Name: Keith Garrison (yes, the keith g mentioned at bottom of this report here)
Category: Cyclocross: 2, Track: 3, Road: 4, MTB: 2
Race Age: 28
Current team: King Kog!
Day Job: Executive Producer at Readyset. We’re a fabrication shop that build sets for photo shoots and fashion shows.
How you got into cycling: Like most people, I got into riding bikes as a kid but never took it too seriously. I would rip around town on my older brother’s Mongoose that was too big for me. There were a few trails and jumps in the woods of my hometown. I remember going off the table-top, losing control on the landing and riding directly into my friend’s older brother. He reacted by punching me in the mouth and knocking my tooth out. Eventually I started driving and forgot all about bikes until I moved to Brooklyn in 2007. Having a car in the city was a headache and I racked up a ton of money in parking tickets and eventually got my car towed. I decided to take it off the road and put it upstate in my parent’s garage. I started taking the train to the bus to work and that sucked. I used the money I saved in my first two months of car insurance payments and not getting parking tickets to buy a track bike.
How you got into racing: I had a bunch of friends who were all getting into riding brake-less track bikes at the same time (come on, it was the late 2000’s) (ed. LATFH). That winter My buddy Addison threw a Christmas themed alley cat race. I lost my manifest and double flatted before getting to the second checkpoint but I still had a blast. I continued racing alley cats for the next year until Andy Da Silva convinced me that risking my life to only win Mishka t-shirts was silly and got me to come out to Kissena and give track racing a try. I showed up with way too big of a gear and got my butt handed to me, but I was hooked. I kept racing at Kissena and then started racing Saturdays and Tuesdays at T-Town. I eventually got a bike with gears and gave road racing a shot. I didn’t really care for it at first. I took me until last year (2014) to actually do enough road races to submit for my 4 upgrade. For awhile it turned into a half serious joke that I wanted to get my 2 in cross and track before getting my 4 on the road but I gave in. Last year was my third season of cross and the first year I really took it somewhat serious. It went pretty well when I wasn’t breaking stuff on my bike.
Favorite local course and why: Inside of NYC, I have to give some love to the Kissena Velodrome. Sure, it’s bumpy and out of the way, but the track racing community in NY is really something special. I always tell people the hardest part about track racing is just showing up. I’ve also recently gotten stoked on racing out at Floyd Bennett Field again. Racing there is always hard. My favorite local cyclo-cross course was Bubble Cross in West Milford but lost the venue they were holding the race at. The “CX-Muir” course at the Craigmuer ski area in NJ was really great last year. I ripped open my tubular though so I didn’t get to finish the race.
Greatest achievement racing: I’d have to say Nittany Lion Cross last season. Nittany is held on the grounds surrounding the Trexlertown Velodrome in PA and typically marks the start of cross season in the Northeast. Last season was the first year I trained with a coach (or at all for that matter) and really put focus into one aspect of racing. I had a front row call-up which certainly helped but once everyone settled in I found myself riding in the lead group with a bunch of dudes that would have kicked in my head the previous season. I finished 8th (an improvement from 64th the previous year) on the first day and I was ecstatic. On day 2 I had a good start but took a bad line through the first mud pit and went over the bars and into the greasy slop which is alarmingly closed to the leach field for the track’s facilities. I got up and slowly chased my way back to the front group. There’s really only one tricky part to the course on day 2 that has a steep ramp up to a hard left turn and a log that everyone tries to bunny hop but eventually someone messes it up and causes a bottle-neck of riders. I couldn’t really get down a clean line in pre-ride that I was confident with so I decided I would run it every lap and make it a point to pass someone that was riding it. It worked out pretty well. I felt super strong all race and was riding smooth. I put in an attack with 2 to go to test how everyone was feeling but it got reeled back in by two guys. The three of us battled it out the last lap and were fighting for every corner. The guy that was leading left a little bit too much room on the inside with a few turns to go and two of us snuck through and made the pass. I managed to out sprint him on the finish stretch with enough of a gap to post up. It was super rad to see hard work pay off and take the win in front of a ton of friends.
Worst memory of a race: Last summer at the Neversink Invitational race that David Trimble puts on every year. The course starts out with a mellow climb followed by a super steep descent with a pretty gnarly switch back at about mile 15. I’ll admit that I’m not great at road racing, but I really suck at descending. I got dropped before we were even halfway down. Not wanting to do the next 60 miles solo, I had to burn a few matches to chase back on to the caravan of cars that were following the race. I made it over the Peekamoose climb with the main group, and then the field blew apart on the next climb up Greenville Rd. I rode solo for a bit and got linked up with a few guys. I ran out of food, my lower back locked up and my quads started to cramp. The final climb up Sugarloaf is followed by a small loop at the top just to add insult to injury. The whole way up Colin Tanner and I were talking about how we weren’t going to do the final loop because we were both so cracked (he was in the break all day but bonked). I got off my bike at one point because I was so wrecked. Once I got to the top of the climb everyone was there cheering so I couldn’t not finish. I crawled along the final loop and finished. Without a doubt, the most difficult day I’ve had on a bike.
Getting crashed out by people who are totally unapologetic about it afterwards is a real bummer too. At a grass-roots cross race in NJ I had a dude suddenly veer 10’ to his right on the wide, paved starting stretch. As he was cutting over I reacted and yelled for him to stay, our bikes made contact, his rear skewer went into my front wheel and broke like 4 of spokes. He turned back and looked me dead in the eyes and said “Fuck you” in the most stern and serious way. Some people take this stuff way too seriously.
Goals/Aspirations: After breaking my collarbone last year fitness and motivation kind of went into the toilet, so I’m currently working on getting both of those back. I’d like to have a successful cross season this year and if I can avoid stupid mechanicals I might have a shot at doing well in the MAC series cat 2/3/4 overall. This will be my first season racing UCI races as well so hopefully I’ll be able to finish a race on the lead lap. Most of all it’s about having fun and staying stoked on bikes so I can continue to eat pizza and burritos whenever I want.
What’s the most fun thing you missed out on in order to do a bike race: I’ve definitely bailed on friends, going to see bands, time with my lady and lots of quality sleep because I had to get up a 5am for bike racing. But all that doesn’t matter because bike racing is the most fun thing ever, right? …right???