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.