Monday, February 22, 2010


By John McKee

Chris Lotts is always saying "Show me the love", unlike Cuba Gooding Jr. who is always saying "Show me the money" in the movie "Jerry Maguire". Chris is talking about racers signing up for his CBR bicycle races and Febuary 21, 2010 CBR had its 2nd criterium of the 2010 season called the "Simple Green Criterium" in Carson, Ca. "Show me the love" amounts to the same thing as "Show me the money" in reality. Chris brought back the 55/60+ categories after a layoff from 2006. There is an added twist this year and that is the 60+ category has a separate BAR series along with the 55+ racers. Both racing at the same time but scored separately for the finish placings and BAR points out to 20 places. The racers are placed together for the prize money. Chris and life partner Vera are CBR and provide racing opportunities to the race community on many Sundays from Jan. to Sept. and all Tuesdays at El Dorado Park in Long Beach from March to August. They do a great job and I don't think they make much money at it although this year could be their breakthrough year. New riders are coming out of the wood work. Don't know why or how but for this race their were 132 pre registered category 5 racers. Is Lance bringing racers out again? Anyway, I say good for Chris and Vera.
The weather report was always on racers minds coming into the weekend of the "Simple Green Criterium" as their was also a race on Saturday in Imperial which had a 55/60+ category(Posted a story on this race already). Saturday turned out to be dry at race time and when everyone showed up on Sunday morning for the CBR race it was dry with no hint of rain in the near future. Phew! No one likes to race in the rain. When all the dust settled and the 55/60+ toed the line there were 43 registered racers. 18 60+ and 25 55+. Probably a dozen more than the first CBR event. Good showing and Chris seemed pleased and thanked everyone for showing the love though not enough love I guess to get a full pay out. Maybe next time. UC Cyclery/JW Flooring had 3 riders at the line vs. 10 the day before at Imperial. All the individual contenders were there in 55+ and all but one in 60+. The note able exception in 60+ was Paramount racer Monty Pettus. Monty won the 60+ category in the first round and was a no show. Monty had been racing late at the track the night before against the likes of Ricky Shorts and Keith Ketterer and this Sunday was his wedding anniversary. He had to choose... race or wife, wife or race, hmmm...... wife comes first!
The race time was set for 7:45 am and the race went off pretty near the scheduled time. 45 minutes of racing with a payout to the first 5 finishers no matter what their age. The first laps went by rather uneventfully but things were going to light up a bit because there were a number of aggressive riders that didn't what it to come to a bunch sprint finish which would favor UCC's major players in Kal Szkalak and Dale Luetdke. Kal and Dale only had one additional teammate and that was Reid Moore. Reid was there to help police the field but he would need plenty of help from the field to manage that. Oh by the way the race was being held counter clock wise. This is opposite the normal direction and the first time I actually did this course this direction. It was a fun diversion. The race had a number of break attempts, aggressive riding, etc. and these were the players that I saw- Phil Richards, Don Davidson, Don Denegal(Don raced track at the highest level in the 80s and raced against the powerful team from the USSR in the late 80s), Tom Reilly, Doug Knox, Kal, Richard Stahlberg and Steve Bernede. I believe Steve was the most aggressive rider and won 2 bottles of Australian red wine for his efforts on a prime lap. None of the break efforts through the race proved fruit full but with one lap to go there were 2 riders away. Not far but enough that the field couldn't ignore them. The 2 riders were Doug Knox and you guessed it Steve Bernede. At turn one UCC lieutenant Reid Moore went to the front to take a hard pull and try and ramp up the pace and bring back the 2 recalcitrant racers. Coming to turn 2 he hadn't pulled them back yet. Don't they know that Kal or Dale are suppose to win. They surely did but was this to be an upset. Like the USA beating Canada in hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic games. The end of the hockey game between USA and Canada was so exciting and I am not a big hockey fan but damn. The Canadians were peppering the American goal with a minute and a half to go with shot after shot and goal tender Ryan Miller stopped them all. The pressure got even more intense when the Canadian team pulled their goalie and put one more attacker inside the blue line. It seemed like the cloak was counting down in slow motion. The break came when the Americans counter attacked and made a beautiful one handed shot to go up by 2 goals. 5-3 USA. The 2 teams could meet again in the final gold medal game. Stay tuned. That will be one highly watched game. So was this upset a sign of something similar in the 55/60+ bicycle race in Carson, Ca. Doug Knox didn't look all that fit to put it kindly but Steve Bernede is known as a strong rider and an opportunist. Don't know who was doing most of the work between them but I would surely guess it was Steve. Now that UCC played their only card they had to pull the break back and it didn't succeed. What next? At this point whoever would pull hard enough to close the gap would not be able to finish well. Or would the pack figure that after turn 3 the pace would be ramped up so high that the twosome would be swallowed up anyway.
Well Phil Richards decided to take things into his own hands and pull hard at the front. Now Phil rides for Citrus Valley Velo and is 60+ and both the break riders are 55+ but Phil felt compelled to go get them. The breakers were caught just before turn 3. Once everyone got to turn 3 the race exploded. Bye Phil but thanks for the memories. After turn 3 the slope is up and this day into the wind. It would take a very strong rider to lead everyone up this leg at a fast pace and Velo Allegro had just the man in Al Shorts. Al is major strong and was trying to set up his younger brother, Ricky.
Dale Luetdke knew on this course riding this direction he wanted to be first to the corner. Dale was lurking behind teammate Kal Szlalak. Ricky jumped the field going toward the final corner and got a gap. Ricky had his own plan and agenda. As mentioned earlier Ricky was at the track the night before racing against the likes of KK and Monty Pettus. When you hear the Beatles song "A Hard Day's Night" you think of someone out drinking, chasing girls, or both but not Ricky. He was at the track "working like a dog" but only a win today would make him "feel alright". Unfortunately Kal still has some of that Mr. Universe strength in his legs and pulled Dale up to Ricky. Howard Miller of Paramount wisely jumped onto Dale's wheel knowing a good wheel when he sees it. The lead out train caught Ricky before the turn and once Dale gets the mo going he can keep it up for a good distance. The new layout is shorter to the line from the last corner so when Dale made it to the last corner first it was a foregone conclusion who would win the race overall and the 55+ division. Kal was second, Don Denegal was 3rd, Ricky Shorts was 4th and Howard Miller was 5th.
In 60+ action Don Davidson positioned himself to perfection somewhere in the belly of the beast of 55+ racers and rode to victory in the 60+ category. Maybe Phil knew what he was doing after all. Don and Phil are teammates. Richard Stahlberg came into this event as the favorite in 60+ having placed second to Monty is the first CBR race and had a very good showing in Brea the week before. Paramount had Mike Duck shadow Richard through the race and I mean he was locked on. Coming into the last corner both Richard and Mike encountered a log jam and Mario Seri put on his brakes and his rear wheel skidded a bit. Didn't go down but slowed Richard and Mike. I was on the outside going up the hill and on Tim Marquez's wheel. I decided I would have to go around and make my way to the finish line on my own. I took the corner wide and there were a lot of riders ahead but started to make some head way. I saw Richard and Mike on my left and made a run at them. Didn't make it. Ran out of real estate. Richard Stahlberg was 2nd, Mike Duck was 3rd, I was 4th, Carlos Cruz was 5th, and Tim Marquez was 6th. Robert Paganini was 7th beating 11 riders a lot younger than himself.
Good hard race and a good showing. Thanks to all that came out and raced. It was fun! I only have placings to 10 in each category. I don't get my own finish sheet like at SCNCA races.

55+ Finishers

4-Shorts, R



That' all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


By John McKee

The 5th Imperial Classic bicycle race held on Feb. 20th, 2010 has been on the calendar for a few years now and is starting to grow in popularity but it has one big thing going against it and that's the location and how far it is from most SCNCA cyclists. I can be geographically challenged sometimes and I thought Imperial was somewhere near El Cajon and I have been there before and it isn't that far from central OC where I live. I signed up for the race. When I did a mapquest I was surprised to actually see where it is and it was going to take 3 hours and 17 minutes to get there. Once you get to El Cajon you have another 100 miles on a winding up and down road. You all know Hwy 8 out to Blvd. Well if you think that is far this is 50 miles further. Turns out Imperial, El Centro and Brawley make up a core in the lowest part of Cal. on the way to Yuma. They even use the Yuma TV stations. Agriculture has been the economic engine there. Imperial Valley Velo Club hosts the race and the City of Imperial is an enthusiastic supporter. Anything to get people there and spend some money. Imperial isn't much and you can see in the older areas that most of the infrastructure is crumbling or at best in less than fair condition. Streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and flood control seem to be hurting. Sure there is a spanking new mall on the other side of the freeway in El Centro with brand new buildings and 2 Marriott suite hotels but where the race was at and where Imperial City Hall is it is different.
The Imperial Classic has included a 55/60+ race for a few years now and I am glad I chose to support the race and the area. I got to the area the day before the race on Friday Feb. 19th, 2010. I got a room at the Airporter Inn for $50. It was the host hotel/motel. The rate told me something but it was 1/2 mile from the race course so it was an idea spot to stay. The rooms at the Airporter had been redone not that long ago and fellow competitor Loren Stephens was staying there as well. The clerk said there were only 8 racers staying there. Wow. Not many. There was a Motel 6 near the freeway for $39.99 and I figured Robert Paganini was staying there. He loves Motel 6 but no he drove Sat. morning from Pasadena. Another wow. The continental breakfast at the Airporter left a lot to be desired but put something in the stomach. I hate Sunny Delight. Colored corn syrup water with 15 other things in it that probably aren't good for you but that was their "juice".
The weather this weekend was a major concern to everyone. Rain was forecast for different times during the weekend in Southern California but early on in the week there was no prediction for rain in Imperial for Sat. Well that changed and it did rain early Sat. morning before I got up. I drove up to the course and parked and walked around. There hadn't been that much rain but there were puddles everywhere and most of the gutters were full with 2 corners looking very bad. There were volunteers everywhere helping out and there must have been 6 to 8 people out sweeping the course or at least the bad spots with brooms. Ralph was in his usual form with the cat 5 men first off. Ralph set up the night before at the finish line and spent the night. Ralph is to local bike racing as Dick Lane was to wrestling in the 60s on KTLA Channel 5.
The 55/60+ race was scheduled to go off at 9:30 am which is a great time for us compared to what it usually is. When all was said and done 30 people lined up to race. 28 men and 2 women.
Most of the racers were 55+ with 8 of them from UCC. 2 of the 60+ racers were also from UCC.
10 riders from one club while the rest of the field had at most 2 members from one club. Reminds me of "Naked Gun" where Leslie Nielsen wipes out the Shakespearean actors in a park doing a play and the mayor tells him he killed 5 actors in the park. Good ones! Well all the UCC riders are good ones!
We were allowed one lap to get a feel for the course and I started talking to Paul "Gene Simmons" Rodriquez(See pic of Paul from MBGP last year). He said he spent the winter snow skiing but was bemoaning the fact that he put on a few pounds. I asked him if he ate meat and he confirmed and volunteered that he liked the gilley juice or the modern equivalent as well(You would have to be a fan of the movie "Operation Petticoat" with Cary Grant and Tony Curtis to know what gilley juice is but I think you get the idea). I actually thought he looked fine so it must not be many pounds.
It was told to me before the race by Kal Szkalak that the green machine was going to push it and try and make the race hard because it was a sketchy course and of course making it hard would keep weaker riders in the back. It also would help the strongest riders like on UCC. Right. I get it.
OK. We're off! The race started near on time. 40 minutes of racing were ahead of us and the course was starting to dry out. 2 of the corners were still bad with standing water and there was a Paris Roubaix section that really gave everyone and their bikes a rattle. I believe this had an affect on me but I will get to that later. The course was .8 miles and flat as a pancake like the entire Imperial Valley. Sea level and no slope what so ever. The course was but 30 meters off Highway 86 which would take you to Indio. Another desert gem.
It wasn't long before the greenies were jumping, attacking and stuff. There were some guys from other clubs that tried to do what they could to control things like Rick Swanson but with the numbers and the fire power out there it wasn't looking good. There were a few new faces out there as well.
The first major play was initiated by Mark Helvie of UCC. Mark aged up to 55+ in 2010. Strong rider like most of the green, yellow and white. Mark got out there with a pretty good gap and his teammates went to the front to "block". Block only means to control the pace at an acceptable pace. Not a slow pace. This was done to perfection today by the Swedish cross country team in the men's 30k pursuit in the Winter Olympics. With one Swede away 2 guys went to the front and worked the pace and made a Russian chase. In the end the Swedish team had a gold and a bronze. Team play at its best.
Kal and Dale tried to go across to Mark but Rick Swanson was right on Dale and I was on Rick. We had a mini gap but the pressure was on in the field and Kal decided "jams off". A few more laps and it looked like Mark was faulting a bit. Michael Mueller another new 55+ made a move and worked his way up to Mark. Nice job! A few laps went by and the pace changed dramatically depending who was at the front and how much energy that person wanted to put in.
Kal and Dale went across the gap separately with Dale being last I believe. The 4 of them got together and the first 4 spots were locked up. Some of the rest of the team like Mitch Weinstock even went to the front and put some pressure on. Everyone knew that the 4 were away and a faster pace would help the remainder of the squad. Mitch had a rough start going into the race. He signed up for 60+ on even though Mitch is 56 this year. He got it straightened out at registration but when he got to the line the officials told him his number was too much on his back. The number needs to be on the side. Teammate John Rubcic had to move the number for him. Well at least you showed up, Mitch. You had that going for you.
The 6 lap to go card came up and the pace ebbed and flowed but it felt hard to me. I was thinking this shouldn't feel harder than Brea but it was. Little did I know that either from the start or during the race my rear wheel starting rubbing against the right brake block. Doh!
The last lap came up and Paul Rodriquez went to the front with the plan of stringing it out and pulling everyone to the 2 corner to go point and did a nice job. It was strung out. I had the 4 60s right in front of me in line. Paul didn't make it that far but still made it hard and I started to feel bad. Once Paul pulled off the scramble was on. I kept Raffy Gomez in my sights ahead of me but going into the last corner I couldn't hang on to his wheel. I was cooked. The bunch ahead of me went for the line which was 350 meters from the last corner and into the wind which was stiffening as we raced. The day before it was 25 mph with gusts to 34. It was proably 9 to 12 out of the south when we raced.
John Rubcic showed his fine form and piped the field for 1st in 60+. Raffy Gomez was 2nd and John Edwards also of UCC took 3rd in 60+. Loren Stephens, Phil Richards, and Don Kimper all finished ahead of me in that order. In 55+ action Mitch (I think I am 55+??...Yea that's it! 55+) Weinstock took the next 55+ spot to make it 5 places in a row for the green machine. Damn.
All in all it was a pretty good race with the outcome rather predictable. Oh yea. I forgot. Who won the race, anyway. I heard that they kind of figured that out amongst themselves and thought that one of the early breakers should get the win so Michael Mueller was first, Dale 2nd, Kal 3rd and Mark 4th.
No crashes though there was some sketchy riding at times. The average speed was 24.0 mph for the field. Nice to see an area actually care there is a race there. At Dom. Hills LA County could care less. The course is not in any city. The pictures were taken and distributed by the host club. Thank you! The places are below for 55+ first and then 60+:

10-McNeece(from host team and he said he didn't finish this high)


2-R. Gomez
9-V. Gomez

That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Monday, February 15, 2010


By John McKee

It's Feb. 14th, 2010 in Brea, California and what used to be called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre has morphed into the Roger Millikan Memorial St. Valentine's Day Criterium. Tradition goes back quite a few years and with the date, location, a great job by host teams Velo Avanti and Canyon Velo the turnout has been spectacular.
This year with the awesome weather the turnout was hugh. More than 500 pre regs and thats unheard of. Also 850 total enteries is also unheard of except at MBGP. Cat 5 men and cat 3/4 women are on fire this year and were everywhere. Ed Keck the race director added another cat 5 race before the 55/60+ race making a total of 2 cat 5 races. The registration for the 55/60+ group was a record at 61. 2008 had a great turnout here for 55/60+ and I know I said we had 60 racers but were probably a little short of that. Not all the registered riders showed up to the line this year. A few of the host team members chose to not race even though they were registered and a few pre regs just didn't make it. At 8 am there were probably 55 55/60+ racers that came to the line to race. I believe that UC Cyclery/JW Flooring sent 7 racers with 5 of them being 55+ and 2 60+. Nice turnout by one team. Keith Ketterer(KK) was there from the Amgen masters squad and had one teammate there to help him. KK had pre reged so UCC knew what they were up against and had their plan to deal with such a talented rider. The basic plan was to attack the field and therefore KK as often as possible and wear him out. The Shorts brothers from Velo Allegro were in on the program and were planning on being aggressive as well. Al was feeling better after a few weeks from a solo crash that injured his back. Almost all the players in 55+ were there and all the players in 60+ were there except Kenny Fuller. Kenny doesn't do many local races any more.
OK. Its 8 am and the sun is shining bright. Its in the low 50s and getting warmer. The officials give the pre game talk and we have a moment of silence for Roger Millikan who has been deceased for several years now and has this race named for him. Roger would be our age and would be racing with us if things were different. Please feel fortunate if you are healthy and able to race with us. By the way Roger used to date Monty Pettus's wife before Monty locked on. That goes way back. Monty is sure that Roger would be pleased that a race is named after him.
The first lap of the 40 minute race was a parade lap and paced by Ed Keck. Once Ed pulled off the race was on. It took a couple of laps for the pack to get the feel of the course. It is a fun course but can be dangerous. It is not far from the start/finish line to turn one and its downhill for quite a ways to turn 3. Turn 2 is a fast downhill corner and there is this utility pole staring you in the face on the far side of the course but one foot from the curb as we are coming out of our lean. I was thinking that looks dangerous and should be haybaled. Turn 3 is also fast and leads you into the uphill section and the first part is easy then kicks up a bit more but if you stayed in the flow of the pack and didn't have to touch your brakes it was pretty easy. It was a false flat to the finish line and a tough sprint.
After the first couple of laps the race was a blur. Attacks, surging and rest periods almost always right after the finish line were the norm. No real threat to the pack was able to stay away. KK of course was active as was the UCC team. Richard Stahlberg was also active at the front marking just about everything that moved. Richard is 60 this year and is displaying great form. Even Dale Luedtke the king of the finishers took a flyer half way through the race. The churning of the field was intense.
It didn't take long before the 5 lap to go card was flipped over. It seemed pretty obvious that no one was going to stay away and it was going to come down to a field sprint. This favored the UCC team with Dale and Kal Szalak. There to support the finishing duo were Mitch Weinstock, Robert Willcox, Richard Roberson, Mark Huffman and Mark Helvie. All good riders in there own right. KK had Witold Czulak of the Amgen masters team to support him. The surging really came into play in the last 5 laps. KK took matters into his own hands with 3 laps to go and did a lot of the pacing himself. The lap counter hit one and the pace almost came to a standstill and nervousness was aplenty in the pack. Ricky Shorts got upset at someone that made him break hard going into the first corner and I think this made everyone around think about taking a good line to the finish. I don't know who led it around on the last lap but the pace really picked up making it hard to move around.
As always the UCC team was able to get Dale and Kal in position. They would probably have been there anyway but I am sure the teammates helped deliver them to the designated point fresher than if they had been on their own. Dale came hard to the line with KK right on him. KK's strength is climbing and time trialing but he can finish as well. Dale got him by 1/2 a bike. The whole thing reminds me of the 10K Nordic Combined race the same day at the Winter Olympics. The American Johnny Spillane paced the entire end of the race and takes off on a flyer to try and close it out(I'm thinking of KK and Kenny Fuller) but the Frenchman Jason Chappuis that sat back in the race takes off with a blistering finish on his cross country skis to win the gold(I'm thinking of John Rubcic and Dale Luedtke ). Kal Szkalak was 3rd. In 4th place was Steve Cahill of Swami's. Great showing by Steve as he is new to us. Seemed fearless out there and maybe a little too fearless. Alex Collins of Canyon Velo was 5th and Kevin Ryan of Team CICLE was 6th. A lot of new faces to 55+ racing.
In 60+ action John Rubcic worked his way to the front. Great bike handler and can work his way around a field with the best of them. John not only worked his way near the front but was the first 60+ rider across the finish line. Monty Pettus over took Richard Stahlberg for 2nd with Richard taking 3rd. New 60+ rider and Socal point leader George Chester was 4th. John Magnanti after taking a couple years off from racing finished 5th in a very good showing. He still does Foodpark every Sat. John didn't seem all that thrilled with his racing experience so we might not see him much except at Foodpark. John is 66 this year. I was 6th and new 60+ rider John Edwards of UCC was 7th.
A number of riders did drop off the pace and a number dropped out for various reasons. 47 guys finished. 27 55s and 20 60s. The overall pace was about 24.5+ and was hard but not brutal.
Great to see such a turnout. I am sure that the number of riders will fall off but maybe I will be proved wrong. Hope so. There is a lot more to racing than coming across the finish line ahead of someone else. The officials and Ralph Elliot the announcer were maybe surprised at the turnout but all were pleased. I say a big thanks to all that came out and it was a victory for everyone. No crashes and a great race. Thanks to Robert Plumb of Jax Bicycle Centers in Irvine for the action photos. The 55+ finishers were:

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 14
2 48434 Keith Ketterer Amgen-UBS Elite Masters 11
3 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 10
4 204724 Steve Cahill Swami's Cycling Club 9
5 46255 Alex Collins Canyon Velo 8
6 177958 Kevin Ryan Team CICLE 7
7 59572 Mark Huffman Sun Coast Velo 6
8 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 5
9 202041 Mark Planellas Southern California Velo 4
10 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 3
11 126351 Steve Bernede
12 30596 Wayne Rosenkrantz Radsport Cycling Team 1
13 155459 Thomas Reilly PAA / RE/MAX 0
14 34753 Rick Swanson Radsport Cycling Team 0
15 222523 Rick Carrera Cycles Veloce 0
16 151059 Joseph Mastro Team Velocity 0
17 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 0
18 218050 Gregory Painter Team Velocity 0
19 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
20 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
21 55591 Mitchell Weinstock UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
22 276778 Witold Czulak
23 287584 Charlie Tatarian Canyon Velo 0
24 56643 Robert Shupper PAA / SIXTUMED p/b CARE FOR DIABETICS 0
25 95649 Ken Burns
26 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
27 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0

The 60+ finishers were:

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 14
2 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 11
3 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 10
4 196820 George Chester LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care 9
5 71812 John Magnanti Unattached 8
6 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 7
7 46547 John Edwards UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 6
8 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 5
9 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 4
10 177403 tim Marquez
11 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus Cycling Club 2
12 101582 William Carvin Unattached 1
13 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
14 275030 Bernd Nieberg Team Velocity 0
15 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 0
16 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
17 3794 Vicente Gomez Cycles Veloce 0
18 99906 Michael McKinney Radsport Cycling Team 0
19 50406 Michael Edwards Herbalife LaGrange 0
20 281976 Michael OConnor Alliance Cycling Team 0

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


By John McKee

January 31st came in 2010 and no Superbowl unlike past years but like past years the Mothballs Criterium was held on the last Sunday of January. The 55 and 60+ racers have become a mainstay at this event held in Goleta, Cal. Part of the reason is the promoter Armando Requejo. Mando has been great to work with and I always like to see a good turnout at his event. The weather has been cooperative over the years and 2010 was no exception. This time of year it is cold in the morning and yes it was cold for the 7:35 am start of the 55/60+ criterium. The group was to race for 40 minutes for a total purse of $150 to go to the first 6 racers. The field would be split for separate results and Socal points. The purse situation is of course unfair because the 55+ racers are younger and therefore faster but at least there is a race for both groups and if you are racing for money this isn't the sport for you. LOL. I think everyone knows what that means. Even Bob Barney. Bob once asked me at a race "What does LOL mean?" I filled him in. The temperature was around 45 but it seemed colder when we were racing than last week in Carson and the temp there was lower.
This event the 60s outnumbered the 55s by 17 to 12. One of the 12 though was Keith Ketterer of the Amgen select masters racing team. You probably read my blog story about the road race on the Saturday before Mothballs and KK showed how strong a rider he is. Solo victory. Everyone but KK didn't want that to happen again but was there any way to prevent it??
After the standard pre game chat from the officials everyone was off and I mean off! This race was fast from wire to wire. KK was a marked man and there were a few other fairly aggressive riders and there were a LOT of mini breaks and chases and as you all know a chase is fast and most everyone got on the chaser or chasers and there was this ebb and flow to the pace of the race even though overall it was quite fast. I believe 3 or 4 60s got popped off the back but not Pags. Robert Paganini will be 74 years old this year but was able to hang on to the main bunch for the entire race and that is saying a lot. Robert knows that every year it gets tougher.Robert's racing career goes back to France in the 50s and racing against Jacques Antequil who won the Tour de France 5 times. The first thing Robert always says to me when he talks to me before a race is "Are you going to be gentle with me out there". I always tell him it isn't up to me. I also am always chasing everyone else just like him.
Each rider always has a vision and an idea on how to get the best result possible for that race. Of course KK wanted to get away and use his time trialing ability and Kal Szalak and Dale Luetdke wanted to see a bunch sprint if they weren't away themselves and with KK would be ok with them. KK was racing solo on Sunday and Kal and Dale are teammates on the very strong UC Cyclery/JW Flooring racing team. Kal didn't mind working with KK if and when they got caught Dale would counter giving KK the old 1/2 punch but Dale didn't seem to feel to spunky and sat back. Many of the racers didn't recognize Dale because he had a different color jersey on but for me Dale is easy to pick out. KK didn't really want to work with Kal and get away because Kal would be very hard to out sprint. Anyone else but Kal or Dale would be fine. The combo that I saw as dangerous for the 60+ crowd would be the combo of KK, Kal and DD. Don (Double D)Davidson just aged up to 60+ for 2010 and won the 55+ in 2009 in a breakaway. Don also was in a break with me when we were both 55s and this is my 5th year as a 60+ racer so that was a few years ago. This is my 10th year racing in 55+ and 60+. I believe there is only one of you that know my track record at Mothballs and unfortunately he can't race with us any more because of his eye sight. Wish you were out here, Fritz! Back to my theory. If all 3 of them worked together, my thinking was it would be curtains for the rest of us 60+ racers. Didn't really matter to us 60s that KK or whoever got away as long as they were 55 but if a 60 got away bad news. Well this combo did happen later in the race but Don fell off the pace. Somehow KK got away from Kal and everyone with about 5 or 6 laps to go and there was no bringing him back. Someone said something like "Looks like he is gone" and Kal countered with "What race are you in" meaning duh.
I believe the lap countdown started at 8. At least that was the first time I saw a number on the lap cards. The race was fast but mostly safe. There were a couple of sketchy riders. One was 67 and wearing a jersey indicating he was from the state of Washington. Pretty strong rider but scary with his bike skills and he was a "gapper" meaning when the pressure really got put on he would let a gap form in front of him. He had some close calls with a few riders and I choose to keep my distance from him. Another stronger 55+ rider thought he was a cowboy and was whipsawing and snaking all over the place. Very dangerous moves. He did win a $30 prime on a Bob Barney type prime jump. Yahoo!
OK. KK is away and is going to win the 55+ category but 2nd and 3rd was still out there for 55+ and all 3 podium spots were there for the 60s. The lap card came for the last lap and I was in great position near the front. A few 55s and Bruce Steele were ahead of me. Bruce is a 60+ racer. Once we hit the round part of the D shaped course the pace ramped up. I was happy about this because I was in good position and didn't want to get flooded with 60+ racers. Kal and Dale came by on my right with Kal in the lead. That was ok. More power to them. New Paramount racer Mike Duck came to the front to help pick up the pace leading into the last corner and this was a great move again helping to keep the pace high and making it hard for riders to move up(Pic at right is Paramount's 60+ double trouble). The new Paramount 60+ squad is looking very sharp right now. It wasn't hard enough for Ralphael Gomez though and he slipped in ahead of me on my right. Raffy also aged up to 60+ and looked thinner than he has in many years.
At the corner Mike pulled up and Dale and Kal took off. Raffy was right there on them and Carlos Soto was also moving toward the finish line near the right curb. Ricky Shorts with Monty Pettus came around the corner wider and started sprinting after they came out of there lean. I didn't want to start sprinting so soon but I had to make a move to just try and hang in there and see what would flesh out near the finish line. Just put max power into the bike and see what happens.
Peter Boberg was also in the mix having a good race. Oh by the way did I say that Keith Ketterer won the 55+ race. Of course it was a forgone conclusion and KK did come across solo making it a double win for the weekend. A real double play which brings us to the title-TINKER TO EVERS TO CHANCE. Everyone is going what?? This was the most famous double play combination in the history of baseball and was the title of a famous poem written in 1910. 100 years ago.
Here it is(the poem is in the public domain so publishing it in my blog is not violating any copyright) written by Franklin Pierce Adams:
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Dale won the bunch sprint with Kal next. That filled out the 55+ podium. Monty Pettus was able to overtake Raffy to win the 60+ category for his second win of the season. I was able to pull in for 3rd place. I have 3 seconds and a win here in the past.
Ricky Shorts was 4th in 55+ followed by Carlos Soto and Peter Boberg. For the 60s there was like a sprint off between DD and Bruce Steele for 4th place. DD threw his bike and nipped Bruce and was also able to control his bike.
Overall this was a very good event and a great tandem weekend for those that wished to race and enjoy a fine weekend in mid California. I know I had a fun time even though I was plenty cold during Sunday's race. My hands started getting dumb and my feet were tingling but it only lasted 40 minutes vs the hours that pros have to race in conditions worse than this.
Just a note for everyone. KK doesn't plan on going for the overall Socal point title in 55+ from what I understand. He is starting his season off slow since it was Jan. Slow. That is a big LOL.
KK plans on moving down in age to get tougher competition most of the time because his goals are Natz for road and track and Worlds for both as well which are in August and quite a ways away. The finish for the 60+ racers was:
Mothballs Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 14
2 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 11
3 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 10
4 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 9
5 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 8
6 220804 Michael Barnes Horse Wines 7
7 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 6
8 57571 Dale Harless Cycle U 5
9 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 4
10 196820 George Chester Amgen Cycling Club 3
11 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 2
12 58170 Sydney Duck
13 177403 Tim Marquez
14 3794 Vicente Gomez Cycles Veloce 0
15 50406 Michael Edwards Herbalife LaGrange 0
16 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
17 167542 Alan Rosenblum Echelon Santa Barbara 0

The complete placings for 55+ was:

Mothballs Criterium (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48434 Keith Ketterer
2 47262 Dale Luedtke
4 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 9
5 47380 Carlos Sato
Peter Boberg
7 288193 Ron Carlson
8 155459 Thomas Reilly
9 287291 Randy Drusen
10 108843 Eric Nelson SLO Nexus Cycling Club 3
11 49191 Kim Bleth Platinum Performance Cycling Team 2
12 55635 Pedro Ordaz

That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Monday, February 1, 2010


By John McKee

This past weekend saw the first 2 races on the SCNCA calendar for 2010. The Poor College Kid's Road Race which was on Sat. January 30, 2010 and the Mothballs Criterium on Sunday Jan. 31st. No Superbowl weekend this time so no distractions for racers to come on in and start the season off. Many of us started the season the week before at the CBR criterium opener but the SoCal Points race started on Saturday. The Poor College Kid's Road Race(PCKRR) has always been a race put on by college kids much like Boulevard and has only had categories for the younger crowd, but at last in 2010 with some intervention by Bruce Steele things changed. Bruce knew the young man that was promoting the race and asked if he would stick to the SoCal Cup categories which meant instead of 30, 40 & 50 you would have 35, 45, & 55/60. Makes more sense and gives more reason for racers to come out and rack up some SoCal points at double the normal number because it is a road race. Thankfully, the promoter put the 55/60+ racers last on the race schedule giving everyone time to drive up rather than staying in Solvang the night before although, I did just that. Solvang is a nice place to visit. Especially if you like sugar. You can start off your morning with a belgian waffle at The Belgian Cafe. They specialize in waffles there(no pancakes). If you want your pancakes, you have to go across town to Paula's Pancakes which was jumping Saturday morning. If that didn't suit you, you could try some of the danish pastries like from Mortensen's or some really good cinnamon rolls from the Solvang Bakery. After lunch you could have some tasty fudge from the Old Danish Food Farm. You could have the standard chocolate, chocolate raspberry, rocky road, chocolate peanut butter and my fav plain peanut butter fudge. Makes me think of Christmas when my family makes this and other sweet treats from recipes my mother handed down. After the McKee name is gone at least from my tree, hopefully the recipes will carry on in the name of Conine or Woolley (I had 3 daughters).
OK. We're racing right and I am really buzzed from sugar. The start time for the road race was 1:10 pm. The weather was very nice actually for this time of year. A little cool and breezy but mostly sunny skies and beautiful scenery abound especially along the course. This is wine country with many wineries around the area and along the race route. The movie "Sideways" was set in this area. Very funny movie set around 2 gents that went on a pre-marriage outing to the wine country with a stay in Buellton. One of the guys is a wine connoisseur and the other a panty chaser even though he was getting married. The "Panty chaser" got himself in some real binds before they left for home.
The course was an out and back course along Zaca Station Road. The stated distance was 34 miles(actually was a little shorter) with about 2,000 feet of climbing. The 55/60+ group was scheduled for one lap while other groups were doing 2. The road was narrow and open to traffic so that was a little hairy. There were 2 climbs. One out and one back. The hardest, longest and steepest was coming back. The course was more down going out but the wind was mostly at the racers back coming home except for the last few miles. There were the standard delays with 14 60+ racers(one of the 60+ racers was a woman-women can add 20 years to their age so any woman over 40 could enter 60+) and 15 55+ racers taking off sometime before 1:30 pm. The 55+ field included Rory O'Reilly who won the kilo at the 83 Pan Am games back in the day.
There are always new riders in each age category as the calendar turns over. 2010 was no exception. The one racer that really caught my attention was Keith Ketterer. Keith just aged up to 55+ for 2010. His racing bio is lengthy with 5 national titles and the one hour record for masters 50+ set on Oct. 1st, 2009. Keith's racing age was 54 at the time. No doubt that Keith was going to be the factor in any 55+ race he would enter in 2010. This also would affect any 60+ race that would be run concurrently. Almost all 55+ and 60+ categories are raced together and scored separately. Like most of you didn't know that. Keith Ketterer is known as KK.
The race started with all riders grouped in a small pack for a short while. A few rabbits sprung out but the first climb was 4 or 5 miles out and that would divide the riders into climbers....check or climbers....oops no check. Most of the riders were able to hang on. I was in a small band that were agonizingly just off the back. I even got back on at the top but was out of gas and dropped back a bit and started riding with a few others. The course was almost all downhill to the turnaround with most of the slope very subtle especially near the turnaround. Rounding the cones at the half way point saw KK make a break for it. KK would have preferred the wind in his face going back because his cycling strength would have made more of a difference but it didn't really matter. Once he was away you could turn out the lights. This party was over. KK is a world record holder. Who is going to catch him? Maybe a well timed 3 to 5 man rotation but that didn't happen. KK TT'd to the finish for the win in 55+.
My group kept the leading group in sight but could never catch back on. Fred Haim, Rick Swanson, a fairly strong woman whose name I didn't get worked together pretty well. We caught one guy but he had no idea how to ride in a pace line and went off on his own after the turnaround. We just referred to him as the "knuckle head". The gal didn't go all the way to the turnaround and took off her jersey, turned it around, put it back on and started riding with us going back. She said she didn't feel that well but always looked pretty strong until the last climb. She didn't want a placing.
Other than KK the last climb split everyone up into small groups. The lead chase group had 6 riders which included Kal Szkalak. Back when KK started bike racing(37 years ago) Kal was a world class body builder and was on the cover of every body building mag around plus won Mr. America(76) and Mr. Universe(77). Kal got into bike racing later and is no slouch himself. Kal is better at criterium racing although he does well at everything. Kal won the bunch sprint for 2nd place in 55+. Jon Miller coming off his cyclo cross overall win in 55+ came in 3rd for the last podium spot in 55+.
I must say I don't know how the 60+ race played out at the end. I know that George Chester won. George just aged up this year and rode very strong. Climbing specialist Jean Villiot was 2nd but 3rd place was a total mystery. The first unofficials had Dom Forte in 3rd but Dom doesn't quite have his climbing form yet and everyone knew his placing wasn't right. After that everyone just figured that Mike Wagenbach another climbing specialist was 3rd. Monday the results showed an unknown rider by the name of Mark Tovar as the 3rd place finisher. Mark's license number is very high so he has to be very new. If this result is true, that was a great start.
Glenn Baldwin had a very nice ride and placed 4th. Glenn had the help of Al Shorts driving his group and Glenn was able to overtake Bruce Steele at the finish. Bruce is building his form slowly which is smart. Long season. The 55+ finishers were:

Poor College Kids Road Race (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48434 Keith Ketterer Amgen-UBS Elite Masters 28
2 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 22
3 167489 Jon Miller Platinum Performance Cycling Team 20
4 49080 Eddie Morris
Steve Bernede
6 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 14
7 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 12
8 108843 Eric Nelson SLO Nexus Cycling Club 10
9 21803 John Luke
10 45744 Rory O'Reilly
11 205255 Keith Laird METALMTN Cycling 4
12 34753 Rick Swanson Radsport Cycling Team 2
13 269972 Fred Haim Herbalife LaGrange 0
14 195285 Kenneth Neumeyer Unattached 0
15 288193 Ronald Carlson METALMTN Cycling 0
The 60+ finishers per the SCNCA website was:

Poor College Kids Road Race (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 196820 George Chester Amgen Cycling Club 28
2 59805 Jean Villiot CA Pools/DeWalt 22
3 288633 Mark Tokar Privateer 20
4 219942 mike wagenbach
5 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus Cycling Club 16
6 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 14
7 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 12
8 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 10
9 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 8
10 58170 Sydney Duck
11 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 4
12 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 2
13 126731 O Jerry Tetreault Montrose Bike Shop 0

That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!