Friday, January 30, 2015

CARLOS SOTO MEMORIAL CRITERIUM A BIG SUCCESS IN 2015!!




By John McKee

Well the old wind bag is back. Windier and full of it more than ever. I have been told that people don't want to hear stories or history. I talk too much. Write too much. OK. You can stop now if that's the case. This is my 1st blog post of 2015. It just happens to coincide with my 1st race of the year. I was going to open up at Ontario since Ray Moreno brought the 60+ group back as a race. Separate with a purse. I pre reged for that race and the 55+ but didn't go because of the rain. I don't mind Ray getting my money anyway. No worries there. I ended up opening like I use to at the Carlos Soto Memorial Criterium.
Mondo Requejo is working registration. Monty Pettus is waiting for reg to open for 55/60+ racers.
Formerly known as Mothballs Criterium. I love to do this race. It is sponsored by the Echelon Cycling Club in the Santa Barbara area and their member Mondo Requejo is the promoter. Mondo and his teammates always put on a 1st class race. "Top Notch..Top Notch" as Judge Smails says in "Caddyshack"(who doesn't like this movie).
Carlos on his bike
Carlos Soto in the Air Force
Carlos Soto raced with a lot of us 55 and 60+ racers. He was a very strong sprinter and smart racer. He was a stickler for detail about everything including the courses we were to race. Carlos died way too young at the age of 61 in 2014. He will be missed by all that knew him and this race will carry his name as a tribute to what he meant to the cycling community in the Santa Barbara area and beyond. RIP CARLOS!
It's hard to get a lot of racers up to this race because of its location though it doubles up nicely with the road race the day before. There was a great turnout of 55/60+ racers at the Saturday road race with 40 to 50 racers lining up. Mike Birditt winning the 60+ race and Malcolm Hill winning the 55+ event. Raced together and scored separately. Unfortunately the turnout for the 55/60+ race on Sunday at the Carlos Soto Memorial Criterium(CSMC) had less than half that at 20. You just have to race against who lines up. The field was small but reasonably strong. There are always "new guys" that age up into 55+ that like to show there stuff. This race would be no exception.
We lined up on Jan. 25th, 2015 at 8:15 am for the race to start. Chris Black gave us our instructions. Eric Smith was in the "booth" handling the video of results and getting the finish sheets out in a timely manner. This was Eric's birthday and he barely made it there in his car which needed repair after the race. Thanks to Eric for all he has done for the 55/60+ racers. There was no memorial statement for Carlos Soto before the 55/60+ race but there was a nice statement by a friend before the 45+ race.
Doggie 1
Doggies 2 & 3- Love to take pics of dogs at the races




















The race started on time and the racers were off. There was no great jump. Someone did try and mix it up and ride away into the sunset but the pack kept him close and the peleton pretty much stayed together for the 1st 5 laps. I didn't see a clear favorite in 55+ if it was a field sprint which meant many of the strongest 55s would try and get away. Anthony Reguero aged up this year and is very strong. In the last 3 years Anthony has lost 100 lbs. and is still a big guy but can really put out the watts. He doesn't quite have the finer points of racing down. He like to race 3 or 4 races at an event and usually rides caboose. 
The primes started driving the race. Mike Birditt is the new prime killer. 10 to 12 years ago Robert Barney was the premiere prime killer. Mike and Robert are different racers though. Mike has a great sprint while Robert was an all around strong rider. Anthony Reguero took off once on the back side of the D shaped course trying to catch everyone with their pants down and he did the 1st time about 10 laps in but I do believe that Birdy and Gibby Hatton caught him at the line 2 other times for whatever the primes were. It was hard to hear out there what the prime was for.  Doug "Grouchy" Knox looked pretty fit and mixed it up a little. I hadn't seen Doug since last year's 805 race series when he was really grouchy. Doug seemed to be in a better mood at CSMC. Dale Luedtke's form seems to be getting better with age. Dale had a down cycle a few years back that was health related but he seems healthly and cycling strong again. Great to see. Dale doesn't say too much but lets his bike do the communicating and it spoke volumes at CSMC. Dale doesn't usually look for an opportunity to get away but what do I know.
Randall Tinley won the last leg of the 805 trifecta event(2014) in Lompoc with a solo break so he was someone to be watched for sure. Randall rides a Giant bicycle with disc brakes. Not sure why the disc brakes but he had them. Certainly didn't need them until the race was over. Randall started the winning break with about 12 laps to go with Dale hot on his wheel. This was a very strong jump. I believe we raced 27. The race got very hard prior to this jump and everyone let this effort go. I was really stressed cardio wise. Is this the end of Rico? Lol. I was the oldest rider still in the pack. Dale Harness is over 70 but dropped off after about 4 laps to go so that left me with senior duties which was... don't suck! Make the young ones eat some of your wheel dust. I was definitely under pressure but once things sorted out up front the pressure was taken off.
It looked like Dale and Randall were going to ride off into the sunset with the win in 55 and 60 but that wasn't how the race worked out. Dale actually couldn't keep up with Randall and fell back. This was a bad tactical error on Randall's part. He should have kept Dale with him at a slightly slower pace to keep any stronger 55s from chasing him down but the field was small and there was no Mark Hoffenberg, Malcolm Hill or any number of the other very strong 55s. Randall was going to try and do it alone and its not like he hasn't done it before. I assume Randall knew Dale wasn't in his category.
P. Thorson 2- R. Tinney 1 in 55+
Dale fell back a bit but was met by Paul Thorson. Paul got on the wheel of the resurgent Doug Knox and Doug brought Paul up to Dale. Doug fell on cardio hard times and dropped back and out but Paul and Dale started working together. They were out of sight of the pack. Randall was a bit ahead on his own but not sure how much. Randall has been riding strong as we know from last year's 805 so it was no great surprise that he was able to hold off Dale Luedtke and Paul Thorson working together. Good things for him or he would have looked like a bone head BUT he didn't get caught and won solo! Nice job Randall!
Another off the front solo win. I can see though that you are a base sticker and won't mix it up with the rest of us down south. There wouldn't be any 55/60+ races if guys did 3 or 4 a year. Sorry for the lecture.
Paul and Dale worked nicely together and Paul came across for 2nd in 55+ while Dale won the 60+ category with style! Nice going Dale!
Behind these 3 very strong riders was Anthony Regueros trying to chase the guys down or finish solo for the last podium spot in 55+. Anthony rode strong but couldn't gain much ground on the pack. The last 2 laps came soon enough without a lot of stress. I was quite rested after being under pressure 10 laps before. John Vargas of Metal Mountain went to the front and Mike Birditt got on his wheel and I got on Mike. You would think Mike's is a good wheel to be on but actually its not for most riders. The last lap came and I didn't see Kal Szkalak anywhere. I guess he declared earlier he didn't like the race and went backward but he did finish the race. Vargas kept up a steady pace but someone almost always jumps before the last corner on the last lap but no one did. Once Vargas rounded the last corner, Mike (Clark Kent/Sup) Birditt got out of the phone booth and put on his cape. He turned on the jets and flew across the finish line for 2nd in 60+. He passed Anthony with about 60 meters to go.
Birditt 2, Luedtke 1 & Pettus 3 in 60+.

I tried to turn it on but had clicked up to a 12 which was way too big a gear for me and I started a terrible sprint. Mike was long gone and Gibby flew by. Lee Ziff also came by with a nice sprint. Gibby was 3rd in 55+ and Lee was 4th. I finally got on top of the gear and Monty came by me but I hung about a half bike behind him to the line.Monty was 3rd in 60+ and I was 4th.
Overall this was a great race as it always is but the weather was much warmer. The race was done in the 50s and it usually is in the 30s. By the time Monty and I did the 45+ race at 9:55 am it was nearing 70. Thanks to the host club Echelon and their promoter Mondo Requejo. No crashes. Everyone loved the competition. Nice to be back in the saddle so to speak. Thanks to all that came out and raced. Complete results below. There is a You Tube video done by Anthony Reguero. Thanks Anthony! http://youtu.be/UiiESXwndGg
Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!










Thursday, October 9, 2014

SCNCA SUPER MASTERS CRIT CHAMP BRINGS IN STRONG FIELD FOR 2014

By John McKee

The San Diego Cyclo Vets have produced the Super Masters time trial and criterium for a number of years. For 2014 they didn't get on the SCNCA calendar soon enough so had to select a date beyond when all other events have finished included Nationals. September 21, 2014 was the only date available. In 2015 they will have a proper date sometime in May. I was burned out after the National criterium in Utah but felt compelled to do this race because I was the defending champion and to support a great club like the Cyclo Vets. In 2014 my teammate Monty Pettus has become 65. This race brought in the 2014 National Champion in John Rubcic. John out sprinted Monty in a very close finish in Utah.
2014 National Criterium Championship. John Rubcic took it at the end over Monty Pettus. Monty took the lead out from the last corner but couldn't quite hang on.
Add to the mix 2013 SCNCA champion John McKee and the resurgent comeback king Rick Lilleberg. Rick won the 65-69 Super Masters RR IN 2014 and the day before the criterium championship he won the Time Trial by 1 and 1/2 minutes over Hylton Murphy. Bill Langstaff finished a close 3rd to Hylton. Mike Fleming who was on the 2013 podium was also in the race. I would say the downside was a lack of total entries. There were 9 in 65-69 which was down from 18 2 years prior. So many riders talk about a 60/65 race but if you can't get double figures in the champ race, you can forget that idea.
Start line with all the masters 65 and older. The oldest rider was 85. Photo courtesy of the SD Cyclo Vets.
Also bringing their bike to the line was time trial strongman Hylton Murphy. You can only race against who shows up and brings their bike to the line. The field was small but very strong. 1, 2 and 7 from nationals and Rick surely would have placed top 5. No where else in the country would you have this strong of field. In 70-74 Gary DeVoss and Richard Haas aged up and would contest for this age group. There are maybe 20 total riders among all the groups. Pretty low turnout but maybe the time of year has something to do with that.
Our start time was a comfortable 8:50 am. This was a very big improvement over prior years where we had to start at 7 am. At 8:50 am most of us could drive to the venue on race day like I did with Monty. We got the standard race instructions and were off on time. It wasn't clear to me but I guess the 1st lap was neutral. I must have missed that instruction. On the 2nd lap Hylton went to the whip which is standard op. This lap was a prime lap for Gordie Shields corn tortillas. Hylton took this one with a gesture to the sky to acknowledge Gordie.


Gordie Shields in 2013 still riding at 95 years old. A goal few of us will obtain.

From this point forward the group would break up. It might have broken up more but Monty Pettus came up with a flat tire on the 1st lap. The pace was enough to split the field but Roger Springer came to the rescue and brought some riders back. The lead group lead by Hylton of course eased up and waited for Monty to join in. Once Monty got on or in as you will the pace picked back up.
Hylton Murphy ripping the field apart as only he can. Glad to see Hylton back and feeling good.
Notice that Monty is back after the wheel change. Flat tire on the 1st lap. Don't think I have seen that before.

There were efforts by a few guys like Rick and Monty but most of the field hung in there. Mike Fleming took a hard pull but paid the price for it. There were a few primes and one created a break that included Monty Pettus, Rick Lilleberg, and John Rubcic. I couldn't close it down because my teammate was there but Hylton slowly brought us so close that I jumped across and everyone else went with me. Monty was better off with me with him than without. Robert Paganini hung in there and did very well considering he is 78 this year. Every year at our age seems to make a difference. More so than when you are younger.
The lap cards finally came up and the lead 10 were together and were joined by a few riders that were lapped. We lined up with Hylton taking the lead and everyone figured he would take us home. Roger Springer was behind Hylton and I lined up behind Roger. JR was behind me followed by Monty. Monty and I had a pre race agreement that I would be on Monty's wheel at the end so Mr. Rubcic wouldn't be there like at Nationals and we know what happened there. Good for John but not good for Monty. Monty is my teammate so that was the plan going into the race. With 3 laps to go I called Monty forward and had him drop in ahead of me. Pre race plan perfect. John wanted Monty's wheel but no that wasn't going to happen.
The 65s lined up at the end with a few 70s and Pags of course.

The last lap came and things heated up with a much higher pace. Roger Springer dropped back and JR got on Hylton wheel's. Coming into the last corner I figured we were going to sprint after the corner but Rick had a different idea. He was so far back he decided to attack before the corner. Monty saw Rick come by and jumped immediately. I hesitated and JR did as well. John was thinking Hylton was going to release him to the inside and Rick and Monty were going way wide which had much better pavement. It was down to Rick and Monty. JR gave it a go but the hesitation cost him as it did myself. Monty beat Rick for the win and his 1st SCNCA criterium championship. Rick was 2nd, JR was 3rd and I was 4th.
Final sprint with Monty Pettus taking it over Rick Lilleberg. Rick had already won the 60-64 age category.

Gary DeVoss beat Richard Hasse in 70-74. Robert Paganini was the only 75-79 in the lead group so was the winner in that group. Jack Palmer was the only 80-84 rider so he was a winner. Same situation for 85-89. John Sanmartini was the winner there.
This could be the last race at the Hunnekens for the Cyclo Vets Criterium and for Spy Trolley which uses the same course. There is a new tenant on the block that uses the property every day so this could be curtains. Too bad. Good course. The pavement has gotten awful over the years but is rideable.
I wish there had been more riders out there but you race against who comes out.That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Race results

John Rubcic 3, Monty Pettus 1, and Rick Lilleberg 2 in 65-69. Wear a club jersey Rick!


Martin Katz 3, Gary DeVoss 1, & Richard Hasse 2 in 70-74.

Louis Brooks 3, Robert Paganini 1, & Leon Sowers 2 in 75-79. No photo available for 80-84 and 85+.



Friday, August 22, 2014

ANOTHER ONTARIO RACE SEASON COMES TO AN END WITHOUT A 55/60+ RACE

By John McKee

I haven't raced since the SCNCA Masters Criterium Championship event on June 21st which was at Ontario. I haven't done any of the 50/55+ events because well they replaced the 55/60+ that I loved to race. I needed to do the last few of these events to get ready for the National Championship in Ogden, Utah. The 50/55+ events aren't as safe as the 55/60+ events. When I was doing this race, safety was my major thought. The last Ontario race was scheduled for Aug. 17th, 2014 and I was locked on to racing it no matter the category.
I drove to Ontario without my wife who had said she would go and take pictures. At 5 am when I got up I could tell she didn't want to do it so I gave her a pass. I got to Ontario around 6:45 am thinking the race started at 8:05 am like in June but no, the race started at 9:25 am. The gals haven't been showing up very well so they were thrown into the early slot.
What would a race be nowadays without the Swan sisters. Now there are 4 of them!

Cutie in a bag!

It's early at Ontario!
The turnout wasn't that good for the last Ontario race.

There were over 45 50 and 55+ racers. 6 of the 55s were over 60. I am not going to get into the Xs and Os like I usually do. The 50/55 race is different. Faster of course. Sketchy at times. More than the 55/60+ events though as some of you remember I was crashed out last yr. at Ontario by a cat 5 rider. Cat 5s have pretty much been weeded out this year in masters racing which is a good thing.
The race got going on time at 9:25 am and I just tucked into the pack and sucked wheels like I learned from Robert Paganini. The race was pretty fast but not overly stressful. The 60+ race I did June 21st was harder than this race for me. I thought there might be a break but nothing really worked. Cyril Hunte got away late with  David Prechtl after the Ontario points prime sprints.

"The Man" coming to the last Ontario to get ready for Natz. Robert Paganini is 10 years older than the next oldest rider in the race. He kept up! I challenge anyone is to do this at this age-78. To go 26 mph for 40 minutes.
They were away for a few laps but not very far ahead and were caught with a number of laps to go. There was some controversy here. Did the 2 laps to go placard show up twice? The one thing I do know is the 1 to go came up and we were off for the last time. I kept safely tucked away and just wanted a chance to practice my sprint finish. Ontario is one of the fastest finishes around. The last corner gives you a mini sling shot. Lothar Cramer was about half way back and got behind another 50+ rider out of control. Not exactly sure what the rider did but I suspect a clicked pedal, tried to correct, blew his tires out and down he went. "Blue Boy" tried to avoid the downed rider and almost did but NO, down he went. Most everyone behind had to slow way down as I did. Lothar let out a loud groan when I went by and this gave me a bad feeling about the "video king". Lothar has become my partner at my facebook page 55/60+ bike racing. His wife Emily takes awesome pictures and he downloads his bike vids for everyone to see.
Anyway I rolled across the line at about 15 mph and went around and stopped to see Lothar. I asked if he could raise his arms and he could. No collarbone problem. Just lots of road rash and a sore neck.
The guys in the front weren't affected by the crash. Robert Swigart of Team Velosport won the overall race. Bradley Jones of BBI was the 2nd rider across and the 1st 55+ rider. Mike Okano was the 2nd 55+ racer and David "I don't miss a race" Fetah was the 3rd 55+ rider. David has more Socal points than most teams. The race overall was pretty fast at 26 + mph and my powertap showed 247 watts but the last 400 meters were at 50 so the race for me was around 250. Complete results are below for the overall and the 55s only.  As far as getting a 55/60+ race back at Ontario...well it doesn't look good. Below is also the 55 and 60+ Socal Cup point standing after the San Marcos event.  That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Nice picture of the finish. Thank you, Emily!

Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer in a black and blue skinsuit. I don't like the sound of that. Black and blue. I am sure he was for the next few days.

Cyril Hunte and Mike Fleming speculating after the race about the "fish" that got away at Ontario.
Brad "I love the 50s" Decker and John "Dad" Rubcic hadn't raced together since the 80s. John is showing Brad where his frame is cracked. Oh No! They don't make bikes nowadays like the old 57 Chevy.

Yours truly with Mr. Rubcic and Mr. Decker. You can see announcer Ralph Elliot photo bombing us in his awesome shorts!


Overall results

55+ results




60+ Category
Place
Rider
Points
1
Michael Birditt (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
285
2
Kalman Szkalak (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
257
3
Dale Luedtke (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
231
4
Reed Moore (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
190
5
Mike Marotta (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
177
6
Richard Lilleberg (South Bay Wheelmen)
166
7
Leo Pettus (Paramount Racing)
105
8
John McKee (Paramount Racing)
98
8
Owen Thomas (Action Sports)
98
10
Ricky Shorts (Team Velocity)
97
11
Paul Rodriguez (G S Adams Avenue Bicycles)
94
12
John Roest (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
68
12
Peter Dufour (SDBC/EMERALD TEXTILES)
68
14
Rick Swanson (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
66
15
Leo Longo (South Bay Wheelmen)
65
16
Fred Haim (Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21)
61
16
Bruce DePriester (Team Rokform)
61
18
Richard Mull (Velo Club LaGrange)
58
18
Kirk Freeman (Action Sports)
58
20
Jean Villiot (S2C/Primal)
55
21
James Swigart (SDBC/EMERALD TEXTILES)
52
22
Ken Louder (FFKR - CONTENDER RACING)
42
22
Steve Bernede (Team Werks)
42
22
Pedro Ordaz (S2C/Primal)
42
25
Howard Miller (OCW/Paramount Racing)
41
26
Rino Barbagiovanni (Santa Clarita Velo)
40
27
Herb Johnson (San Diego Cyclo Vets)
39
28
Steven Borer (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
37
29
Robert Paganini (PAA/REMAX )
34
30
Roger Gottfried (Mazda - Pro Bike Supply)
33
30
Dwight Hibdon (FFKR - CONTENDER RACING)
33
30
Keith Peters (Team Jackson Hole)
33
30
John Wagenaar (SDBC/EMERALD TEXTILES)
33
34


55+ Category
Place
Rider
Points
1
David Fetah (Pinnaclife Racing Team)
420
2
Mark Hoffenberg (Team Rokform)
313
3
Bradley Jones (BBI-SIC Cycling)
262
4
Robert Willcox (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
169
5
Jeffrey Moreton (Team Rokform)
162
6
Malcolm Hill (Breakaway from Cancer Masters)
157
7
Daniel Swietlik (OTR Racing)
137
8
Marc Spivey (StageOne Cycling Team)
135
9
Yehuda Packer (OTR Racing)
124
10
Mike Okano (Team Simple Green/Cannondale/Stage21)
111
11
Gary Shuey (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
97
11
Ed Marcelo (Team Velocity)
97
13
Michael Hines (StageOne Cycling Team)
96
14
94
15
Ricky Shorts (Team Velocity)
93
16
Daniel Nicolette (Team Rokform)
92
17
Michael Birditt (SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team)
82
18
Carl Nielson (CA Technologies Racing)
77
19
John Bergman (Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21)
75
20
Steve Hensler (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
74
20
Randall Tinney (SPY GIANT RIDE p/b MRI)
74
22
David B Stanton (Canyon Velo)
70
24
Bill Pinckard (Microseal Racing Team)
63
25
Randy Liechty (Platinum Performance Cycling Team)
62
25
Joel Sothern (Team Rokform)
62
27
Zohrab Gevrikyan (TIME - Velo Pasadena Team )
60
28
David Benner (Wolf Pack Cycling)
59
29
David Cranston (Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21)
55
30
Chris Black (Morgan Stanley /Specialized)
54

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2014 SCNCA MASTERS CRITERIUM CHAMPIONSHIPS @ ONTARIO

By John McKee

The criterium championships and the other championships move around to different venues and in 2013 the criterium championships moved to Ontario. Those that race often see Ontario on the schedule at least 5 times through the year. I use to venture off there at least 4 times a year and sometimes every event that was raced there. In 2014 Ray Moreno choose to have a 50/55+ race rather than a 55/60+ and then a 50+ race. That left myself and the rest of the 60+ racers out in the cold. Such was the dynamic of categories within our district this year.

French bulldog taking in the event.
Your in...your out... maybe next year we will be in again. There is talk that for a race to get Socal points the event will have to include all categories that get Socal points. In any event I hadn't been to Ontario since last August when a cat 5 rider took myself and David Lang down 3 weeks before I was going to do the national championship. Broken collarbone so that was out. Funny how I didn't even think about that when I got to the venue this year. It was warming up fast as it always does during the summer in Ontario. A lot of small talk before the race. We didn't have to do any heavy lifting this year as far as lobbying. Last year the 55s and 60s were to race together and be scored separately but the racers rallied. We got Eric Smith to allow us to use the same time space and still race separately. The 60s just started a few minutes after the 55s. No big deal but separate races. Why we can't do that at other times is beyond me. Small fields would make separate fields awkward and passing one group would make for less than challenging circumstances but this year the field sizes were pretty close. 35 for 55 and 27 for 60. Plus the 60s kicked butt on the 55s as far as average speed. I don't understand this but it was true this year.
The fields lined up this year with that eager anticipation and anxiety sitting in every racer. The 55s were off 1st at 8: 20 am on June 21st, 2014. One odd note was that the 2013 champions didn't enter this years event. I don't know why but no defending champions. There are many new 60s this year as most of you know so the 60+ category was loaded with lot of really good riders and this years race proved that.
Pretty min pin at the venue. He was
 with a group that was cheering for the Mexican national soccer team. They got real excited when Mexico scored the 1st goal against the Netherlands. The goal wasn't enough for the Mexican team but John Roest was very happy since he is from Holland. A big fan of their soccer team!
The 60s started like we should have about 2 minutes after the 55s. The early pace was brisk but not killer. Dale Luedtke didn't do an early flyer like we had been seeing him do. This was a championship race so he probably decided to hold some chestnuts back for later in the race. There were a few quick moves that were covered. No big deal. There was one move of a few riders that included Mike Birditt. I was on Rick Swanson and he created a gap so I didn't wait for anybody behind me to jump across the gap. I just went. Of course everyone else was on my wheel. I could see when I got close to the small group that they were looking at one another waiting for someone else to pull the group to the promised land. I got close and free wheeled and someone countered but not really hard. I was a little gassed but got with the program. There was no major slowing at any time during the race. It was lively. Harder than in 2013.
At some point after this Mr. John Roest went off the front. This is John's speciality. John is strong and loves to try to start a break or even try and hold everyone else off. John hasn't raced since LA Circuit when a SBW rider trying to look behind himself moved off line and into John. John crashed and hasn't raced since then. You wouldn't know he hadn't raced because he looked really strong on this day.
John got about 100 meters out in front of everyone. John rides for Swami's and everyone knows Swami's is loaded in this category. The strongest 60+ squad in the country without a doubt. They were the big favorite to win the championship in Ontario.
What happened next is rather interesting and this is why you have to play the game because you never know what exactly is going to happen. Rick Lilliberg decided to take a flyer himself and see if he could reach "Big John". He did get there. Rick is riding really well this year at 67. Before the race my teammate Monty Pettus told me if the race came down to a field sprint that Rick would help Paramount get to the front. I was taken back because Rick is riding really well and he could do quite well on his own. I told Monty that I was surprised but if it came down to that, I would get on Rick's wheel and Monty could follow me and we could see where that would take us. Scratch that. Rick was going to try to turn things upset down with this move and make hard decisions for the Swami's team.
Rick sat on John for a bit to catch his breath after the effort to get up to John. After that they traded pulls and were going quickly. A number of riders started to chase including Reid Moore. Monty Pettus put in a really hard effort. Swami's put up a major block. They were going all in with John Roest vs Rick Lilliberg. Maybe they should have kept them a little closer or maybe they were monitoring the distance the break group got away. The breakers were all in and really going for it. Both are strong and took near max pulls.
2/3s into the race Mike Birditt decided to make a solo effort to get across the gap. Mike is riding so well I am never surprised at what Mike can do. Mike got over half way to the twosome and ran out of gas. I think John should have been a little more aware of what was happening behind him and made Rick do all the pulling while Mike was trying to come aboard. When I saw Mike slow a bit and look around, I was surprised but knew he had thrown in the towel. Mike came back toward the group. Monty Pettus thought about teaming with Mike and trying to get there with the 2 of them and they might have made it but they were tentative. Kal Szkalak also tried to bridge the gap in short order with a big effort but also ran out of gas. That was the last I saw Kal.
We got within 5 laps to go and even though Mike and Monty weren't going to catch the break group, they were still away from the group by a short distance. Ricky Shorts made short work of this. We were all back together with our tongues hanging out and John Roest and Rick Lilliberg were going to decide who was the champion. "Big John" went to the whip the last 2 laps. He wasn't sure they were going to stay away plus the fact that John only knows one way to ride. All out! He is like the 2nd coming of Hylton Murphy. Hylton only knew one way to ride and that was all out. Teammates would tell him to hold back at the start. Save your strength for later. Hylton would agree. Yup! That's what Hylton was going to do. Yeah right. When the gun went off, Hylton was off. Full chortle. All in! Hylton couldn't help himself. LOL! John rides in a similar manner.
John also figured that he would try and ride Rick off his wheel with his strength. It almost worked. John was going good but Rick hung on and when they got to the last corner John was pulling 100%. John gave it everything he had but Rick came around at the end and won by a bike length. Rick Lilliberg won the 60+ category when he turned 60 at the Paramount race for the championship in 2007. 7 years later Rick does it again. I say that is real good riding and quite an achievement. Rick didn't even race for a couple of those years in there and when he did come back he didn't get much in the way of results. Can't say that on this day.
2007 60+ championship podium. Fleming 2, Lilliberg 1 and McKee 3.
The rest of the riders weren't that far behind but were behind. Rick Swanson took the last lap most of the way. Rick looked strong but was riding in support. The one right turn came up and Reid Moore took over. Not sure what Reid was thinking here. Maybe he thought Kal was somewhere around. He wasn't. Reid took the group  past the next left. The pace was fast. Monty was right behind Reid and when Reid peeled off Monty was a little surprised and wasn't sure what to do. He decided to hold to a fast pace vs trying to go for it from there or trying to drop back. We came to the last corner lined up. Monty and 3 Swami's guys. Dale, Mike Marotta and Mike Birditt. I was right behind Mike Birditt. When the 3 Swami's riders went to the whip, Monty threw in the towel. I was out of gas and couldn't stay near Birditt. I just tried to limp in to the finish. Mike Birditt rolled across for 3rd followed in by Dale Luedtke and Mike Marotta. Leo Longo, Howard Miller and Wayne Rosenkrantz came by me and finished in that order 6, 7 and 8. The average speed of the pack was a robust 25.5 mph while the breakers averaged over 26. The breakers got close to the 55s so they weren't even going as fast as the 60s. Amazing actually! This tells you how lively the 60+ race was.
In the 55+ race Mark Hoffenberg was planning to hang in the pack and save energy for the 50+ race. He wanted to be able to help his teammate Robert Swigart. When the group came to the last lap, the Rokform team came to the front and Henry Schnepf gave Mark an excellent lead out. Mark doesn't need much help since he is so fast anyway. Mark was 1st, Brad Jones was 2nd and Mike Okano was 3rd.
55+ podium- Brad Jones 2, Mark Hoffenberg 1 & Mike Okano 3.


60+ podium- Roest 2, Lilliberg 1 & Birditt 3.
It was a good day of racing and the turnout was good. Not sure why so many turn out for this race and few others. We wouldn't have these categories unless racers supported them more than a few times a year. Congratulations to the two winners and all the podiums placers. Nice Going! That's all for now! Train hard and race safe!