Wednesday, March 31, 2010


When you hear about a lineup one usually thinks of suspects in a criminal case at a police station or the lineup of the baseball team but this lineup is a group of people that did BOTH the LA Circuit and Redlands Criterium. The group is split between 4 55+ riders and 3 60+ riders. I mentioned their names in one of my stories but here they are again- Mike Birditt, Al Shorts, Dale Luedtke, Kal Szkalak, John McKee, Mike Fleming and Monty Pettus. Great job. This shows dedication to our sport of bike racing and to our categories and teams.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The Socal Points leaders in 55+ and 60+ through 3/28/10 and the Redlands Criterium. . 55+ racers had more races and results were all over the place so this wasn't easy and why there are only 6 places published for this category(If you figure it different, let me know). 

       NAME            POINTS
1-Szkalak                 114
2-Mueller                112
3-Luedtke              107
4-Ketterer               88
5-Huffman               61
6-Collins                   43

1- McKee                 70
2- Pettus                 64
3- Fuller                  46
4- Gomez, R            44
5- Rubcic                 42
6- Richards             32 
7- Steele                  32
8- Morehouse         28
9- Edwards, J         25
10-Duck                  23

Monday, March 29, 2010


By John McKee

March 28th, 2010 and the Redland Criterium was going against the LA Circuit race. If you read the last post about LA Circuit, you know a number of 55+ and 60+ racers did LAC and drove all that way to Redlands to do that race as well. Monty Pettus and I arrived at registration 20 minutes before the start of the race at 10:05 am and got a lot of static about it being closed...blah, blah, blah. They let us in. I had pre reged anyway. There were more total racers than at LAC and the field was stronger. UC Cyclery/JW Flooring had their A team out. They were loaded and were looking for 2 first place finishes in 55+ and 60+ and maybe a sweep of the podium in 55+. They had their work cut out for them but they also had a lot of talent there with lots of experience. There was no clear challenger in 55+ but in 60+ Kenny Fuller was there to avenge last years 2nd place to UCC's John Rubcic. Kenny has 38 Natz titles and defending World champ in the time trial. Kenny was going to drive the race as often as he could and make it hard and try and get away from that pesky little rocket. JR maybe small but he packs a blistering finish. JR has one mantra in a race. Get near the front at the end of a race and sprint as hard as he can. Without any other team with any numbers it was up to UCC to control the race. They had the ability to do it but they HAD TO DO IT IN THE RACE!
After the pro women started their last day of their stage race the 55/60+ racers lined up. Over 40 guys were there. No gals. I looked around and knew this was going to be a serious suffer fest. It was going to be hard and fast and the you knew the call was out "Take no prisoners"! The head ref was Velo Avanti's Ed Keck. Ed gave clear instructions but from questions I heard afterward, not everyone was listening.
They had a count down clock on the upper left side of the structure that went across the race and the lap counter was going to be electronic and be in the same area. We were listed at 40 minutes of racing.
The whistle went off and everyone kind of looked around but once the shyness wore off the guns started blazing. The course was very technical, difficult, dangerous and fun. All at the same time. I felt more comfortable on the course this year and I have to compliment everyone for racing SAFE! Attacks were more prominent on the uphill section going toward and away from the start/finish line. Another popular spot to attack was near the top of the course before the 120 degree turn. If you could get a jump by yourself or with a small group you could go faster in the downhill technical section than in the pack which might have to brake now and then.
Lap after lap the race got harder and harder. The better riders started moving forward and some of the others starting falling off little by little. Michael Mueller coming off his awesome victory at San Dimas did some important leg work early in the race. JR was a little too far back and it was hard to move forward with the pressure on so much. MM escorted JR up to Kenny. Teamwork.
I know Kenny was attacking often but from where I was I couldn't see who else was driving the action. Al and Ricky Shorts are always in the action. Al is coming off 2 crashes on his bike in training and is just starting to feel comfortable again out there. Gary Shuey coming off a great finish at San Dimas was in the action at the front. Gary a former mountain biker is taking to the road racing in style. A little shaky with his bike handling but super strong. He is getting better though. Steve Cahill of Swami's is also strong and was surely in the action. Mark Huffman and Mitch Weinstock of UCC were mixing it up as well. Steve Bernede of Simple Green loves to make things hard at the front. What a field. Mike Birditt of Swami's isn't well known YET but is a very fast finisher. Mike was hanging out in the pack and very much imitiating the UCC rope a dope. Conserving energy until it is needed. John Edwards and Phil Richards made the mistake of using their energy stores and got in bad oxygen debt. They had to let others go around them. They never made it back. Phil and Don(Everly Brothers) Davidson of Citrus Valley Velo were expected to be strong in 60+ at this course. DD has in the past lapped the field in a small break group. It wasn't their day. 60+ racing with such fast 55+ riders is about survival first but everyone has their style of racing. Nothing wrong with aggressive riding but one can't ride himself into the ground because someone young guy is going to attack you when you are hurting. If you aren't racing with a little reserve, you can get hurt bad unless you recover quickly and that is tougher as you age.
I was watching the clock and when it said 23 minutes to go I was thinking this is really hard for me and I don't feel as strong or comfortable as I did earlier. Was I going to blow up like I saw others. About this time the pace subsidied. I catch a break but I have learned one thing out there. If you are hurting, someone else is huring too and maybe many others.
The race got down to 15 minutes and 2 small groups were away. Of course Kenny was in the lead group with maybe 3 other racers and a small group of 4 were just behind them but couldn't close the gap. Carlos Cruz was in the second group and my antenna went up. The podium was ahead of me. Damn! JR was surely near Kenny.
Al Shorts starting pulling the pack but couldn't close the gap. Dale Luedtke was there but wouldn't lend a hand. He had teammates ahead and was conversing energy. Monty Pettus decided to do a solo effort to close the gap and he made it. That was impressive. About the time Monty got there the groups gave up working together and the bunch was all together again but at Redlands it always strings out on the downhill portion. 5 laps to go came up on the electronic board and it just got harder and faster. Some 60+ riders were going backward or dropping off. I told myself that since I hung in this long no reason to quit now.
I swear I saw the 3 laps to go twice but my brain was major oxygen deprived. Kenny put in a major attack with 2 laps to go and Paul Rodiguez, Dale Luedtke, and Kal Szkalak came along with Mike Birditt and of course John Rubcic. Bob Guglielmelli was in the mix and was on his best behavior. Bob made an ass of himself in Santa Barbara 6 years ago and those that were there probably haven't forgotten it. I know one thing though is Bob didn't listen to the chief ref at the beginning. Bob asked me after the race where the lap counter was. Doh!
The race was lined out and one lap to go came and Paul Rodiguez went to the front to put the pedal to the floor. Kal, Dale and JR were tucked in but Mike Birditt was hanging in there and is good in a fast tight group. Was Mike going to spoil the UCC post game party?? It was going to be a UCC sweep. Right.
Paul Rodiguez took the last corner wide and came toward the line near the rail. Mike Birditt took it up the middle as did Dale Luedtke. Kal was on the rail and JR was very near Dale. Paul showed super human strength to hang in this long but the last 20 meters, Mike came on to edge Paul by about 2/3s of a wheel(Complete vid at bottom). Kal took the last podium spot over Dale by 4 inches. JR was right there. After a little lull the next pod came across with Kenny Fuller in it taking 2nd place in 60+. After a few more riders Monty Pettus came across for the last podium spot for 60+. Half the podium finishers were at LAC earlier. Race nuts!
I have done a lot of racing the last 10 years in 55+ and 60+ and this was what racing was all about. Hard, fast, tough, no crazy moves, and technical. Sorry to say but this was too hard for some 60+ racers. 5 to 10 years at this age makes a lot of difference. Thanks to all that came out and made this a successful event. 60+ official finishers were(complete):

6-Gomez, R
11-Rider Unknown
12-Edwards, J

The 55+ official finishers were(14 of the 22):

5-Bob G
12-Shorts, A
That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!


By John McKee

Sunday March 28th, 2010 saw 55/60+ along with many of the other cats with a dilemma. Do you race LA Circuit or Redlands?? OR do you do the LAC and book it down the freeway and do Redlands as well. There were a number of us that did both and I want to say great job to all those that did and supported 55/60+ racing. Those that did both were Dale Luedtke, Kal Szkalak, Mike Birditt, Monty Pettus, Mike Fleming, Al Shorts and myself. Splitting like that can make us look naked but there was a decent turnout at both events. The 55/60+ racers were to lead off the show at LA Circuit which is usually a very popular event. I believe there were almost 500 pre regs and thats a lot. When I got to the event area it didn't look possible that the races were going to start at 7 am with our group. One person was in reg and the officials shack just arrived. Auto traffic was still running on the course. At least the porta toilets were in place. They are always delivered on Friday and picked up on Monday. Somehow everything started to happen quickly. Vols showed up. Reg started to come together. Streets got blocked off. The course as most of you know is a 4 mile loop with 2 180 degree turns. One mile from the last turn to the start/finish line. There was a breeze blowing in an eastly direction which was going to make the finish hard. I heard that the direction would change quickly as the sun came up and the finish would have the wind at racers backs but for our race the wind stayed true to what we felt during the warmup loops. On the first lap going toward the last turnaround and going uphill the pace hit over 32 mph so the wind was definitely a factor.
7 am came around and it was time to race and everything looked ready for the 55/60+ racers to start. There were 37 starters and would be 36 finishers.  21 55s and 16 60s. This was the first race that the 60s got a separate and equal(this really is equality unlike in the South in the 50s when separate and equal meant something quite different) payout and I was disappointed that we didn't have a better turnout there. There were mostly familar faces with a few new riders lining up. The race was for distance rather than time. 5 laps or 20 miles.
The racers were off and Alex Collins takes to the front to pull us for a while. As is the norm for a race like this the jocking is endless. Kal Szkalak had a charge off the front on the first lap but once he got pulled back Kal went into the UCC rope a dope mode. Muhammad Ali perfected the rope a dope in Zaire against George Foreman. Its an energy conservation program. Dale and Kal are good at this. Only use the energy needed to stay alive and spring forward at the end. On the second lap Monty Pettus of Paramount jumps off the front for some reason and Dale Luedtke also jumped to catch him but once they were together they folded and Dale also went in the UCC rope a dope. The next move was made by Mike Cicchi of Fast Fridays. Not sure what a Fast Friday is. I always thought Fridays were slow because the weekend was beckoning and the clock looked stalled out. Mike got a decent gap of maybe 150 meters and stayed there. For the next 2 laps Mike and the pack maintained a fairly even pace. Mike was reeled back in and the lap counter hit one. It sounds like the race is short in time when you heard the bell but this is like 5 laps to go at Ontario. A lot can happen. No one wanted to lead, pull or kick it hard expect for 2 UCC/JW Flooring team members. That was Steve Horine and Reid Moore. They did their best to keep the pace up but Steve and Reid are climbers and power riding on the flats is not their bag. It got nervous approaching the last turn.
Remember there is still a mile to go to the finish and though there is a downhill section its into the wind. Once the turn was made everyone looked for shelter. Bunchie is an Aussie term for bunch sprint like you couldn't figure that out. Everyone was in like a giant ball. Jockeying endlessly. Richard Stahlberg couldn't stand this and just took over at the front. Richard always stays at the front and I think Richard's patience ran out and decided to not duck and cover(in the 50s and later many school kids were taught the duck and cover. When a nuclear bomb hits in your neighborhood just duck and cover. Get under your desk and get in a fetal position. This was taught by the govment to generations of school kids but not me. Good thing the Ruskies didn't drop one in my neighborhood). The pace kept picking up and and the sprint started up front. Amgen's speedster Wiford Crzlak was totally marking Dale Luedtke. Kal, Mike Birditt, Alex Collins and Monty Pettus were in the mix. The course flatens out and even rises a bit going toward the finish line and it was into the wind but coming out of the ball of riders the speed was high. Wiford beat Dale by a bike length followed by Mike, Kal, Alex and Monty. I was in the mix of riders and started weaving my way through the bunch. I saw Bruce Steele and went by him on the right and then saw Mike Fleming ahead of me and saw a hole to our left moved by him and finished next with a bit of a gap to the lead sprinters. Al Levi of SBW was next across followed by everyone else. In 55+ action Rino Bagiovanni was 6th and Peter Boberg was 7th. In 60+ action Mike Fleming in his 2010 comeback placed a very respectable 3rd followed by Rider Unknown, Mike Duck, Richard Rodiguez, Bruce Steele, George Chester, Barney Feigenbaum, Dom Forte, Mario Seri, and Glen Baldwin.
The race was clean, rather uneventful, and predictable. I want to thank promoter Brad House of Back on Track Productions for giving 55s AND 60s a racing opportunity and a purse. The checks were given shortly so the few could race down the freeway to Redlands. Nice pics of the 55+ UCC sprinting duo and the Paramount 60+ sprinting twosome. Complete 60+ results:

LA Circuit Race  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 21
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 17
3 129293 Michael Fleming Coates Cyclery Cycling Club 15
4 Rider Unknown 13
5 58170 Sydney Duck 12
6 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 10
7 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 9
8 196820 George Chester LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care 7
9 48063 Barnett Feigenbaum ironfly 6
10 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 4
11 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 3
12 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus Cycling Club 2
13 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
14 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 0
15 17063 Richard Hughes Unattached 0
16 171652 Stephen Whitsitt South Bay Wheelmen 0
Complete 55+ results are:

LA Circuit Race  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 276778 Witold Czulak Amgen-UBS Elite Masters 21
2 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 17
3 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 15
4 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 13
5 46255 Alex Collins Canyon Velo 12
6 195876 Alain Levi South Bay Wheelmen 10
7 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 9
8 275439 Peter Boberg Platinum Performance Cycling Team 7
9 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 6
10 287291 Randy Drusen Judgement Velo/ TBOV 4
11 180531 Randi Perkins METALMTN Cycling 3
12 269972 Fred Haim Herbalife LaGrange 2
13 49080 Eddie Morris Amgen-UBS Elite Masters 0
14 55459 tom reilly 0
15 61353 Reed Moore UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
16 273411 Paul Anderson South Bay Wheelmen 0
17 67633 Gerald Lafferty Central Coast Velo 0
18 280887 Mike Cicchi Fast Friday 0
19 Robert Donaldson 0
20 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

55+ San Dimas Stage Race

By Guest Writer Mark Huffman

Those of us older racers who couldn’t make this past weekend’s dust up in San Dimas missed out on one for the ages. When the ‘dust’ settled it was Mueller, the terminator taking out roboman, Wayne Stetna in a classic chess match.

Mike is completely on fire right now so DO NOT rub up against him unless you want first degree burns. He put minutes on most of us on day one’s 3.8 mile climb, but Stetna was ‘only down’ by 34 seconds. Wayno rides for Amgen and is not one to go second fiddle. Since we were racing with the 45+ category (they had at least 5 guys in that category plus Eddie Morris and Tom Doughty in ours) for the remaining two stages, we knew we were going to have our hands full defending that jersey.

That proved to be the case. The second stage was 42 miles of twisting speed with 3 spikey climbs punctuating the 7 mile course. Wayne dropped his chain in front of me on the third climb of lap one and for a while I thought we would get a reprieve. NOT. There he was, like a bad penny tearing up through the group on that same climb of lap two. For the rest of the day he made life miserable for UCC, as he was riding really well and stayed tucked in with the younger Amgens gobbling up KOM and hot spot sprint points and time bonus’. Wayne punctuated his day’s efforts by winning the road race with Kal and me rounding out the top three. Mike got boxed in on the inside barriers (massive sprint) and took fourth, out of the time bonus’. By the end of the day, despite Kal and my best efforts Mike’s lead had shrunk from 34 to 8 seconds.

That set the table for the last day’s criterium a super fast 26MPH average, 6 corner scorcher through the streets of San Dimas . We were clinging to the yellow jersey, but with his Amgen cronies out numbering us almost 3 to one, things looked challenging to say the least. And once things got going it was just a blur of speed, curbs and corners. There was constant juggling between Mike and Wayne as they marked each other. I don’t remember what happened in the hot spot sprint for 10 seconds, but the last lap for the win was one for the ages. Legs were breaking as we climbed the backside of the course for the 20th time, but Mike and Kal had managed to maneuver up into the top 20. And then with the final corner on a downhill approaching, Kal bolted inside at 38mph+ with Mike on his wheel. What a balls out move as that corner was replete with dip, bots dots and road crap. I truly don’t know how they kept their bikes up through that corner.

From there they pounded it home to go first and third (Kal/Mike) with Kenny (ageless) Fuller in the middle. Wayne was left to watch that last corner maneuver and wish his guys could have pulled that off as it would have given him the GC crown. Keep in mind that all this was happening concurrently with a wicked lead out exchange between the 45 yr Amgen and Big Orange/Cynergy racers and a host of other glory seekers.

Mike delivered the goods for our club this weekend and Kal delivered Mike like only he could in that situation.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


By John McKee

The racing community have had so many close calls with the winter El Nino condition on the West Coast and this weekend was no exception. Chris and Vera of CBR have had great luck so far this year. 2 of the first 3 dates they have had have had rain forecast for the weekend. There has been plenty of rain on Saturday but on Sunday, the skies clear up and the course dries up. This was the case for The Go Fast or Go Home Criterium on March 7th, 2010. The event had been scheduled for the Long Beach "Hughes" Course but the City of Long Beach made some unreasonable demands on Chris and Vera 5 days before the event. Chris gave them a piece of his mind I am sure. You just have to read the CBR blog to know what his thoughts were. CBR was able to get the Paramount Dom. Hills course that they like to use for many of their races. It would have been nice to have a respite from the Dom. Hills course. The LB course is also a very safe course.
None the less the race went forward at Dom. Hills. The rain which had been predicted at percentages from 20 to 60% didn't show up! I got to the course around 6:30 am and the skies didn't look that bad and the course was dry. I could also tell that things weren't the same as the first 2 dates. The excitement of the cat 5s wasn't there. The cat 5 pre regs went from 120 to 70. Weather had to be a factor and maybe more. There was just one cat 5 race vs 2 in the prior events. The cat 5 race had a small but bad crash near the end and delayed the start of the 55/60+ race. Some poor new rider was knocked unconscious when he went down. A fire truck and ambulance was called in. That delayed everything by at least 30 minutes. I hope the fella is OK. It was quite cold and rolling around shivering didn't help any. I had lots of layers on. Some of these cat 5 guys had nothing underneath their jersey and some light arm warmers on. Oh to be young and stupid again.
The 55/60+ race got started about 8:15 am with around 11 or 12 60+ racers and 18 55+ racers. There was a pretty darn strong field of 55+ racers although I hadn't seen many of these guys very often before. New blood is certainly welcome and one of them today was a former pro by the name of Witold Czulak. He races for Amgen and was at the Brea race supporting Keith Ketterer. Also out were Mike Birditt of Swami's(Mike was 2nd at Ontario) and Mike Cicchi of Fast Fridays. All 3 of these guys looked very strong. It keeps getting nothing but harder. Doesn't it. LOL!
Kal Szalak who had gone back to his beloved rollers during the lull was warmer than everyone else and took off like a bullet once the start came. Everyone got on it and started racing fast. Half a lap later and Kal gave up but got the heart rates up and made everyone forget about the cold temp.
There was a lot of "give it the nudge"(aggressive racing in Aussie race talk) and it kept the pace up and the boredom down. I didn't get a average speed(if someone wants to give that to me I would appreciate it). There were a number of riders that picked it up including Mike Cicchi, Ricky Shorts, Dale Luetdke, Kal, Howard Miller and a few other riders that don't come to mind.
There were 3 primes in the midst of the 30 to 40 minutes of racing. They cut us short because of the crash. I know that Mike Cicchi won the first 2 primes which were a Simple Green cleaning kit and BAR points. Don't know who won the 2 bottles of Aussie wine. Ricky Shorts was up there each prime but he said he was just trying to get a break going. Kal and Dale were without a teammate so they would have to do some chasing but several others including Richard Stalhberg came to the front and pulled at the recalcitrant breakers. During the second half of the race Kal went on a solo break of his own and was away for several laps but the overall pace was pretty high and his effort for for naught.
The 5 lap to go card came up and it looked like the end was going to be a "bunchie"(Aussie for a group sprint) but the wine prime came in there and brought a few riders off the front. They were caught and the last lap came upon us. Everyone was there but one 60+ SBW rider who got dropped earlier. The pace wasn't high and wasn't snail pace either. I was able to move up easily and get myself near Richard Stahlberg who I felt was the rider to beat in 60+ although Carlos Cruz was there and he won Ontario last week. No team had a pacer to do leadout work and everyone was jockeying for position. Dale was dismayed at the lack of high speed which would favor a strong rider like himself. 2 corners to go(turn 3) came I moved up on the outside and saw Al Shorts start to the front with Richard Stahlberg jumping on him. I jumped on Richard feeling I was right where I wanted to be. Back in the pack Dale was boxed in at turn 3 and Ricky Shorts saw this and yelled at Howard Miller to go because Dale wouldn't be able to go yet.
Howard didn't want to go so early and die early and give Ricky an escort to sprint distance. The leadout wasn't going as fast as I thought it would between turn 3 and turn 4. No one came around. Al was leading it but wasn't going to burn himself out either because he wanted a placing. Al is very strong to lead out and finish from this far out.
Nearing turn 4 "the move" was made wide with Dale leading the charge. Witold Czulak was on Dale but Dale snaked to the left to get a good angle on the corner and brought him right in front of Mike Birditt. Mike was thinking this was great but Witold wasn't giving up the wheel and they were bumping shoulder to shoulder. Mike showed good sense and finally let Witold go and got on his wheel. This line passed Al just before the last corner. After the corner Howard Miller and Ricky Shorts came by me on my right. Kal took a line inside of Dale's and was solo coming home.
Mike Cicchi was also in the mix and probably on Mike Birditt's wheel.
Witold Czulak made his move off of Dale's wheel somewhere coming toward the finish line. I got a different story from Witold after the race but I am sure he had no idea I write a story on the races I do. I got some smoke about he took it solo from the corner in and you have to get momentum to beat Dale and can't come off his wheel but Mike Birditt's version was different and was more believable from what I saw. Witold of Amgen did take it too Dale and both went toe to toe coming in. Mike Birditt was charging the line as well. Hopefully Kenny BZ got some good photos. He usually does. Witold won with a nice bike throw. Dale estimated the distance at about 2 to 3 inches. Birditt was 3rd with Kal placing 4th. Mike Cicchi in his first 55+ action that I know of did a very good race and placed 5th. Al Shorts hung in there for 6th with Ricky Shorts and Howard Miller placing 7th and 8th. Richard Stalhberg also hung in there and was right there with Ricky and Howard. I was to Richard's left trying to come around but with no luck and no out of the saddle effort. Richard was first in 60+ while I was 2nd. Ron Carlson was 9th in 55+. Carlos Cruz was 3rd in 60+ but I don't know how far back from me he was.
Special kudos go out to Sanda Timbal of Velo Avanti who has been doing the 55/60+ races on a regular basic and placed 13th. Nice job! We can use more women to fill out our fields and make us more attractive to promoters. Women can race 20 years down. Bring out some teammates but let them know there is an initiation period. You don't just come out and win or even place. Experienced riders only. Please.
The placing for 60+ were(CBR only listed 5 and there were more 60+ riders out there but they must have been way back or off the back):

3-Carlos Cruz
4-Mario Seri
5-Alan Kizura

The 55+ placings were(there were 18):

6-Al Shorts
7-Ricky Shorts
8-Howard Miller

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

Monday, March 1, 2010


By John McKee

Ontario, California is something like Vancouver, Canada. A bustling city just below a beautiful mountain range. There is more snow in the mountains above Ontario then on Cypress Mountain the site of many 2010 Winter Olympic events near Vancouver. If you don't believe me, just look at the picture to the right. Boutique hotels, cyclist friendly roads, trees everywhere, and lush green lawns. Like its sister city Vancouver there was an athletic event on February 28th, 2010 in Ontario, Cal. (The picture to the right is courtesy fo Jim Swigart).
It was a SCNCA/USA Cycling sanctioned bicycle race called Ontario #1 - Dare to Race GP. Racers from all over Southern California gathered to challenge one another in 18 different categories. The biggest race of the day was the 55/60+ event scheduled to start at 7:35am. The stage race specialists were in Nevada for the Calville Stage Race but the criterium specialists and everyone else showed up this Sunday in Ontario. The 55/60+ was scheduled for 40 minutes and to start after the women category 4 finished. 14 year old Tara McCormick of Lightning Velo and sponsored by Cal Pacific Export Packers won this race handily going away.
There was a good but not great pre registration for the 55/60+ race. 22 60+ riders and 16 55+ racers signed up and paid their money. There were a few same day enteries but a few of the pre regs didn't make it because of illness like Monty Pettus of Paramount and Craig Jones of Velo Avanti. Most of the players in this type of race in both categories were present except for Kal Szkalak, Al and Ricky Shorts, & Mike Fleming.
About 40 actual racers came to the line including 3 women. Officials Ed Keck, John Rubcic, and Eric Smith were there among others to officiate and see that the race was fair, clean and fun! 7:35 am came and all the racers were off. There is always one or two riders that have trouble getting into their pedals and I was behind one of them but no worries. Plenty of racing time left to move around the peleton. There were a few new 55+ racers and they would add an unknown quality to the race.
Breaking away is the name of the game in all group racing and there would be a number of break attempts throughout this rather hard short race. Most Ontario events are quite surgie in nature with hard and easy moments but most of this race was ON! The overall race speed was 24.6 mph which doesn't sound that high but there are 7 corners a lap meaning the straight aways would be done between 26 and 27 mph consistently.
Dale Luedtke decided to see how his legs felt and jumped the field but everyone and I mean everyone jumped on this one. Dale soon gave up this idea but this would be the first of many attempts of riders to separate themselves from the field. The first major move that got away included Don Davidson and new teammate Gary Shuey both of Citrus Valley Velo. They were joined by Rick Swanson in his new kit with his new team Radsport Cycling Team. The 3 worked it but Rick decided to drop back while Don and Gary kept plugging away but before long they were brought back with the help of UC Cyclery/JW Flooring. Steve Horine and Mitch Weinstock of UCC were there to support UCC's powerhouse, Dale Luetdke.
A few primes came and went but you don't get much at Ontario so I don't think many in the pack were excited but Pedro Ordaz of an unknown team was very active. There was this consistent ebb and flow of racing action in the middle of the race that kept the pace high with few respites but no break group. One big ball of racers. With 10 to 15 minutes to go Pedro Ordaz jumped the field and held everyone off by himself. He didn't get very far away and no one seemed that concerned but the 4 lap to go card came up and he was still out there. 3 racers decided to bridge across and see if a small group could it make it stick to the finish line. Phil Richards of Citrus Valley Velo, Tom Reilly of PAA and Mitch Weinstock of UCC came aboard to make it a foursome. A foursome is a favorite grouping of gophers but 4 in a break group is also a good number to work with if all are committed to work hard and leave nothing in the bag. You have to want to use all 14 clubs. The maximum number of clubs that gophers are allowed to carry around. Mitch Weinstock was in a quandry because his teammate Dale Luedtke would be the favorite in a bunch sprint. Mitch would have to be certain he could win in this group or he could end up the goat. Not winning the race and making Dale sprint for 5th place. Mitch decided to go half hearted in the group. Not using all his clubs. Pedro Ordaz demonstrated he is very strong but he wasn't smooth and didn't have a good idea how to best work with everyone else. The group stayed away the last number of laps and were still away with one lap to go but weren't that far ahead. Maybe 50 to 70 meters. Phil Richards was trying to quarterback the group. Doing a real John Elway(He's retired. Maybe I mean Peyton Manning. Yea, that's it!). Tom Reilly is not new to break groups and trys to get away every race and knows what he is doing. As the last lap dwindled the group was still out there but Mitch's help dried up and the pace in the main group picked up thanks to Steve Borer of SDBC.
2 known opportunists Steve Bernade of Simple Green and Doug Knox took off with another unknown assailant. The break group was caught, the pack was right there and it was chaos out there. The 3 new breakers were trying to sneak home unnoticed but it was time for Dale Luedtke to show his stuff. The movie "Ben Hur" was shown on the same day as the race on the best station on television TCM. The lead character in the film was played by Charleton Heston who was Judah Ben Hur. Ben Hur was betrayed by his friend Messala played by Stephen Boyd.
Ben Hur was sentenced to be a slave aboard a ship rowing and chained to his post. The slaves were wipped and rowed endlessly to move the ships around the seas. The most important use for the rowing was in battle. The ships ram each other at maximum speed if necessary. This action was practiced often to test and prepare the rowing slaves. There was a guy with this drum that would beat out the tempo of the rowing. The ship captain and fleet commander Quintus Arrius played by Jack Hawkins came down to see how the slaves would perform in battle conditions.
He instructed the overseer to start ramping up the pace of the rowing. The first move was to "Battle Speed". The drummer upped the beat and the rowers started rowing faster. Dale Luedtke started his "Battle Speed" with 3 corners to go. Bernade and his group were just ahead and Dale ramped it up to approach this group.
The next level of speed is called "Attack Speed". Ben Hur and his mates are commanded to up the ante and row even faster. Dale Luedtke came to Bernade's group and went to "Attack Speed". There was little room to the right but Dale saw the hole. He went for it surprising Steve Bernade and even Rick Swanson who was behind Dale. Rick figured if Dale could get through so could he. Steve Bernade was surprised but figured on jumping on Dale but at least 3 to 4 riders were right on Dale's tale and couldn't move right away. Besides Rick, Michael Birditt of Swami's Cycling Club, and Carlos Cruz of Canyon Velo and newly aged up 60+ racer. Carlos is the father of pro and former LA teammate Tony Cruz. Steve got his second wind and locked on to the group.
I was a bit behind also trying to move up the right side seeing my leadout man hopelessly stuck in the main group. I was on my own and had to block a lot of wind to move up. Coming into the last corner which is a bit of a slingshot Dale moved to maximum speed. Dale doesn't wait until the last minute. He likes to ramp up to maximum before the last corner if the sprint distance from there in is fairly short. In the movie the last order came to go to the final and fastest speed, "Ramming Speed". Ben Hur and everyone heard the beat of the drum and were rowing as fast as they could. They were really sucking wind. In this bicycle race Dale made "Ramming Speed" look easy and was first to the last corner. Once Dale gets to "Ramming Speed" and is first to the last corner you can turn out the lights, the party is over. Dale came across the line in 1st place. Michael Birditt was 2nd and Rick Swanson was 3rd. Carlos Cruz hung on to this group and was the first 60+ racer to come across the line.
Back a bit Loren Stephens, Raphael Gomez, John Edwards and myself were fairly close and all going for what they thought was 1st place in 60+. I had Raffy to my right and slightly ahead and in a line of racers, Loren was to my immediate left and John Edwards was to the far left. A 55+ racer came across the path of Loren and I and Loren had to swerve and I hestiated. Coming home I thought I might be able to pass both with my new Zipp 404 wheels (Here's a special shutout to Juan Martinez of CyclePro bicycle service who gave me a good deal on the wheels and glued the tires on. Juan also has 25 years experience building custom wheels. Juan's shop is in Lake Forest at 22706 Aspan, Ste 502) but alas no. I didn't even get out of the saddle. Doh! John Edwards thought he had a shot at all 3 but came up short. The 4 of us came across in this order-Loren, Raffy, myself and John Edwards.
As mentioned earlier the overall speed was 24.6 mph and it was a good hard fought race with no spills but a lot of thrills. Unfortunately in a succeeding race(50+) there was a crash and many 55/60+ racers(all doing it for training) were taken out including- George Chester, Pags, Don Kimper, Steve Horine, Jim Swigart and Steve Borer. Steve Borer took the worst of the damage with broken ribs, damaged shoulder, damaged finger tendon, road rash and a very sore hip. Steve is a very positive person and plans on recovering fully and racing with us again but maybe not in the 50+ category.
The 60+ finish was:

1- Cruz
2- Stephens
3- Gomez
4- McKee
5- Edwards
6- Linden
7- Chester
8- Davidson
9- Duck

As of this time only a few places are known in 55+. The finish sheet that Eric Smith gave me was totally messed up. Eric messaged me this morning about the problem and he told me he was going to go over the video again to place all the 55+ racers. The placings I know about are:

1- Luedtke
2- Birditt
3- Swanson
6- Bernade

I will expand the placing when available. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!