The echoes of excited cyclists chanting “foo-sac, foo-sac!” in the industrial buildings in Huntington Beach marked the beginning of a new journey for fixed-gear cycling in Southern California.
Sunday’s event kicked off the Southern California Fixed Gear Series, and it’s a big deal. For the so-called “fixie foos” (an endearing term for those that take the risk and ride their bicycles brakeless) it makes a scene that was once seen as a nuisance officially legitimate. The first race alone attracted over 170 racers, virtually the same number of starters as the USA Cycling races on the same weekend.
“The turnout was tremendous. There’s no doubt that we hit numbers that we haven’t hit before,” said OC Brakeless organizer Luis Suarez.
The series, which is a joint effort amongst some of SoCal’s biggest race organizers including GLK, Ratpack, Mobbin’ Monday, Heck Yeah Crits among others, will feature 10 races from now until August.
“We actually all came together and decided we’re going to do this together and grow the scene together,” said Suarez.
Much like the USAC races, fixed-gear USAC (FUSAC) will run on a point system that awards points based on placement. Extra sprint points will be available in addition to the top ten finishers.
First place women’s winner Jo Celso took the win effortlessly. Despite her flawless win, she said she loved the competition and was happy with increased turnout.
"It's cool to see the fixed-gear underground scene pick up an international following because it started from something small and marginalized," said Celso.
Men’s first place went to Italian racer Francesco Martucci who took the win without the help of any teammates. Martucci is enjoying his last week in California.
“I’m very happy because it was a strong race. It was fun and a very fast race,” said Martucci.
For race organizers, attracting international cyclists means they’re doing something right.
“It’s an incredible honor to attract these international guys with major accolades,” said Suarez. “They don’t have to give these races the time of day but it’s amazing just to have them come out and give it their all.”
The success of FUSAC in attracting male cyclists is making a bold splash. In addition, the attraction of female cyclists, 17 to be exact, is groundbreaking for any fixed-gear event.
Perhaps the most lasting imprint of FUSAC, however, is its rebellious and independent stance against ‘the man.’ The turnout for this first race of the series proves that the fixed-gear community can not only come together and become more legitimate, but also has the potential of becoming an entity that is just as major as USAC. Some cyclists have issues with USAC’s nitpicky rules such as disqualification for riding without a helmet in the parking lot prior to a race, making FUSAC a key event that better represents the cyclists it attracts. In that sense, FUSAC literally gives the middle finger to the entity it is mimicking and showing them that racing can be done with some leeway and style.
“Everybody here are friends,” said spectator Luis Steckbeck. “It might be competitive and aggressive, but in the end it’s all friendly.”
The second race of the series will take place March 5. Below are the standings as of Sunday’s race:
1. Jo Celso – 11 points
2. Asia Morris - 9 points
3. Ash - 8 points
4. Elaina Alvarez - 7 points
5. Sarah Bartlett - 6 points
6. Evelyn Delgado - 5 points
7. Lynn Kennedy - 4 points
8. Jessy Rae - 3 points
9. Glenduh Flores - 2 points
10. Natalie Trujillo - 1 point
1. Francesco Martucci - 10 points
2. Dante Young & Edgar Juarez - 9 points
3. James Stocker – 7 points
4. Cruz Murillo - 6 points
5. Cesar Valenzuela - 5 points
6. Neu York - 4 points
7. Cody Lewis - 3 points
8. Manuel Barra - 2 points
9. Andy De La Rocca - 1 point