The third installment of the SoCal Fixed Series took place on Sunday, March 13, and was presented by Throne Cycles and hosted by community leader Hector Morales Jr. The Strong Beach Criterium is a technical, 6-turn course that includes a hairpin turn and a roundabout. Racers must survive 40 minutes of surging breakaways and attacks before race officials announce on the megaphone that there are ‘5 laps to go.
Hosting this year’s race was a challenge due to an increased police presence. Officers patrolling the area stumbled upon the unsanctioned gathering and stopped the race from starting. After being told to pack up and go home due to the lack of permits, the race was then moved to an alternate course, referred to as Hughes Crit. A huge thank you is extended to Hector (Heck Yeah Crits/Throne Cycles), Jared (FixedGear BeerCrew), and Luis (SoCal Fixed Series), for getting the podium and race set up at a safe location nearby. Almost 100 racers showed up, including 15 women.
The men’s race started first since the women racers were featured as the main event. Steven (Neu York) took the halftime bonus point awarded 25 minutes into the race. This bonus point is critical because it helps the rider move up in the overall standings at the end of the 10-race series. After this, many teams began to group together in preparation for the final sprint. Following the ‘5 laps to go’ announcement, Ronnie Toth (Leader Bikes) attempted to break while the pack frantically looked around. He began extending a gap until a few riders from State Bike, Engine 11, Fix Fixie, and GLK start closing it.
In the final 2 laps, one rider went down on the back stretch due to overlapping wheels. This scared the peloton and halted any movement until there was only 1 lap left. Once everyone got the call for bell lap, the pace began to pick up again with the finish only 3 turns away. With 2 turns remaining, Addison Zawada (Red Bull/State Bike) made his move and held off the peloton to take first place. Congrats Addison!
The women’s race started soon after the men’s. The women stayed together for the first 10-15 minutes, then Jo Celso broke away from the peloton. After Jo took the mid-race bonus point, it seemed probable that she would win. Pure Fix Racing, Engine 11, Zero Miedo, Fix Fixie, and Catella riders were left to battle it out for the podium. Asia, Evelyn and Elaina from Engine 11 used their power in numbers to string out the field leading into the last few laps. This helped set up Asia as she came out of the final turn with a slight lead over the peloton. She sprinted for second place while Sarah Bartlett hustled herself into third. -CL