2019 Red Bull Bay Climb Recap : We Came, We Climbed, We Conquered!

(photos by Michael Sanders)

Hello Friends! Welcome to the 2019 Red Bull Bay Climb! We travel to San Francisco, California, home of Portero Hill which boasts a 21% climb that is not for the faint-of-heart. Lucky for us:  1) we have an affinity for riding fixed gears up hills and mountains, in-fact we usually have a blast doing it (ie "Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, with Pros") and 2) as Dominic Toretto likes to say "We live our lives a 1/4 mile at a time".

The day starts with check-in then we move to warm-ups....

Chris Tolley knocks out a few push-ups to get the blood flowing.

Sam is the first rider up. Last year she puked. This year, she won her first heat! For those unfamiliar with the Red Bull Bay Climb format - riders are broken into heats of 10, the top 6 from each heat advance to the Semi-Finals, then only the winner of the Semi-Final heats make it to the final 6 riders in the finals.

Jenny powers up the hill to qualify for the semi-finals.

The men's squad is up next.

Andrew (seen here), Scott, Josh, and Chris all get 1st in their heat to advance to the Semi-Finals!

Finding the right gear is not an easy task when racing fixed gear and especially when it’s an uphill “drag race” like the Red Bull Bay Climb 2019. Technically you race against others but you also fighting gravity and Potrero Hill so choosing your equipment wisely is very important. If you know you need to hold around 80rpm (a good avg. rpm for Chris uphill) you can calculate (bikecalc.com) the gear ratio needed in order to go a certain time or speed*.(*looking at past finishing times from years past helps!). Chris is riding with a 51.5” (42x22) gear and power meter for all the races, including warm-up on the rollers.

Time for the women's semi-finals. Again, Sam wins here heat moving onto the finals. Jenny failed to qualify and is eliminated from the race in the Semi-Finals Round.

Scott (seen here), Josh and Chris all win their Semi-Final and are now in the Finals. The field of 6 in the Men's Finals is 50% State Bicycle Team riders. 

Rest between rounds is critical.

In the Women's Finals - Sam surges early but is caught by 2 riders before the finish. She crosses the line in 3rd to secure a place on the podium.

This race is no-joke. It was an all-out effort that will make even the strongest riders sick to their stomachs.

In the Men's Finals - Tolley showed his true strength to capture 1st Place, followed by Josh in 3rd, and Scott in 5th.  It’s the fastest of all the fixed races on the day, just above 12mph for the drag up De Haro St. About halfway into the 70 second effort Chris reaches his max. power for the day (1741W) starts surging, taking the lead in the last 1/3 of the .23mile climb and takes the WIN. 

That was hard. Time to hydrate.

Chris is happy to get the W!

Winning is fun, its even more enjoyable with your teammates! 

"Say Cheese!"

WTF Podium!

Men's Podium

Whole Squad with the hardware. Thanks for reading! We'll be back soon!

🙏 Thanks for the continued support of our sponsors Bell Bicycle Helmets, Endura Clothing, Vittoria Tires, Fizik, Easton, Floyd's of Leadville, and Hand Up Gloves. If you love the State Bicycle Co. Team, support these companies! 🙏