Monday, March 30, 2009


By John McKee

It was March 29th, 2009 and the LA Circuit Race was conflicting with the Redlands Criterium. Tough decisions for 55/60+ racers. It was important that we as 55/60+ racers showed a presence at both venues so we get asked back in the future. Brad House the race promoter for LAC did the 60+ guys a great favor and doubled his purse to include a separate but equal amount of prize money after being asked by you know who for some recognition/respect for 60+ racers. To me it isn't getting the money that's important but being recognized as competitive racers like younger riders. THANK YOU BRAD HOUSE!
Over 40 guys lined up to contest the 2009 version of the LA Circuit Race. Pretty darn good considering over 35 showed up at Redlands. There were about 10 guys that did both eventhough the race courses are 80 miles apart. There was good news and bad news about the race course at LAC. The good news and I worked on this before hand but I didn't actually talk to Brad about this. Bob Llamas had mentioned about the course being coned in at the finish causing problems in the past. I thought the officials shack could be pushed back up the cross street and thats exactly what happened. Full street racing right to the finish. Now the bad news. We started warming up on the course and everything looked ok until we got to the line to start the race. Now I don't blame the promoter, officials or anybody for this. It just something that had to be worked around. There was a permit for a production company to do some filming at the upper end of the course. This is near LAX right so filming would be a natural but on March 29th and at the last corner before the finish wasn't good. At the other end and it wouldn't have mattered but this last turn was less than 300 meters from the finish line. I maybe wrong on the distance but it use to be 1 mile from the finish. Quite a difference. Too bad but the race went on and no one hit the pavement which was the most important thing.
The race was scheduled to go off at 7 am so most of us got to the location in the dark. I assume the early bird twins(Pollack and Springer) were there first there or pretty near so. I got there before 6 am and they were already spinning on there trainers and Headlamp Leo was there chatting. The sign in process went great and that made it easier. Good job there.
The race was scheduled for 20 miles. 5 laps of the full course. We got 6 laps of the new course and I got around 16 1/2 miles and it took 40 mins or so to saw this off. The average speed was near 24 mph but far short of the pace at Redlands although the 180s slowed the overall pace.
Its hard to get a break going here but there were attempts but none were able to stick. Breaks have worked before but there were so many different teams that nothing worked. Kal made what I thought was the best effort at a break but was chased hard by many riders. The pack was churning constantly through the race. It's hard to make this sound exciting. Every race is different but this came down to a few things. Good position going into the last turn. Making a good turn with some mo. Acceleration out of the turn with the right gear. It was easy to be over geared here. Then the sprint for the line. It was a full on sprint after the turn. Al Shorts shouted out "Sprint to the line". Must have been a tip to a friend or teammate. Monty Pettus heard this and was on Al's wheel and a light went on. He got out of the saddle and did what he does best. Finish a race. Monty won the 60+ category. The 55+ race looked like UCC was lining up for Kal but at the end Dale Ludetke came across first. Kal second with the Mule third in 55+. Paul Springer was second and Joe Wells doing his first race this year rounded out the podium for 60+. Thanks again to all the 55/60+ racers that came out to LAC or Redlands and especially those that did both. I didn't mention Ben Maciel yesterday and Ben did both. Also thanks to those that signed up and hadn't planned on racing just to show support like John Rubcic and Bill Langstaff. Here are the placing for LAC:

LA Circuit Race (Rank 1.5)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Floors 21
2 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 17
3 219983 Richard Pollock Citrus Valley Velo 15
4 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 13
5 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 12
Michael Vanlandingham
7 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 9
8 155459 Thomas Reilly Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 7
9 47380 Carlos Soto Unattached 6
10 142249 Rich Keegan Ironfly 4
11 55635 Pedro Ordaz
12 189814 Leo Longo Citrus Valley Velo 2
13 125634 William Tippets UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
14 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0
15 271566 Alex Gonzales
Paul Anderson
17 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0

LA Circuit Race (Rank 1.5)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 21
2 33679 Paul Springer Citrus Valley Velo 17
3 48252 Joseph Wells EDGE Racing 15
4 234791 Loren Stephens EDGE Racing 13
5 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 12
6 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/San Diego Bicycle Club 10
7 171652 Stephen Whitsitt South Bay Wheelmen 9
8 129293 Michael Fleming Coates /On Deck Foundation 7
9 17063 Richard Hughes Unattached 6
10 61278 Mario Seri Kahala LaGrange 4
11 50498 Richard Rodriguez Nytro Racing 3
12 37370 Charles (Chuck) Watson South Bay Wheelmen 2
13 177403 Timothy Marquez Platinum Performance Cycling Team 0
14 275832 Benjamin Maciel Citrus Valley Velo 0
15 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
16 220804 Michael Barnes Rock Solid Cycling 0
17 163415 James Heise South Bay Wheelmen 0
18 223119 C Kevin Post South Bay Wheelmen 0
19 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 0
20 266647 Allen Kizuka Velo Allegro 0
21 168704 James Fitzgerald PAA / RE/MAX 0
22 57726 Ernest Hoffer EDGE Racing 0
23 48063 Barnett Feigenbaum Ironfly 0

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tour of Murrietta Race Report 3-14/15-09

By Richard Pollack

This race has always been very fast, hard and packed with strong competition. A slight twist this year is that the 45’s and 55’s would run together! Scored separately. The purse? Good thing we don’t have to live off our winnings! Or eat twice at McDonalds. The winner could eat like a king at McDo once though!

It’s early in the season and so weather can be a factor. Originally scheduled for rain, then just clouds, Saturday was very nice. We would be starting at 12:35 and for the 55’s who are used to starting at 7 or 8:00 at most races, this was quite a change. Made for a much more relaxed morning! However, in the Murrietta area, the wind had picked up pretty good by noon. Add to this the fact that the Crit was running the same course as last year, except backwards and that we’d have all the 45+ hotdogs and you have the recipe for a brutal race. The whole Amgen team was there, Cal pools, Sho-Air, UCC, which has lots of fast 45’s including newly added Steve Klasna and all the usual 55+ suspects as well as World Champions Kenny Fuller and Thurlow Rogers and National 50+ Road Champion Malcolm Hill. Oh yea, the field totaled over 70 riders!

The course changes amounted to this and I’ll try not to make it confusing. Turn 4 was still turn 4 or the final corner, except going the other direction. Turn 3 was now turn 1. After turn 1 the road went slightly downhill into a headwind and then turn 2 took you onto the narrow section that runs through the center of the park(?)and into a stiff headwind. The old turn 1 (now t-3), takes you through the gutter into what used to be the finishing straight, which in the past provided a wide runway that was perfect for a slightly downhill sprint. Except that they had constructed an island down the center of the road since last year and we had to stay on the right side. Maybe this was why the course was changed?

Meanwhile, my transpo for the day, Paul Springer and I are suiting up and getting ready for our warm-up. He has a mini-van with a rear hatch that lifts up to a perfect height for a humanoid of about 5’6” in height. Six foot? Not so good. I step full power off the curb which was a pretty tall curb by the way, effectively lowering the hatch/ lid even more and slam my forehead into the lid. It dropped me to my freakin’ knees like a brickbat! Throb, throb. Ok, so I get over that, clean up the blood which exposes a good sized crease in my melon and upon riding off the curb on my bike, I do a perfect endo/flip onto the roadway. WTF?! The actual warm-up was without incident!

Between the Cat 3 race and the Children’s community race, we snuck in a couple warm up laps which revealed one of the downsides of the course change. That would be all the bodies in the dirt, ambulance, etc from the Cat 3 race. A downhill fast entrance onto a narrowing exit. Hmmm? I wonder if that could be a problem? When we all lined up, Ralph announced that there would a mandatory “Sighting Lap” so that everyone was aware of the turn 2 dangers! We all rolled around, got our instructions and were off!

The actual report will be short! It strung out single file for 45 minutes. It would bunch up going into turn 2 with no crashes the whole race. Down that narrow straight, riders scrambled to the left side of the road to stay out of the side/headwind. Very fast through the last turn and then with the finish straight tailwind everyone was trying to do their catch-up, move-up position correction. The pace was fast and guys were getting shelled off the back at regular intervals. Many flyers and small break attempts, but nothing of consequence until about 20 minutes to go. At that point, 5-7 riders got away, including Thurlow and crew, getting a decent but closable gap. Fuller had been doing several hard pushes during the day and when 45+ eventual winner, Malcolm Hill attempted to bridge up, Fuller went too. Rubcic was near the front, saw the move and timed it right. The 3 were gone and on their way to “Breaksville City”. Lots of yelling and coaxing, but the gap was never closed. There were a few Primes and I personally went for the Girl Scout Cookie “Boxed Set”, but as I crossed the line counting my cookies, it turned out that a little, tiny rider was way off the front and I got zip-slant-doodley-squat for the effort! And felt pretty stupid. I’m sure nobody has ever done that before!

With 3 laps to go, you could almost reach out and touch the break, but at 2 to go, everybody start posturing for the last lap charge/sprint. The gap would open back up. The last lap was really fast and for some reason Kal was at the front with Steve Klasna, another 45 rider, Dale Ludke and then myself. Approaching the final corner, Dale was setting up for a bit of a wide line, so I tucked to the inside. I must add that the corner was not near as fast going uphill as last year’s downhill entrance. We blast out of the corner and Kal goes way wide, Klasna behind, the other 45 is right in front of me and Dale is going to fly by for sure. And he does. I think a couple more 45’s get by and it’s all over! I heard later that the average race speed was anywhere from 26.5-27.8 mph. Up a bit from the normal 55/60 pace!

The results are on line already for Saturday, but here’s the basic breakdown. Points for the 2 days were only awarded for 15 places. Three riders after that finished on the lead lap, the others were dropped and/or pulled. With 26 signed up for the 55’s, that gives you an idea how fast/hard it was. And I might add, that with a single file, windy condition race, if the guy in front of you leaves a gap, your race can be all over before you realize it! Some strong riders were among the discharged.

1. Kenny Fuller
2. John Rubcic
3. Dale Ludke
4. Richard Pollock
5. Warren Wicks
6. Nels Guloien
7. Howard Miller
8. Kal Szkalak
9. Eugene Poyorena
10. Rick Swanson
11. Craig Jones
12. Leo Longo
13. Pedro Ordaz
14. Paul Springer
15. Steve Horine
16. Bill Tippetts
17. Bob Rosemeyer
18. Mark Huffman

Sunday: Back to the weather and a semi normal start time, we had a good rain coming down going through the Immigration checkpoint. But it dried up before we got to Murrietta, although it wasn’t warm! Our start time was 9:35 and while warming up, I wondered if I would race in my jacket. Ralph announced that the temp had dropped over 20 degrees in 2 hours! The low clouds were very dark and it didn’t look good. Ended up to not be a factor and was just about perfect! We all lined up, got our instructions and were off for 39 miles of racing on the same 3.5 mile circuit as last year. That would be 11 laps with the average lap time usually running around nine minutes. At the point when we departed for the day, our 45/55 race had recorded the fastest lap time at 8:05! It was fast and stayed fast. Starting near the back of the group. It took me 2 laps (7 mi), to get into the top 10 riders. With a bumpy, narrow road in sections and a center line rule in effect (however lightly it was enforced!), it was hard to move up much at all. Once again, there were several break attempts of small groups including some by the top 45+ riders, but there never seemed to be quite the right mix or there were just too many strongmen left in the field to allow them to get away unchecked. I think it was probably about lap 3 or so, entering the hard right just after the bridge, with maybe 20 riders ahead of me, I heard squealing, sliding tires as riders were going down and off into the dirt. Kal left the road at speed and rode down into a gulley. I thought I saw him go down, but he later told me he just stepped off and had to run back up the banking. Myself, I went sideways into the dirt, rolled fairly quickly around the carnage and got back into the attacking group ahead of me. I’m sure this spread the group out, but I didn’t look back to verify. Shortly after that a Cyclo-Vets rider went down leading towards the last corner. He was laid out in the road for at least 4 laps on a gurney with face rash and who knows what else. It appeared he was being transported and soon the vehicles and rider were gone.

Battling the wind and lots of questionable riding (close with the occasional bumping), surges, attacks and high speeds made this a “Man’s” race. Which brings up a couple thoughts. First, the Cat 1-2 women left the line 5 minutes after we did. And very quickly we were lapping them for the first time. Then as we approached them lined up and neutralized for the second time things got weird and soon a break of 3-5 women were catching and trying to pass after the first turn into the wind. It got confusing, we accelerated, they were getting yelled at for being on the wrong side of the centerline by the official on the motorcycle and then we were intermingled with a yelling official trying to separate them out while in motion. It didn’t work out well and protests were flying when the women’s break was relegated, etc. I’m glad I wasn’t a woman today. Actually, I’m glad every day, but today especially! You know what I mean.

Now for the strategy. Fuller was leading the points from the day before, Rubcic second and Dale third. Then me and Kal. Kal and Warren both waxed me at Las Vegas, so I was keen to at the least, finish the 2-days ahead of them. I hadn’t seen Dale the whole race and wasn’t sure if Kal got going again or not. So with 3 to go (10.5 miles), 300m before the biggest of the 3 rollers on the back straight, Fuller takes off. I was about to let the others chase as I see Warren go by! Oh shit! I gotta go. And when we’re going 33-34 already, chasing Fuller down is a bitch, let me tell you! Warren makes contact with him and they hit the roller at speed. I just close the gap as we reach the next flat section. They swapped the lead once, both saw me, then everyone else chasing us 3 down and the party was brought to a close. Thank God!

Last lap! The speed picks up, slows down, speeds up, bunches up, strings out. I try to move up as does everyone else and going into the short straight after the bridge, things get serious! The line is single file, nose to tail with little if any overlap. The most jockeying took place leading to the last corner and if you weren’t in the right spot by then, you weren’t ever gonna get there. Fuller, with fazers on stun, went to the inside and in a rare sprint finish for him, handled all the 55’s which were mixed with 45’s across the line. Kal was in second, Dale third, I got fourth, Rubcic fifth and Warren was sixth. I couldn’t get a print out of the results or GC as the officials were dealing with the women’s protest/relegation/cluster-party, but as quick as they were getting Saturday’s results up, you’ll be able to see for yourself in detail by Monday I would think.

In the overall GC for Saturday/Sunday: This is all I can remember J

1. Fuller (1,1)
2. Ludke (3,3)
3. Rubcic (2,5)
4. Pollock (4,4)
5. Szkalak (8,2)
6. Wicks (5,6)

Last thing. I notice that there are still no 55+ results posted for the Ontario #1 race and that Kal hasn’t got Cup points for Imperial which he won. I’ve emailed twice, called and left a message once with Pacific Sunset Velo and have gotten no response. Same with Eric Smith. What’s up with the no response policies?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bulldog RR @ Camp Pendleton - 2/28/2009

By Jim Swigart

I will pitch in on the Bull Dog recap - wave 4 was 50+ in 5yr increments so we had about 120+ riders at the start. Beautiful morning for a race and its always a fun ride in Pendelton. We do so many crits in SoCal, I really enjoy the chance for a RR.So, a number of the big dogs (Pollock, Springer, etc) were in Vegas for the weekend and the usual UCCyclery/SDBC/Citrus Valley Velo force was thinned out a bit. I hooked up with fellow SDBC riders Mark Wisnosky and Don Kimper and Steve Borer (ex SDBC, now traitorous Citrus Valley Velo!) at the start. This can be a sketchy race as half the field seems to be not too experienced. I remembered from last year that "in back is not where it's at" so we decided to press at the front to keep it honest. Others had the same idea and we kept the pace a little quicker on the way out to the "hill of truth" at mile 10. Still, whenever it slowed, the field bunched up and it was messy. So, lining up for the left hand turn up the hill, our group was in the top 20. Kimper was a bit ahead so I rode with Steve up the first part of the climb. Hooked up with Mark half way up the climb then came together with Don Kemper about 2/3 up the hill. I was getting a second wind so I led out with Don and we gapped up to the next group at the crest of the hill. I dropped my chain going into the big ring and almost gapped back but we were all together for the decent. About 10 of us worked pretty well for a couple miles. We could see a group up the road but no one could get it organized for a chase. In fact, with five miles to go, we let some riders come back up to us and our small group was now about 20 guys - and no one seemed to be able to control it. Small surges then back together again. Don and I hung out near the front of the group. I sensed it would come down to either a break with a mile to go or a mad dash through the parking lot to the finish. Well, the pace just slowly picked up and you had to be in the top 10 going into the left hand turn heading to the finish. I got inside and was OK. Don got an outside line but was pushed out into the curb - what a mess. He probably had a top three finish going before that. I went outside on the next right turn and jumped on it for the 150 yards to the finish line. I must have passed four guys who either didn't know where the line was or just didn't want to sprint. I came across near the head of our group but not clear where I had finished. We never caught the lead group of 10 riders and if they had some 55+ guys I would have been down the list. As it turns out, only one guy 55+ was in the lead group (Fernan Lozano) and the second 55+ (David Simard) was 1 second in front of me. I was third with three more 55+ all within 4 seconds of my finish.Not often I am on the podium and so it was great fun.Mark Wisnosky and Steve Borer rolled in in 8th and 9th so we had 3 in the top 10 55+. Kimper got 6th in 60+ but was only 5 seconds out of second place - would have been top three but for the squeeze play near the finish. Jim Ring (SDBC 60+) was 9th.Overall great time!!!! I checked last years times and the pack was 2 to 3 minutes faster so must have strung it out better. Too bad no SoCal points as I seem to do better here than in the flat crits!!

Link to video -
Thanks to Ben Weaver for vid. He wore the video cam.

Full results -

Monday, March 2, 2009

Southern Nevada Stage Race, 2-28/3-1 2009

By Richard Pollack

In previous years this race has been run earlier in the year and at a different location. However this year, running the end of February and at the Callville Marina on Lake Mead, we had the good luck of beautiful courses and superb weather! Neither aspect could have been better.

The Marina and all of Lake Mead are within a huge National Park. The first thing I noticed was the distinct lack of California style litter and debris by the roadsides. This place was spotless and driving/riding the course remind one of a drive through the Grand Canyon or perhaps on the moon. The wind was pretty strong on Friday afternoon, the day before the race as we drove the RR course. Initial impression? Man, there's gonna be a lot of climbing!

The race format was fairly simple. Saturday morning would start with a 3.8 mile uphill TT. After lunch, a 44 mile RR. Sunday morning would conclude with a 45 minute Crit in a circuit laid out in the uphill Marina parking lot.

Paul Springer and I did the trip together and stayed at the host hotel, The "Railroad Pass" Casino. This was about 30 miles more or less form the race start location. There were also house boats available at the marina for about 3 times the price, but without the drive. The drive was no big deal.

Saturday AM. All the 55/60 riders would start at 10:00 with riders going off every :30 secs. The route was immediately uphill followed by a short downhill. Then a short uphill and a big downhill. After that it was a gradual climb with a couple harder sections, but nothing too difficult. Pacing seemed to be the area of major mis-calculation for most riders. Now after driving down the hill to the start, I thought it was going to be a bitch! At 3.8 miles, I figgered a time comparable to the San Dimas hillclimb TT was the order of the day. That would be 16:00-18:00.I had my computer set on time display and at 10 minutes, began to turn up the heat. Then I rolled over the crest and could see the finish. My time was 11:27. Holy crap, this course was way easier than I had counted on. All the 55/60 times ranged from 10:40-12:01. I guess pre-riding the course would have revealed this fact. As pointed out later by John Rubcic, Whenever you have a stage race this short starting with a Hillclimb TT, that pretty much establishes the finishing order as it can be very hard to make up time in the RR and almost impossible in the Crit. This time there would be some surprises at the finish, but for the most part it was true.

TT Results-55+

1. Warren Wicks- 10:43
2. Kal Szkalak- 10:51
3. Bill Tippetts- 10:59
4.John Wagnon- 11:02
5. Steve Horine- 11:08
6. Richard Pollock- 11:27
7. Peter Rupert- 11:49
8. Raphael Gomez- 14:02

TT Results 60+

1. Kenny Fuler 10:40
2. Benji Maciel 11:13
3. Jim Morehouse 11: 22
4. John Rubcic 11:27
5. Bruce Steele 11:48
6. Paul Springer 11:53
7. Steve Close 12:00
8. Paul Rachat 13:22
9. Vicente Gomez 13:33
10. Gary Powers 14:57

Side notes: The flyer advertized food before the TT, sandwiches for lunch and spaghetti after the RR. Well they had bagels, OJ and milk and there was a store with limited supplies next to the parking lot. There were no sandwiches after the TT and the spaghetti dinner was at 6:00 although after the RR we were dying for food and bailed out. The store was out of sodas and had almost none the next day. None of this would’ve been a problem, except you were 25 miles from any other food!

Roadrace! The course seemed a little odd in the description at first. Go up the TT hill. Hang a right and go out 9.1 more miles. Turn around at the top of the climb and then go about 20 miles, passing the turnoff to the TT course and marina. After the 20 mile “Rolling” section, do another turn around and head back to the turnoff for the TT course. Turn right, go 500 meters and then you’re finished. We rolled out 40 minutes late with a HUGE group! It contained the 45+, 55, 60, 3-4 women and the 35+ 4-5 men. The number I heard was 108 for a headcount. I think it was more like 75.

The pace started out fairly brisk with a couple short lived attacks. We all made the turn at the top and began a very series of up and down rollers with the emphasis on up. A break formed, but was reeled in after a mile or so. On the final climb to the turn around with about a mile to go, Fuller stands up, throws his bike side to side and takes out Warren Wicks’ front wheel. The DVD alternate ending was that someone moved over on him and he took evasive action. The result was the same either way. Warren (The 55+ leader) was on the ground and Kal (in 2nd), ran over him although I think he unclipped coming to a stop and stayed off the ground. I was 2 feet behind them and nearly got gathered up myself. After a time, Kal was back with the group and just before the summit, Warren was with us too! Warren told me later that his chain got all wound up in the bottom bracket behind the chainring. Also, he pranged his rear wheel and had to release the brake to continue.

Within a few seconds we were at the turnaround and in the blink of an eye, Keith Ketterer(KK) and Steve Peterson jumped hard on the downhill and before they had a gap, Kal was attempting to join them. There were a couple other 45+ riders with them as well. I knew this was the decisive move, but was not in a position to respond quickly enough. They got a 50 meter gap in the blink of eye which quickly grew. I was trying to stay as near the front as I could on the climbs leading to the turnaround and I really wasn’t sure how many were left in our group from front to back. But for me, Kal was gone and gaining time with Warren back in our group. Bill Tippetts and John Wagnon from Reno were still there in the 55’s as well. In the 60’s, we had Fuller, Rubcic, Benji, Morehouse and 2 others I believe. There was one very lean woman(3-4), a few 35+ 4-5’s and a few 45’s. Steve Horine (55) and Paul Springer (60) had lost contact.

For about the next 8 miles or so we swapped off drafting and flying down the rollers we had just gone up with interspersed power accelerations over the rises. Pedaling downhill takes a toll for sure and if you left a gap you were gone. The group shrunk a little more. Fuller began trying to get away with several attacks and finally one stuck. He was gone the way only he can be “Gone”! Rubcic went to the point several times and tried to coax his 55 and 45 teammates(Tippetts and Robert Wilcox), to take up the chase. He wanted to get back in touch with Fuller and lose the other 60’s(2?), including Benji who was 16 seconds GC ahead of him. Finally, with about maybe 1.5-2 miles to go to the turn around, Steve Gonyer (State 45+ TT Champion) takes off and Warren goes with him. They just sort of rolled away, sorta fast. When it looked serious, I started the pursuit and when I was within about 15 feet, well clear of the group, we hit a good riser. They stood up and accelerated hard. I stood up. The brain said, “YO!”, but the legs said, “NO!” I was swallowed by the group. Warren and Steve were disappearing up the road. At this point we fly down a 50mph downhill followed by a sharp climb to the second and final turnaround. We were maybe 75 meters from the turnaround as the break was heading down the hill. They were not that far ahead. Maybe 35-40 seconds. But the group contained Kal, Fuller, Wicks, Gonyer, KK and Peterson!

We’re now on the 11 miles stretch to the finish. I had commented to our young lady breakmate on the way to the second turnaround that we had been going 28-32mph with a side/tailwind for a REALLY long time! Payment was now due! There began much jockeying to find shelter from the wind and many small, meaningless attacks as we did a steady climb to the finish. Total mileage was to be 44 miles.

I’m sure everyone had some sort of strategy, but I can only comment on my own. Here goes. Kal and Warren are ahead of me on the road and GC by now just over a minute and a half. The others ahead of me are Tippetts and Wagnon by about 30 seconds and they are riding near me in the group. Wagnon shadowing me fairly close every time I went fore or aft. Horine is dropped and is now 9 minutes back. We are on a climb to the finish and have about 3 miles to go. If I attack like a madman and try to get away from Tip and Wag, I may get some(?) seconds and they may chase me down before the summit as I explode into flames. I sit in. Then there is a sign that says, “2K”. I wait a bit longer and then Benji rolls by up the centerline and pulls into line in the group. I attack! for maybe 150m and then I see people waving as I approach the last turn and charge to the line. I sail through the corner and my mental bubble explodes with the sign…. “500m”! Shit! That’s a long way to stay out there and it dips downhill with a short rise to the finish. I hold on as long as I can. Brad House thrashes by before the line as do 2 other 45’s and John Wagnon by about a foot. Tippetts was behind me by I don’t know how much, but we were all given the same time. That would be 44 miles in 1:56:01. Kal beat Warren to the line ahead of us by 36 seconds and was given a 1 second advantage over Warren. I was later told by an official that if there wasn’t a 3 second gap, it was considered the same time!? Kal and Warren were now :06 apart heading into tomorrow’s Crit. Rubcic, Benji, Morehouse, etc were all given the ST and Fuller was ahead now by almost 2 minutes. Bruce Steele in his 09 return to racing was about 8-10 minutes back and Paul Springer (towing 2 women for 30 miles) was about another 3-4 minutes further back. It goes without saying in these conditions (Hills and wind) and on this desolate course (Hills and wind), if you were by yourself, it would be a long grind. In all with maybe 6 riders up the road and maybe 15-18 in our group, we shelled 45-50 riders?

That was a hard race! And how. The road was smooth and beautiful and the group rode really hard. When it was over, Bill Tippetts said, “That was the hardest 2 hour ride I can remember!” I don’t know what went on in the break because I wasn’t there, but I heard that Fuller attacked and split it up a bit with 4 miles to go. For me, after I sat down and had something to drink, it was the kind of race you’re glad you were a part of and I was on the ragged edge several times. Great training for…..other races!

The spaghetti dinner was to be at 6:00, we had minimal lunch and were starving. We packed it up and hauled ass to eat. After dinner and adult beverages at the Claim Jumper, sleep would be the only thing on my mind! Well, maybe war, world hunger and the economy, but mainly sleep!

Sunday, Sunday!! The parking lot Crit. I was sort of dreading the thought of a chopped up, rutted, bumpy parking lot race, but boy, was I impressed! The course was very interesting, technical and fast. We’d race for 45 minutes with $50.00 and $100.00 cash Primes. This would be 45/55/60’s only!

The race was a blur of corners and hard charges up the short climb. The last turn was about 28-30mph around the whole thing with little or no pedaling and then a fairly short sprint. KK went off the front for most of the race with 3 Paul Tracey riders from Vegas doing the bulk of the chasing. I have to say I’m a little confused on the finish, because KK got either second or third. Meaning, there were other riders away with him (could be as we were also lapping riders) or we caught him and he didn’t win the sprint. I’m not a good reporter I guess, but I was sorta busy trying to stay in the top 6-8 in a single file race. With all the turns a short hill, the average was over 25mph and there were a number of pretty fast surges.

What needed to happen and what DID happen. In the 55’s, Warren was :06 secs ahead of Kal on GC, Tippetts, Wagnon and myself would not change positions unless the group split apart with a big time spread.

In The 60’s Fuller had only to finish with the group. Not his style, but that’s all that was necessary. Benji was :09 ahead of Morehouse with Rubcic :14 seconds back. There would be :10, :08, :03 time bonus’s on the final finish sprint.

So after a blistering pace for 45 minutes and several riders dropped, Kal won the sprint, Warren was second, I was third, Tippetts 4th and Wagnon 5th. In the 60’s, Rubcic won, Fuller was 2nd and Springer was 3rd. I guess, not thinking, Benji sat up and rolled in………but was given a :06 time gap. Combined with John’s :10 sprint bonus, Benji moved from 2nd to 3rd GC with John overtaking Benji and Morehouse, who was dropped and finished a minute or so back.

In the 55’s, Kal was very disappointed as I was supposed to get second and cut Warren out of the :08 time bonus wherein Kal would have won by :01 GC ! In fact he was already back at his van “Counting his chickens” as said! But in my book, I couldn’t move up in the Crit really GC wise, but Kal received 28 So-Cal cup points instead of 35. For those keeping track, that matters.

So, one last thing. For all the weenies that would rather not do a roadrace for fear of getting dropped, like Bakersfield last year, you missed a great 3-race weekend. Was it easy? Hell no. You had to work, which for most of us is why we ride and race. And on that note, I would like to recognize the Gomez brothers who although they are rarely on the podium, are at every race, givin em Hell! And they did all three races this weekend!! Just off the pace, but out there doin it! They finished, they got points and they had fun. That’s why we do this. For fun!