By John McKee
It was a beautiful weekend in Southern California and most eyes in the sports world were on the Super Bowl but the hard core 55/60+ bike racers were in Goleta, Cal. for an early morning criterium. A few of the guys started off in El Centro on Sat. but only the really hard core did both. Of course “The Mule” did and that would be expected but some of his Citrus Valley Velo teammates also did. That being Ben Macial, Paul Springer and Don Davidson. CVV has some added faces and looks very strong this year. The weather was cold to begin with but not unbearable.
When the promoter got to the race course on Sunday to set up for the Mothballs Criterium(Feb. 1st, 2009) it was 39 degrees and when I got there around 7 am it had warmed up a bit to 41 degrees but the air was calm and it was sunny and it didn’t seem to be any kind of a problem. Last year Kal had a problem with the cold on his hands keeping him from shifting at a critical moment in the final sprint.
By the time we lined up to race at 8:10 am it had warmed up a bit more and the air was still. 28 riders were there getting an 800 number series with a pale yellow background and the 55s getting a 500 series with a white background. All of you guys that help with a race, TAKE NOTE! This was great and a big help to racers. Especially at this event where a lot of unknown Nor Cal riders come down to mix it up with the Southerners. Nice to see new faces but criteriums seem to be a foreign type of racing to some of them. Most of the races in Nor Cal
are road races. The gun went off with 40 minutes of racing to go. Richard “The Mule” Pollack started it off hard to just get things going. CVV has always played the jump chase game and with some new players it just makes it that much more effective.
It didn’t take long before Don Davidson,”The Human Wind Up Racer”. Wind him up and off he goes and not at a gentlemanly pace either. Don is going to jump and jump and jump. And jump some more and you had better be prepared to chase and chase hard if you want to keep the race under control. Don has had some issues, physical and otherwise the last couple of season but he looks like he is in very good form.
Don soon got off solo and was joined by local favorite and dynamite sprinter Carlos Soto. Carlos wasn’t sporting the Time clothing kit that he had last year and was unrecognized by myself. Don wore Carlos out and Carlos thought he would be better in a bunch sprint so he fell off the pace that Don was setting and both of them got swallowed up soon. Of course the team strategy is once a teammate is caught someone else goes. Nothing like kicking everyone when they are down after a chase but that’s racing.
Ben Macial had a go at it next and Ben has aged up to 60+. Ben is a strong all around racer and I had to take notice and help with a chase so no 60+ rider would be off the front. I didn’t seem to have the legs that I have had at this race in the past. I have 2 2nds and one win here. I decided to stay near the front and away from some of the hustle and bustle of some of the less than stellar group racing guys but not chase too hard and get into extreme oxygen debt. It takes a little more effort and energy to stay near the front but I prefer it there most of the time. Ben soon got caught but guess who takes off. You get 3 guesses and the first 2 don’t count. If your third guess has the intials DD then you pulled the ring on the merry go round. Double D is off and the 55s seem unfazed or out of gas. One racer that I didn’t know took off in chase and no one else paid attention. His name is Pedro Ordaz. Don’t know him or any thing about him but he caught Don and they started to work together. This is where the colored numbers came in handy. “The Mule” told me that the fellow that was with Double D was 60+ but my recollection was that his number had a white background and I wasn’t going to do any crazy diehard chase unless I am sure a competitor is up the road. I really didn’t care if 55s were ahead. None of my teammates were there so I just sat in as did Richard Stahlberg eventhough Richard is racing 55. Richard looked good after having minor heart surgery to correct a condition that makes his heart race. It took 2 operations but Richard looked good out there and nice to have him back in action. Richard stayed near the front the entire race. Richard has been doing this for a long time and knows what he is doing.
There were a couple of guys that went down. One slammed into Mike Duck in a prime lap sprint and went sliding. Not so fun on asphalt. The rider got back up and the official tried to explain to him that he needed to wait for the pack to come back around and he could get back in. Free lap, right until 5 to go. The rider didn’t understand and took off and was caught by the pack and he got back in but was a “lap down” per the official. He later had to drop out because of a mechnical. Another very experienced rider hit a cone and went down but knew the rules and got back in at the proper time. Torn clothing seemed to be the only issue here.
With the lap counter starting to go down- 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, etc. it was clear that Don and his break partner were not going to get caught. With less than 2 laps to go Doug Knox starts a hard pull. Doug looked pretty fit but didn’t seem too have many riding miles in his legs. He dropped out before the finish line. The next to the last lap was pretty hard but the pace slowed a bit on the bell lap. I just stayed on “The Mule”. I figured to ride him home and stayed on his wheel. It got tactical and a few lesser riders were ahead of Richard and myself going into the last curve.
I panicked at this point not liking to wait so long and about the time I made a move up the inside tight on the curb Richard starting weaving his way through the other riders. Carlos Sotos had already taken off and has a sensational sprint but lets go back to the 2 break guys that were going to decide first place. They were together with a lap to go but at the finish it was all Don Davidson. The other rider Pedro Ordaz sat up going across the line in 2nd place. Great job, Don!
Carlos Soto wiped everyone out in the bunch sprint. It wasn’t event close. The riders came home in waves.
The next 2 riders to duke it out were Richard Pollack and Mike Vanlandingham. Mike bested “The Mule” which was a bit of a surprise but another new 55 to contend with. Dwight Carbajal came home solo with the 60+ winner close at hand, Glenn Town. Glenn aged up this year and is a very good road racer and time trailist. He doesn’t often do crits but I have seen him at this event before and I was able to out sprint him but I didn’t really have a shot at him. Obviously I should have stayed on “The Mule” and ridden him home as he is good at motoring through a group of slower finishers. The next wave of riders came in with not much distance between them but Richard Stahlberg was ahead of this group with myself(2nd 60+) just ahead of Raphael Gomez and Paul Springer(3rd 60+). Mike Duck(4th 60+) came in right behind us. Nice to see
Mike back racing. Mike has another home in Montana and spends a lot of time there. Mike unfortunately lost track of the laps and probably was pretty surprised that everyone else was going so fast. Mike thought The overall pace of the race was a piece of cake. Glad someone did. Lol.
Special mention to Mario Seri and Robert Paganini who were the oldest members of the group. Mario will be 67 this year and Pags will be 73. Great job guys.
Overall it was a good race and the organizers and help did a great job. Thanks to all of them. That’s all for Now folks! Train hard and race safe! FULL RESULTS BELOW.
Mothballs Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 205555 Glenn Town Simply Fit/Action Sports 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 33679 Paul Springer Citrus Valley Velo 10
4 58170 Sydney Duck 9
5 61278 Mario Seri Kahala LaGrange 8
6 220804 Michael Barnes Rock Solid Cycling 7
7 45342 Domenick Forte PAA / RE/MAX 6
8 275832 Benjamin Maciel Citrus Valley Velo 5
9 3794 Vicente Gomez Team Simple Green 4
10 45763 Robert Paganini PAA 3
Mothballs Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 14
2 213421 Pedro Ordaz Team Chicken Ranch 11
3 47380 Carlos Soto Unattached 10
4 Michael Vanlandingham 9
5 219983 Richard Pollock Citrus Valley Velo 8
6 45160 Dwight Carbajal Adobo Velo Fil-Am Cycling 7
7 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 6
8 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 5
9 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 4
10 177283 Eugene Poyorena CA Pools Racing 3
11 155459 Thomas Reilly Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 2
12 275439 Peter Boberg Platinum Performance Cycling Team 1
13 196820 George Chester Amgen Cycling Club 0
14 95371 Rick Abrams Echelon Santa Barbara 0
15 155368 Richard Curtis Echelon Santa Barbara 0
16 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0