Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TINKER TO EVERS TO CHANCE

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 ArtsCyclery.com/Wild 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
1
13 177403 Tim Marquez
0
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
14
2 47262 Dale Luedtke
11
3 54522 KAL SZKALAK
10
4 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 9
5 47380 Carlos Sato
8
6
Peter Boberg
7
7 288193 Ron Carlson
6
8 155459 Thomas Reilly
5
9 287291 Randy Drusen
4
10 108843 Eric Nelson SLO Nexus Cycling Club 3
11 49191 Kim Bleth Platinum Performance Cycling Team 2
12 55635 Pedro Ordaz
1

video video

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

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