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Pre-Red Bull Last Stand Q&A with Sammi Runnels

Written by Doogie Roux

TBR got to know Sammi a tad better during our Pre-RHC Q&A and wanted to follow-up with her just before the Red Bull Last Stand. The event will return to San Antonio this Saturday for the second time with its “eliminator” format. In this setup, the rider who crosses the finish line last on each lap gets eliminated until there’s just one rider left to take their final celebration lap. The event will consist of four races with the iconic Alamo Plaza serving as the backdrop to the race.

Last year, Sammi (@aunicornvomited) took second in the geared category and third in the fixed category. This year, she’s coming back with teammates in both categories. Red Bull Last Stand is sure to be an amazing event once again this year. Let’s see what Sammi has to say about it.

© Doogie Roux

@doogieroux: Crits are pretty much over, you’ve been busy racing crushing cross races in Australia, China, and back here in the states. Have you had a break? Where’s the chill? Do you have any?

@aunicornvomited: No chill ever! Seriously though, I haven’t had a break since February. Last year around this time I was kind of burning out. This year, however, I’m feeling really motivated to continue crushing it through cross season.

@doogieroux: Red Bull is maintaining equal payouts and State Bicycle Co. stepped up to cover the first 50 women who register for the fixed gear category. Your thoughts?

@aunicornvomited: It’s important to strive for equality in every aspect of our society. Equal payouts aren’t just the right thing to do, but they also help grow the sport. By providing equal payouts it sets up more athletes to have the financial stability to travel to more events. I appreciate Red Bull and every other company that has stepped up to set the new standard in our sport.

@doogieroux: This event is in its second year. What are your thoughts in general? Is there anything you’d like to see changed? By the organizers? The racers? The spectators?

@aunicornvomited: I’m stoked for Red Bull Last Stand to come back for another year. I had such a blast racing and partying last year. I do hope they will be able to keep the course closed better this year. There were some close calls with spectators last year, but I am confident they have taken feedback and come up with some solutions.

@doogieroux: What’s the funniest thing you saw at the event last year?

@aunicornvomited: So I didn’t actually see this happen, but my boyfriend was on the way back to our hotel last year with some friends. Our friend, Andy, was way stoked off life and screamed “FUUUCK” at the sky in an act of joy. Suddenly a woman ran out of the darkness, “FUCK ME? NO FUCK YOU!” she screamed as she slapped the beer out of his hand and simultaneously punched him right in the face. As she revved up to punch the next guy in the group the cops showed up. They gave chase for a while but they finally nabbed her. Everyone was pretty fucking confused.

@doogieroux: This is a fun event, but seriously, let’s talk pre-race preparations. What are the jams? Are you warming up? Are you stretching? How are you getting into race mode this time around?

@aunicornvomited: I’ll just be focusing on keeping my head in the game and my eyes on the prize. I’m not much of a race-day stretcher, but I’ll definitely be warming up before the race. I expect it will be fast from the gun so I’ll need to be good and warm at the start. Pre-race music is very important. I go back and forth between hip hop and electronic. Right now, I’m on a Witch House kick so I’ll probably be jamming some Crystal Castles and Pastel Ghost.

© Justin Kosman/Red Bull

@doogieroux: You’ll be competing this year with many different teammates present in both categories. We know you can’t give us too much info on the strategy or plan here, but what’s that going to be like?

@aunicornvomited: Having teammates to work with in this format of a race is a game changer. We will be coming up with a plan of attack and sticking to it.

@doogieroux: There are plenty of racers returning from last year, along with a few new faces. Anyone you’re watching closely?

@aunicornvomited: Well, Lauren Stephens seems to be the strongest woman on the start list right now. She’s been racing in Europe with Team Tibco for at least the past two seasons. She’s also well versed in track racing. She was on the Olympic long-list last year, she’s a strong rider. I believe this will be her first fixed crit, too.

© Justin Kosman/Red Bull

@doogieroux: Any advice for those competing in this event for the first time?

@aunicornvomited: To all the first-time racers out there, just have fun! You’re first season is really a learning experience. It definitely takes time to figure out the game of racing, especially with this format. Also, set realistic goals for yourself and make sure to have a post-race beer. I actually don’t know the party spots in San Antonio well.

@doogieroux: Don’t worry, I can help with that. Any shout outs?

@aunicornvomited: Shout out to Ash (Duban) for winning Red Hook in Barcelona!

 

© Doogie Roux


Doogie Roux is a proud Cajun-Texan, does a lot of stuff, and doesn’t sleep much. He’s a big part of the Houston cycling family, as well as a connoisseur of fine food joints in the Bayou City and abroad. He may lack the endurance that most of his competition maintains, but his bursts are incredible, and he always finishes strong. He continually dominates the “Handup Category” in cyclocross, all while producing decent photos and writing about amazing things. What he appreciates most about the Texas cycling community is its diversity and how it all comes together to create an amazing culture of love and acceptance in our giant state.

About the author

Doogie Roux

Doogie Roux is a proud Cajun-Texan, does a lot of stuff, and doesn't sleep much. He’s a big part of the Houston cycling family, as well as a connoisseur of fine food joints in the Bayou City and abroad. He may lack the endurance that most of his competition maintains, but his bursts are incredible, and he always finishes strong. He continually dominates the "Handup Category" in cyclocross, all while producing decent photos and writing about amazing things. What he appreciates most about the Texas cycling community is its diversity and how it all comes together to create an amazing culture of love and acceptance in our giant state.

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