The weekend of June 12 & 13, 2010 saw a lot of racing opportunities for 55/60+ racers and especially 55+ racers. With Sisquoc Road Race on Sat.(55+ only), Death Valley on Sat. and Sunday and the SCNCA Track Champ on Sunday, racers had a lot to choose from besides the CBR Crit #6 which was called La Habra Cyclery Criterium. Same course. Same place. Different direction which I think is a little harder.
24 riders showed up to do the criterium race on Sunday at Dom. Hills. 17 55s and 7 60s. The race saw the return of Howard Miller of Paramount and Richard Stahlberg of Ironfly. Howard looked slightly heavier but was feeling better but not near his old form. Richard was a little further from his former self but felt good enough to get out there and stay with the group. His hamstring is still bothering him besides the other problems that kept him in the hospital for 9 days. These guys are tough and are most certainly welcomed back to racing.
The race was scheduled to go off at 7:45 am and too early for some lazier 55s that choose to snooze in and come out for the 50+ race a little later. The race was off on time with Velo Allegro having 4 team members in the race. I can tell you that it seemed like they were everywhere in the race and I was surprised that they had only had 4 because it seemed like there were more. The first parade lap was lead by SDBC president Steve Borer. After that Velo Allegro started working Rod Mallory, Ricky Shorts and Al Shorts in efforts off the front. Dale Luedtke and Kal Szkalak of UCC were always alert and ready to cover any move necessary. There were a number of small break groups that included Velo Allegro and either Dale or Kal but one that really caught my attention and my effort to catch on was about half way through the race. Kal was with the 3 Velo Allegro 55+ riders and gained a small gap. I went off the front to see if I could catch on and ride the group in to the finish if they were able to stay away. I actually made it across by turn 3 and was breathing hard but about the time I got to the group they were weaving and bobbing going up the hill. Pretty sure Kal was just sitting on hoping the VA riders would self destruct and they did. By turn 4 all riders were back together.
Ricky Shorts of Velo Allegro was going for most of the primes and staying away for a bit seemingly inviting someone to come out and ride off with him. Not many takers and no real hard effort with anyone that got to Ricky. The effort that looked dangerous started with Al Shorts and Kal covering the move. Kal is very analytical and sizes up the rider or riders he is with and whether he wants to put in a hard effort to try and stay away. No wasted effort for Kal. Kal saw that Al was riding pretty good and has better form than he had earlier in the year. Al had a couple of training spills that hurt his form and training and is now just starting to feel better. After staying just slightly off the front for 2 laps, Kal put in a hard effort going up the hill and the 2 of them were well away with just 5 laps to go. No 55s were bringing them back. The 60+ race was still out there although it was a denuded 60+ field because of many reasons.
The pace was lukewarm within the 5 last laps and new rider Kirk Freeman choose to take a flier with 3 laps left. No one knew Kirk and had any idea what he could do. Kirk tried out the RAM in 1988 and had to pull out because of a leg injury in Utah. Kirk has taken the last 18 years off from serious cycling and is trying his form out.
Within the last lap and between turn 3 and 4 Al told Kal he wasn't going to contest the finish and Kal spun off to take the 55+ victory. Al was second of course and a good effort by him. Kirk Freeman held everyone else off to take 3rd place overall and 3rd in 55+. Nice job by Kirk.
The field sprint was going to center around Dale and Ricky. I kept my eye on Dale but got a little buried going up the hill between turn 3 and 4. Carlos Cruz of Cal. Pools was ahead of me and I kept the pressure on and kept passing riders including him before turn 4. Dale exploded before turn 4 and wasn't contested coming home for 4th place. Ricky followed Dale across the line for 5th place and the last paying slot. I was the 6th place overall rider and the first 60+ rider to cross the finish line.
Nice job by the 2 women in the race, Sanda Timbal of Velo Avanti and Cynthia Svorgren of Possibilities Elite who hung in there the entire race. The pace was 1 mph slower than the last race here but the field was bigger and stronger with KK, Paul Rodriguez and Michael Birditt in that race.
The race results in each cat were: