Cesar Valenzuela took the title as the first ever champion of the SoCal Fixed Gear series, beating then-Leader rider Dante Young with only one point. With the series only two days away, will Valenzuela be able to regain his title for a second year?
“My personal expectations are to defend my title as SoCal champ,” said Valenzuela. “I learned how to deal with [pressure last year] and I pretty much consider it all hype and I live off that.”
Valenzuela will have to get accustomed to a shift in team styles, especially after leaving Zero Miedo to ride for team Englne 11. Zero Miedo will certainly take a hit with Valenzuela’s departure, as he served as their strongest and a sort “secret weapon” for their team. Valenzuela also attributes finances as one of the reasons for his departure.
“As a developing cyclist, I need more experience and fast,” said Valenzuela. “I need a developed team that can financially support me and take me to RedHook.”
The reigning champion isn’t the only athlete getting used to major restructuring. Young, who took second place last season, has left team Leader to ride for the new Cncpt team. All of Leader's former racers, with the exception of Ronnie Toth, have moved on race together in this new conceptual racing organization. According to Young, Leader provided them with as much financial support as they could, but this new team is providing the athletes with new ventures and opportunities for more travel.
“The new team is the old team, just a little bit better,” said Young. “A lot of teams are stressed and they’re too serious, even in professional cycling they become a whole different person. We want to show people that you can compete on an elite level and still have a good time.”
However, team Leader isn’t being left out in this team restructuring, with Toth leading the way towards a new team with veteran cyclists. Toth will continue to race for Leader with former GLK racers such as Manny Barra and James Stocker. Hectorello Morales will also join the mix.
Popular cycling club GLK, who is notorious for breeding strong cyclists will be putting a six-man team together to compete in the series. Sponsored by 17teeth bikes, the group is excited to form a strong presence this season.
“We are going to go out stronger, no matter what,” said Manny Vasquez of GLK. “We are hungry for the podiums, we are going to go in with high spirits, have fun and hang out with the community.”
The first SoCal fixed series takes place this Sunday at 5701 N. Skylab Road in Huntington Beach starting at 11am. For full racing coverage, be sure to follow CycleFeed on Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content.