Monstertrack organizer and Warm-Up race winner Crihs Thorman (right) with runner-up Keeam Mansour (center) and fellow organizers Cooper Ray, Stoned Tone Kyle Thompson (first, second and fourth from left) at the finish line outside Queens Tavern in Ridgewood, 2/17/18 at 9:30pm. (Photos: Nick McManus)

Snowfall didn’t deter ten brave cyclists from competing in Monstertrack XIX’s warm-up race ahead of the main event this Saturday. Crihs Throman, the winner of the messenger-style alleycat took called the conditions “fucking brutal.”

Monstertrack Warm-Up registration at Sophie’s bar in the East Village.

The race began in the East Village with registration at long-time messenger dive Sophie’s, followed by a “running start” in Tomkins Square Park where the bikes were placed away from the starting line and the racers had to run over to them. As the snow grew heavier, the slushy tour of Manhattan took riders as far north as Grant’s Tomb before they headed all the way out to Ridgewood for the finish line at Queens Tavern. Organizer Kyle Thompson told me that, considering the conditions, “everyone who came out is a badass who will be the most prepared next week.” Only three of ten could finish the entire race: Toronto native Keeam Mansour won second place and local filmmaker Matt Sezer took third.

Racers waiting to run to their bikes at the starting line inside Tompkins Square Park.

Thorman, who also won last year’s Monstertrack, will be sitting this one out as he assumes the role of head organizer. Asked why he took the job, he said, “The way the race has been ran the past [few] years, it needed to get brought back to the 2006-7 years when it was actually well organized, planned and prepared with sponsors and people getting prizes at the awards ceremony instead of a mess.” Sponsors ranging from major companies like Cinelli and San Marco to local shops Continuum Cycles and Haven Cycles have donated prizes including a new frame, custom messenger bags and scores of clothes.

Third place finisher Matt Sezer (left) with Lock Foot Posi founder Brandon Lockfoot and race organizer Kyle Thompson (first and second from left).

Monstertrack XIX events leading up to Saturday’s race will bring NYC’s bicycle messenger, racer and commuter communities together. On Thursday, the Chrome Bags store in Williamsburg will be holding a pre-registration party followed a DJ set by messenger Stoned Tone at nearby East River BarFriday, the annual bike prom will take place at a venue to be announced. Saturday’s starting line location is still a secret but the awards ceremony will be at The Gateway in Bushwick, and will feature a performance by messenger band Incredibly Elderly.

The racers and fans at the Monstertrack Warm-Up awards ceremony at Queens Tavern in Ridgewood.

Thorman, who has completed 11 Monstertrack runnings and won four times, has some advice for anyone that’s preparing for the race: “Think, just think. It’s a very hard race and what they can do to be prepared is to be calm.”

Racers taking the L train back to Manhattan after the awards.