Monday, May 17, 2010


By John McKee

It was May 15th, 2010 and there were 3 events on the calendar. There was a lot of talk about "real men" doing the ITT and wimps doing the criterium this day. If the "real men" were doing the ITT then I assume those doing the Mt. Whitney Stage race were "real real men" since they were going to have to climb 15,000 ft over the course of their race. Well anyone that went down to do the "wimp" event in Chula Vista were in for a surprise. The course was down right hard. Plain and simple. It was more of a circuit race at 1.3 miles but it really doesn't matter what you call it other than just  hard. The course was shaped like a cooked hot dog with 2 180 turns.
The 40 minute race was to see 12 laps and probably 800 ft of climbing over the length of the race. It was like doing 24 power hill intervals. Quite a workout for wimps anyway. 16 racers showed up for the 55/60+ categories which doesn't sound like much but wasn't bad considering the cat 3 men had 11 and the 45+ race had 13. The wind at the time of the race which was slated for 12:55 pm was blowing pretty good. Mostly a cross wind at the bottom of the course. The valley at the bottom was like a wind tunnel making the 404s I was using a little dicey but manageable. The wind was slightly in your face coming toward the finish line which wasn't going to make the finish of the race any easier. The race broke down to 7 60s and 9 55s racing for one purse as a combined group but scored separately for Socal points. UCC had the most players with 3. Mark Helvie, Steve Horine and Richard Robertson. All known to be good climbers. Did UCC know something that the rest of us didn't? Mike Birditt of Swami's and Steve Cahill of Moonlight Velo were there to contest the race in 55+. Steve Borer, Mark Wisnosky and Nicolet of SDBC were also there to mix it up. Fred Provence of Cyclo Vets filled out the 55+ field. In 60+ besides myself were Don Kimper and Gary DeVoss. Both men very able climbers and Gary is showing very good form although he doesn't race with us much. Both men beat me at SLR so I knew my hands would be full. Filling out the field were sprinter Raphael Gomez of Cycles Veloce, Robert Gerdes of the Cyclo Vets, Matias Garcia riding unattached and the ageless one, Mister Robert Paganini of PAA.
The officials instructions were simple. Race for 40 minutes and go on the whistle. We started at the top of the hill and not at the finish line which was 70 meters away. Easier to start us with a straight shot at the out leg of the course. The first time down and up the course it didn't seem that hard. The finishing leg was harder for some reason. I think it was slightly steeper and with a cross headwind this leg was tough. After a couple of times around we started to feel that we were in for a pretty tough race.
Mark Helvie, Steve Cahill and Gary DeVoss were the first 3 to venture off the front. They were away for a couple of laps but didn't seem to work well together. Don't think Mark was comfortable with Steve there so decided to not give the full effort. Back together again but with a few guys starting to show some wear. Robert Gerdes was the first to fall off the pace. This event didn't fit his body type.
The UCC team tried to use its numbers to its advantage and Richard Robertson and Steve Horine would test the waters and jump it. All attempts were covered but this had a psychological effect on Mike Birditt. He didn't feel he and Steve Cahill could cover all the moves of UCC. Mark Helvie made a move after about 7 laps and he developed a gap quickly. No one tried to come across and off he went. Mark pushed himself and got far enough away after 2 more laps that everyone else in 55+ was racing for 2nd place. 60+ was still in play from the chase group which was down to 8 riders.
Mark Helvie came across the line with a well deserved victory in 55+. A minute or so later the 8 men came around the last 180 turn with a very tough finish to go after the downhill. Even before we got to the bottom Don Kimper gave it a go and jump started the group. He was quickly covered and the pack calmed down. I was on the inside near the curb and the pace had slowed down so much that I freewheeled it by Mike Birditt. I decided to launch myself right at the bottom of the hill. Out of the saddle jump. Didn't take long for 3 of the 55+ racers to come around me. One by one. Cahill, Robertson and Birditt. I kept the pressure on the pedals hoping I could hang on to the 60+ victory. Coming toward the line Robertson and Birditt passed Cahill who was tying up a bit. Mike got an advantage over Robertson and came across for 2nd place. Richard was 3rd and Steve 4th in 55+. With 50 meters to go Gary DeVoss came by me and got about a half a bike length lead on me and with my legs full of lead I couldn't respond. Gary won the 60+ category by a half a bike length. Don Kimper was 3rd in 60+. Steve Borer, Fred Nicolet and Steve Horine rounded out the chase group finishers in 55+. The ageless one Robert Paganini came across the line for 4th place in 60+. His best finish this year. Hard race for sure and this could be a good event if it doesn't match up against other popular races. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe! Full results below.
International Friendship Crit  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 14
2 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 11
3 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 10
4 204724 Steve Cahill Moonlight Velo 9
5 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 8
6 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 7
7 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 6
8 303394 Fred Provence San Diego Cyclo Vets 5
9 243425 mark wisnosky ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 4

International Friendship Crit  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 51495 Gary DeVoss San Diego Cyclo Vets 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 10
4 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 9
5 314990 Matias Garcia Unattached 8
6 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 7
7 289101 Robert Gerdes San Diego Cyclo Vets 6

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