Fixed Gear Crit

Q&A with Stefan Schafer who has 2 races to go 2 titles to defend in 2017 and admits “I still have a lot to learn on a fixed gear bike”

After Red Hook Criterium Brooklyn No.10 Stefan Schafer had won the last 2 Red Hook Crits and the big question was if Stefan was the ‘Colin Strickland of the 2017 season’. Stefan answered this question with a flat in London and a misjudged hairpin in Barcelona wherein he overcooked it, and went into (and over) the boarding. Due to this Stefan can forget the RHC GC but with Red Hook Criterium Milano No.8 coming up he has a title to defend on a course that likely fits him best of the whole RHC series. Therefore, we talked with Stefan to find out how he feels that his season is going so far, what he expected from it, and what he needs to improve for next year.
Text: Brian Megens
Photography: Tornanti

How is the season going so far?
The season is going okay. I think my 2016 season was better overall, but this year there are still 2 highlights awaiting, Milano and the week after the European Championships in Stayer in Berlin. In both races I have a title to defend!

What did you expect from this RHC season?
Winning my second RHC and finishing on the podium in the Red Hook Criterium GC. So, not everything went as planned!

How did you take the disappointment in London and the one in Barcelona?
After such a long time I found peace with these two dissapointing races. I’m more frustrated about the fact that i’m the cause for Colin losing the GC lead.

Did you do any fixed gear crits outside RHC?
This year I only took part in the Rad Race Fixed42  in Berlin. I definitely have to change this for 2018! Riding only give fixed crits is way too few. However, this year was packed as I had to focus on my studies at the police school and I had some races in Germany. Now that I have finished my studies I will have more time for racing next year. I want to take part in some fixed crits in the Netherlands for example. Unfortunately there aren’t that many fixed gear crits in Germany yet.

How would you judge your RHC performances so far?
I still have a lot to learn on a fixed gear bike. That’s why i want to ride more fixed gear crits in 2018;)!

What should you have done better?
My cornering skills need an upgrade…#asap

What stupid mistakes did you make this season?
Watch the video of barcelona! (see Instagram post above for the footage)

Fixed gear crit rules lesson #3: Know your (speed)limits,you Idiot! Went way too fast into the hairpin with one lap to go and hit the hay bale!i'm very sorry to "invited" a lot of riders to these event, especially @colinatx , @marius_petrache and @timceresa who lost all chances for the win and also a lot of points for the GC. To all of the crashed riders: Sorry guys, it wasn't on purpose! So, for me it seems the hardest part in a @redhookcrit is to finish the race…2nd time bagel points… @specializedrocketespresso did an incredible job but in the end we lost a lot… @alec_pedaler was in good position in the last turn but he took the wrong exit (#BrexitBriggs)… Our Team will be back in Milan to fight for the win! PC: @fwdbound #TeamCrashialized @iamspecialized_road @rovalcomponents @rocketespresso @oakleybike

A post shared by Stefan Schäfer (@stefanschaefer86) on

What are your goals for Red Hook Criterium Milano No.8?
Would be great to finish on the podium, the course is easier than the other 3 RHC’s this year. We will see what the other teams will do in the race.

Which rider surprised you the most in the RHC’s so far?
Hmm, maybe Colin’s new rider??!! Kevin Girkins

What do you need to improve to ever win a RHC overall series?
More races, more experience and if the luck is boarding too, then everything is possible!