Monday, June 29, 2009

Squadron UCC Steamrolls 55s & 60s at MBGP


By John McKee

MBGP was won in the 55+ category by Paul "Kiss" Rodiguez and the 60+ category was won by John "The Claw" Rubcic. Lets digress a bit and start back a couple of years ago. The last time the 55s and 60s got to race MBGP was 2007. The fields had to be trimmed in 2008 and we lost out.
Cat 5s and 55/60+ were cut out. Cat 5 don't belong here anyway but I certainly thought we did but it was a matter of numbers. The women 3/4 were given the nod over 55/60+ but were put on notice that a poor showing would mean replacement in 2009. The gals didn't turn out and earlier this year(2009) Eric Smith messaged me and asked if I thought the 55s and 60s could put 50 racers on the line. My answer was I was pretty sure we could but couldn't guarantee it. I think we hit 50 right on the button. Hallelujah! Hopefully this will mean we will be back in 2009.
Thanks to Eric Smith for working with us 55 and 60+ racers. He has been a big factor in getting racing opportunities for the senior racers. New flash! Just in. This is an email message from Eric:
"Hi John,

When you get a chance from your race schedule back in Louisville, please let your master’s know how happy we were with the turnout out for yesterday’s race. We had 60 riders and they put on a great show for the spectators!

There will be a 55/60 field next year!

Thanks for your efforts to make it happen."

Eric

49 55 and 60+ racers toed the line at around 9 am. There was a slight delay because they had to cart some bodies off the course which is standard at MBGP. Can you imagine 120 cat 4 racers out there. The cat 3s did a nice job though on the last turn and sprint for the line. Very fast and clean. I have to admit once the 55/60+ race started I went into a fog. I know there were a number of attacks and chases but I have no names other than I saw a pic of Mitch Weinstock off the front in one of Jodie Borer's great photos. I will tell you that this was a hard race but the course and the race weren't as hard as the prior week at San Pedro. That was hard. This was pretty hard.
The race was a constant circulation of racers. Prime sprints. Short breaks. The constant work to circulate wore down some of the riders and especially a lot of 60s. The 60s that were working it in the 2nd half besides myself were Monty Pettus, Steve Whitsitt, Bruce Steele, James Heise, Don Kimper, Phil Richards, Mike Fleming(didn't see him until very late), John "The Claw" Rubcic. John broke 2 bones in his right hand 2 weeks ago! He was at his doctor just the Tuesday before this race and the doctor reset his bones. Pretty sure the doc didn't suggest that John go out and race the next Sunday but he did. In the movie "Liar Liar" Jim Carrey would play with his son and his hand would be "The Claw". Look at the podium pic of John and he looks like he has a claw to me.
John said the contraption on his arm worked fine.
MBGP got the 5 to go and everyone was very anxious. There was more bumping in this race then any other this year. I think this is a result of the size of the field, the preception of MBGP being a big race and it is, and the lack of a solid team to counter UCC. Its UCC vs a bunch of independent riders. UCC just dominates and when they don't pace for whatever reason and its usually because they have someone off the front , riders just start stacking up. A hard race throughout like San Pedro GP and riders find there more natural position but in a fast/medium pace race it brings more riders to circulate .
The bell lap came and all the UCC riders were up front except for Paul "Kiss" Rodiguez. Paul jumped the field solo. The pace was good but not killer. Paul was going good up front. I moved up in very good position with only John Rubcic of the 60s ahead of me. Rounding the corner at the top everything was status quo. I was still in great position. Then the pace eased off a bit and things got very edgy. Monty Pettus squeezed through a small hole next to me and that created a larger hole for Mike Fleming to ride through. I didn't pay attention to who was in front of me and I should have. Don't know how the 55s and John Rubcic lined up going into the last corner but UCC timed it perfectly for all of their main riders to finish together with their man off the front able to hang on and that was Paul "Kiss" Rodiguez. Check out the podium picture and he has a tongue to rival Gene Simmons of Kiss. The only riders that could keep up were the El Dorado trio of the Shorts(Ricky and Al) brothers and Howard Miller. I raced at El Dorado most every Tuesday from 2001 through 2007 when I had a bad crash there and these guys were there most every Tuesday as well and still go out there. Howard started racing at "eldo" in the early 80s before it evolved into a real race. Finishing in this "pod" were the new 55 sensation Stan Appel, and Richard Stalhberg. Squadron UCC came in like this- Rod, Kal, Dale, John R and Mitch. To be more precise Kal Szkalak was 2nd in 55+ and Ricky Shorts 3rd.
The only thing left were the last 2 places on the podium for 60+. Going into the last corner Monty Pettus, Mike Fleming and myself were close. Phil Richards was also close. Rounding the corner a 55+ racer bounced off Monty's left leg and put on his brakes. I was behind him and had to either brake or cut inside him and take a chance of taking someone out. I put on my brakes and lost the mo. Coming home Monty was ahead but free wheeled with 20 meters to and Mike Fleming came on for 2nd. Monty was 3rd with Phil Richards having a good race placing 4th. James Heise had a great result at 5 and Steve Whitsitt was 6 ahead myself. Bruce Steele and Don Kimper had to dodge 55s coming in and placed 8 and 9.
The race was a big success and thanks to all that showed up(I count 58 paid from Eric's list but 60 sounds better, right). As you can read above we will be back in 2010. We need a stronger mix of teams to make the racing better and safer in my opinion but that isn't going to happen this year. Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 28
2 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 22
3 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 20
4 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 18
5 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 16
6 1825 Stanley Appel Fog Racing 14
7 55591 Mitchell Weinstock UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 12
8 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 10
9 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 8
10 126351 Steve Bernede Team Simple Green 6
11 18156 Craig Jones Velo Avanti Cycling Team 4
12 59549 Michael Vanlandingham Acme Racing 2
13 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
14 198038 Scott Olson Team Latitude-ABRT 0
15 155459 Thomas Reilly Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
16 177283 Eugene Poyorena CA Pools Racing 0
17 34753 Rick Swanson Acme Racing 0
18 275439 Peter Boberg Platinum Performance Cycling Team 0
19 250331 Peter Dufour ACQUA AL 2/San Diego Bicycle Club 0
20 6082 Ben Cardenas Squadra Carrera 0
21 245777 Steven Borer Citrus Valley Velo 0
22 23055 Reed Mayne Swami's Cycling Club 0
23 47380 Carlos Soto Unattached 0
24 273411 Paul Anderson South Bay Wheelmen 0
25 55635 Pedro Ordaz CA Pools Racing 0
26 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0
27 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Flooring

Manhattan Beach Grand Prix (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 28
2 129293 Michael Fleming Coates /On Deck Foundation 22
3 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 20
4 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 18
5 163415 James Heise South Bay Wheelmen 16
6 171652 Stephen Whitsitt South Bay Wheelmen 14
7 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 12
8 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 10
9 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/San Diego Bicycle Club 8
10 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus-Gym One 6
11 101582 William Carvin Unattached 4
12 50498 Richard Rodriguez Nytro Racing 2
13 255491 Monika King South Bay Wheelmen 0
14 61278 Mario Seri Kahala LaGrange 0
15 203244 Cary Alpert South Bay Wheelmen 0
16 223119 C Kevin Post South Bay Wheelmen 0
17 45342 Domenick Forte PAA / RE/MAX 0
18 57726 Ernest Hoffer EDGE Racing 0
19 50406 Michael Edwards EDGE Racing 0
20 266647 Allen Kizuka Velo Allegro 0
21 57814 Robert Wrench Unattached 0

Monday, June 22, 2009

San Pedro Father's Day Surprise....NOT!

By John McKee


55/60+ racing had been in full stride by the time of the Paramount GP/SCNCA Championship but since then we have had a pretty major drop off of interest and entries. One of the situations is the collapse of the Citrus Valley Velo racing team. CVV had been a bright spot in the 55/60+ peleton being the only team to try and match up against the powerful UC Cyclery/JW Flooring racing team. Due to injuries, loss of interest, burn out, and probably more than I know of most of the racers are no shows nowadays. Hopefully some of the guys will get the bug again, heal up their injuries and get back out there. We really need numbers at certain critical events through the rest of the season. The one bright spot from their club is Steve "Ironman" Borer. He is there week in and week out.
Sunday June 21st saw the San Pedro Grand Prix taking place. It was orginally on the schedule with the Glendale race the same day. Brad House the promoter of the SPGP was trying to work things out for the 55/60+ racers and I really appreciate his concerns to give us opportunities to race and have the other benefits that top of the line races have like a purse, on line reg without a late fee late into the week, race winner jersey(I have to smile here a little. I have seen low priced jerseys before but...Lol. It was something with the name of the event and winner on it. So cool!), and some decent primes(Sports Splash is not one of them).
The Glendale race was rescheduled for Aug. 30th so SPGP was solo on the calendar. The race had to deal with Father's Day but the 55/60+ started at 9:30 am so really no problem there.
Plenty of time later in the day to spend with the fam.
There were 23 or 24 55s that came to the line at 9:30. 9 60s came up which was disappointing but the malaise and injuries have hit the 60s hard. John Rubcic broke 2 bones in his hand the Sunday before in a fun sprint before getting home from a mountain bike/cyclo cross ride. John's foot came out of the pedal and down he went. John says he can ride now but can't grip his bars that well to sprint. No known time table for a return. Paul Springer is still having trouble with his shoulder which is a shame. Paul had great form at the time of his injury at Ontario.
The race at San Pedro is on an interesting and very tough course. It is 1.1 miles long with a 50 Ft. power climb every lap. Maybe that doesn't sound that great but the pro race at Nevada City had a 100 Ft. climb in 1.3 miles and that was considered difficult for the pros. Lance won it solo. The San Pedro course is actually almost always on as far as effort required. You start out toward the ocean and into the wind, make a 180 right turn onto a very narrow road which starts the power climb. Once you crest the top you finally get a downhill but have to scrub most of that speed because you have another 180 right turn with smooth bricks at the bottom which made traction a bit of a problem on top of everything else. After the last 180 turn you have 600 meters to the finish line slightly uphill into an ocean breeze. There is very little time to "rest" on this course. It keeps taking it to you!
The race started off like fire crackers on a Chinese New Year. Kal typically likes to heat things up just to give the race a little flavor. Lol. Some 60s were shelled right away. I was struggling a little and saw how far I was from the front and how many riders were ahead of me. Howard Miller came by me and gave me some incentive to move up. By the time the race hit the top of the hill for the 2nd time the pace slowed and allowed me to move up. I kept an eye on the 400 numbers series as that was the 60s while the 55s had a 300 number series.
There were a lot of attacks but one that looked like it might stick took place about 1/3 the way through the race. Good mix of riders- Mitch Weinstock, Richard Stahlberg, Ricky Shorts and new to 55 racing Stan Appel. They worked it but somehow it didn't make it. They never got very far away but kept the pace of the race high. This race was hard. I was at my limit most of the race. Once this break got caught the effort level subsided a bit but another jump by Kal Szkalak put the hurt back on everyone and especially the chasers like Al Shorts, Howard Miller, Tom Reilly and Stan Appel. Kal never got very far away but no one could completely close the gap. Kal reminded me of Thurlow Rodgers who likes to go out in front and just hurt everyone in 45+. Thurlow can be just 20 meters off the front and he just keeps grinding it out. I have to give Kal a lot of credit. He is very strong. I just sat in and saw all the 60s move behind me. I knew Bruce Steele has been riding very strong in 60+ and had just won the SCNCA at the Paramount race but this course didn't quite fit his riding style and his motivation is a little down right now. This course requires power, speed, climbing ability (short power climbs), bike handling skills, and a long sprint. Its no wonder that some 55s and 60s were off the back.
With 5 laps to go Kal finally got reeled back in. The pace again slowed and I saw some 55s come by me but no 60s. William Carvin did get by me half way through the race but dropped back during the "Kal chase". The last 3 laps were at a pretty good pace but the lap times were off from 15 to 30 seconds per one of the officials. The pace gave Tom Reilly an idea and he took off with about 1 lap to go. Bell lap. Nervous time. I got on Rick Swanson's wheel figuring that was a good wheel to come in. Lost it at the top but no 60s seemed to be near me. At least a dozen 55s were ahead of me and working for position. Tom Reilly was still away but Dale Luedtke wasn't worried figuring that Tom would be reeled in before the finish.
He was caught but it was close. Not quite like the pro races where someone is away for 50 miles and gets caught with 200 meters to go but I am sure the feeling of disappointment was similar for Tom. Dale came ripping toward the finish line and passed Tom with 2 cones to go(50 meters or less) winning the race pumping his arm before the line (vid of finish included). Kal was still tired from his solo effort and faded a bit toward the finish . Stan Apple got 2nd place in an outstanding first appearance in 55+ racing. Al Shorts came in 3rd in another strong outing.
In 60+ racing I came at the tail end of a line of 55s but one of the guys quit his effort so I had to make my way toward the finish line solo but Bruce was a bit behind so first place to John McKee. Bruce Steele was 2nd with Mario Seri placing 3rd. All the placing will be added when the complete results show up on the SCNCA website (I didn't get a complete list from Eric Smith at the event like I usually do).
This was a very tough and hard fought race. Perfect for me tuning up for Natz. George Chester mentioned that we averaged over 300 watts on his power meter for the 40 minutes. Thats sounds a little high but good job by everyone that came out. We need a great turnout for Manhattan Beach or our options next year may start drying up.
Thanks to guys like Nick Forte, Pags and Michael Edwards who always come out even when the results aren't always there. Hope to see many more of you next week at the MBGP. Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+ Finish List

Luedtke
Appel
Shorts
Szkalak
Weinstock
Miller
Reilly
Swanson
Chester
Vanlandingham
Stahlberg
Alva
Shorts
Bernede
Borer
Cardenas
Haim
Barbagiovanni
Gomez

60+ Finish List

McKee
Steele
Seri
Forte
Heise
Post
Pags
Albert
Edwards


video

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Cozy Little Race at Ontario Airport



By Steve Borer

Morning at the SCNCA Junior Criterium Championships for the 55+/60+ crowd dawned with lots of dark clouds, drizzle, wind, cold, airplanes and…no riders. Well, not exactly no riders, but just about no riders. To be exact, pre-registration for the 55s consisted of one rider – me – and the 60s had four. Driving to the airport course I told Jodi that I might even get a decent finish today considering the pre-registration numbers, though I secretly knew I would be, to quote Bill Tippets, “poaching a top finish.” But I knew I had properly prepared for the 7 a.m. start by having a massive spaghetti dinner, including spumoni, with family at world famous Vince’s Spaghetti just twelve hours earlier. Bring it on, boys, because I was ready for a poached top finish.

Warm-up consisted of talking to Kal about the lack of racers, watching commercial jets passing just inches overhead on approach to Ontario International Airport and riding my bike. When Ralph called the 55/60 racers to the start line the group approached. I pulled up next to Rino Barbagiovanni and he said “if you work with me maybe I can get a top three finish.” I thought this guy apparently thinks I’m Mule or he forgot his glasses or something because the only top three finish I’ve ever had was in a 55+ cross race that had only three riders. I thought maybe the 55s had only three racers, so I looked to my right to check out the crowd. I saw several 55s right next to me, but then I realized what I saw were Kal’s biceps, which are big enough for several riders. So, in fact, the 55s had three racers. The 60s had seven, meaning a grand total of ten racers were going to ride in the wind, cold and drizzle for 40 fun-filled minutes.

Ramon blew the whistle and we’re off. Apparently Kal felt threatened by the competition because he hauled ass through turn one and up the first straightaway. I rode right on his wheel but as we came through turn two he suddenly backed off. So much for trying to get away. He must’ve figured that with me on his wheel and without any teammates he was toast.

For those of you who have not raced the airport course you don’t know what you’re missing on a dark, cold, windy and wet day. The first straightaway is slightly uphill with a cross-wind, over fairly poor asphalt, complimented by a speed bump. A speed bump on a bike race course? You’ve got to be kidding! No kidding, it was right there on every lap.

Shortly after Kal backed off he took off again. This time only Rino went with him and they opened up a gap, then a big gap, then a huge gap. Then it dawned on me; Kal wanted to see how fast he and Rino could lap the field on the .7 mile course. And lap the field they did. By now the rest of us were riding together (sans Michael Edwards, whose gray locks blowing in the wind were slowing him down) and us 55s watched as the 60s battled it out. At the end, that crafty little Pags was brilliant; he openly professed to simply wanting to finish while in reality he was setting up a sprint finish. And sprint he did, right past the dumbfounded (and soon-to-be third place) Ernie Hoffer. What a sight.

See you all at San Pedro.


Masters 55+ Results

1. Kal Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring
2. Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo
3. Steve Borer Citrus Valley Velo

Masters 60+ Results

1. Richard Rodriquez Nytro Racing
2. Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Association (PAA)
3. Ernest Hoffer EDGE Racing
4. Michael Edwards EDGE Racing
5. Domenick Forte PAA/RE/MAX

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Have to Know Where the Finish Line Is


By John McKee


I will have a limited report for the 55s. I wasn't in the race but got some feedback from some riders.
There were 21 pre regs and 24 finishers. 2 pre regs couldn't make it including fellow writer Richard Pollock. As told in my last story about the 60s the 55s started at 7:35 am. UCC/JW Flooring had 5 riders in the mix. Bill Tippetts led the field up the climb. Bill is a great climber and easily led the pack by 100 meters. A hill top finish would of course be great for Bill but the top of the hill was only half way home. I don't know how the race played out after that but a pretty large group came in for the win. Ricky Shorts is usually known as a sprinter but him and his brother Al got over the hill in good shape. The only problem for Ricky was something really simple. He didn't pay attention to where the finish line was when he started. The officials set up was on the left as you would ride in. That's where the finish line was. Ricky was looking at a pop up on the right side about 40 meters after the real finish line as being where he thought the finish was. Oh well. Good ride by Ricky anyway. Karl Weber who I don't know at this time had an excellent ride for 3rd place. Great showing by the 55s at Bakersfield. Here is a complete list of finishers in order:
Szkalak
Shorts
Weber
Luedtke
Rodriguez
Guglielmelli
Huffman
Holland
Jones
Tippets
Marotta
Shorts
Pfister
Laird
Bernede
Horine
Moore
Hechanova
Miller
Hain
Anderson
Borer
Tokar
Gomez

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ponce De Leon Couldn't Find it But....


By John McKee


Ponce De Leon is a legend in the folklore of the state of Florida. Ponce discovered Florida in 1513 and legend tells it that he was searching for the "Fountain of Youth". At least that is what is taught in the school systems there. I know I spent 3 years in grammar school there and heard all about Ponce De Leon and the legendary "Fountain of Youth". (Bonus insert- I played the swashbuckling, charming, and handsome hero of the Sunshine State in a school play at Fishweir Elementary School. I am pretty sure that in the play we are looking for that elusive fountain. I don't think we had our hearts in it though because all us kids wanted to be more mature and older. Little did we know that when we got "older" that we would want to be younger but to be historically correct we couldn't find it anyway.) We know of course that he didn't find it but I am not sure about a certain cyclist that is currently racing 60+. Kenny Fuller has always been a very successful cyclist and a former Olympian but it seems nowadays that he is getting better compared to riders his own age vs years ago. In a road race or time trial it isn't even a contest but lets tell the story of the Masters SCNCA Road Race Championship of 2009 for the 60+ category.
Pre registration went better than 2008 and there were 18 60s, 21 55s and 37 50s. The flyer made it look like we were all going to race together and be scored separately. Eric Smith let me know that like last year the 3 groups would race separately with 5 minutes in between start times. This is the second year in loveable Bakersfield. You can say a lot of things about Bakersfield but you have to admit that there are a lot of hotel/motel rooms. Not sure why but they are there. One thing they don't seem to have much of is grocery stores. After having dinner the night before the race at Frugatti's with Don & Trish Kimper, Steve Horine, John Rubcic, Steve & Jodie Borer, Bruce & Teresa Steele, Mark Huffman and new/old Paramount member Jim Morehouse I searched for a grocery store to get something to eat for Sat. morning. Side note-Jim rode for Paramount in the early 80s and needed a new team this year so decided to join Paramount again. Jim got to category 1 when he finished racing in the 80s but stopped racing and just rode his bike. In 2002 he was shot on a road in Nevada in the leg. Bummed he didn't ride again until he got the bug in 2007. He has lost 20 lbs and is riding and climbing great. The tougher the course the better for Jim. I did ask Jim if the long arm of the law found the culprit that shot him and his reply was "Unless you got shot and are bleeding to death on a casino floor, they don't much care".
OK, back to the search for the food store. I actually couldn't find one. I turned on Buck Owens Rd. and saw a karaoke lounge at the Best Western. Down the road at the Teaser Pleaser you could find "All nude all the time". A lot of options for entertainment but for food I had to settle for a Arco station.
Getting to the venue on Saturday morning from the directions isn't the easiest thing and I got a little lost but found my way there. I wasn't the only one as the Short brothers also had trouble. The weather was cool with some dark clouds around. Many racers didn't bring arm or knee warmers thinking of the traditional type of hot weather you would expect in Bakersfield in June. The women masters racers went off at 7:15 am including Trish Kimper and Teresa Steele. They had to race against the female version of Kenny Fuller. She is on the same club.
The 50s were off at 7:30 am, the 55s at 7:35 am and the 60s at 7:40 am. The count for the 60s grew to 21. Pretty good number considering the travel, time and expense for everyone. The 55s had a few more. Thanks to all you guys that showed up. 45 between the 55s and 60s in a road race at Bakersfield is a good showing. Remember, no pack...no pack winner, no race. Again Robert Paganini was the oldest starter for the day. Robert didn't finish last either. Way to go, Robert.
21 60+ riders started down the road at 7:40 am. A few miles of a fairly easy pace and former Australian pro rider Warren Keyser took off. Nobody knew who he was. He was wearing John Tzinberg's Bike Religion jersey. Kenny Fuller knew him from times past and knew what a good rider he was. Kenny also had done some tandem riding with Warren before. Since Kenny knew he was strong Kenny jumped. Probably earlier than Kenny wanted but the race was only 31 miles. Off they go.
John Rubcic is sitting back having trouble with an upset stomach. Bruce Steele is still a glow from his great ride at the Paramount race on 5/31 and didn't train much this week coming into the race. Bruce's motivation level was down a bit.
A little heat was put on and riders started breathing harder and a few guys were off the back. I guess this was a chase for Kenny but what chance did that have unless his compatriot wasn't very good and nobody knew until later that Warren was a good rider. Someone thought that he might live outside the SCNCA area because everyone was so unfamilar with him but no he lives in Huntington Beach. I now remember seeing him on some local OC training rides.
OK, the race starts up the hill. The grade starts gradual and just gets a little steeper as it goes along until it peaks out. This is Jim Morehouse territory. Kenny and Warren were long gone by now but 13 riders were still together. Jim set the pace up the hill. He kept looking around for some help but never looked like he was in much distress. No one else seemed to want to do much work. Most of us were just trying to hang on. I kept asking Don Kimper how much further we had to the top. The answer was always the wrong answer. The right answer would have been, its right around the corner but no... alas we had more to climb then my legs could take. About 3/4 the ways up a split occurred. 5 riders slowly rolled away. Morehouse, Rubcic, Close, Steele and Crystal. Mike is looking stronger every time I see him on his bike. The follow pack was myself, Baldwin, Kimper, DeVoss, Maciel and Crain. Cresting the top the distance between the 2 groups wasn't much but going over the top always gives the lead group an edge. They are going down while the chase group is going up. On the downhill there was one dangerous turn. A pretty sharp left turn that was wet from rain and had some dirt on it that turned to mud. Slick as could be. My rear tire skidded a bit but wasn't too bad. Dan Crain was behind me and skidded worse than I did and went into the dirt on the side of the asphalt. He saved himself from going down but lost some space to the 2nd chase group. Dan tryed to catch back up and crashed. Dan had some road rash but I heard later that he injuried his thumb. I had a pretty bad thumb injury at the Cyclo Vets Omnium in 2004. Not fun. Hopefully Dan's injury isn't too bad.
After the rest of the 2 chase groups came down there was about 300 meters or so between the 2 groups. The second chase group tried to work it but the distance seemed to stay the same and I think that the 1st chase group starting pulling away. Glen Baldwin and Gary DeVoss looked strong in the 2nd group. Jim Morehouse, John Rubcic and Mike Crystal were doing most of the work ahead.
As far as the lead two, Kenny peaked before Warren but waited for him so they could work together back to the barn. Coming back in the weather got nasty. Interminent showers with a pretty good headwind made things all the harder.
Kenny was able to drop Warren at some point before the finish for another SCNCA Masters Road Championship. Warren Keyser rolled in for 2nd. The first chase group turned toward home and at some point Jim Morehouse took a flyer and lead it out. Not surprisingly John Rubcic was able to overtake him for 3rd and the last podium spot. Jim was 4th with Mike Crystal locking up 5th with a solid ride. Steve Close was 6th with Bruce taking 7th.
The 2nd chase group saw Gary DeVoss take a flyer several miles from home and it looked like it was going to stick but Gary ran out of gas. Ben Maciel jumped the group coming in and was able to overtake Gary. Glen Baldwin pulled me in and Don Kimper accompanying his wife to the finish. Good event and the Kern County Wheelmen did a nice job promoting it.
The complete list of finishers was:
Fuller
Keyser
Rubcic
Morehouse
Crystal
Close
Steele
Maciel
McKee
DeVoss
Baldwin
Kimper
Barrena
Barnes
Llamas
Paganini
Albert
Post
Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Monday, June 1, 2009

BRUCE STEALS THE SHOW!

By John McKee

Sunday May 31st saw the SCNCA Masters Criterium Championship and the Paramount Grand Prix being one in the same. The race was held at the standard location in Rancho Dominguez with a finish line only used once before in 2007. Rancho Dominguez is the name for the area throwing back to the Spanish land grant days. It is close to the city of Dominguez Hills, Carson and Compton but not in any city limits. The area is serviced by the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and service they do, as the same patrol officer works the Paramount race every year. He has everything down and as long as you have the finish and registration where he wants, he is happy to be there. State championship jerseys would be available to winners of the masters categories starting at 30+ and ending in 60+.
My day started on the course a little after 5 am. Re-grooming the course after already cleaning up on Friday from dirt, dirt clods, gravel, rocks, glass, cardboard, pieces of metal, wood, and food wrappers. All that was left early Sunday morning were a few broken Corona Extra bottles. All the stuff from the OCW storage locker showed up for registration and the course to be set up. Pop ups, tables, cones, and a million and one other things. Some items are critical like waiver forms and that required a late night run to Kinko's after it was determined that 500 copies were going to be AWOL.
The event went off at 7:30 am with the women 35+/45+ category. I had heard a lot of belly aching out of the women about early start times, having to race together, this and that, but in the end a decent number of gals showed up and raced. Unfortunately, Hilary Crowley the 2007 champion crashed at turn 2 and held up the start of the men's 60+ race. Hilary seemed OK after a bit and the event went on. Hilary did a second race, but was feeling odd later and was taken to the hospital to get checked out by her buddie Diana Del Fante. I hope Hilary is ok.
There were 23 pre regs in 60+ with 28 showing up at the line. There were a number of no shows in 55 and 60+ for various reasons and some of you who entered knowing you weren't coming, I say thank you for that. My goal was 30 in 60+ and we fell short at the line, but had at least 30 registrations. The field was super strong. Equivalent or almost equivalent to the caliber of criterium nationals I have done the last 3 years in Penn. and Kent. We had a world champion, 30+time national champion, district champions and many podium district finishers.
The weather was overcast and cool. No rain like in some areas of the Southland. Pretty ideal conditions for a bike race. 40 minutes of near full throttle racing was ahead. At 8:25 am the race was on for 40 minutes. The 60+ racers were racing for $750. A record purse by a long way.
Paramount had its pre race strategy. Monty was going to mark Kenny Fuller and I was going to mark Phil Richards. I talked to Phil before the race and if you know Phil, he was as usual trash talking himself. I asked him if he was going to be aggressive out there and he said no. He was just going to sit in. Remember an old saying when we were kids. 'Liar liar pants on fire'. Well, Phil's pants were definitely SMOKIN'. Almost from the gun Phil was up to his old tricks. Phil definitely was the most aggressive rider in the race and didn't end up with much to show for it, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
Phil started the action early and Edge rider Ernie Hofer got on him to protect the Edge sprinters Loren Stephens and Joe Wells. I got on the effort as well, but being so early I just sat on. This move quickly failed. Phil tried again and I was again on him and Mike Crystal joined in. We worked it for a while but this effort was also reeled in. Jumpin' Jack(Phil)Flash was at it again and again I was on him but this time an SBW member joined us. Better mix because SBW had at least 3 shirts in the pack. The SBW member was Bruce Steele. I met Bruce about 4 years ago at this course at a CBR race. I talked to Bruce there and he told me he use to do a lot of mountain biking and wanted to try his hand at road racing. I am pretty sure I told him what I tell a lot of guys that want to give racing a try. Sit in, hang out at the back, watch and learn, and don't do anything crazy or heroic like you see on tv. Bruce learned and learned well. Bruce has become a consistent top finisher in 55 and 60+ racing, but what was to come has to bring to mind classic upsets in sports history. With the help of the Internet and ESPN I am going to mention 3. The first is "The Miracle on Ice". US amateurs beating a clearly professional team from the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. The Americans had previously lost to the very strong Soviet team 10 to 3 but showed what hard training, teamwork, good coaching and enthusiasm can do for you. The whole thing was made into a pretty good movie with the title "The Miracle" with Kurt Russell playing the head coach of the team.
The second upset that pops out at me is Jack Fleck beating Ben Hogan in the 1955 US Open in a 18 hole playoff. Ben was one of the best golfers of all time and Jack Fleck was a total unknown. Jack tried his hand at small time pro golf after separating from the Navy after WWII. Jack was off shore at Utah Beach during the D Day invasion. No one gave Jack a chance but he won by 3 strokes in the Monday playoff at Olympic Club in San Francisco.
The third upset that also popped out at me was "The Miracle Mets". The New York Mets had been a total door mat in the National League since their inception and had finished the 1968 season in 9th place. In 1969 as of Aug. 13th the Mets were 9 and 1/2 games out of first place but came on to win the pennant and beat the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games in the World Series. The Mets roster included a friend of mind and former baseball teammate at Long Beach City College and Long Beach State College, Rod Gaspar. 2 years off the campus at LBSC and Rod was in on one of the greatest comebacks and upsets in sports history.
Now I don't want to go overboard about the place of masters bicycle racing and its importance in sports because to everyone else it doesn't mean much but to most of us it is a passion- stimulating, motivating, dangerous, very hard and fun all at the same time.
Now lets get back to the race itself and how all this background information ties in. The last you were told Richards, Steele and McKee were on a break. The clock was reading about 20 mins to go so the race was half way over. The biggest prime of the day was a teeth bleaching generously donated by Dr. William Langstaff. Bill is one of the best ago group time trialists around. The value of this prime is $600. I knew that Kenny Fuller wanted this and had won it every time it was available in the past and he was able to attend. In 2008 Kenny raced on Saturday in Louisville, Kent. in the afternoon so you wouldn't expect him to race Sunday morning in Southern Cal. Of course the Paramount President had to be there and also raced in Kent. but thats another story. Lol.
OK, the Paramount playbook was for me to be off the front with Phil Richards and Kenny would go for the bleaching prime and come across so strong that John Rubcic wouldn't be there. Kenny did go hard as expected and John Rubcic was left flat for a bit but John recovered and gave it a hard go to catch on to Kenny. Mike Crystal also tried to come across to the break group. I saw Kenny coming on the down hill and freewheeled waiting to jump on the express train. We all jumped on the express train and John Rubcic made it across as did Mike Crystal. On the third leg of the course which is uphill the power was put on and gapped all of us but John Rubcic. John stayed on his wheel through the finish line. Kenny won the prime but John was where he wanted to be. Bruce sporting his new Zipp 404 wheels with ceramic bearings got back on track and caught back on with Kenny and John.
Phil, Mike and myself were left to work together to try and catch back on or stay away from the pack. Several laps went by and everything stayed status quo. The second break stayed about the same distance away from the front group and the pack for a couple of laps but the front group started pulling away and the SBW team stopped the "no chase" rule. The second break group of Phil, myself and Mike were back in the pack. Up front Kenny and Bruce were trading pulls with Bruce taking the down hill sections and Kenny taking the harder uphill sections. John Rubcic was locked onto Kenny's wheel. John takes a lot of ribbing about his race tactics from parties on and off the course but he has his side. Kenny's best chance to win is to separate himself from John and then go into his tt mode. Since he is the fastest tt rider in the world in our age category who would be able to catch him. When would be the best time to jump John. After a pull at the front when John was stressed. If John doesn't take a pull then he has a chance to stay with Kenny and is the top sprinter in the country in 60+ so he would have a great chance to win if he can stay with Kenny. Bruce was just trying to stay with the 2 and taking a pull when he could thinking he was riding was 3rd place.
The pack had no more incentives so the pace slowed. With 3 laps to go another page of the Paramount playbook came into the race. New member and ultra distance rider Dan Crain was asked to go hard with 2 laps to go to make the race safer for everyone and make the others riders besides Monty and I chase. Dan got a little too excited and went with 3 laps to go and did a great job but he went too early and had little pop left for the last lap.
Up front on the last lap Kenny was going to gamble everything to make John go hard so he could ride his wheel early in the lap. Kenny let Bruce get a gap when Bruce was taking his pull on the downhill. Kenny has many titles under his belt already. Bruce saw that he had a gap and went for it. John was waiting until the moment that he could take it to the line hard and not "dry up" and let Kenny come around him but not wait so long that he couldn't catch Bruce. Oops! Miscalculation! John went after Bruce with 2 corners to go. It was too late. Bruce rolled across the line the 2009 SCNCA CHAMPION! Congratulations to Bruce. John came across the line soon after with Kenny sitting up for third and pointing to Bruce.
It got a little messy in the pack with everyone trying to get in good position. Monty came around the last corner and lead it out. Loren Stephens was on his wheel. There is a little less than 200 meters to the line but it is a false flat and not easy. Monty said it felt like 800 meters. I got boxed in the pack behind a road/time trialist who made me put on my brakes at the last corner making a good finish impossible. I didn't have good legs anyway. Loren came around Monty to win the field sprint. Monty rolled in with Joe Wells following, Mike Fleming, Mike Crystal, Mike Barnes and myself rounded out the top 10. Complete results below and 2 vids of the finishes.
The Paramount GP was a great success overall. 692 entries-should be 3rd for the year in Socal after Dana Point and MBGP. The biggest purses in history in 55+ and 60+ in the country. I would dare say the largest field ever in 50+ at 74 racers in the country. Senior masters racing is really cooking in Socal. I want to take a bit to thank a number of people that helped make this a great event. The Paramount club came through with great support as volunteers. Thank you teammates. Category sponsorship was awesome. UCC/JW Flooring came through with 2 cat sponsorships and additional compensation to get on the race permit. Paramount put 100 % of this back into the race for the racers. Edge Racing also came through with compensation to get on the race permit and a cat sponsorship. All of this was put back into the race for the racers. Rick Swanson of Progressive Fastening Systems put in a cat sponsorship even though he was going to be in Italy watching the Giro at the time of our race. Richard Pollack of Mule Motorcycles put in a cat sponsorship and unfortunately was sick and couldn't make the race. Additional cat sponsors were Jax Bicycle Centers and Paramount VP Curt Dosier of Knobbe Marten Intellectual Property Law. I put in a cat sponsorship as well. Feathers Brakes threw in a set of $400 brakes weighing 199 grams. The Orange County Wheelmen were good for a double sponsorship for the men 1/2/3 race . THANK YOU ALL CAT SPONSORS!
The officials crew was great with SCNCA President Eric Smith heading up the crew that included Greg Alden and our own John Rubcic. Ralph Elliott of MGE Racing did another great job of announcing the event. Ralph likes what is is doing and loves to tell stories. He was thinking back to 1968 when he did the Tour of Paramount. Monty Pettus was a member of Paramount back then.
Special feedback from Eric Smith president of SCNCA "First, I think everything went extremely well. Big fields, except for the crash in the women’s race, everything went off like clockwork, and registration was awesome!"
The president of UCC/JW Flooring Joey Valdivia had this to say "Hello. What a great day of racing for Southern California. Please send our thanks to all the members that worked so hard to put on a perfect race. The races were on time and with all the preems, very aggressive. I’m sure all the participants got their fill of racing today."
Thanks to all the participates and volunteers. It was fun. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!



video video


SCNCA Masters Crit Championships (Rank 3.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 42
2 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 33
3 46765 Kenny Fuller Cycles Veloce 30
4 234791 Loren Stephens EDGE Racing 27
5 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 24
6 48252 Joseph Wells EDGE Racing 21
7 129293 Michael Fleming Coates /On Deck Foundation 18
8 8283 Michael Crystal CA Pools Racing 15
9 220804 Michael Barnes Rock Solid Cycling 12
10 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 9
11 171652 Stephen Whitsitt South Bay Wheelmen 6
12 58170 Sydney Duck Unattached 3
13 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 0
14 50498 Richard Rodriguez Nytro Racing 0
15 101582 William Carvin Unattached 0
16 144111 Robert Carter San Diego Cyclo Vets 0
17 61278 Mario Seri Kahala LaGrange 0
18 115793 Jim Roebuck Southern California Velo 0
19 203244 Cary Alpert South Bay Wheelmen 0
20 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
21 266647 Allen Kizuka Velo Allegro 0
22 246256 Daniel Crain Paramount Racing 0
23 275832 Benjamin Maciel Citrus Valley Velo 0
24 223119 C Kevin Post South Bay Wheelmen 0
25 45342 Domenick Forte PAA / RE/MAX 0
26 57726 Ernest Hoffer EDGE Racing 0
27 281976 Michael OConnor Unattached 0