By Richard Pollack
7:00-LAX for the LA Circuit Race. For "Team San Diego" this required a serious early wake up. That would be 2:20 in the am for me! I tried to get to sleep early to ease the pain, but after signing off at 8:00, we were woken up by the phone at 10:30. WTF?!* It was the motorcycle flattrack promoter up in Perris, calling to tell me that my friend Gabe got wadded up and was in the hospital in Riverside, but he’d be OK and someone else would come get his truck, bike and gear. Bye bye. So now I’m lying in bed “Bug-eyed”, staring at the ceiling. Damn! I’ve had thoughts of returning to motorcycle racing next year, but this could have been me laid out on the track, puffing dust, seeing stars! Maybe I’ll rethink that deal.
Anyway, I hit the road at 2:45 and picked up Paul Springer at 3:00. I figured 2 hours to LAX, putting us there at 5:00. That would leave lots of time for coffee, set-up, warm-up, sign-up and that other morning ritual that is sure to happen after an early wake-up and a 2 hour drive! We set-up, signed up and were just easily spinning on the trainers as everyone else started to show up. John has already provided a good report on the race which had a great turnout, but I’ll add a few items. First, there were a lot of attacks from a variety of riders which kept it interesting. And every attack was chased down keeping the efforts and speed high. I remember a couple years ago, our races were not this fast and this year, they seem to all have higher average speeds as well as better turnouts. Next we had a couple extra sprint specialists in Carlos Soto and Al Shorts. We haven’t seen Al or Carlos but at a couple races this year and they would definitely be a factor. Al would be covering LA Circuit and brother Ricky would do the duty at Redlands.
Finally, the sprint itself. With the last lap bell, there was quite a bit of jostling for position and it was sort of funny as Dale Ludke was slowly moving to the front with Kal on his wheel. I got onto Kal’s wheel and then Al Shorts and I started banging into each other in an attempt to not get squeezed out into a non-good position and stay with the forward progress of the Dale and Kal show. Approaching the final corner Al commented to be careful because these guys were going to chop the corner, which they did. I ended up on the left (inside) of the corner and Al went way outside to the curb. I noticed Carlos was attempting to sqeeze his way out into what was about to become the express train to New Orlins! Being in a position to prevent that…..I did. Just then Al takes off up the right side and it was “Game-On!” Dale took off and swung to the left with Kal on his wheel in what looked like a lead out. I went with them but didn’t have the juice to overtake anybody at that point. I was sure Kal had won, but it was Dale so they must have been next to each other. Another lesson I continue to learn is that six feet behind the winner feels like six hundred feet when the race is over and the winner is on the podium. I’m not a Pro and I’m not Obsessive Compulsive, but God, do I hate being that close and getting smoked in a sprint. I’m sure that Al and Carlos and everybody else that finished behind Dale felt, at different levels, the same exact thing!
So we do zero cool-down, load the car, hook up with Leo Longo and Benji “The Maddog” Maciel, and proceed to do the Banzai run to Redlands. Our race had just ended at 7:45 and at 8:03 we were in transit. With others ahead or in pursuit. The commute was 83 miles and took, with traffic, 56 minutes. It was without incident and all passes were made cleanly and safely and I even used my turn signals twice!! That’s two more times than normal for me. Benji stayed on my wheel the whole way, but Leo’s “Import” was down on power and he was dropped about 15 minutes into the commute. I say it was without incident, until we got to Redlands and I was searching for the exit from the number three lane. All of a sudden, there it was! I made the ramp after passing a couple “Backmarkers”, but Benji was hung out to dry in the numer two lane.
I watched in awe as he worked his magic, almost gathering up a poorly placed road sign, kicking up dust and impressing a few other drivers I’m sure! They all saluted him as he made the ramp behind us!
The Redlands Classic Crit was to start at 10:05 and it was now just after 9:00. Easy money! Time to burn! Actually we had to go sign in and pin our numbers on. Numbers as in two! Then off to ride around the neighborhoods and get the legs firing on all two again. Once again, there was a good turn out and I think it was 34-36 riders. Kenny Fuller was here, so it was pretty much a matter of when he’d tried “take off”, which was a given. Now, over at LAX, I think we averaged about 24.5 mph. This race, when completed would be over 25.5mph and this course is punishing! There was an attack or two every single lap on the hill side of the circuit, which was brutal if you were in the mix and worse if you were further back trying to respond. Don Davidson was on a mission to say the least and if he went off the front and got caught, 2 seconds later, he was off again. There was a chase going on continually. No crashes and with the exception of the occasional cry of the Cat 4, “Inside”, the race was relatively smooth. The speed up the hill each lap ranged from 25-27mph which was a serious factor. At about 10-12 minutes in, Fuller made his first attempt about halfway up the hill and he really LAUNCHED! It was a sight to behold while trying to accelerate to match it. On each of his attempts, he would be followed by Steve Bernede who was back with us in his first race this season. On one attempt Fuller got a bit of a gap and Warren Wicks was with him, keen to leave his mark. Rubcic joined them and for obvious reasons, it was destined to fail. Fuller shut the motor off and we were all back together again. A small factoid/criticism was that the lap board was invisible. Usually the lap board is placed just after the start finish line. This one was about 50 feet BEFORE the line, so as you approach the line and glance over while sprinting every lap, you see nothing! Then, all of a sudden, it’s two laps to go! Holy crap! You better not be near the back now because it picked up pretty fast. The last lap was crazy up the hill till we made the U-turn at the top and then there was some bunching as the back of the group wanted to move to the front. Then it strung out again as we hauled ass down the hill, through the chicane into the final double corner. I tried to pass Warren on the inside of the final corner, but the door quickly closed. Exiting the last corner, I still have a picture in my mind of why you need to be ON the front out of this corner on this course. Real estate. As in, it’s impossible to close even a short gap within the short sprint available here. Dale Ludke and John Rubcic got it right. The rest of us did not. Fuller was second 60, followed by an unknown rider (to us anyway, although I bet they know him well at his home races), from Canada, Peter Kerklaan. In the 55’s, Ricky Shorts was second and Don Davidson secured third even after riding his brains out trying to get away the whole race. All the results were up on the web by early evening Sunday which is a welcome change from some races that really take their sweet time posting results. What a great morning of racing! The drive was no big deal, although the early wake up was kinda tough.
Next weekend is the San Diego Omnium with a 6:00 start for the TT at Fiesta Island on Friday. Fortunately for the SD riders, we can sleep in till 4:00am or so that day! I went outside at work (about a mile from Fiesta Island) this morning to do a daylight check at about 6:15. It was crystal clear, but I would refer to it as “Night” personally. Visibility will be a factor. See you there!
|Redlands Criterium (Rank 1.0)|
|1||47262||Dale Luedtke||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||14|
|2||52251||Ricky Shorts||Velo Allegro||11|
|3||48278||Donald Davidson||Citrus Valley Velo||10|
|4||202108||Warren Wicks||Swami's Cycling Club||9|
|5||58847||Paul Rodriguez||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||8|
|6||219983||Richard Pollock||Citrus Valley Velo||7|
|7||34753||Rick Swanson||Acme Racing||6|
|8||126351||Steve Bernede||Cycles Veloce||5|
|9||26089||Fred Nicolet||ACQUA AL 2/San Diego Bicycle Club||4|
|10||247382||Richard Gentili||Citrus Valley Velo||3|
|11||55591||Mitchell Weinstock||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||2|
|12||49424||Howard Miller||Paramount Racing||1|
|13||59572||Mark Huffman||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||0|
|14||195211||Bob Rosemeyer||Swami's Cycling Club||0|
|15||189814||Leo Longo||Citrus Valley Velo||0|
|16||254625||Jennifer Miller||I.E. Bikes||0|
|17||195618||Stephen Horine||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||0|
|18||245777||Steven Borer||Citrus Valley Velo||0|
|19||24050||Steve Mera||Citrus Valley Velo||0|
|20||3793||Raphael Gomez||Cycles Veloce||0|
|Redlands Criterium (Rank 1.0)|
|1||48760||John Rubcic||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||14|
|2||46765||Kenny Fuller||Cycles Veloce||11|
|3||CAN19460621||Peter Kerklaan||South Delta Riders||10|
|4||33679||Paul Springer||Citrus Valley Velo||9|
|5||238828||Phillip Richards||Citrus Valley Velo||8|
|6||275832||Benjamin Maciel||Citrus Valley Velo||7|
|7||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||6|
|9||195498||Donald Kimper||ACQUA AL 2/San Diego Bicycle Club||4|
|10||129293||Michael Fleming||Coates /On Deck Foundation||3|
|11||3794||Vicente Gomez||Team Simple Green||2|
|12||227389||Andrew Mirzaoff||Momentum Cycling Powered by Hawk Relay||1|
|13||45342||Domenick Forte||PAA / RE/MAX||0|