Sunday, August 22, 2010


By John McKee

Announcer Ralph Elliott with official Betty Roebuck
It's August 22nd and one week after Paramount's Dan Crain passed away as a result of injuries from an accident while cycling and tangling with an SUV in Newport Beach. The officials, announcer Ralph Elliott were most helpful in making the race a commemorative event honoring the loss of a 60+ Paramount team member. This particular race was renamed "THE 55/60+ DAN CRAIN MEMORIAL RACE". The last race of the year at Ontario is always hot though we always go off early and thankful of that at this race. We were scheduled to go off early. I gave Ralph the script well before the race start that I wanted him to read before our race about Dan. I also talked to the officials and asked if we could do a neutral lap with Paramount members Monty Pettus and myself leading everyone around. No problem there. I brought black ribbon to wear around the arm and offered it to whoever wanted to engage in this act of solidarity toward a fallen 55/60+ comrade. Probably half the field did so. 100% of the Velo Allegro team wore the black ribbons. There were 26 55+ racers including 2 women(Cynthia Sjogren and Sanda Timba. Sanda just completed the women's 3/4 race prior to our race and had the best finish of her life with a 2nd place. Way to go Sanda!). There were 11 60+ racers there to race with the 55s but were to be scored separately. Dan most likely would have made it 12. He did this race last year.
55+ State Champion Mike Birditt at the line with black arm band
Prior to the scheduled start the announcer Ralph Elliot had this to say from the prepared text: "The next race today will be the 'THE 55/60+ DAN CRAIN MEMORIAL RACE'. This past Sunday August 15th, 2010 Paramount's Dan Crain passed away as a result of injuries from an accident in Newport Beach where he was struck by an SUV while cycling on August 3rd. Dan had not been racing long but his cycling accomplishments were extensive. Dan had completed 106 double centuries since he started serious cycling in 1996 and was inducted into the Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2001. He set a 2 person age group record in the Race Across America in 2005 making it across the country in less than 9 days. He also set a record at the Firecreek Furnace 508 of which he did 7. Dan had many other accomplistments in his life and will be sorely missed by a lot of people. Let's have 10 seconds of silence to commemorate his loss...... Thank you. Today we are racing for you, Dan."
Neutral 1st Lap in Honor of Dan Crain
After the announcement the chief referee gave us our instructions and mentioned that the first lap was to be neutral. The racers were off at the whistle. Monty and I led the first lap around the course and then it was game on. Steve Horine took off solo to see what he could do. Don Davidson back after a mid season layoff took off himself in pursuit of Steve and caught him but they couldn't work together well enough to hold off the pack. The pack was powered by some fast legs like Mike Birditt and Al Shorts. Al is finishing the season very strong. We hit speeds up to 32 mph approaching the finish line coming off the slingshot corner that is a 1% down grade.
Don put in another harder effort and was looking good so I went to the front to pull him back and took a hard pull and then Al pulled through and we got so close that Don threw in the towel. Most of the middle of the race was rather slow with a few break efforts here and there. It looked like we were headed for a bunchie.
Group all together passing by finish line 1/2 way through race
The 2nd prime lap late in the race got the attention of Mike Birditt and Ricky Shorts again and they sprinted for Ontario series points. Mike had to dig deep to pass Ricky. Ricky turned to the crowd and said "Got me again".  We had a double counter with Rick Swanson and Mark Planellas and the second attempt proved successful. Al Shorts got right on this and the 3 were working it pretty good. Don Davidson went off in pursuit and hung in between. Steve Cahill also took off and got on Don. Don took a hard pull and fatigued himself and Steve went on to connect with the break group and Don went back to join the pack.
The 4 breakers worked it with pulls around 25 to 28 mph. UCC was denuded with Kal Szkalak at World's and the majority of the UCC race squad MIA. Steve Horine of UCC couldn't pull them back by himself. Mike Birditt choose not to chase his buddie Steve Cahill. They aren't on the same team currently but most likely will be next season. Velo Allegro and SC Velo had riders to pace and block so as the lap card came up 5 I knew that there was no way the group wasn't going to finish ahead of the rest of us. I was just hoping that a few guys would still go to the front and pace just to get things safe. A number of guys did so including Don Davidson, Steve Horine and Kirk Freeman to name a few. The last lap came and the pack could barely see the break group ahead. The foursome continued to share the load on the last lap but with 2 corners to go Al Shorts decided to start his effort for the line. Al has a long sprint and took it to everyone coming home in 1st place for his 2nd win in 3 weeks. Great way to finish off the season or at least the SCNCA criterium season.
Break group- Shorts, Swanson, Cahill & Planellas
Steve Cahill finished 2nd with Rick Swanson 3rd and Mark Planellas 4th. That left the peleton to finish and the pace was frightfully slow. I was following my teammate Monty Pettus as per pre race strategy. Monty was on Carlos Cruz. To win the Ontario Series Monty thought he needed to win the race and myself place after him. This actually wasn't correct but that's what we thought. At turn 3 I got bumped and my bike got hit and it did a death shimmy but I held on and didn't go down. Lost 3 spots though in the lineup. After the next corner I moved back up and took Monty's wheel back. Back on track. I believe Rod Mallory of Velo Allegro was leading us. The pace was slow going into the last corner and I knew Monty was going to jump and he did on Carlos's left side. Dale Luedtke and Mike Birditt were coming up the right side. Ricky Shorts was following Mike. Coming home Dale was the first rider across with Mike next, Ricky, Monty and then myself. Monty won the 60+ category with myself 2nd. Fitting in honoring Dan Crain that his teammates finished 1/2. Raffy Gomez followed me in with Carlos next. This turned out to be important. Monty actually needed 2 riders to come between himself and Carlos just to tie and Raffy saved the day for Monty. Monty and Carlos tied which was great. Both got a series jersey. Dale Luedtke won the Ontario Series in 55+. Complete results are below. Photos below are the various podiums for the race and the Ontario Series(5 races).
55+ race podium-Steve Cahill(not pictured), Al Shorts, & Rick Swanson
60+ race podium- John McKee, Monty Pettus & Raffy Gomez

55+ race series podium- Mike Birditt, Dale Luedtke & Rick Swanson
60+ race series podium- Raffy Gomez, Carlos Cruz, Monty Pettus & John McKee

That's everything about the race itself. I have one more thing to put in my write up. Saturday on the 21st was the service for Dan Crain and was well attended. Dan was very well liked where ever he went. He came from a large family and was the first sibling to pass. His sister Cindy Barr adapted an Elton John song, rewrote some of the words, and the rewrite fit well into the theme of the service which was the celebration of the life of Dan Crain. It was very well done and here are the lyrics:


Daniel is riding forever around the bend
I can see his red curly hair blowing in the wind
And I can see Daniel waving goodbye
Oh it looks like Daniel,
must be the clouds in my eyes

They say the Tetons are pretty,
though I've never been
Daniel says it's the best place he's ever seen
And he should know, he's been there enough
Oh I miss Daniel, Oh I miss him so much

Daniel my brother, you are now a memory
Your spirit rides free and becomes part of me
Your eyes have died, you now see more than I
Daniel you're a star in the face of the sky

Daniel my brother, ahead of me ride
And I'll catch up to you on the other side

                                          -Elton John
                     -Adapted by Cindy Barr

That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Summer End GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 3793 Raphael Gomez Cycles Veloce 10
4 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 9
5 48651 Carlos Cruz Canyon Velo 8
6 48252 Joseph Wells Team WM 7
7 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 6
8 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 5
9 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 4
10 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 3
  Don Kimper was left off the finish list and was between Cruz and Wells

Summer End GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 14
2 34753 Rick Swanson Radsport Cycling Team 11
3 202041 Mark Planellas Southern California Velo 10
4 47262 Dale Luedtke UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 9
5 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 8
6 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 7
7 47314 Gary Prideaux Lightning Velo 6
8 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 5
9 107852 David Lang Team Hot Wheels 4
10 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 3
11 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 2
12 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 1
13 15625 Demi Hechanova Southern California Velo 0
14 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 0
15 66019 Brian Cote Team Sho-Air 0
16 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0
17 177510 Richard Bassett jr Southern California Velo 0
18 289270 Sanda Timbal Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
19 271566 Alex Gonzalez Velo Allegro 0
20 277180 John Roest Unattached 0
21 271949 Cynthia Sjogren Team PossAbilities Gary Fisher Subaru 0
22 311649 Rogellio Padilla Unattached 0
23 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
24 9271 Pete Dern Herbalife LaGrange 0
25 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 0

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