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


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