“It's Ridiculously Fun!” Garage Racing Nationals Has Arrived.

crystal city, va april 28 participants gather at the start l
Garage Racing Nationals Has ArrivedThe Washington Post - Getty Images

When the streets are crowded and you want to race but don’t want to leave town, where do you go? Last week, racers headed underground for the Garage Racing National Championships.

Beginning Friday evening at the Crystal Drive Parking Lot, a parking garage in the heart of Arlington, VA., almost 200 cyclists lined up to race in seven categories over two days. Occupying floors 2 and 3, cyclists and spectators awaited the start of the underground bicycle racing series.

The first-ever Garage Racing National Championship featured a zig-zagging course in a low ceiling environment—literally an underground parking garage. Some racers opted for traditional kits while others donned eclectic costumes.

crystal city, va april 28 people gather at the start line ah
The Washington Post - Getty Images

One rider wore a polka dot clown get up with red hair, red nose and an oversized multi-colored bow tie, another racer dressed as a shark, and a group of eight National Capital Velo Club cyclists donned full Mario Kart costumes.

“It’s really technical. There’s a lot of corners, a lot of concrete pillars. It’s actually kind of scary sometimes. It keeps your brain engaged just as much as your body,” Team Crosshairs Cycling rider Tori Riemersma told the Washington Post.

Friday night’s competition included men’s and women’s fixed gear championships, a four-person relay race, and the highly anticipated Anything Goes event.

Prioritizing fun, Anything Goes participants challenged each other and themselves along the red taped course on bikes of all shapes and sizes. Some participants traversed the course on anything but a bike.

One person navigated the course mounted to a rocking pony with skis atop a skateboard, another participant used roller blades, and a third person pedaled an oversized low-rider tricycle. The vibes were over the top with the outfits to match.

crystal city, va april 28 participants gather at the start l
The Washington Post - Getty Images

“It is ridiculously fun. The atmosphere is electric and super spectator friendly. Who doesn’t enjoy hanging out with their friends, sipping on a beer while people ride bikes at psychotic speeds underground?” said Team Bikenetic racer Matt Holmes.

Though this was the first event to carry the Garage Racing National Championship title, garage racing has been happening in Arlington for more than a decade.

As early as 2010, the Crystal City Diamond Derby featured cyclists dressed in red coats carrying their bikes over hay bales. The Derby was replaced by the weekly March Crystal City Wednesday Night Spins and then the Crosshairs Garage Races came to be in 2018.

Regardless of what it’s called, “Garage Racing Nationals is not sanctioned by USA Cycling or any other governing body,” so racers shouldn’t take things too seriously. However, event organizers JBG Smith and In The Crosshairs wanted racers to have fun because by “the end of the day, you may also be a national champion.”

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