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
8- Morehouse 28
Monday, March 29, 2010
|LA Circuit Race (Rank 1.5)|
|1||219074||Leo Pettus||OCW/Paramount Racing||21|
|2||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||17|
|3||129293||Michael Fleming||Coates Cyclery Cycling Club||15|
|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|
|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|
|16||171652||Stephen Whitsitt||South Bay Wheelmen||0|
|LA Circuit Race (Rank 1.5)|
|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|
|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|
|20||195618||Stephen Horine||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||0|
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
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
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):
The 55+ placings were(there were 18):
That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Monday, March 1, 2010
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:
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:
I will expand the placing when available. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!