Sunday, September 12, 2010


By John McKee

It is September 12th and it's been a long season. The season started in Los Olivos at the Poor College Kids Road Race on Jan. 30th. It was especially long for myself since I did almost all the events and did do every crit in SCNCA/CBR except when I was at Natz. The season officially ended at the last CBR criterium which was their California State Championship on Sept. 12th. Some guys had already thrown in the towel for the season and that especially applied to 60+ racers. Hopefully there will be an infusion of new 60+ riders and recycled 60+ racers next year or this category will die. I know I hear a call for 65+ racing but 60+ has to be successful before you can even think of moving up. (Special note- No race pics. My wife wasn't there nor was Jodie or Kenny BZ so I have thrown in some fun photos.)
UCC rider looking for additional face time
There were a total of 30 55/60+ racers ready to rock at the familiar Dominguez Hills layout raced the traditional clockwise direction. There were 9 60s and 21 55s. The air was a bit thick and cool. Nice for racing in light arm and knee warmers or compression socks. UCC/JW Flooring had a very good group of racers in the 55+ category and were looking to sweep the podium. Velo Allegro had good numbers and were looking for a good showing by their riders and hopefully pulling home the "shirt". The BAR(Best All Around Rider) series were already locked up bar a crash by Dale Luedtke in 55+ and myself in the 60+. Paramount was looking for a sweep of the podium as well in 60+ with H doing his 2nd race of the season and Monty Pettus racing at a very high level.
The race was called off at the designated 7:35 am. UCC went to the whip right away but it wasn't Kal. Steve Horine got it going right out of the blocks. Every one kind of looked at the "other" person to chase and before you knew it there were 3 guys gone. Mark Helvie joined Steve along with Richard "Visor Helmet" Barron. Richard has been racing for a long time with a visor helmet. Not sure why. The 3 got it going pretty good. Mark was kind of under the radar because he doesn't race with us much but is a strong rider. He specializes in climbing and long distance races. Al "The Enforcer" Shorts, Michael Birditt and a few others started to pull at the break group and got within a reasonable distance. Mike didn't want to close them out. He wanted like a tour stage where the "break" was kept off the front until near the end of the race. VA pulled some more and the 3 guys were pretty close. Kal decided to jump across. If he could make it, then he could supercharge the break and if not the group could be put out of their misery which of course included 2 of his teammates.
60+ racer after a hard session at a CBR criterium
Kal's move brought the race together and the race was now half over.
Not much happened for a while until the BAR point prime came up. Now BAR points only go to CBR license holders but Michael Birditt had been a prime killer for most of the season at the CBR races and eventhough he doesn't have a license he couldn't help himself and went for first. He held off Rod Mallory but Rod got the points anyway. Here is where UCC made a brilliant move. Maybe that's over stating the case a little but Mike was the major thorn in their side in their quest for domination of the pod which of course included the "shirt". Paul Rodiguez countered off of Mike's sprint and was quickly joined by Mark Helvie. Ricky Shorts saw the move and used that great snap in his legs and separated himself from the pack and joined the UCC twosome. Mike Birditt was still winded from his prime sprint and let the riders go. It was 2 UCC guys and one VA guy. They worked together for a while but the UCC guys were plotting against Ricky. The strategy worked great for Paul and Mark because VA couldn't chase with Ricky with them but after Ricky took a hard pull Paul attacked him and took Mark with him. Ricky was left holding the bag so to speak. At the bottom of the course we could see Ricky waving at us trying to get everyone to start the chase before he even got caught. The time for the race was counting down..15 minutes...12 minutes.
I saw Dale and Kal conferring. They were trying to develop some strategy to get themselves away and maybe join their teammates Paul and Mark. With less then 5 laps to go Kal made a solo move and Dale got right on it. The 2 started working together although they were quiet a ways behind the 2 leaders. They developed a little gap and Al Shorts got on pulling at them. H the phantom Paramount racer was right on his wheel and I was behind H. Al flicked his arm and H pulled through but for a short pull and then it was my turn. I decided to go for it and jumped across the gap to Dale and Kal. No one was on me. I didn't work in with them because at first I was tired from coming across. Dale and Kal don't like riders to just sit on them. With VA behind and the pack  pretty close  D & K threw in the towel.
55/60+ racer after the last race of the season
Paul and Mark were home free to figure out the state championship any way they wished. They decided that Paul would win the jersey and win he did. Mark Helvie was 2nd. Now the field sprint for the last pod spot in 55+ and all the pod spots for 60+ were to come. The last lap came and the jockeying was a plenty. I seemed to get buried in some 55+ guys on the down stretch. I couldn't see Monty, H, or Carlos Cruz and I knew I had to be near them to have a chance at the podium. On the down leg Kal jumped on the outside and things heated up. Coming up the hill Mike Birditt took the lead with Dale on his wheel. Mike took Dale to the last corner and then Dale went to the whip and with the sprint Dale has, it was a UCC pod sweep in 55+.
In 60+ Monty Pettus got himself in good position with H and Carlos fairly close. Going up the hill I had to pass some slower 55s because I was buried. Coming around the corner I could see H and Carlos but couldn't see Monty. Monty clearly won the 60+ state championship and was the 3rd racer in the bunch sprint.
The 2nd racer in the bunch was Don Denegal and was placed 4th in 55+. After Monty it was Ricky Shorts, Howard Miller, and Rod Mallory. Those 3 were 55+. Then H followed closely by Carlos Cruz. I made a run at both of them and was gaining and tried to throw my bike and catch Carlos for 3rd but he clearly was ahead as I saw on Chris's awesome video review system. Paramount ended up 1, 2 and 4 in 60+. Not a sweep like UCC but pretty good none the less.
Wish I had podium pics but don't. Good hard safe race. The 50+ race afterward was fast and fun and Mike Birditt won the field sprint there over Dale for the last podium spot. I was the highest placed 60+ racer and the first time I have placed ahead of Monty in a flat crit in years. I think he ran out of steam.
I will have more about the season in later blog reports. Full placings below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+ Placings

5-Shorts, R
9-Wayne R

60+ Placings


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