Monday, January 31, 2011


By John McKee
Gary Shuey soloing in for 55+ win

It's January 29th, 2011 and time for the SCNCA racing calendar to start it's group racing. The entire calendar is full of races and The Poor College Kids Road Race was to be the first. This would be the 2nd year that this event has included a 55/60+ race. Pre race sign ups were at 23 55s and 16 60s. Pretty good numbers. Don't know exactly how many lined up. Somewhere between 45 and 65. I know that is a wide range but the whole day was chaotic ESPECIALLY the finish and we will go into that in great detail later in the story.
The start of race was delayed several times from its intended start time of 2:45 pm. The course was 34 miles and our race was to be one lap. There was about 2,000 feet of climbing in the lap. There was one major hill about 4 or 5 miles from the start finish line. Going out the steepest the hill got was around 4 or 5 %. The "far side" of the hill was steeper with a max of 9%.The course continued slightly downhill until the turnaround. The area is beautiful with a lot of wineries in the area including Fess Parker's(Davey, Davey Crockett, king of the wild frontier[Sorry couldn't resist. I was always glued to the TV to watch the Disney TV show and Davey Crockett in the 50s. Loved the episode with Davey going up against Mike Fink and the river boat pirates]). There were lots of cars(how much had their drivers had to drink)  for a country road plus some small buses and limos with drunk passengers. The paving was very spotty with lots of pot holes. Gary Shuey hit most of them. All in all it was a fun course assuming you make it back alive and everyone did. Pretty darn dangerous overall considering.The maximum speed for everyone was going to be between 40 and 50 mph.
The 55s and 60s finally got off shortly after 3 pm. The high temp was to be around 58 and the weather turning cold. A lot of guys just had a jersey and shorts. I was more prepared for the weather than anyone out there. I don't like to ride cold.
The racing started off rather mild and started to pick up going up toward the first peak. The first selection was made here. Gary Shuey treated the whole thing like a Sunday morning spin ride except he never gets out of his big ring. Climbs everything in his big ring. Gary stayed comfortably in the middle of the pack. There was a little action at the front but nothing to write home about. A new guy in a non team green jersey was at the front giving it a lot of effort. Looked pretty strong but I knew he was new to racing. Didn't have the slightly idea on how to pin a number to his jersey. He thinks the holes in the number are to be used to pin to the jersey. LOL.
The numbers were flapping away in the wind. I knew this was someone to stay away from. Al Shorts hit someone's rear tire going downhill and his bike almost went sideways but Al used his bike handling skills to control his bike. That could have been very ugly at the speed we were going.
There were some tall plastic cones in the middle of the road to signify the turnaround. It was a little confusing. There was one of those poor college kids there but he seemed disinterested in the whole process but we figured it out and got turned around. As usual the guys in the front that got around easily bombed it and made it hard for the rest of us to catch back on but before long we were all together again. The pace was pretty fast going back considering it was slightly uphill. The draft in the middle of the pack was pretty good though. 4 riders tried a go of it off the front. Started with 2 and was joined by another twosome. Steve Bernede was one of them. The pace really picked up then. Those 4 guys were doing good. The speed got really high just before the catch and I was giving it near max effort to keep my place which was near the first 1/3 of the group. Alex Collins and Al Shorts were doing a lot of work at the front.
The final selection was coming on the final climb. The climb was about 1 and 1/2 miles and got up to a max of 9% as mentioned in the course detail. Everyone pretty much stayed together at first but the hill started to take a toll on the lesser climbers. Gary Shuey was brought to the front by Kim Bleth. Gary was told when you see the windmill to go like hell. The windmill was at the beginning of the climb. Kim was pacing Gary up the hill near the other leaders like Mike Birditt, Kal Szkalak and Ricky Shorts. Kim was the road captain of Swami's and gave a direct order for Gary to GO! Gary hit it and everyone just looked at him like what??? How do you go that fast. The road is uphill.
Gary hit the top of the hill solo and was going to have to time trial it back to the line if he was going to win. If he got caught, Swami's would still have Mike Birditt to contest for the win. Gary buried himself with a maximum effort. If the downhill leveled out a little bit, Gary would get out of the saddle to pick the speed back up.
Back at the ranch things weren't going to good. There was a bad crash at the finish line between 2 riders. One got up fairly quickly but the other rider didn't. He needed medical attention and he was right at the finish line.
The 55/60+ racers were going to come in soon. The officials decided to move the finish line back toward the racers. They drew a white line in the road at the makeshift finish line and got as many officials there to check numbers. The problem was the riders were to going to finish at 40+ mph. Don't know if Eric Smith had a hand held camera but he was there off to the side. The officials sent the poor college kids up the road to yell at the racers about the finish line and a sign that said 200 on it to indicate that there were 200 meters to go. The motor ref tried to tell everyone that the finish had been changed. Hard to communicate at that speed. The downed rider was being carted off in an ambulance about the time one of the college kids came up to one of the officials. The officials thought about going back to the original finish line. The official told the kid that if you see us running back toward the old line, don't hold up the makeshift 200 meter sign. About this time here comes the finish group. The officials had no choose then to hold to the "new" finish line and do the best they could. Didn't matter for 1st place because Gary Shuey did a great job and held everyone off for the win! Really good ride by Gary. Gary was easing up at the end and still had 7 seconds on the chase pack. The chase pack was a little broken up. In the front group was Kal Szkakak, Mike Birditt, Fred Hoblit, Bob Wright(60+) and Ricky Shorts. Mike thought that the waving sign was the finish line and really hit it. Mike was the first person by there but that sign said 200 on it meaning 200 meters to go. Kal hit it then and Mike wasn't exactly sure what was going on but tried to get back on it. Kal nosed out Mike by less than 1/2 a wheel for 2nd place. Mike was 3rd although the results showed Mike to be 2nd and Kal 3rd. You can see in the photo that this is clearly wrong. Fred Hoblit was 4th in 55+ with Bob Wright doing a marvelous ride and finishing with the strongest of the strong. Bob won the 60+ category. Ricky Shorts was next for 5th in 55+. Ricky is riding good.
1st finish group- Szkalak, Birditt, Hoblit, Wright, and R. Shorts
2nd finish chase group- Green Guy, Bob Wilcox, Kirk Freeman and James Morehouse
Richard "Visor Guy"Barron was a bike length behind. There was another 10 meters and the green guy came in. Don't know his name and he looked dangerous coming in per other riders. Not surprising seeing how he put his number on. GG was followed by Bob Wilcox, Kirk Freeman, James Morehouse(60+), Steve Bernede and then Jean Villiot(60+).  The complete placing up to a point are below. They are based on my personal view of my wife's video which was good(Thank you honey-lol. Nice job!). You can see some of the pics from the vid. As you can see 2nd and 3rd in 55+ was incorrect(I messaged Eric Smith with a pic of the finish to see if he can do anything. It was up to Kal after the race to protest the result if he thought it was incorrect and I don't believe he did). Some 55s were left off the finish list and don't know what is going to be done with the 60s. The finish lists I have below are CORRECT per what I see in the vids provided by wifey. The official results maybe different. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+ Placings

5-Shorts, R
7-Green Guy

60+ Placings


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gallery: AM-Cat 55+

The above link is to Dan Munson's photo collection of pictures from the CBR #1 on 1/23/2011. There are 36 pictures to view.

Monday, January 24, 2011


By John McKee

Photo C @ Danny Munson
The first race of the 2011 season for 55/60+ racers was the Anger Management Criterium by California Bicycle Racing at where else but Dominguez Hills. The date was January 23rd, 2011. Signups for our categories was going slow and I was worried about the racing enthusiasm of my 55 and 60+ racing brothers and some sisters but in the end the 55+ category exploded. The 60+ category remained dormant. There were only 12 60s that ended up at the line. The 55s had almost 4 times as many at 45. None of our racing sisters showed up. Just so you all know and can pass this on in your clubs, women 3/4 can race up 20 years. Women 1/2 can race up 10 years(This is a change for this year). These are USCF rules but I assume Chris will honor them at his races. There were at least 3 55+ riders that raced during the day but not in our race.
The teams with great showings were Santa Clarita Velo, Swami's, Velo Allegro and UCC/JW Flooring. Thanks to these teams and everyone that came out. Chris Lotts was quite pleased with the turnout. Congratulations to Chris and Vera of California Bicycle Racing for a great turnout at their event. Besides the great turnout of 57 in the 55/60+ race there were over 100 in the 50+ race with large fields in the other categories. The crunch will come when CBR bucks SCNCA races. I would propose that CBR flip their categories so racers had the option of doing both the SCNCA races and CBR. Many of us race nuts drove from LAX at the LA Circuit race to Redlands to do that criterium on the same day with a time factor involved in 2009 and 2010. I think this would be a popular idea.
Excuse me ma'am but your bathing suit is eating your butt
We had to share the course with the Women IV but that wasn't a problem. If our group stays stronger than the Women 1-III, then the W IV would move to their time slot.
The weather was great considering the time of the year. There was a slight Santa Ana condition and it was windy in most of Orange County but not in Dom. Hills. Near perfect racing weather for 7:45 am, the start time of our race.
The race preview looked like UCC was conceding CBR races to the new Swami's lineup with just Kal Szalak being the only UCC rider to pre register but in the end 3 more greenies showed up to work the race. The new Swami's lineup has the "double barrel shot gun twins" of Dale Luedtke and Mike Birditt. Some of the best finishers in the country in their age group. Mike has lost some weight from last year and Dale has tuned himself up a bit as well. They are going to be tough to beat this year on the criterium circuit. UCC will counter with the ever present Kal Szalak and Paul Rodiguez. Both teams will have other strongmen to work breaks, chase, etc. like Gary Shuey and Kim Bleth of Swami's and Mark "Skin" Helvie and Reed Moore of UCC. It was unknown going into the race what Santa Clarita Velo was capable of.  Velo Allegro had Al and Ricky Shorts, Rod Mallory and the newly added Don Denegal.
The preview of the limited 60+ field saw the Paramount duo of Monty Pettus and John McKee. Richard Stahlberg of Ironfly would certainly be a factor.
The race was off near the race time of 7:45 am. There was a quick break attempt that included Dale Luedtke but that was short lived. Just about every break attempt during the day included a new 55+ rider by the name of Bob "The Black Knight" Pellkofer of Franco MRI(???). Bob just turned 55 and looks quite strong.

Photo C @ Danny Munson
Throughout the race the pace was kept quite high. The overall average of the race was over 25 mph. This is high for our group but the pack was pretty big and there were many strong riders. The high pace kept all the break attempts in check or at least very close.
Most of the prime killing was done by Swami's. Mike Birditt won the free entry and Gary Shuey won the Now Energy bars and the 4 bottles of Razor's Edge wine. Great prime prizes. Gary was away with Paul Rodiguez near the end of the race and Gary went shooting away to win one of the primes above. Paul was a little dismayed that Gary wouldn't hold back and work toward making their break attempt stick. Both riders had  strong teams to block in the pack. Mark "Skin" Helvie was also seen in a number of break attempts.
The 60+ racers just cruised in the pack. Often seen near the front were Monty Pettus, Richard Stahlberg, William Carvin and Mario Seri plus myself. Mario Seri was the oldest rider in the pack. Don't know what happened to the ageless one-Pags. Bob Wright of Santa Clarita Velo is a new 60+ rider. Completely unknown to myself and the other 60+ riders but was seen up front as well.
The race like it often does came down to the last lap. Dale Luedtke was cruising near the front with Witold Czulak right on Dale's wheel. Witold had been locked onto Dale's wheel for a long time. Mark "Skin" Helvie,  Bob "The Black Knight" Pellkofer
Paul Rodiguez made the next move between turn 2 and 3 by jumping across the short gap to his teammate Mark, "The Black Knight" and Steve. Mike "Birdy"(This is from Kal. Don't blame me Mike)Birditt. Paul rolled by the twosome and kept going but looked back and saw a "Birdy" on his tale.  Mike thought Paul would pick up Mark and try and take it to the line like he has in the past. Paul was probably thinking he didn't want to have another "Redlands 2010" and lead Mike to the promised land. Rod shut it down. Mike came through in the lead at turn 3 thinking....I don't want to be here now!! Ricky Shorts was trying to organize a VA train but without any success so 1/3 of the way up the slight sloop between turn 3 and 4, Ricky jumped hard. Going from left to right. Outside to inside. The race was on. It was going to be pretty much full bore from here on out. Kal had been looking to "Birdy" to make the next move but it was Ricky and Dale reacted quickly. Getting right on him. By the last corner Dale was really motoring and starting to pass Ricky. Wiford was on his wheel but thinking this was hard. Kal and Mike were shooting forward with Mike on the inside. Dale had the most and the highest octane in the tank and took it too the line in 1ST PLACE. Mike Birditt came in on the inside fairly close to Dale. Kal was coming on and almost overtook Mike who was totally gassed near the line. Mike 2nd and Kal 3rd.

Photos C @ Danny Munson   From left to right at the line- Birditt, Luedtke and Szkalak
In the 60+ race Monty and I were nearly side by side going into turn 3. I was on the inside.Monty didn't know his rear tire had lost some air which he discovered afterward. I jumped hard when I saw everyone go and got behind the "The Black Knight". I figured a new guy like that was not the right person to try and follow in. I went around him to my right. The next I saw ahead of me was Gary Shuey and and was out of the saddle going hard. I moved to my left to go around Gary trying to keep top speed. I knew that 60+ riders were behind me and I kept the pressure on to the line. I got by Gary for 8th place overall(barely) but 1st for 60+. I don't put full efforts into nipping someone for 8th place. The unknown Bob Wright of Santa Clarita Velo came in between myself and Monty Pettus. Bob taking 2nd and Monty 3rd.
It was a very good day for 55+ racing but I certainly can't say the same for 60+ racing. The race was hard, fast and fun. There are some race photos at this website. Awesome pics of  Dale, Mike and Kal at the end. The placing up to 20th in 55+ and all the 60+ placers are below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe! This was the first CBR race since the passing of Kenny Brant. We miss him! May he RIP. Vid available on You Tube- Production courtesy of Peter Carlson.

55+ Placings

5-Shorts, R
10-Shorts, A

60+ Placings