The news comes after a sanctioned fixed-gear racing series was set to take place in 2017
It looks like FUSAC will have to delay hosting sanctioned races a little while longer.
Moments ago, SoCal Fixed Gear Series (FUSAC) founder Luis Suarez published a video explaining that his racing organization would not be teaming up with California Bicycle Racing (CBR), which hosts a number of road races in Southern California. Suarez noted the reason for the split was due to high fees.
“It wasn’t really anything against CBR or Jeff [Prinz]. It really was more the USAC guidelines and regulations that prevent certain things from happening,” said Suarez.
The difference in price for a racer is significantly different from a road and a fixed-gear race. USAC currently charges a yearly fee of about $70, on top of a $35 pre-registration fee for each race. In comparison, FUSAC costs only $10, making it a viable option to younger cyclists that might be new to racing and simply want to give it a try.
The difference in price is a give-and-take, as USAC offers closed roads, insurance, portable restrooms and police officers during each race. FUSAC races are completely unsanctioned but draw noticeably larger crowds due to the lower costs and grassroots feel of it all. However, USAC could desperately use the fixed-gear race entries, especially with registration dropping 30 percent last season alone. FUSAC, on the other hand, had a larger women’s field than USAC, and an average of 70-80 men each race. At its peak, OC Brakeless’ Comeback Crit had a total of 153 registrants.
Racers have voiced different opinions regarding sanctioned races in the past. While some welcome the thought of more platforms to race, others worry that USAC is far too expensive and doesn’t align well with fixed-gear culture. Suarez assures that he has the best interest of the entire community as a whole, and not an elite few, in mind. FUSAC’s largest entrants are still the younger, non-elite riders, who race in every event despite getting pulled after only a couple of minutes.
“Please understand that what we decide and wherever we go with this series we have you guys in mind; not just the elite, not just the fast, but every single one of you,” said Suarez.
Suarez also announced that there would be a new format to the existing series. There will still be two races, one for elite men, one for women and but a third category, called “attack,” will give points to the bottom half of the men’s racers. The highest finishing attack rider will receive 1st place in a separate podium. In this scenario, a cyclist that finishes 30th place in the regular elite men’s race could potentially take 1st in the “attack” category. The idea is to give those men that get pulled from races early on an opportunity to taste a craft beer on the Fixed Gear Beer Crew, the organization that puts together expansive podiums for the series.
“We want to celebrate those riders and give them the chance to be recognized for their hard work and passion for the sport,” said Suarez.
Despite the rupture with USAC this season, Suarez is still hopeful for a sanctioned and successful FUSAC in the future.
“We can find our own private locations, insurance and give great prize money out to the podium. It’s all a matter of timing and execution,” said Suarez. “I don’t want us to just rush it just because the idea of sanctioned races sounds good. The community as a whole has to back what we are doing the same way they have this past year. We are all in this together and I think that’s why this is supported so well. It’s “for the kids, by the kids.””