Monday, April 19, 2010


By John McKee

April 18th, 2010 saw 2 races for the 55 and 60+ crowd. There was a road race in Bakersfield and a criterium in Torrance put on by the Penninsula Cycle Club. Brad House of Back on Track Productions is a member and driving force of the club. Tony Jabuka of The Bike Palace is a major sponsor. I want to thank the host club, Brad and Tony for doing a nice job with the event. I know in the past they have struggled getting some of the basics done like registration right and this year was better but still lacking. The vols have to get there at 5:30 am. Not 6:30 am. ALL of them! Reg was a bit of a nightmare but I was one of the first people there so I got my number quickly. Reg bogged down soon after.  A little nasty there. I do want to thank Tony for being so generous with the prizes for our cats. We didn't turn out basically. 13 60s and 10 55s. There was suppose to be $300 in bike stuff for a combined finish list. Tony gave at least $400 in merchandise to BOTH the 55s and 60s and good stuff too. The winner got a very nice black Bike Palace jacket. Yes, you push his shop but it looked great and was a $125 value. 2nd place was a Trek helmet. Last place or 6th for the prize list was a seat pack with a multi tool. Thank you for being so generous. I know Brad has a rep for unusual stuff this wasn't.
The scheduled time for the 55/60+ was 8:35 am. We were sandwiched between junior groups for some reason but 8:35 wasn't bad considering we often start at 7:30 am. Like mentioned earlier the start list was light especially on 55s. I know a few guys were at the RR but it looks like most UCC and CVV guys were racking it in or just going out for a training ride. When UCC wants to line it up they can put up some impressive numbers. I thought they were going for the overall in Socal Points. UC Cyclery/JW Flooring did have there criterium one two punch and it is as strong as there is out there in Dale Luedtke and Kal Szkalak. Put T Rod and some of their other excellent riders and they could dominate 55+ like Amgen Masters dominates 35+ and 45+. I wonder who is number one in Socal Points is. UCC and CVV weren't the only clubs as mind(Paramount) was light and SBW. This race was in the South Bay area and there was not one SBW member. Wow! Velo Allegro was also a zero.
OK the race is off. Jim and Betty Roebuck are helping with officiating. Thanks Jim and Betty. JR had the week off after being the follow motorcyclist at DPGP. The race is scheduled for 40 minutes. Dale Luedtke goes to the front and does tempo. He looks like he could do this all day long. The course at Torrance is a 1/2 mile square and the shortest course on the crit circuit. A break group could lap the field. With lots of corners a small group can do well here. There were a number of good bumps on the course and my Bongrager seat cap loosened only 5 mins into the race. I went over a bump and my saddle went forward. I pushed back on the rear of the saddle and moved it back. I tried to stay centered over the saddle to keep it from moving during the race. I was wondering if I was going to make it to the end of the race. I was able to keep it under control. The first break attempt was started by Mike Birditt. You have to understand the mix of riders as a break attempt to succeed would have to have the right mix. No offense to anyone but there were 4 strong experienced 55s in the race that would dominate the action. Dale, Kal, Mike Birditt and Richard Keegan of Ironfly. Richard doesn't race with us much and only races when the event is close to home but he is strong and a factor in this race.
The first break attempt was started by Mike Birditt. Mike rolled off the front and Dale let him go. I jumped and thought this was worth an effort. It took a bit but I got on Mike's wheel.

Mike kept looking back and Dale was riding tempo just keeping us in sight. Mike did most of the work but I did what I could without fatiguing myself. The key to a break today was one of the UCC guys would have to be in it and it wouldn't hurt if Mike and or Richard Keegan were in it as well. A 60+ guy could go for a ride to a victory if in a small select group like this. 2 riders came across the gap and it wasn't the right 2. Richard Keegan was one but the other was a new 55+ racer by the name of Larry White. Larry hasn't raced in 5 years and looks very fit and was active doing the race but he couldn't pull in the group and Dale closed the effort out. Wrong mix. Too bad for me. The 60s for the most part raced a defensive type race and that is understandable but made Dale somewhat upset. I heard the term "negative" racing. Dale is a marked man because of his success. I say Dale doesn't know how strong he is compared to the rest of the field like at Torrance. The 60s can't match him and only 2 55s can actually chase him down and that's Mike and Richard. I say double up when caught or do the Everly Brothers(Don and Phil-haven't seen these good riders lately. We miss them) two step. Once the tongues are hanging out make the move that few can response too.
Steve Borer was the next person to make a move. Steve is making a quick comeback after his crash at Ontario. Good to see him back and riding well. Steve got a bit of a gap and kept it up for several laps. Steve was hoping someone would join him but no luck there.

Steve was reeled in. There were a few moves and Larry White was very active but didn't have the punch to hold up. The move that was the most dangerous happened about 25 minutes into the race. Not sure who started it but it included Richard Keegan, Kal Szkalak, and Mike Birditt. Bingo! The right combo.
Dale can't do anything because his teammate was there and does tempo at the front with some help for John Edwards also of UCC. I know Dale wants to come across and make it 2 UCC riders in the group but he jumps too late to get across so big a gap. Actually Larry White made a move to chase and I put in an effort to chase him down and Dale jumped off of this once Larry was caught. I was faged from my effort and couldn't get on Dale. Mistake.
I know Dale and the 55s want the 60s to be more active but hitting the physical limiter makes it hard to respond to moves out of the pack.

Dale gets away from the group and realizes he can't get across so he does just enough tempo to stay away from the group. The one woman in the field had been off the front and she can't stay on Dale's wheel. Cynthia Sjogren has raced with us before and its great and wish we had more game women. Our regular woman is Sanda Timbal of Velo Avanti but is visiting her parents in Romania right now.

In the mean time the 3 breakers are working together and are about to lap the field with about 6 laps to go.
The field is all together now except for Dale who is in no man's land and going to come in 4th place in 55+ and overall. The 3 breakers work their way back to the front. The officials skip a lap for everyone and go from 7 to 5 laps to go. Its all about jocking now for position. The 3 places for 55+ are going down to a field sprint and all the positions are up for 60+. I try and stay at the front like John Rubcic would. I am hoping for a very fast last couple of laps but it isn't going to happen. Mike Birditt goes to the front with 2 laps to go and does easy tempo. Everyone plays off Mike. On the last lap the jump is going to come but when and who. You can see it is Richard Keegan and is with 3 corners to go. Richard puts the pressure on and his teammate Barney Feigenbaum got on him but folded right away. Mike and Kal moved in and lined up. Between 2 and 1 corners to go Mike Fleming and John Edwards move ahead of me. I am thinking damn that pesky Mike. Jumping ahead of me again. I get on his wheel thinking I can jump him coming home. I should have jumped him before the last corner. Keegan is strong and takes the last corner first. Kal jumps to the right and yells at Richard that is coming in on the right side. There are cones angling in and makes the right side dicey. Mike Fleming is a cagey racer and gets on Kal's wheel. This takes me back and creates a gap and I start after it out of the saddle for a moment trying to gain some mo. Richard had moved to his left and pretty much blocked out Mike Birditt from getting a clean shot at the line. Kal took the hole shot and it was going to pay off with the victory. Mike Birditt got around Richard and placed 2nd. Richard was 3rd in 55+. All the placing were out there for 60+. I was closing on Mike Fleming. Loren Stephens was on the far side and out of the saddle in a big gear and closing quickly. Raffie Gomez was also coming on. Mike Fleming was tying up and gearing down trying to hang on and just does. Victory for Fleming. I came in about a half a wheel short with Stephens topping out the max speed in 60+ but just late to the line. Gomez bested John Edwards for 4th place. You could throw a blanket over the 5 of us. It was very close. Overall places 5 thru 13 went to 60+ racers except for Steve Borer at 11. Fleming was 5th overall and I was 6th and seemingly the last place for merchandise but thanks to Bike Palace, it wasn't.
Overall it was a good clean race. I know there was talk of negative racing but we need stronger riders to make the action more aggressive. Next week is Chuck Ponitus. I have to call it "The Showdown at Ponitus". Rubcic of UCC vs. Monty Pettus of Paramount in 60+. Should be an exciting race. I hear Swami's is baling on the race so its pretty much UCC 's show in 55+ unless some Amgen racers come on.
Nice pic of the 3 60+ placers. Couldn't get the 55s together. I have my DAR Patroits hat on. The Daughter's of the American Revolution built a school in Northeast Alabama to help a needy rural community in the 20s. My mother was one of the first classes to graduate in 1940. When I visited the area in the 50s it was still lets say  less than propersus. Homes didn't have indoor plumbing in the mid 50s. When I visited last year Grant, Ala. has become a very nice community built around the school that the DAR built. It was 95% farming early on but not now. You use to eat what you grew or you didn't eat.
You wouldn't know that my mother's side of the family are American blue bloods being direct descentants of John Alden. John came over on the Mayflower in 1620. Proud of my family roots. Here is a shout out to my cousins in Ala.- Charis Sanders and Delphine Wright(maiden names) who were so nice to my wife and I when we visited after Natz last year. Thanks to aunt and uncle Arnold and Earlene Sanders putting us up. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe! Complete placing are below for 60+ and overall. 55+ placing aren't on the SCNCA website yet. You can figure from these placing who is who. Message into Eric Smith to get the placings for 55+ and the Socal Points that go with it.

Torrance Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 129293 Michael Fleming Coates Cyclery Cycling Club 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 234791 Loren Stephens Pinnaclife Racing Team 10
4 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 9
5 46547 John Edwards UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 8
6 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 7
7 101582 William Carvin Unattached 6
8 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 5
9 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 4
10 48063 Barnett Feigenbaum ironfly 3
11 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 2
12 3794 Vicente Gomez Cycles Veloce 1
13 50406 Michael Edwards Herbalife LaGrange 0

Torrance Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+ 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
2 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 0
3 142249 Richard Keegan Iron Fly 0
4 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
5 129293 Michael Fleming Coates Cyclery Cycling Club 0
6 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 0
7 234791 Loren Stephens Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
8 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 0
9 46547 John Edwards UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0
10 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 0
11 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
12 101582 William Carvin Unattached 0
13 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 0
14 37980 Larry White Team Coastal Tree Care-SGBC 0
15 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
16 288193 Ronald Carlson METALMTN Cycling 0
17 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0
18 48063 Barnett Feigenbaum ironfly 0
19 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
20 271949 Cynthia Sjogren Pull Thru Racing 0
21 47314 Gary Prideaux Lightning Velo 0
22 3794 Vicente Gomez Cycles Veloce 0
23 50406 Michael Edwards Herbalife LaGrange 0

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