Words and Photos : Doogie Roux
TBR’s Doogie Roux had the grand opportunity of sitting down with Sammi Runnels (@aunicornvomited) for a brief Q&A before she was off to Brooklyn for the first race of the 2017 Red Hook Crit Championship Series. We like Sammi’s vibe on and off the bike, so we took the opportunity to ask the right questions to shed more light on her vibe and get the scoop on things regarding RHC.
@aunicornvomited: Chilling chilling
@doogieroux: Spirit Animal?
@aunicornvomited: Snake or lizard
@aunicornvomited: Would like to learn Spanish
@doogieroux: Favorite Food?
@doogieroux: Corn or Flour?
@aunicornvomited: Depends on my mood
@doogieroux: Pre-race jamz?
@aunicornvomited: Summer of Haze
@doogieroux: The people like your steez, swag or whatever the kids call it. Could you please elaborate on the attire you choose to rock pre- and post-race. It’s lit, and the people need to know about it.
@aunicornvomited: I have always been into fashion. A few of my current fashion icons are Lee Velvet, an LA stylist; Becca Mccharen-Tran, owner of Chromat and; as far as athletes go, Serena Williams. Getting into sports definitely taught me to be more practical about fashion. Putting comfort and function higher. Cycling has never been the trendiest of sports. There are a lot of really ugly kits. I’ve worn them, sometimes you just have to. Also we don’t really have a sport specific recovery wear so I’ve just started pulling from other sports. Yoga is always a favorite among women, but basketball has always been the leader of the sports fashion game in my opinion. Not only is it trendy AF, but the emphasis on comfort kills. You will not find an uncomfortable pair of Jordans. Brands like Adidas have really jumped on board with active wear working closely with rad artists breaking the mold of standard color schemes and solid designs. I love wild designs and crazy bright colors, paired with some strappy sports bra and always shear, #shearforever. Throw in some flashy glasses, and you’re golden. I really just enjoy dressing up. I think the body is a piece of art. I believe in literally wearing your heart on your sleeve.
@doogieroux: Red Hook is happening, soon. What are you doing to prepare?
@aunicornvomited: With Red Hook this Saturday I’ve been getting comfortable on my fixed gear again, getting comfortable in the drops as well. It’s always hard switching back from cross where you’re always on the hoods. Our local road crit series started back up so I’ve been getting a lot of speed work there, and I won a race this weekend so I think my fitness is coming along.
@doogieroux: The women’s field has grown for RHC so much that two qualifying groups are needed. What are your thoughts on this and women’s cycling altogether?
@aunicornvomited: The field size has definitely gotten bigger and more competitive in Red Hook since previous years, and David Trimble built a separate women’s race with equal payouts and we showed up. I think a lot of promoters could take some pointers from him on how he has handled equality of the sexes in his events. I would say since I started racing bikes in general the women’s scene in my town has doubled. It’s amazing to see more women in a sport that I love. The best part about it is how welcoming and encouraging I see everyone being. I have met so many strong, inspiring females through cycling.
@doogieroux: Brooklyn 2015 was your first RHC. Aside from a larger field, what differences are you noticing?
@aunicornvomited: Red Hook is infamous for the crashes. In the women’s field no one gets cut, so you have all categories of racers from the experienced pro to the first time racer. When the race gets slow it gets sketchy. If you watch the crash footage from this past race you’ll see that a girl tried to cut the pack off by taking the inside line in a turn and slide out causing a huge pile up. It’s a rookie mistake that happens in racing. We really have to just strive to make the race faster to drop the less experienced riders.
@doogieroux: You and Ash Duban are cool, get along well, and all that stuff. You know, friendship I guess. I saw you getting her equipped with a power braid a while back. What’s it like hanging out and racing together in Austin then going against each other in a world-class competitive display? Do you two join forces sometimes?
I’m definitely more inclined to work with my hometown friends in a race when the opportunity presents itself.
@aunicornvomited: So me and Ash have known each other for five years or so at this point. We met at my first race ever at the Driveway (the weekly crit series in Austin). We currently race for the same team on the road – RCM Hit Squad. It’s really cool to travel around the states and the world with friends from your home town you know. In previous years, we had four women from Texas in the field and four men. Two Texans on the podium and two more in the top ten. I’m definitely more inclined to work with my hometown friends in a race when the opportunity presents itself. However, I would never jeopardize my own team’s finish for my friends, this is a race.
@doogieroux: Aventon has backed you since???
@aunicornvomited: Aventon called me up the day after Red Hook Brooklyn two years ago and offered to send me to the rest of the series. That’s London, Barcelona, and Milano. I was guest riding with Affinity, the team Ash Duban rides for, so I spoke with them to consider their counter offer but they just didn’t have to capability to offer me what Aventon had so I made my choice. I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Aventon Factory Team. Aventon is a Chinese factory team started by JW Zhang. The brand is just getting its footing in the industry with only four years under their belt. They entered the scene with well-priced, unique track bikes. Aventon has since expanded to commuter style geared bikes and has plans to touch the dirt in the next few years. It’s really interesting to learn the factory dynamics of our industry. I’m excited to see the company grow especially with the freedom that owning their own factory gives a brand.
@doogieroux: Trump or nah?
@doogieroux: Who do you want to give a shout out to?
@aunicornvomited: Shout out to my bae, Tristan Uhl, for joining me in the madness this year!
@doogieroux: Good luck at the races!