Monday, February 28, 2011


By John McKee

It is February 27, 2011 and the Dare to Race Grand Prix series is being held in the quaint village of Ontario, Ca. Ontario is at the base of the San Gabriel mountains. There will be 6 races in the series this year. A cold wave has hit Southern California. The snow level is down to 3500 ft. The 40 minute 55/60+ criterium is being held on the famous 7 corner grand prix course. 50 55/60+ racers showed up despite the 36 degree temp in the morning. There were some racers in Nevada at the Callville Stage Race so 50 racers was a good turnout. Only the wimpiest racers stayed away. 
Photo courtesy of Ken Hill- Beautiful view of the S.G. Mountains
I got to the event site at 6:30 am having to get my number at registration and get myself and my bike ready for the 7:35 am start of the race. Parked behind me was a first time woman racer. She was adorably cute and naive. She was in her 20s. I was telling her a little bit about the racing scene and pointing out my teammate Monty Pettus. I told her that Monty started racing in 1963. Her reply was "Wow, and he is still alive!" Not only is he still alive but the favorite in the 60+ category. Monty had there with him for his Paramount team, myself and new team member Joe Wells. I have been riding well and I knew that Joe was in pretty good shape from some training rides we had done in Az. This was Joe's first race this year so he wasn't sure how he would feel. Other notable 60+ racers that would be expected to be in mix at the end would be Harold Schneider now of Simple Green and hot rider David Lang of the host club Dare. Bob Wright of Santa Clarita Velo would also be expected to perform well considering some very good finishes this year.
In the 55+ category Dale Luedtke would appear to be the favorite. Dale has been solid this year but his teammate, Mike Birditt plus 3 other Swami's riders were in Nevada. Dale had a limited support staff with Steve Diamond and all around strongman Rick Swanson. The 55+ Socal Cup leader, UCC's Kal Szkalak was out with bronchitis. No other UCC rider was in the pack. Velo Allegro had Ricky Shorts and several team members including Rod Mallory. Unknown to most racers was that Santa Clarita Velo was bringing there A team. Last weekend Mike Gourley of SCV showed himself to be a major player in the 55+ racing scene. Sunday's race would be interesting. There was a different dynamic Sunday.
The racers lined at 7:35 am to get the race off with a beautiful view of the San Gabriel mountains in the background.The race was on schedule with the outcome certainly in doubt. The one thing that wasn't in doubt once we started racing was the aggressive riding by SCV. Mike Gourley of SCV took off after unattached 55+ rider Nour Tillo early on. I saw this as an opportunity and took off and got right on. Steve Diamond of Swami's also got on. Tillo relinquished Mike's wheel to me not wanting to do anything but sit. Mike started pulling hard and it took the stuffing out of me and I couldn't pull through. I tried to say something to Mike but my jaw was so cold I don't think I was understandable.
Mike got a little tired and discouraged from the lack of support and we were caught. Craig Jones did a lot of the work bringing the break back.
Photo courtesy of Ken Hill- Gourley & Freeman of SCV
The next break also included a SCV rider and this time it was Fred Hoblit. The 2 other 55+ riders were Ricky Shorts and Rick Swanson. They got over 100 meters on the pack and Dale Luedtke decided to ride across the gap. It took him awhile but he got there. I thought this could be a strong move and stay away but some strong riders came to the front to pull the peleton. John Roest was one of these strong riders and pulled hard. Once Dale was aboard I doubt that Fred and Ricky liked the odds. Back they came.
Did SCV stop here. No. Definitely not. Mike Gourley got on it again with his teammate Kirk Freeman. Swami's Rick Swanson was having none of this and it was altogether again. The last break that I remember was Tom Reilly of guess who and 60+ rider Phil Richards. The move was short lived.
It definitely was looking like a bunch sprint and the lap card came down for 5 laps to go. Everyone was looking around for a jump or move and trying to get in good position without being in the wind. Not easy. Don Davidson tried a move with 2 laps to go but was reeled in. The bell lap came and yes we were all together. I had been watching Dale Luedtke. I know a good wheel when I see it. Rick Swanson had been protecting it but somehow in the last lap I got it. Dale wanted on Ricky Shorts and Monty (And he's still alive) Pettus gave it up and ended up getting buried. 3 left turns and it was the only right hander. Here's where Santa Clarita Velo took control of the race. Tom Reilly drove to the front and started to pull hard and immediately the pack started to string out. Ricky Shorts was on his teammate Rod Mallory. Dale was on Ricky and I was on Dale. I felt good about where I was as long as the pace didn't slow down and it didn't. Just before the next left turn Mike Gourley hit it even harder. He was going to try and take it home from a long ways out. This hadn't been done from here since Howard Miller of Paramount did it 3 years ago. Rod kept fairly close to Mike but didn't close the gap. The pace was high. The next to the last corner and Mike still had a gap and you knew all hell was going to break loose soon. Dale Luedtke didn't want to close the gap to Mike and bring Ricky and the rest of the pack with him. He was going to try and close the gap from the last corner home. The course dips a bit at the last corner and gives you a sling shot toward the finish line. Gourley came through leading and really nailing it. Nour Tillo had worked his way to the front and was right there. At the corner Dale got out of the saddle to start his sprint pretty far out. Ricky jumped off Rod to get on Dale and I knew this was my time to go as well. My pre ride plan was to sprint out of the saddle at the last corner and give it my all to stay on a good wheel and try and hang on later. 
Dale and Ricky were really cooking it and were gaining on Mike but alas it was Gourley! 1st place!
Photo courtesy of K. Hill- Gourley near line
Photo courtesy of K. Hill- Luedtke leading pack in
Luedtke came in followed by Ricky Shorts. I was a little behind and now in the saddle trying to hang on. I thought someone was going to pass me anytime but it didn't happen. I got 4th overall and was the 1st 60+ racer across. Monty Pettus was next after passing 10 riders coming in which his wicked sprint and taking 2nd in 60+. 5 of the next 9 riders were 60+. Except for the first 3 riders, 60+ kicked butt. Mike Gourley showed again what a strong rider he is. I happen to show good form and of course was very pleased with the outcome and dedicate my victory to my newest grandson, Jonathan "Hungie" Woolley(Photo at bottom). "H" came across the line as the 3rd 60+ rider and Joe Wells placed 4th in 60+ for his new team. Good clean hard race and great teamwork by the Santa Clarita Velo guys. Complete results are below plus photos of the winners. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Dare to Race GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 14
2 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 11
3 315702 Harold Schneider Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 10
4 48252 Joseph Wells Paramount Racing 9
5 39024 Bob Wright Santa Clarita Velo 8
6 107852 David Lang DARE 7
7 129293 Michael Fleming SBW 6
8 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 5
9 243425 mark wisnosky ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 4
10 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 3
11 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 2
12 101582 William Carvin Unattached 1
12 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 1
13 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 0
14 57726 Ernest Hoffer Herbalife LaGrange 0
15 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 0
16 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
17 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 0
18 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
19 50013 Ray Moreno DARE 0
20 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 0
21 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 0
Dare to Race GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 13802 Michael Gourley METALMTN Cycling 14
2 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 11
3 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 10
4 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 9
5 35603 Nour Tillo Unattached 8
6 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 7
7 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 6
8 30596 Wayne Rosenkrantz Pinnaclife Racing Team 5
9 2734 Richard Barron SC Velo 4
10 52086 Cyril Hunte Unattached 3
11 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 2
12 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 1
13 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 0
14 66019 Brian Cote Team Velosport Club 0
15 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0
16 271566 Alex Gonzalez Velo Allegro 0
17 56643 Robert Shupper Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
18 101454 Robert Morris Major Motion Cycling Club 0
19 277180 John Roest Rock N' Road Cyclery 0
20 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 0
21 167453 Bob Estupian Citrus Valley Velo 0
22 51400 Mark Rich SC Velo 0
23 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
24 18156 Craig Jones Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
25 186482 Rick Skalak Santa Clarita Velo 0
26 9271 Pete Dern Herbalife LaGrange 0
27 289270 Sanda Timbal Simple Green 0
Jonathan "Hungie" Woolley
60+ Winner- McKee
55+ Winner- Gourley

No comments:

Post a Comment