By: Ivette Lopez
Young cyclists from around Southern California gathered Sunday at Bikeworks shop in Montclair to win a coveted spot in the up-and-coming fixed gear team Zero Miedo.
Hosted by veteran fixed-gear rider Edgar “Willo” Juarez, this new team is meant to target talented youth in lower socio-economic areas that need personalized access to training and gear to take their endurance to the next level.
“The whole purpose of the event is to motivate kids to go out there and engage and try out for teams,” said Juarez. “I wanted this to be open for anybody, give everybody an opportunity and that’s why we decided not to charge so more kids would come out.”
15-year-old Adrian Muniz from West Covina took first place and won a one-year sponsorship with Zero Miedo. Muniz also received a custom fixed gear team bicycle.
“I feel really good right now,” said Muniz. “I just want to thank Willo. He’s a really nice dude that helped me out and got me started.”
Second place went to Zero Miedo rider Cesar Valenzuela, third place winner was Kenan Gunbil, and fourth place went to Bryan Arita, also a teammate of Valenzuela’s at ‘Miedo’. The premium lap prize went to David Vivar and honorable mention went to the only female racer of the day, Caroline De La Victoria.
For De La Victoria, simply participating in the race was an achievement.
“It feels pretty cool being in the midst of all this testosterone and seeing what I can do and just pushing myself,” said De La Victoria. “I like to let females and girls know that if you want to ride and you want to try just try and go for it.”
Hours before the race, the course was changed to a criterium-style route after the original course was deemed unsafe for the cyclists. Riders instead raced around the perimeters of Montclair High School for 10 laps under the supervision of Juarez and other volunteers that looked out for incoming traffic.
“The most difficult part of this race was the last corner where we were going up that straightaway. It was a bumpy, hilly road, really bad but it was alright,” said Muniz.
Juarez said that Valenzuela’s final winnings go beyond personal accolades, but instead, for the interest of Zero Miedo. He added that Valenzuela has gained a family of riders with a diverse background and culture.
“We’re pretty much are looking for anyone that not only is competitive, but is also having fun at the same time,” said Juarez. “They all have hearts of a lion. We might not be top contenders in the first year, but the only way we can do that is to work hard.”
For team members like Arita, the cohesiveness of the team is more important than individual achievement.
“When you get a group of five fast guys that all want it, that are willing to work together and one guy is going to sacrifice himself for everyone else, that’s what a team’s about,” said Arita. “It’s not about the individual, it’s about the team.”
Photos By: Allaudin Hightower