Photography by Chris Reynolds
In an even bigger showing this year than the last two, the SoCal Fixed Series returned with a vengeance on Sunday May 24th for the official first race of the summer series. Luis Suarez, the director of the Series and OC Brakeless, managed to secure a massive parking lot at the Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California for the site of all 3 criterium, brake-less, fixed gear races. The smooth pavement on the stunning college campus lent itself to speedy racing with some nail-biting moments.
Men’s Attack Category
There are 3 categories for 3 races in the SoCal Fixed Series, the men’s attack race, the women’s race, and the elite race. The men’s attack category is open season for eager new riders who are fresh to the Fixed Gear scene, while the Elite men’s race is reserved for only the most experienced of brakeless riders. You’ll see a larger field for both men’s races, but the women’s race is where you’ll really get to observe the intricacies and technicalities involved in brakeless racing. All races last around 45 minutes that seem to go by as fast as lightning, and induce the crowd in an ‘on-your-seat’ sort of trance for the duration of the race.
Of course there are always risk when you’re riding brakeless and even the best race prep can’t prevent the types of mishaps that are involved in track racing. Although we witnessed a crash that resulted in an ambulance (15 minutes from the finish in the Elite men’s race), all parties involved were given great care and are expected to return to racing after some recovery. Luis’s decision to use cones to line the track instead of large barriers used in most track racing, actually prevented a worse collision that could have resulted in a massive pile-up of riders. Additionally, Luis’s medic team was exceptionally helpful and knowledgable in assessing the situation, and calling in for back up when needed. Certainly many of us were concerned for the safety of the injured riders, but the preparedness of the race organizers prevented any disasters, and the Elite men’s race proceeded at the 15 minute mark.
Men’s Elite Category
In the end, everyone left with a story to tell, but only a few left with cash in their pockets and craft beer in their belly (or Mexican coke in the case of the U21). Not to worry for the riders who went home empty-handed, the next race in the series on June 24th offers the opportunity for those riders to earn some cash or reclaim the glory, including as the top man or woman in each category for the entire series. With free attendance for all spectators and a plethora of food vendors that cater to all diet restrictions, anyone and everyone is welcome to enjoy the friendly and exciting community atmosphere.