It was May 9th, 2010 and the Paramount GP which in 2010 was the Masters SCNCA Championship was scheduled. It was Mother's Day. I want to thanks all the mothers, wives that let their husbands and or sons come out and play on the mother's important day of celebration. I only heard about 100 times that it was Mother's Day. I know. I know. Last November I didn't know when Paramount plopped down on a date in May. A race date in May on a Sunday is like gold with all the promoters around and traditional dates taken. May is after the rainy season. In the heart of the race season. Probably not going to be hot or cold. I think I would have rather gone up against the Tour of California. None the less the turnout overall for the event was good at 561 entries and 337 different racers and especially in the morning. The 35+ and Men Pro/1/2/3 were in total about 60 short of what we usually get but the other fields were pretty standard. We had fewer 60+ racers at 28 then last year but I still considered this pretty good. I had hoped for a min of 30.
2010 marked the return of Hylton Murphy from some serious health issues. Hylton placed a very good 4th at SLR in a strong field on May 2nd. The Paramount GP was the 2nd criterium for Hylton this year. To digress a little bit. I met Hylton in 2001 at the Camp Pendleton RR. Hylton use to just go out and burn it up right from the gun and turn everyone's legs on fire from the pain. Hylton's recollection of myself was of a rather quiet and shy person. Now look at me. A real blabermouth. Kind of like Jackie Gleason in "The Honeymooners". My favorite sitcom of all time. Of course that is only in writing. Hylton came to the Paramount race to help his teammate and good friend John Rubcic but why don't I let Hylton put it in his own words as to what happened during the race.
An Unlikely Crit Winner
Early Sunday morning I drove up fromand while driving had the usual feelings of apprehension about going racing. What if I rode poorly? Couldn’t hang? I got there and got to see a lot of my friends before the race. That is always a good thing and one of the biggest reasons to go racing.
Before the race my good friend and team mate John Rubcic (Rocket Boy) said that Kenny is not here today since he had to take his mom to church and that we could get away and he would help me win. I told him the reason I was doing the crit was to work for him. But he would have none of that. Then, as we lined up, a very pretty and slightly glowing (girls glow, boys sweat) young lady came up behind me, gave me a hug and wished me luck. It was quite inspirational. It was Ms Debbie Durand and she had just finished her race and was riding off the course.
My other team mate in the race, Joltin’ Johnny Edwards, gave me a pre-race Bob Barney like lecture about not going on the first lap like I have been wont to do a number of times in the past. He told me to wait at least until after the first prime if I could. I told him that I would try to refrain if I could, but no promises. Somebody stop me, I usually cannot help myself. I don't have a sprinter's muscle fiber in my body and I have to go early (real early) to have a chance.
The official blew the whistle and we were off, a pretty big group of 60+ guys. Most of the stronger guys were there but no Kenny Fuller. He is a World champion, a factor in any race he enters and his presence would have changed things somewhat but not for me really because I have one way to go in a crit, whether Kenny is there or not. Phil Richards went to front and starting riding pretty hard and someone said don't let him go. Phil stayed on the front around the four corner course that had good pavement and a rise along the finishing stretch side. As he turned corner one for the second time he ramped it up. I had been moving up and was about 4 back and I decided to go hard. I got a gap and settled in. I was trying to get out of sight because that usually quiets the chase somewhat. But even though John and John were blocking as best they could, the group would lag back and then surge when somebody would decide to chase hard. I had other friends in the pack who I believed would not chase me, some pretty strong guys. But I could not get out of sight today.
At one point John R and Bruce Steele made it up to me, Bruce took a pull and then they dropped back. I thought something funny was going on because both of those guys are really strong and savvy riders. Then I looked back with about 20 minutes to go and the group was getting really close. Joltin Johnny said he saw me look back and he willed me not to quit. I thought for a second that maybe I should sit up because I was really hurting but I decided to dig harder instead. I think it was Joltin’s telepathy. Bruce Steele came across then and the gap reopened, and Bruce did a lot of work. He told me he and Rubcic had decided I was going to win and Bruce said he would help get me there. In the last 5 laps he was stronger than I was and he would have been the winner if he had wanted to be. But he was a man of his word, pulled most of the last lap and waved me through for the finish. Thanks Bruce, I am deeply indebted to you and will repay you when I get the chace to. Bruce won last years crit state championship when he got in a break with Kenny and John R and those guys started giving each other the stink eye in the last lap and doing the you-go-first-slow-down dance.
Joltin’ Johnny told me that there were some pissed off people in the peloton because when someone would make a big chase effort no one would pull through. Doug Knox, a very good and really experienced rider, told me after the race he was not very happy because a lot of people were just afraid to put their noses in the wind. But that is racing and I know I had a lot of help in the race.
So thanks to my buds and thanks life, for another crazy day. It was quite a thrill for me to say the least.
An unlikely state crit champ,