What should be a resting time period has been completely shaken up thanks to smaller cycling groups that are determined to keep races alive in the off-season. Last Sunday’s Suffer Cat race hosted by OC Brakeless, HeavyPedal and Fixed Gear Beer Crew is one clear example of this trend.
“I think it’s important to have a level of competition in the off-season just to stay sharp and to make sure that your off-season preparations are working,” said Luis Suarez, founder of OC Brakeless.
Suffer Cat, hosted in an industrial area of Anaheim parallel to the 5 Freeway, was a lengthy race meant to literally make cyclists suffer during a treacherous 50-mile course. The alley cat-styled race forced the athletes to meet with volunteers at multiple checkpoints, obtain a signature on their manifest, take a photo and make their way back to the home starting line.
The physical demands of the race were noticeable, however, when the winning cyclists took over 2.5 hours to complete the race. Men’s first place winner Jerry Rios rolled in exhausted and was greeted by a plethora of water bottles and bananas. Women’s first place went to Aish Ketchum. Other winners included Jenny Dude, Evelyn Delgado, Edgar Juarez and Kenan Gunbil from GLK cycling.
“It was long and dangerous and fun,” said Gunbil of the Suffer Cat course. “It was a suffer cat for sure.”
Keeping in form and lurking at the competition ahead seems to be the driving force that pushes these young athletes to race despite the consequences. Some cyclists received tickets from Anaheim police for riding brakeless, while one cyclist allegedly bumped into a police car and was cited. Others were reprimanded for running red lights. When police came to the starting line, they spoke with Suarez, took down his information and went their way.
Despite tickets, excruciating physical demands and giving up resting time, local cyclists opt to stay in the game. With the competition becoming faster and stronger, it makes perfect sense as to why cyclists choose pain over comfort.
OC Brakeless is hosting its next off-season event, Fixmas Criterium, December 13. Location hasn’t been determined, but the race will require cyclists to donate a toy as part of a toy drive hosted by Suarez. For more information on this race follow OC Brakeless on Facebook or Instagram.