Sunday, July 26, 2009

UCC/JW Flooring Perform on Home Turf

By John McKee

North San Diego County is UCC/JW Flooring's home turf. They are good everywhere but take it to their home field and its like playing the USC Trojan football team at the LA Coliseum or the Florida Gators in "The Swamp" in Gainsville. UCC fielded 5 of the 30 or so 55 and 60+ riders at the 8th annual San Marcos Criterium. This event was held July 26th, 2009 in San Marcos, Cal. at the CSU San Marcos campus. The race was hosted by the Rancho Cycling Club. The race course around part of the campus has developed a "rep" as being difficult and somewhat treacherous. It is 1.7 miles long and has 5 sides to it. The start finish line is at the top of the course and the first right turn is but 40 meters away. From there the riders plunge down a sloped section to the second turn and this is the most dangerous section out there. Riders have to scrub some speed swing left into the left turn lane and then make a 90 degree right turn. There is a hole in the road that is marked and is a problem that riders have to avoid. It has been there for years. The set up reminds me of a turn in the Foodpark ride in OC on Sat. but the San Marcos turn is tougher because you have but 2 lanes to turn into while avoiding this hole and the slope is greater. The corner at San Marcos is also off camber. The riders have to hit this at a good speed because the pace on the next section is always fast. Up to 34 mph. There might be a slight downward pitch to the road but it isn't readily apparent. The 3rd turn is level and is taken at pretty much full speed. The 4th turn takes you into the power climb and it is important to take as much mo into the climb as possible. Its tough but the thing about it is once you get up it you are going to have to do it again and again each lap. Yikes. Once you hit the last leg you are breathing hard and hoping for a bit of a respite but nooooo!! More pain. The 5th leg is about 250 meters to the finish and is slightly uphill most of the way and with little speed coming into it, you have to power your bike along as best you can. All in all a pretty tough layout. The flyer mentioned 60 ft. gained per lap but my cycle computer was showing close to a 100.
The 55/60+ race was to start at 7:40 am. I got there before 6 am with Dale Luedtke showing up a few mins afterward and parking next to me. Dale served as the cat 5 mentor/advisor in the parking lot. Pointing out to some bonehead newbies that peeing in the bushes and elsewhere is frowned on. Dale helped some hopeless racers with their numbers upside down but Dale had to scratch his head with the guy that locked his car with the keys in it and his helmet in it as well. Not much Dale could do there. Oh those cat 5s.
The 55/60+ race started a few minutes after the finish of the cat 5 race with a few less than 20 55s and 11 60s. The course "rep" hurt attendance with the 60s plus the early start time. The juniors raced after us which are always the "rabbits" at most race events. 40 minutes of racing ahead. The first lap or two saw some shadow boxing with most riders getting up the climb in good style. Craig Jones decided to mix it up and ventured off the front. I believe that Mark Huffman joined him at some point early on. Each lap saw more riders struggling. Kal and then Paul Rodriguez were able to get away from the group. Most splits occurred after the power climb on the 5th leg. Craig ended up dropping back and the 3 UCC riders were together and no one was going to bring them back once they started working it together.
2 riders did hit the deck after turn 2 when a cone was clipped and a Citrus Valley Velo rider(Dick Gentili) hit the spinning cone and went down. Don Kimper went down on top. Neither rider broke any bones and seemed alright after the race. That left 9 60+ riders in the race. The 2 top climbers in the 60+ group were SBW's Bruce Steele and Paramount's Jim Morehouse.
Through the middle of the race there were 2 small chase groups with Paramount's Howard Miller leading the front chase group. The 2 groups meshed after a few laps. Phil Richards did some good work in the 2nd chase group and I finished the chase off after it was so close that it was easy. Near the end of the race there were the 3 UCC riders off the front, the main chase group of about 10 to 11 and everyone else off the back in ones and twos.
The break group decided amongst themselves on the finish order while the rest of us had to fight it out. The order of finish for the 3 55s was Paul Rodriguez, Mark Huffman and Kal Szkalak.The last lap of the chase group saw a moderate pace with the real push coming on the climb and the sprint toward the finish line. Dale Luedtke powered his way to win the bunch sprint and make it 1 through 4 for UCC in 55+.
In 60+ Bruce Steele kept a good position in the peleton and kept up the pressure to the finish line to win the 60+ race. Phil Richards hit the wall coming for home after leading everyone out and was passed by Jim Morehouse who finished 2nd and then myself who took the last podium spot in 60+. Phil finished 4th in 60+. What a relief to have this race over with. Hard event for sure. The remaining places in 55+ were:

5- Jones
6- Rosemeyer
7- Miller
8- Mayne
9- Dufour
14-Sanda Timbal

The remaining 60+ places were:

5- Crain
6- Fleming
7- Pettus
8- Pags
9- Forte

Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

1 comment:

  1. Years and years ago I once locked my keys in the car, and yes, my helmet was still inside, as were my cycling shoes. No, I was not a Cat 5 newbie, but a Cat 1 rider and the race was going to start soon. Fortunately, it was a Volvo with pop out rear windows (they didn't roll down, they "popped" out on a lever). These were afixed with screws through the glass and into the metal lever. A trusty screw driver and a little bump of the elbow dislodged the window and I got back into my car! I made the race, and placed. I've been obsessively compulsive about checking for the whereabouts of my keys ever since. Lesson learned! (Sorry, the plight of the Cat 5 rider brought back memories...)