Victors and Sick-O’s Crowned at Inaugural Red Bull Ride + Style
The inaugural Red Bull Ride + Style drew a crowd of over 5,000 spectators to San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza yesterday where a field of 60 riders – half of whom were rocking the Oakley tees, hats, gloves, grips and custom eyewear they scored two nights before at the Ride + Style Launch Party hosted in the SF O Store on Market St. – threw down in both track and freestyle fixed gear biking competitions.
The day kicked-off with the speed riders battling head-to-head for the fastest time around the custom track featuring a killer art installation by Los Angeles-based artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector. Without brakes to temper their speed the winding track required more than brute strength and the contest saw multiple riders crash into the guard rails after underestimating the technical difficulty of the course. In the end, there was a final showdown between two Bay Area riders that weren’t even supposed to compete. Jason Clary and Kell McKenzie were both alternates, who were only asked to fill in for dropouts the day before the event. The two friends, who ride together often, put friendship aside for the final race, and Clary, sporting Oakley gloves, was able to edge out McKenzie for the win. Clary was not the only speed rider who walked away a winner however.
Oakley Sports Marketing Manager, Steve Blick decided to reward one rider in each discipline a “Sick-O Award” for putting it all on the line and in the track competition the sick-o was Austin Horse, a New York bike messenger in custom Jawbones, who clocked the single fastest track time. The prize, in addition to some well-deserved bragging rights, was an engraved Oakley 12 Gauge™ wristwatch.
The freestyle portion of the competition gave riders the chance to showcase their style and best tricks on several one-of-a-kind ramps built by Jeremy Witek. The custom features donned artwork by urban contemporary artists Aaron De La Cruz, Erik Otto, N8 Van Dyke and Arlo Eisenberg. The four artists worked as a collective, merging together their unique styles to create eye-catching rideable works of art. The freestyle talent had the crowd captivated, drawing in passers-by who inadvertently stayed for hours. They were glad they did however, when they became the first people to witness a completed backflip in an international fixed freestyle competition. Needless to say, rider Kohei “Kozo” Fuji from Osaka, Japan who threw the backflip was awarded the second Sick-O award of the day and his own engraved 12 Gauge™ wristwatch.
After five heats in round one of the freestyle competition, the 10-man final field had been decided with Oakley teammates Josh Boothby and Jacob Santos both still standing. All the final competitors held nothing back. Some even showed super human resilience stomping tricks that only moments before had knocked them off their bikes – hard.
When all was said and done, it was Matt Reyes from Gilroy, CA whose consistent and stylish riding ultimately earned him first place, followed by Oakley rider Josh Boothby from Castro Valley, CA in second and Tyler Johnson from Seattle in third.
“It was a real treat to ride with such amazing people from all over the world,” said Josh after the contest. “You don’t get to ride with this many people, at this skill level on an every day basis. This [event] really added to the legitimacy of fixed gear freestyle and showed what it is all about… It was a special day.”
We couldn’t agree more and are already counting down the days until the second annual Red Bull Ride + Style comes to town!