Saturday, April 25, 2015

GREAT TURNOUT IN 60+ @ 2015 LA CIRCUIT. HI TECH DOMINATES.

By John McKee

April 18, 2015 is the date for the ever popular Bahati Foundation LA Circuit race. Talk about popular. The 2015 version had huge fields and that went for the 60+ race. The 60s had their own race and at the expense of the 55s who didn't have a slot. I think Brad House figured if the 60s had their own category in the Socal Cup series and LA Circuit was one of the 20 races included in the series that the race should be on their terms. 60s racing against 60s. 34 racers came out and it could have been 40 if everyone had made it out. Let's digress for a moment. I like funny stories. It concerns Bruce "Where is that guy?" Steele. Bruce has a new nickname now and it is "Bong Bong".
Brad House with some down time at his LA Circuit race talking to Bruce Steele and a Bike Palace teammate.
 Bruce moved to a swanky neighborhood in Redondo Beach thinking all would be peaceful and bliss. All was going great after some house improvements and such but Bruce didn't understand the significance of the date 4/20 in Redondo Beach and made a big mistake on that date. He left his Toyota Tundra truck parked on the street! Didn't he know! The date 4/20 is celebrated nation wide for the free wheeling use of marijuana. A real Bong holiday. The hotels in Colorado are packed.
 Bruce didn't know that it was really celebrated in Redondo Beach. Not everyone can make it to Colorado. Here are some of the rules for Redondo residents on 4/20. Rule #1- Stay in your house. Rule #2- Keep your cars off the street. Rule #3- Don't ride your bike in the city for Heaven's Sake. Bruce just didn't know the rules and violated Rule #2. He left his car parked on the street!

Blondie's Prius with bong on top.
As this story goes...There once were 4 blondes and they just scored some marijuana for 4/20. They were joy riding through the neighbor streets of Redondo Beach. They figured everyone knew by then the 3 rules on 4/20 in RB but Bruce just moved into this quiet neighborhood and there was nothing in the sales contract about the 3 rules. Well...one thing lead to another(John Candy says this in "Stripes" but for a different reason. He had mud wrestled the night before and started a riot and was explaining to his CO what happened). Anyway back to the girls...a bong got passed around in a white Prius with the 4 blondes getting hammered. All of a sudden bam! I mean bam!! Bing bang bong bam!! The Prius ran into the back of Bruce's Tundra truck. I am sure the driver was thinking WTF. Didn't this resident know Rule #2.
Bruce came running out of his house and saw the 4 gals walking away but apparently not in a straight line. One of them must be a close neighbor. One of the stoners left their bong on the roof of the badly damaged Prius. The Prius lost badly in this one on one matchup with the Tundra. What is the moral of this story. Well I think it is always always remember Rule #2 and most importantly Rule #3.
Prius tangling with a Tundra. Both Toyotas but the Tundra won this crash.
Let's get back to the race. The Bahati Foundation LA Circuit race is no secret as to how it works. Out, back, out, back, out, back and etc. Even with what sounds like a somewhat boring course I have always liked to race here. Lots of room to race though guys love to bunch up at the end seeking refuge from the wind. We had a great turnout as mentioned earlier and though the 60s were the first to go off, the start time was 8 am. I think we have started there before at 7 am. That extra hour makes a big difference. Even still it was too early for "bong bong" to even get there to watch us. Don't know when he actually got there but he did ride to the race. The added bonus for this race was the addition of John Howard. The racing legend was going to join us. Hi Tech was bringing in Mike Marotta for this race. Mike doesn't race with us much but I was going to assume he was really fit and it proved out at the end that I assumed right.
OK, we are off with a 4 mile circuit for us all to race(My Garmin says its a little short of the 4). This was a bit different in that they called out a prime right off. In fact each of the preliminary laps would have a prime and really drove the race and character of the racing. There always is someone that tries to get things going racing out away from the start/finish line and I don't know who it was but I do know Pedro Ordaz was very aggressive the entire race. Pedro had this red kit on that really stood out.
We all know that Mike Birditt is the fastest guy in the country in 60+ being the defending crit champ and was at the race in a natz champ skinsuit(custom made with his team name on the front) which I hadn't seen before. Awesome looking actually. We also know that Mike can sprint and recover. Reminds me of Bob Barney. A name from the past. Bob wasn't near as fast as Mike but had the ability to recover from break efforts or prime sprints. In the 15 LA Circuit race Mike Birditt was always up front after we made the turn at the top of the course. Mike always seem to have great position near the front and tucked in though I know he takes turns and chases so he isn't a complete wheel sucker like myself or Pags. I learned from the master that as you get older you have to conserve your energy and worst still is if you made a very hard effort you can get dropped because you can't recover like the younger guys.
In this race the Hi Tech strategy was loose but evolved as the race went on. 5 good racers to deal with here. Mike Birditt would be the main man for the primes but Dale and Mike Marotta would be called on as they felt they could sprint. Most of the primes were 2 place primes. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself here but Hi Tech took virtually all the primes but one that formally retired racer Al Shorts took from Birdy with a nice sprint on the 4th lap. Al looked like he use to. Al hadn't raced in 2 years but came out and looked like he hadn't missed a race. I am thinking I race all the time and he comes out and makes it look so easy! Geez!
There were a number of break attempts and John Howard did try to get away and I thought that John might double up with a Hi Tech member and turn off their chase machine but no. It just didn't happen. Hi Tech has a real chase machine going. If you think they can finish, try getting away. It is probably not going to happen this year with the bullets they have to load. Like I mentioned earlier Pedro Ordaz was very active but didn't have near the mustard needed to make anything happen. If John Howard can't get away then you can safely assume that no one can our age.
The one thing I don't think Hi Tech does that well is take control of the last lap. I know they only have 5 racers but I remember my El Dorado days when Paramount had lots of members and Lightning Velo and SBW did as well. The major teams took control the race on the last laps and strung it out and made it fast and therefore safe. No pretenders were moving up to the front to mess things up.
The last lap did come after the 1st 4 laps and the average speed wasn't that high or the race that hard per my own average heart rate. Like mentioned earlier Al Shorts spent his energy bullets sprinting on the 4th lap for a $50 prime. With Al being out of racing for a while you had to figure he was done for the day. Not the case for our stars and stripes skinsuit guy. He seems like he gets better every year while the rest of us...well you know the direction Father Time sends us. Mike's best buddie(Dale) is also on fire this year after having some flat years. I remember coming by him at this race at the end several years ago but I can't even get near his wheel at the end any more. Add to those guys Mike Marotta and you have 3 of the best racers in the country. I haven't even mentioned top riders from other teams that could be a factor at the end of this race- Tom Gates who aged up this year as did a number of good riders like Don Denegal, Ron Malloy, Kevin Ryan, and Robert Wilcox. It never gets easier. That's for sure!
As I alluded to the last lap got bunchy and then we would chase someone. Don Denegal was locked onto Dale's wheel and didn't want to give it up and that was fine with me but as we moved from side to side even Don couldn't keep a wheel. The speed was so all over the place and if you wanted to move up you had to go out in the wind and most guys didn't want to do that so we got even more impacted going to the last turn around. As we turned the last corner we would have 1 mile to go. I ended up in not so good position and behind a rider I knew wasn't a very good finisher and tried to implore him to move up so I could get some cover but no. I didn't think it would work. I couldn't see what Hi Tech was doing up front but I knew that the major sprinters could sprint from further out then I could so when I saw Tom Gates go on the right side from pretty far out I knew I was in trouble. Mike Marotta went from the far left side and I know that from a video that was provided by Jane Bleth. The vid is at the bottom.
All I can say about the finish was how far the 3 Hi Tech finishers were ahead of the rest of us. It was a brutally one sided contest. Mike Marotta was smoking down the left side with Mike Birditt smoking it down the right side. Mike won! Ha! Mike Birditt that is. Marotta is still fast at 64 but Mike is 3 years younger and still really really fast. Dale Luedtke got 3rd while pointing to his friends and teammates. Don't know how he can still go fast and not have both hands on the bars like at Redlands. I guess he is just going so fast before hand it just doesn't matter. A Hi Tech trifecta! After Dale,  Tom Gates pipped Monty Pettus at the line for 4th. Monty was 5th followed in by Don Denegal, Kevin Ryan, Howard Miller, Ron Malloy, myself, Robert Wilcox and Mike Fleming. All will get Socal Cup points as this is one of the 20 races that get Socal Cup points in 2015. A fun safe race. A little slow at 24.6 mph per hour. My average heart rate wasn't that high which means I am getting fitter or the race wasn't that hard. Maybe a bit of both. I hope! Thanks again to the promoter Brad House AND to the category sponsor, Gerry Agnew. Thank you so much Gerry! Results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Nice picture of Gerry Agnew with a natz champ jersey on at track nationals. His daughter Sarah is on his right. Thanks again for the sponsorship.
Hi Tech podium- Gene filling in for Mike Marotta 2, Mike Birditt 1 and Dale "who needs hands on the bars" Luedtke. Photo courtesy of Craig Eggers.


                                  video



60+ finish list.









Saturday, April 18, 2015

DOUBLE DUTY HERE- ONTARIO 3 AND REDLANDS WRAPPED UP IN ONE STORY

By John McKee

The Ontario Criterium series is 6 strong through the year and as most of you know the 60s were brought back with a nice purse and the 55s have a race there as well with an even nicer purse. The 3rd in the series was raced on Easter Sunday, April 5th, 2015.
Lineup for the 55 strong 55+ race at Ontario #3
60+ only race at Ontario #3
Easter Sunday turned out to be a day that 60+ racers kicked butt...well at least 3 of them anyway in the 55+ race. In the 60+ race Mike Birditt won. Dale Luedtke was 2nd and Tom Gates was 3rd. In the 55+ race Mike Birditt(60+) won. Evan Teske was 2nd and Dale(60+) was 3rd. Cyril Hunte was 4th and Tom Gates(60+) 5th. Doesn't "Birdy" get tired of winning! Well no! Not if you can do it. "Birdy" had a faster top end speed in the 60+ race. Faster guys of course would be my response. Great turnouts. 23 in 60+ and 55 in 55+(at least 15 were racing there 2nd race from the 60+ event). Good purses. Good weather. Great fun! Did I mention that the 60s took it to the 55s in their own race. Oh yeah. I did mention it. Ha!

60+ result at Ontario #3


55+ result at Ontario #3

Don't these guys get tired of putting their hand out and picking up a paycheck! Probably not! Oh I get it. It must be the green and orange water bottle we all get at Natz. Think I will try that in my next race. It works for Mike!
The Redlands Bicycle Classic Criterium is part of a week of racing that includes pro men and women. The amateurs can partake in racing on Sunday at the challenging Redlands Criterium course. A little dicey but is fun if you survive it. The turnout on Sunday April 12, 2015 was light in 55/60+ and was in most categories. I think the course does spook potential riders. There were crashes before and after our race on the last corner. It is a fast corner so problems have occurred in the past. There were just 16 60s but that wasn't too bad but there were just 16 55s. Compare that to say 40 at Ontario the week before. The total at Ontario was 55 but at least 15 were 60s. You would have to conclude that the 55s stayed away from this one. There was one 55 that stood out when we lined up and that was Thurlow Rodgers. Thurlow was a teammate of Greg Lemond on one of his pro teams in the 70s so his pedigree goes way way back. Thurlow has several different ways to kill it when he races. He can go to the front and pour it on and make it really hard for everyone. He could let a break form off the front and then effortlessly go across the gap to join up. Thurlow likes to jump hard and see if anyone wants to go with him or maybe just see what he can do himself. Rarely does he sit in and wait for the sprint. Not sure if that has ever happened.
All the 55/60+ lined up on time for the 7:55 am start. It was to be a 40 minute race with the lap cards coming up with 5 to go.
Redlands Bicycle Classic Criterium renamed the RBC Phil Richards Memorial Criterium.

Anxious guys awaiting the start.
One other thing about this year's race was at least for the 55/60+ race the name would be the RBC Phil Richards Memorial Criterium. 7 racers were wearing the black and green PR kit. This was a special kit designed to honor the memory of Phil. It's a snappy looking affair and I was honored to be one of the seven wearing the kit. We do miss you Phil!
Seven racers post race "Up against the wall" with the classy looking PR kit.

OK, we are ready and lined up and they are off! The course starts uphill with a sharp turn at the top of the course. We all get going at a moderate pace but things pick up quickly. One thing about the Redlands course, as hard as it can be it does seem like there is more downhill than uphill. You can get in a good flow through the course if you don't have to use your brakes. The 1st 2 laps were pretty hard but I felt good. I could tell my fitness was getting better. I felt good out there. I sometimes dread coming here for some reason but always feel good after I finish the race. It is a very fun course providing no mishap. This year I was in an auto accident on the 405 freeway just the Tuesday before. My wife and I were rear ended in a 5 car pile up. The driver behind us said she was changing a radio station and looked up and everyone was stopped. Yes they were! On Wednesday I was feeling kind of depressed after the whole mess. Though my wife and I weren't hurt so to speak there were mental scars and I didn't feel like racing at Redlands. By Thursday though I did the training protocol which was some hard intervals and after I finished those I was feeling much better mentally and decided to tackle Redlands after all. 
After we passed the finish line for just the 2nd time Thurlow pulled out one of his patented tricks. Don't know if trick is the right decription but James Edwards saw an opportunity here. James locked onto Thurlow's wheel and off they went. Some of the 60s were snoozing like Mike Birditt and didn't even know they were going, going, gone. I saw them but there was little I could do. I can't chase down Mr. Rodgers. It only took a couple of laps and we couldn't even see them any more. It was a bit confusing because there were riders off the back that were getting passed but the speed they were going you knew they hadn't been "off the front".
The prime laps came up and there were a few good sprints here and I have to assume "Birdy" was involved but I was tucked in all comfortable like and didn't want to rock my boat and didn't pay it much attention.
James Edwards and Thurlow "The Tow Truck" Rodgers
It actually didn't take long for Thurlow "The Tow Truck" Rodgers and his mate James Edwards to show up in the pack again. The 1st thing I thought of was...are they going to go again. Well of course Thurlow was. He had to distance himself from James Edwards and well just because he is Thurlow Rodgers. He is like a ADHD kid that can't sit still. Thurlow can't just sit in like the rest of the mortal folk that race.
You can see me behind "Pink Guy". He is quite a draft. Dale sporting his beard is in front in this picture. Cyril is just off Monty's hip and FINALLY showed some good form at the last Ontario.

Leo Longo going to the front to keep the pace up. Leo is trying to get ready for a team time trial with Bruce "Where is he?" Steele. "Birdy" and "Orangie" being attentive. Correction. Don Davidson is going to be Leo's TT partner. Not Bruce "Bong Bong" Steele. Have to see new story to find out about Bruce's new nickname.
"Birdy" looks like he is going to move up. "The Black Bandit" is checking him out. I always try and stay away from riders without a team kit. "Blue Boy" is recording the action. I never seem to get in front of Lothar to get in his vids. Never seen the "Bandit" before but looks like he has some gardner gloves on.
"Turbo" went again and Paul Rodiguez was on him and this started alarm bells for Hi Tech. "Birdy" was dozing the last time "Turbo" took off but not this time with important cargo like "Rod". "Birdy" caught on but John "Orangie" Roest chased hard and Mike and Paul threw in the towel. Not sure if Thurlow kept going or came back and jumped again but I do know he was out alone. James Edwards put a chase on and Ray "Pink Guy" Dicius also chased but I saw Ray back with the pack along with James. James was locked into to finishing 2nd now. He was a lap up on all the rest of the 55s so he didn't have to sprint though he did.
While all this was going on the 5 laps to go card came up and showed on the electronic banner as well. No one looked like they wanted to pace though Don Davidson was always good for a crack at that and of course he did. As the laps counted down it got bunchy of course. I seem to always get pushed back one racer at a time. With one lap to go I jumped up the left side and passed about a dozen riders and felt I was in decent position but actually it wasn't as good as it initially appeared. Leo Longo went to the front to lead the pack for a while. The chicane came and went without incident and we got going smoking fast on the downhill section before we made the mad double U turn for home. The top dogs were up front at the end and of course that is no surprise. These 4 guys guys are definitely 4 of the best if not the best crit riders in the USA. There was an "incident" after we turned for home. Now I didn't see it but heard all about it from Mike "Kal" Birditt after the finish line. Let's just say that Tom Gates and it says this on the finish list made "abrupt move in sprint". Tom did finish 1st across the line but you can see Dale pointing all the way across the finish line. Good thing no one else passed Dale while he didn't have 2 hands on his bars. Tom was relegated to 4 and not sure how that was decided because that still gave him a paycheck and kept me one off a payday but that's ok. Lol. Dale finished 2nd in 60+ and was given the victory. Paul Rodiguez was next and given 2nd. "Birdy" cooled his jets before the finish and finished 4th but got 3rd. What I want to know is "Who's on 1st". I finished after Mike for 5th and it stayed 5th. Monty Pettus was right next to me for 6th.
In 55+ we know that Thurlow Rodgers won the race and James Edwards was 2nd. Cyril Hunte pulled off a very nice sprint to take 3rd. Cyril followed up his good finish at Ontario #3. Cyril was followed in by John Avila in his PR kit. Best finish by a PR kit rider. 5th was taken by Yehuda "Green Bay" Packer and followed in by "Pink Guy" and "Blue Boy".
The race was a lot of fun and great to see so many guys honoring Phil and wearing the PR kit. Too bad the turnout was so low for a high quality race especially with the 55+ racers. Even David "I didn't miss a race in 2014" Fetah didn't make it. Full results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!


Tom "In N Out" Gates is the winner or is he? I several other nicknames for Tom. Donut is a good one and tail gunner also comes to mind and now maybe "Straight as an Arrow".

Paul is 3rd?

"Birdy" is 4th and I am 5th. Right? Half right. I am 5th.
 

55+ result at Redlands.

60+ result at Redlands.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

DALE LUEDTKE DOMINATES AT ONTARIO IN SPRINTS-BIRDY & TESKE WIN!

By John McKee

March 22nd, 2015 and unfortunately there were 2 races for 60+ racers to choose from. The 55+ guys would only have a race at Ontario but the 60s had both Chuck Ponitus and Ontario to go to. Santa Clarita Velo has always had the Punchbowl Road Race on Sat. to tag team the weekend but this year made the 2 races an Ominum with very generous purses for the 2 day event. You could do 1 race or the other but you had to do both days to be eligible for the purse. I had to make a tough decision which race to do. Rino B. of SCV always does a great job with his club events and he is a friend but Ray Moreno is providing 60s with their own race and a purse. At Ontario there is a 55+ race afterward and both are early which tipped the balance for me. I had to get to a LB Dirtbags baseball game at 1 pm and actually earlier because they had a baseball alumni lunch, etc. before hand. Sorry Rino but Ontario worked better for me on this day.
At the Punchbowl Road Race on March 21, 2015 the podium had some pretty skinny fit looking guys in 60+. You can see for yourself in the photo. The Punchbowl is a tough course and takes no prisoners. It is nearly a constant challenge.
RR podium- Freeman 2, Wilcox 1, & Dufour 3
On Sunday March 22, 2015 the Chuck Ponitus Criterium had Doug Knox winning the race in 60+. Doug took off late like he usually does and every one figured he would get caught in the sprint but he didn't. Kal Szkalak won the bunch sprint for 2nd with Howard Miller and Monty Pettus following him in.
At Ontario the 60s had a 30 minute race at the Grand Prix course that we have done SO many times. It is a good course though and almost all of us like racing there.
There were 23 entries in 60+ which is good considering the 2 events. Hi Tech was a little thin in numbers with 3 racers but it isn't always numbers that matter. 30 minutes comes and goes pretty quick when you are out there racing. Rick Lilleberg of SBW was out racing for the 1st time this year. Rick was very strong in his last season and it was nice to see him back out there racing with us.
When we got to the line Ralph Elliott announced that Ricky Shorts was the points leader in the on going race series that they have at Ontario after 2 races. Points are garnered in one interium sprint and the finish. Dale Luedtke has been on fire this season and was looking to challenge Ricky. Dale would have the 60+ fireball Mike Birditt to back him us. The race got under way and the 1st few laps were pretty slow. After that the pace picked up for most of the race. No real threat at breaking away emerged. Primes came and went. Birdy the top dog at prime killing would pick and choose the "stuff" he wanted and leave the crumbs for the rest of the hardy sprinters. The points prime came and Ricky Shorts jumped early like he had in the last race but was challenged by Dale and Dale took it to eat into Ricky's overall lead.
Once we completed the points prime there weren't many laps left. A lot of the time the pace lags near the end of a race because no one wants to burn energy before the sprint but Rick Lilleberg came up to pace as he had several times during the race. It obviously was going to come down to a sprint finish or so everyone thought.
Don Davidson in his PR kit in honor of Phil Richards. Don had Phil's lime green water bottles cages from Phil's favorite bike, a lime green Trek. He wasn't riding it when he was struck by a drunk driver. The driver was convicted of a number of counts and sentenced to a very long jail term.
 With 2 laps to go I jumped on Mike Birditt's wheel considering his was a good one but sometimes it isn't always that great if you can't stay on it at the end. Mike can really accelerate. With the bell lap ringing Dale decided he wanted his teammates wheel and sweep it clean and I was good with that. Dale is also a great wheel and would be looking to win to take the lead in the series points. We did 1 corner, 2 corners, and 3 corners at a modest pace. I was still on Dale. Dale stands up pretty high in the saddle as does his teammate Bob Wright so my view wasn't like I was on Mike Birditt. Lol! Bob had worked his way up to the front and started to lead Mike after the 4th corner which is the only right turn. Bob and Mike got a gap and I didn't see it. Don't know what the guy in front of Dale was doing. Siesta time there. We make the next left and I can see ahead and here is Mike Birditt 35 to 40 meters ahead with Bob Wright peeling off. The guy ahead of Dale peels off and Dale of course doesn't do anything but ride like he is on a recovery ride. I could have charged off and spent my bullets bringing everyone else up but thought better of that. I thought "Big" John Roest might try and close the gap but no. We went around the next to last corner at the slowest pace I have ever done in this race and I have done this course over 40 times. I was still on Dale but before we hit the last corner Ricky Shorts jumped. Of course it was way too late to catch Mike Birditt. Mike would win in easy fashion. Some how I ended up behind a bunch of riders and lost Dale's wheel. There was a regroup about 50 meters after the last corner and then it was a full sprint to the finish. Dale used his great form to take the bunch sprint for 2nd place. Tom Gates is also riding well and took 3rd. The best Ricky Shorts could do was 4th place. Demi Hechanova and Dick Gentile had gotten ahead of me in that Ricky Shorts surge at the last corner and I couldn't over take them before the finish. Demi 5th, Dick 6th and the last paying spot for the 60+ race.
It was a fun race though not all that hard. The pace was 24.8 mph and my avg and max heart rates were the lowest I have had this year in a race. Thanks to all the 60+ guys that came out to The Santa Clarita event and the Ontario event. Good showing!
60+ results- Ontario #3

The 55+ race at Ontario started 2 races later at 8:40 am. 40 minute race and the field size more than doubled. There were 49 racers with a number of guys coming from the earlier 60+ race. Like has happened in a lot of the 55+ races there was a break that got away at about the half way point. 6 riders stuck to everyone else though there may have been more guys to begin with because I saw some solo riders getting picked up along the way in the 2nd half. The break got 30 seconds which usually is enough in our races but that number came down a bit and Evan Teske went to the whip and set a torrid pace. Danny Nicolette tried twice in the last 5 laps to bring the group back but didn't have any help. Everyone else figured it was futile though Danny says he got within 150 meters.
Robert Paganini riding the cobbles in Europe in 1953. Robert is the "short" guy next to the curb.
In the break sprint Evan Teske won with Robert Swigart taking 2nd and David Prechtl 3rd. They were followed in by Mike Birditt(nice day with 2 paydays!), James Edwards and Anthony Reguero. Dale Luedtke again showed outstanding form and sprinted in for 7th. 1st in the bunch sprint. The pace of the race was about 1 mph faster than the 60+ race at 25.9 for the bunch. Robert "Pags" Paganini finished both races at 79 years of age and finished 38 out of 49 starters in the 55 race. Way to go Pags!
Anthony Reguero filmed the 55 race from his bike and here is the vid -http://youtu.be/xlKXWeGcgAA.
Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer also filmed the race(thank you Lothar) and here is his vid-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNYT_uNbGv0.

It was a pretty good weekend of racing with great opportunities for 60+ racers. No crashes and nothing for rubber side down for the 60s and 55s. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Dale posing for us after the races with Birdy looking on.

Friday, February 27, 2015

BRAKEFEST IN 60+ RACE/BREAKFEST IN 55+ AT ONTARIO #2

By John McKee

It's time for Ontario again. It felt like I had never missed but 2014 was a black hole for 60+ racers at Ontario. "Kicked Out!" as James Cagney says in the very funny but poignant movie "Mr. Roberts". Now there are very different reasons of course. In the movie the crew among other things threw books, women and men out a plate glass window at a party for the movers and shakers of this particular island. The crew had been told in jest that this particular house was a brothel BUT of course it wasn't and being quite drunk they just got a bit upset. They had been at sea for a long time before this liberty. Now at Ontario the 60s were a victim of lagging entries and politics in the local SCNCA. We were out in 2014 but back in 2015! Who knew.
One of my favorite movies. Jack Lemmon is so funny in it. "I'm looking for marbles all day long!" Classic line. Do you have any idea what he wants to do with the marbles. If you don't, you can't consider yourself a classic film buff.
 Before we get into the nuts and bolts of Ontario and there won't be as many of those as we usually have. Let's give a shout out to those that did Rosena Ranch on Saturday Feb. 21, 2015. A really good race and course and after a short rest spit because of promoter problems the race is back for 2015. Bradley Jones won the 55+ category with James Wimberley taking 2nd and Mark Hoffenberg rounding out the podium. In 60+ action the mountain climbing ace Gary Shuey won with Howard Miller 2nd and Richard Barron taking 3rd. Special shout out goes to Angela Wimberly who got 6th in 60+ beating 3 men. Good ones too! Nice job Angela!
Rosena Ranch 60+ podium-Longo, Miller, Shuey & Barron
60+ racing seems to have caught fire again. At least at venues that seem a little easier than most though Roger Millikan wasn't that easy. 31 60s entered RM and 29 entered Ontario. I am very glad we had such a good turnout at Ontario. Not only are we back in the event but have a solo race and a purse. $150 but the amount doesn't matter that much. A SEPARATE race AND a PURSE. Awesome! Special thanks are deserved for Ray and Irma Moreno, the promoters of the Ontario series. As you all know it is a family run affair and doesn't seem like anyone misses. I see the same faces every time and I have been there 40 to 50 times over the last 15 years.
The 1st Ontario unfortunately had some hard rain and spoiled the turnout though most of us pre registered and I don't think any of us minded "losing" our entry fee if that is the right term to the promoters. Not many braved the wet weather to race. The point is 60s have respect at Ontario!
The time slot is early and can be cold this time of year but the weather has been warm this winter and quite dry. There was a possibility of rain for Ontario # 2 but the early races at the venue went off bone dry. All good for racers but bad for the state of California. OK. Its time to race! 60s solo and then 55s solo though that field will have lots of 60s doing it as a 2nd race. The 60+ race was scheduled for 7:30 am on Feb. 22, 2015 and slated for 30 minutes though we ended up getting 32. The 55+ race was scheduled for 8:40 am and slated for 40 minutes.
The 60s got the pre race instructions and were off. Ricky Shorts won the prior rain ladened event and was out to keep his lead in the Ontario race series. They have a cumulative thing going there and a podium after the last race with "inexpensive" medals for podium placers but a very nice series jersey to the winner.
The action in the race was....well.....not a lot to say I'm afraid. Those that were in the race know what I mean. There were a few primes for things like chain lube(no more White Lightning though), a series
t shirt, and series points. There is only one in race sprint for points besides the finish. Ricky Shorts jumped early on that sprint lap and no one contested it that I could see. That wouldn't be the case for the bell lap and the finish.(I apologize for no race photos but things just didn't work out. I thought I was going to have access to at least some 55+ race photos but alas..no. Scratch that! Photos came through. 55+ action photos courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography. Ken's photos came be found at www. public.fotki.com/quatre24.)
The 5 lap to go card came up pretty quick. There was an ebb and flow in the race that you don't see as much in younger races. The pace can be going pretty good and you seem like you are in pretty good position and then the accelerator gets eased off and almost instantly you are not in good position at all. I knew the pace was slow when I saw faces near the front that I not only don't see up there at all but some of those faces are often off the back in harder races.

Luedtke, Swanson, Birditt & Poyorena. If that looks like Roger Millikan, it's because it is. No rule against using a photo twice. I make up the rules as I go. Rick put some dinero into the Hi Tech team so I don't mind giving them some play. Lol!
I thought that Jet Lagged Velo, Hi Tech/Ridley Masters would have a plan to speed things up in the last laps to make it harder because there finishers would be at an advantage at a faster speed.  Hi Tech only had 2 worker bees in this race though. One of the worker bees was Bob Wright. Bob came onto the 60+ scene 4 years ago and raced about everything in sight. Did well but disappeared from the race scene and glad to have him back.
Bob shot off the front with another unidentified flying 60 racer and Mike Birditt and Dale Luedtke could do nothing but watch. Gene Poyorena the other worker bee on the squad would have to wait to lay down the wood for the club. One lap to go and Bob and the other racer were still away. Bob was now doing all the work. They weren't far away so it was definite that they would be caught but when.
Can't really say who was driving the race on that last lap. Bob got caught about half way into the last lap. I like to set up on the outside of the pack. A little longer out there you have a freer hand vs being bogged down inside. Tom Gates was also on the outside.
With 3 corners to go it was still all bunched up. No Doug Knox to shoot off and be a rabbit for everyone. Just before 2 corners to go Tom "In N Out" Gates took off. Tom has a long sprint and was pretty far back. He decided to make up some ground in a hurry. I got on Tom but not locked on like I should have. I still passed up about 10 riders. By the last corner the cream were pretty much up front. Ricky "Straight as a string on a plumb bob" Shorts decided he didn't like the right side. It was cozier on the left side where Dale Ludetke's wheel was. The only short coming here was Mike Birditt was already there. Don't know exactly how this played out but they did bump and I don't think either was happy with their result. We all got out of the saddle and started the sprint for home with 200 meters to go. Like the last time Monty Pettus and I did our sprint drills on SART he flew by me.
Once Dale gets going in his sprint, especially at Ontario with the sling shot last corner he is tough to beat. Same result this Sunday. Dale Luedtke wins! Tom Gates rolled across for 2nd. Both Monty and Mike let up at the end but Mike let up more and Mr. Pettus got 3rd place with Mr. Birditt taking 4th. Wayne "The Vet" Rosenkrantz tucked himself in the front group nicely and finished 5th. Ricky quit earlier than anyone and finished 6th. I almost got him at the end like at Roger Millikan but he got the last paying spot. No one went down and we all finished with a low average speed of 24 mph. Considering the week before on a harder course we did 26 we deserve the title given by myself.
Dale Luedtke has great form right now. Just won another race!
The 55+ race felt like the 50+ race of old and that's because a lot of the guys that use to drive the 50+ race just turned 55 in 2015. Guys like Thurlow Rodgers, David Prechtl, Gary Wall, Robert Swigart and others. The pace started out decent but not blistering. After 10 to 15 minutes I hear there is a break up the road. I saw Thurlow and am thinking he missed the boat. NO! LOL! There was a core of 55+ guys that got away and a few strongmen like David Prechtl came across a gap to join in the fun. I believe Thurlow was the last to go which means he had the furthest to go but was it hard. Too hard for a mere mortal human but I guess not for Mr. Rodgers. As long as Mr. Rodgers is in the neighborhood. Get it. Ha! Sometimes I have to laugh at my own jokes.
Before the start of the 55+ race. This joker on the left in the black with the red hat is blocking out yours truly. Nice going Ace! Photo courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography.

Break of 8 at this point. 3 more to come. Photo courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography.

Thurlow Rodgers. Is this course his neighborhood or is every race course he does his neighborhood. I think the later. Photo courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography.

Ray "Pink Boy" Dicius won the 1st race in 55+ at Ont. The break was gone by now and all was lost for this day for Ray. Photo courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography.

Sprint finish. James Edwards taking it over David Prechtl. Thurlow finishes ahead of Danny Nicolette though you wouldn't figure that from this picture. Photo courtesy of Ken Hill of Light & Shadows Photography.

I have no idea how the pack of 11 played out. I had no inside source like I usually do. I have to develop more sources. 11 guys finished ahead of the pack and James Edwards of UC Cyclery won(they have a few good riders left). David Prechtl was 2nd and Thurlow Rodgers was 3rd. Strava showed a sprint speed for Thurlow of well over 40 mph closing down the stretch. Strava does say that any distance that takes less than 30 secs can be inaccurate. The fastest guys were doing less than 20 seconds so that speed may not be totally accurate. Mr. Rodgers was followed in by Nicolette, Hoblit, and Hartley.
The field sprint was won by Gibby Hatton. What a surprise. Right? Gibby was followed in by Shorts, Birditt and Luedtke. Heard those names earlier. Didn't we. The average speed for the pack was around 25.3 mph. No spills here either though I had a close call. All good though. We got some good racing in and onward and upward. Results shown below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Results for 60+



Partial results for 55+. Took a long time to get results. I had rely on someone else for pic.