin – trends come and go, youth from everywhere come and go, there are bookshops, cafés, bars, there’s – if you’ll pardon the expression – fucking electro, beer, culture, art, design, daily hustle and bustle – and the RAD RACE.
The Rad Race, probably the punkiest fixed-gear race in the world, was what brought us to Berlin. A dark, trepidating, thrilling race, kind of like a mousetrap, and with a unique qualifying system which the audience enjoys immensely.
The race takes place on a karting track right in downtown Berlin, which makes it strikingly short and curvy, there being almost no straight lines. The ranking system allows for continuous races between 5PM and 11PM, so it’s impossible to get bored during the event.
In spite of the growing participation and increasing number of riders (this year we could see genuine fixed-gear professionals such as Aldo Ino Ilesic, Addison Zawada, Augusto Reati, Stefan Vis and many more), the Rad Race has kept hold of its punk, out-of-the-blue spirit – anything can happen on the track. There are not just professionals but also locals and non-locals who’ve been competing for all four consecutive years, and can almost race around the track with their eyes closed.
Our SantaFixie Blb Team had great expectations for this race, in which we wanted to defend the title in the woman’s category. Our cyclist Francisca Campos showed exceptional ability heat after heat until she reached the finals. There she got to second place mid-race, constantly pushing Sami Sauri, who held the leading position. Francisca pushed and drained Sami psychologically in preparation for a final attack in the final lap. Everything was under control until a scoring error happened – while there showed there were still two laps left to the finish, it turned out out that there was actually one left, so Francisca couldn’t sprint and attack in that lap. Thus, she got a totally deserved – though somewhat bittersweet – second place. Alex de Cortada, another member of the team, couldn’t finish as well as Francisca did. His first heat was a difficult one, against the world-class criterium runner-up and other local riders. Alex had a head start but his nerves and lack of experience made him end up in a position which didn’t allow him to classify.
Long story short, this was a peculiar, attractive, fun event, great for any riders and viewers. Long live the RAD RACE!