Monday, April 6, 2009

55+ Cyclo Vets Omnium Race Report

By Richard Pollock

Race Report: 4-3-09/4-5-09

In the interest of not turning this into a 30 page story of heartbreak and success, I’ll keep this one a bit more brief than usual.

This is the San Diego Cyclo-Vets Omnium. Three days of racing with points awarded for each finish each day. Like a Stage race but based on points instead of time. Most riders compete all three days, but some just pop in and compete in their “Specialty” event for the pure joy!? For this event, the 55’s and 60’s would be running separately, so John will have to fill in the 60’s action.


This is a TT at Fiesta Island. Two long laps that works out to 8.2 miles. Not really very long in the world of TT’s, but there was plenty of pain to go around. Weather forecast was for rain/drizzle and wind. We lucked out though. No wetness, just plenty of wind. Starting out, the wind at your back, you quickly think, “Record time for sure”. Then you go up the short hill and realize that the party’s over as the wind hits you in the face. Now you’re thinking, “Oh shit, I’m in trouble now”. I think almost everybody went slower this year than in the past two years due to the wind, but the inconsistent wind force created a few variations on rider expectations. Also, I have to comment after talking to everybody I could over three days, it seems that there were several riders doing some long duration, blatant drafting. And they finished well too. I won’t mention names but……..very uncool! Lots of stories of misfortune too. The worst one I heard was Paul Springer. The “Holder” at the start wouldn’t let go and Paul either went down or unclipped, almost fell and then flung his chain. Twice! I also heard about a few riders being late for their start. After all was said and done. Everyone pushed hard and got what they got. In the 55’s, Jim King, a TT specialist from Utah, who lives part of the year in Encinitis won by a second over Warren Wicks. Just 25 seconds separated the top ten positions! About a minute for the top 16 as well. Pretty tight field to say the least. John can provide the finish numbers. After the TT, a group of us rode over to Starbucks and it was cold. Almost everybody had the shakes! And I don’t mean milkshakes!

Saturday- Boulevard Roadrace!

Just those two words usually strike fear into the hearts of most riders. “Oh no, not……Boulevard!” Weather today would be as it was yesterday, a FACTOR. Our start time was to be 8:15. At 7:00 it was 34 degrees and the wind was blowing fairly strong. The huge windmills at the wind-farm across the freeway were workin’ overtime. The 80’ diameter blades were up to speed indicating, to me anyway, that there would be trouble in River City! There wasn’t snow like last February and the Porta-Potties weren’t blowing down the street like last year, but it was still blowing pretty consistently. The race itself although just a bit over 2 hours was pretty uneventful. On the first lap (of two), railroad tracks at the top of that steep short hill where we turned onto LaPosta Road, Warren Wicks took off with a couple 50+ Swami’s riders. His teammates. Everybody kinda looked around and said, “Nah, they’ll never stay away.” Worst of all, the thirteen or so UCC riders in our group. They did absolutely nothing, which was pretty surprising.

By the time we hit Old 80, we would never see Team Swamis again. Bill Tippetts pulled the group a pretty good distance up LaPosta and most of Old 80, before he was discharged out the back. Actually, I’m not sure where we lost him, but he deserves a raise anyway. Steve Horine worked hard with him and also deserves praise. I was happy to stay in the group up 80 and out of the wind!

Mark Helvie (50+), made a good charge on the 94 downhill and stayed away almost to LaPosta. Thankfully, his teammates helped to reel him in! Alas, but not the break. By halfway up the LaPosta climb the group was down to about 13 riders with Ranchos 50+ rider, Michael Hines making several attempts to get free from the front. We’re into this ordeal about two hours at this point and now about halfway up the final climb. The group started to do small surges with a stiff headwind. On one surge, my legs turned to cement and I was dragged down into the murky depths! My surges were over for today. A few meters later and Paul Rodriquez was drowning with me. My eight minute finishing segment instantly turned into a 20 minute battle. A fart would have blown me over! Warren Wicks won the 55’s with Nels Gulosen and Mark Huffman 2nd and 3rd. Kal was 4th as Duane Mulvaney from Casa Grande, Arizona (God’s Country), and Mitch Weinstock battled it out for 5th and 6th. The results showed 22 finishers.

Sunday-Criterium in Mira Mesa.

Same course as usual with absolutely perfect conditions. Warm and zero wind. We had lost a couple riders from the two days prior, but all the major players were there. I was now way back in 11th position GC and not one bit happy about it! I needed to do really well today and attempt to drag myself back up the results sheet. Off we go for 40 minutes. I was sure UCC was going to be up to something, I just didn’t know what. Kal and Mark Huffman were sitting in 2nd and 4th GC, so the plan would likely be to keep them or get them into an advantageous position in the second half of the race. Early on and probably a bit too early, Paul Rodriquez and Mark Palmer get away. I join them and it seemed as though they really loved me and cared about me. Till I had taken a pull over the top and down the hill on a Prime lap. We had just hit the flat on the back straight when Paul, attacks up the left like a mo-fo! Thanks a lot! Mark was in front of me now and after a few seconds of contemplation, I take off after Paul. Closing fast, I thought I could sneak up on him before he realized it and steal the Prime from him. He saw me coming with time to react, stood up and added a little distance. He got the $25 and I was out of breath. Shortly thereafter, Palmer takes off again (50+), and nobody cares. Except the few other 50’s in the group. That would be the 2 riders from Ranchos, Michael Hines and Alan Tragarz. They made only one attempt to take off and close the gap. I saw them winding up and climbed on board. It didn’t last long and they resigned themselves to let Palmer go.

Two laps to go and UCC sets up a pretty fair sprint train. Guess what? I was in it too. With my eye on Kal. He was 3rd wheel, I was about 7th, 8th. On this course, you had better just about be in position going down the hill or at the latest by the time the group is about a third of the way down the flat, back straightaway. Almost everybody was on the right (inside) and it was nose to tail. The line was running about 2 feet from the gutter. Steve Cahill from Swamis was just in front of me. Halfway down the straight he moved 2 inches to his left and I took off down the gutter. The wind, such as it was, was coming from the group side on the left. No wind for me and I was gone. I cleared the front rider and nailed it up the hill. For me, the key is to be able to take a fast, uncrowded line as I please through the final corner. I had it. However, from the bottom of the hill to the line is a Looooonnngg sprint. Especially with Kal on your wheel. I had to take my chances though as I all I heard afterwards was all the crying about getting blocked in, pushed on, crowded over, hacked wheels, etc. You sorta have to make your own sprint. This was the best thing for me to do. And it was really good for Kal too. He came around me just before the line. But that was the chance I had to take. I’ll take second over sixth or sixteenth any day of the week. But I was so close. Damn.

The good news? The points I got today moved me from 11th to 4th in the Overall. Warren Wicks is the “Class Rider” of the 55+ this year in the roadraces without a doubt! Big hats off to him. For the rest of us, we just need to train harder, longer!

San Diego Omnium 55+ GC Final

1. Warren Wicks

2. Mark Huffman

3. Kal Szkalak

4. Richard Pollock

5. Steve Bernede

6. James King

7. Mitch Weinstock

8. Duane Mulvaney

9. Nels Gulosen

10. Richard Stein

11. Paul Rodriquez

12. Leo Longo

13. Steve Horine

14. Reed Moore

15. John Rubcic

16. Fred Nicolete

17. Tony Smith

18. Mark Wisnosky

19. Dan Rock

20. Bill Tippets

21. Paul Springer

22. Steven Zeis

23. Don Kimper

24. James Swigart

25. Raphael Gomez

26. Jonathan Polikoff

27. Peter Dufour

28. Howard King

29. Steve Borer

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