Tuesday, February 22, 2011


By John McKee

Who will win the 55+ cat AND the 60+ cat races- 6 riders in the sprint
It's February 20th and one day after the Imperial Classic. Imperial Valley Velo Club decided to do another race in their area and was able to secure the Cattle Call Rodeo in Brawley for its location. Again much of the proceeds of the event would go to Cancer Resource Center of the Desert. The course finally decided on is a 1 mile circuit with a mini climb and a 120 degree turn. Originally the course was going to include a longer stretch up the slope leading into the sunken bowl which has the rodeo. Had to have been a former gravel pit. It is pretty open around. Especially from the Southwest which was the direction of the wind. The wind was light early in the day but really started to pick up quickly.
Gourley leading early chase of UCC's Collins & Wilcox
The event had to buck heads with a CBR event in Dom. Hills. That and the fact that this was the first year for this race kept the attendance of racers down. Brawley is 10 miles from Imperial and no easier to get to but these 2 races have a chance of becoming a popular dual event in the future. There are plans to expand the course out of the sunken bowl to include a spin around an adjoining residential. Way cool idea and would be hard but every criterium/circuit race doesn't have to be flat.
The schedule was exactly the same as the earlier Imperial Classic so the 55/60+ racers were to be off at 9:30 am. 10 55+ racers lined up along with 6 60+ racers. Included in the 60+ racers was promoter Brian McNeese. Glad to have him out there. Brian is a stage 3 cancer survivor and very happy to be racing with us. Brian may not have the fitness of most of the field but he is going to use this race to motivate himself to get fitter.
The race was off on time. 40 minutes around the rodeo on an excellent surface. The wind being out of the S/W really came into play on the back side of the course. Riders were looking for places to hide but with 16 racers that was pretty hard.
Gourley leads chase of Wilcox and Wagenaar-check out the hill
UC Cyclery looked to have their way since they had 5 of the 10 55+ field with one Swami's rider. One thing no one could predict was how strong Mike Gourley of Santa Clarita Velo would be. Mike got 2nd in the Imperial Classic the day before. The race turned out to be UCC vs Mike Gourley. You would think that UCC could overwhelm Mike but it proved a lot harder than one would predict. Mike races Hylton Murphy style. Hylton use to race all out from the gun as long as he could which usually was the entire race. If Mike wasn't chasing he would often be at the front pacing.
The early breaks didn't work out. Half the race was done and John Wagenaar and Bob Wilcox of UCC got away. I don't know if they went together or Bob chased on but early in the break effort Bob dropped back to the pack. There were 8 1 mile laps to go and John Wagenaar decided to try and hang on. The match was on. JW vs Mike Gourley.
John Wagenaar looks like he is on a warm down lap but is going all out
JW is a strong soldier in the arsenal of UCC but always stays out of the limelight in pursuit of the overall team success. This was his chance to show his stuff and win?? Mike "Hylton" Gourley is another great addition to the Santa Clarita Velo team. Another strong team to play off now.
Each lap saw the lead seesaw from 60 meters to 150 meters. With 2 laps to go the lead was small but looked like a possible win. Bob Wilcox jumped thinking of putting John out of his misery but Kal called him off thinking that the team should let Wagenaar sink or swim on his own.
Jim Parkhurst jumps field with one lap to go-Wilcox in chase
With one lap to go Jim Parkhurst of Simple Green jumped hard to chase and even got a small gap. Kal called on Bob Wilcox to jump hard now. JW's fate was sealed. I don't know when Parkhurst died but JW was integrated into the peleton. Wilcox was taking it around the opposite side of the course. In 60+ action I had kept myself on Kal late in the race. Thanks to Steve Borer for relinquishing his wheel to me. Monty and I had a plan and it was for him to work for me today since he won yesterday and I placed 2nd. We wanted the same result with myself 1 and Monty 2. David Lang was the thorn in the side of Paramount. I gave Kal's wheel to Monty and David Lang jumped on me.
The pace on the last lap was strong thanks to UCC and strung out the field. According to UCC's game plan Alex Collins hit it at the 2nd to the last dogleg heading home. It was still a long way's to go but the speed got ramped up. Kal was on Alex and Mike Gourley was tucked in there somewhere. I was still on Monty but Parkhurst wandered in between Monty and myself and was dying so I had go around him and get back on Monty.
2 meters from the line and the 55+ race is in doubt but not the 60+ race
After the last soft left turn Alex kicked it up more and only 5 riders hung on. The wind was blowing from the riders left and Mike Gourley was coming in to the left of Alex Collins. Kal wisely chose the right side and got some wind block. David Lang sprinted off my wheel while I was running out of gas. Monty saw David fly by but couldn't respond in time. He was thinking I was going to sprint by but... oh well.
As you can see in the above photo with 2 meters to go Kal, Alex and Mike were lined up side by side. David Lang made an awesome sprint and was pretty close to Kal. At the line Kal threw his bike as did Alex and Mike. Mike was inches off in 3rd place but first was tough to call. It was Kal by a whisker! David won the 60+ race with Pettus 2nd and myself 3rd. Complete placing are below plus the podium pics. Great event with a lots of potential. Thanks to Imerial Valley Velo and all the volunteers, SCNCA officials, and Ralph Elliot(who else would one pick to announce). Photos are compliments of Jodie Borer and her new camera. Thank you! That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Szkalak 1st-55+, Collins 2nd, & Gourley 3rd with Lang taking 1st in 60+, Pettus 2nd and McKee 3rd

Cattle Call Bike Rodeo  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak 14
2 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 11
3 13802 Mike Gourley Santa Clarita Velo 10
4 162650 Jim Parkhurst Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 9
5 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 8
6 50765 Richard Roberson Sun Coast Velo 7
7 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 6
8 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 5
9 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Flooring 4
10 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 3

Cattle Call Bike Rodeo  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 107852 David Lang DARE 14
2 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 11
3 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 10
4 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 9
5 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 8
6 223941 P Brian McNeece Imperial Valley Velo Club 7
55+ Podium-Gourley 3rd, Szkalak 1st & Collins 2nd- check out the awesome bags of veggies for every pod placer
60+ podium- McKee 3rd, Lang 1st & Pettus 2nd- Perfect bonus gift(veg bags) for me being a veghead

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