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)|
|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|
|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|
|23||287584||Charlie Tatarian||Canyon Velo||0|
|24||56643||Robert Shupper||PAA / SIXTUMED p/b CARE FOR DIABETICS||0|
|26||15760||Mark Helvie||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||0|
|27||50765||Richard Roberson||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||0|
The 60+ finishers were:
Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
|Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium (Rank 1.0)|
|1||48760||John Rubcic||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||14|
|2||219074||Leo Pettus||OCW/Paramount Racing||11|
|4||196820||George Chester||LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care||9|
|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|
|11||45047||Glenn Baldwin||SLO Nexus Cycling Club||2|
|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|