Photo: Allaudin Hightower / Words: Ivette Lopez
Work, school, family, sleep. All valid reasons to skip out on the fifth race of the SoCal Fixed-Gear series taking place this Sunday in San Diego. But skipping the race could be a mistake for those looking to win or hold the top spots in FUSAC (Fixed-gear U.S.A. Cycling as the athletes call it).
The amended number of sprint points makes showing up to the races a crucial factor. Originally there were only a maximum of 11 points available to the top contender if they won the added sprint point. Now the race organizers have decided to add two extra sprint points in the first lap, the 15-minute lap and the 30-minute lap for a total of three additional points up for grabs.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to points. Think about this: by taking first place in the O.C. Brakeless Crit, Dante Young moved up TWO entire slots in the scoreboard. Add to that the two extra sprint points he earned and boom, Young moves from 6th place up to 4th.
Another factor to consider are the multiple ties for second, fifth and sixth place. With the absence of Addison Zawada and Francesco Martucci, Alvin Escajeda and Manuel Barra could break free of the tie for sixth place. If Escajeda and/or Barra miss the race, they risk to be overpowered by the other or allow another cyclist to add their name to the leaderboard. They would also fail to create a gap with Ronnie Toth, who trails them by one point and is currently away racing for his team in Korea.
The tie for second place is also a seat-clincher. According to the latest standings, there is only a five-point difference between first and second place. If current leader Cesar Valenzuela fails to race, James Stocker or Edgar Juarez could easily take the lead.
But perhaps the biggest leaps could be seen in the women’s field. In the last race, Asia Morris won a whopping 12 points, boosting out Jo Celso from first place. If Morris skips out on the event, she risks Ash Ketchum from closing the seven-point gap between third and first place. Celso could also make the trip back to SoCal and regain her title by closing Morris’s three-point lead. If Celso fails to race, Ketchum or Evelyn Delgado, who trails Celso by 9 points, could bump her from second place.
Four women from the previous leaderboard skipped out on the OCB crit, and as a result, the difference in points between one spot to the next doesn’t exceed seven points. Additionally, the smaller pool of cyclists in the women’s field make it easy for new competitors to place top ten. The two lowest scores on the board are still single-digits, meaning that a win by a new female cyclist could easily shake some athletes around.
At this point, the race is truly anybody’s game.
Tidelands Crit will be held this Sunday, June 5 at 6pm in Balboa Park Inspiration Point in San Diego.