This weekend we were honored to bring the exciting sport of fixed gear criterium racing back to the streets of Chicago by partnering with xXx Racing and the Lincoln Park Criterium for the Prologue of the Fyxation Open Omnium. The Fyxation Open is in it's third year and like the previous years, the level of riders continues to improve. Fixed gear crit racing continues to gain in popularity and these fast paced events are as much fun for the spectators as they are the riders.
The Lincoln Park Crtierum has been taking place in Chicago for years and about a month before the race, the organizers contacted us to see if we would be interested in hosting a fixed gear criterium in conjunction with the Lincoln Park Crit. We jumped at the chance but only had about 30 days to get the word out and promote the event. The race was held on April 30th which was the same day as the hugely popular Red Hook Crit so many area riders were off in Brooklyn during our event. Even with such short notice, a competing event and a some classic MIdwest Spring weather (more on that later), we still had 30 riders show up to the Fyxation Open prologue.
The Fyxation Open is a true fixed gear criterium race where riders are required to ride bikes without brakes and with a fixed gear drivetrain. Unlike other unsanctioned fixed gear crits, all riders in the Fyxation Open must have a USA Cycling license which can be purchased on an annual basis or riders can get a one day license for the day of the event. While some riders may gripe about the costs of the license, the benefits of partnering with USA Cycling far outweigh the costs. Registration for the race through the USA Cycling site is easy, results are posted immediately after the race and riders benefit from the USA Cycling insurance programs which covers riders in case of an incident during the race.
If you're not familiar with Spring in the Midwest, it can be 70 and sunny one day (the Friday before our race) and 40 and rainy with 20 mile per hour winds hammering you off of Lake Michigan the next (like it was for our race). The morning started off overcast but the forecast called for rain right about the time that our race was about to start and for once, the weatherman was right!
The Lincoln Park Crit is an all day event with races starting at 8AM with the Boys/Girls Juniors, followed by a series of fun and exciting races that includes Masters all the way up to pros for both men and women. If you've never seen a criterium race before you're missing out. The riding is fast and competitive and it's really a blast to watch. Having been down to Chicago 3 years in a row now we recognize a lot of familiar faces and teams that bring tents, support staff, family and friends that make the races feel more like day out with friends than a day of fierce competition.
Our race started around 11AM and because we only had 30 minutes for our event, the race was an open field that included riders of all classes and both men and women. Team BFF rider Christine Leppanen was the only woman that competed in the race, but that didn't stop her from competing head to head with the men and finishing the race in 18th place.
The race started off fast and very quickly the lead group of 5 riders started to separate themselves from the pack. The lead pack of 5 included a few familiar riders to us here at Fyxation from the Chicago Cuttin Crew. Nico Deportago-Cabrera who we've known for years and Avi Neurohr who's been on the podium at the Fyxation Open before.
As riders warmed up the steady rain increased making for a wet and windy start to the race. Despite the wet weather riders, battled it out hard during the race and the lead group worked together to keep their lead over the rest of the pack. When watching a criterium like this you only get a snapshot of the race as riders pass your position but for most the race, Alexander Voitik of Team Ego/Sammy's Bikes, held the lead and Team Cuttin Crew Rider Avi Neurohr started to slip off the pack a bit. On the last lap however, Avi had caught back up to the group and Alexander Voitik had dropped back to about 4th place and the five leaders raced past the start/finish line looking determined. By the time the riders made their final turn heading towards the finish it was clear that Alexander Voitik had been saving up energy for a final sprint and he won the race by a good margin. In second place was Matthew Sedwick from Team Intent followed by Daniel Corley, Nico Deportago-Cabrera and Avi.
We couldn't have been more pleased with the how the race turned out and based on what we heard from the riders, the Fyxation Open Omnium is going to be bigger and better than ever this summer. We want to send out a special thanks to the guys at xXx Racing for inviting us to be a part of this event and to all the riders that came out. Even though we call Milwaukee home, Chicago is a close second and we love coming down to the Windy City for a day of racing and fun. See you in June!