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!

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