Monday, January 25, 2010


By John McKee

It's 42 degrees when I arrive at the Dominguez Hills course around 6:30 am for the first CBR criterium on January 24th, 2010. This is the same course that Paramount uses for its race and again this year it will be the Masters SCNCA Championship. It was plenty cold this morning but it didn't seem to damper the spirit of the newbie cat 5 racers. They were everywhere. CBR had sold out by the Monday before the race 75 race slots, but more were clamoring to race. Chris and Vera decided to make 2 races of 50 each(racing concurrently but separate) but all this delayed the start of the racing day and would affect the 55/60+ race. It looked brutal out there during the cat 5 races . There was just one mini crash that I know of thankfully. All the fields during the event day were huge except for ours and the women 1/2 which had the lowest turnout at 18.
There were but 13 pre registered 55/60+ racers plus 2 more that have year long passes with CBR. For $500 or so they can do any CBR event throughout the year including El Dorado. I was hoping we would get at least 30 racers and we made that with same day registration. One rider was still warming up when we went off because it was announced that there was a 20 minute delay but it really wasn't that much. Another rider showed up at 10:30 am thinking the race was 11 something but the start time had changed and I did mention that to everyone in one of my messages. Yet another rider choose to do the 50+ race rather than the 55/60+ race that he could have. We don't do our age cat, we won't have our age cat! Theoretically, we could have had around 35 racing. There were a few new faces and I actually saw a couple of Canyon Velo jerseys in our race. I always see lots of Canyon Velo jerseys on Saturday training rides but come Sunday and they are no where to be found. A lot of their members really stretch the lycra nowadays.
The start time of 7:45 am came up and many of us were hanging out waiting for the 2 cat 5 races to end and I see Don Davidson come into the registration line. I went up to Don and said "Aren't you cutting it kind of close". Don just said it took him longer to get there than he thought and he would do the 50+ race instead but I told him about the delay and that he would make it and he did. Don had planned to stay at the event all day and do the last race which was the Men's 1/2 race. 90 minutes of burning speed. Don did the last event and hung in there for all 90 minutes even though he was running on fumes the last 30 minutes. Don had to be thinking is this thing ever going to end. He made it though. Nice going Don!
OK. The 5s are in(There race was shortened) and the 55/60+ racers are called to the line about 8 am. I didn't get an exact count but it had to be over 30 because there were posted 9 60+ finishers and 20 55+ finishers and there were several riders off the back and I am not sure they finished. We were scheduled for 45 minutes of racing but because of the initial delay the organizers were going to shorten our race as well to try and get back on schedule. Finally we got the official start and we were off. The standard malaise took over and everyone was looking at each other and the pace was pretty easy. There were a few attempts at breaking with Don Davidson, Tom Riley, and Ricky Shorts involved in most of the efforts and Steve Borer doing most of the dirty work. Up tempo chasing and pulling the pack along. The most any group got away was 150 to 200 meters and I believe it was these 3 guys about 20 minutes into the race. They kept looking backward rather than focusing on working it. With this group still away going into turn 4, Kal Szkalak took off on the inside of the course. I saw him wind up and go so I went after him and started to chase and of course Richard Stahlberg and everyone else got right on it. Kal reached the group first still with a little gap on the main field but choose to give up the ghost. This was the hardest part of the race and my heartrate shot up but was the only time I was stressed except for the finish line.
There were a few primes but the announcer wasn't clear as far as I was concerned as to what the prime was. One time he even said he didn't know what it was for. The announcer was definitely no Ralph Elliot. Ricky Shorts is the new prime killer and tears it up for whatever it is. Ricky has taken Bob Barney's place as the number one prime killer.
I looked at my watch at the bottom of the course after the break was caught and we had been racing for 23 minutes. When we went by the start/finish line the lap counter said 4. I didn't hear anything so I thought maybe this was wrong. 24 minutes into a 45 minute race and you have 4 laps to go?? It was right though because the next lap the counter showed 3 and the announcer said 3 laps to go so there you have it. We were going to race for 30 to 35 minutes. We were all together and everyone was jockeying for position and Tom Riley took a flyer and it was all or nothing for Tom. He has done this before and pulled it off. UC Cyclery/JW Flooring had one or two riders besides Kal and Dale Luedtke. One of them was Reed Moore who is more of a climbing specialist. Reed went to the front near the end to try and string out the field and chase and did the best he could but it wasn't fast enough and it wasn't stressful enough to keep the weaker riders in the back. After turn 3 the pace picked up and I don't know who was driving but the pack was closing in on Tom. I know Richard Stahlberg choose Al Shorts wheel and Monty Pettus was on Ricky Shorts. I have a feeling Dale was on Kal but don't know that for sure. Once we turned the last corner the course is very slightly uphill and this day into a little breeze making it a tough last 400 meters.
Al Shorts kind of took his foot off the gas as he wasn't feeling in top form leaving Richard Stahlberg to see Kal, Dale, Ricky and Monty steam by him and also Tom Riley. Richard took off on his own but wasn't able to overtake Monty. Monty Pettus was the 4th overall rider behind Ricky, Kal and Dale. Monty was the first 60+ racer for the first victory of the season in 60+. Dale Luedtke led the field home with some special motivation and won the race overall and the 55+ category. Dale's special motivation was his long time friend, Rick Gil. Dale and Rick go way back to the days when they raced motorcycles, did motocross, and got into bicycle racing. Rick hadn't raced in years but was still riding his bike. Rick and Dale are the same age. Last November 2009 Rick Gil had a major stroke and went into a coma. He is still alive but still in a coma and his chance for recovery is very slight. Dale dedidated his win to his long time friend, Rick Gil. THIS ONE'S FOR YOU RICK!

The placings as posted on the CBR scoreboard were:

60+ BAR Placings

1 Monty Pettus
2 Richard Stahlberg
3 John McKee
4 William Carvin
5 Don Davidson
6 Michael Edwards
7 Doug Fest
8 Michael O'Connor
9 Barney Feigenbaum

55+ BAR Placings

1 Dale Luedtke
2 Kal Szkalak
3 Ricky Shorts
4 Al Shorts
5 Unknown- # 899
6 Howard Miller
7 Alex Collins
8 Wayne Rosenkrante
9 Greg Painter
10 Rino Barbagavanni
11 Mark Rich
12 Richard Barron
13 Jack Briggs
14 Steve Borer

I will insert a few photos after Kenny BZ publishes his photos and I get a chance to steal a few. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!