The 2nd De Vlees Huis Road Race was scheduled for Saturday April 9th 2011 and there was a category for 55 and 60+ racers. There was a scheduling conflict in 2010 with the Torrance Criterium so the attendance wasn't that great but in 2011 the race had an open date. The location is 15 miles outside of Bakersfield on Hwy 58 which goes to Lake Isabella. I was quite surprised when I got on the course to see that there are many beautiful spots along the way with a river along the course and under the parts of the road way. No oil wells. Open space and ranch land though I didn't see any cattle. The course is 29 miles for one lap and gains 2400 ft. in that lap. No grade is over 8 or 9 present. There is some pretty rugged looking terrain just north of us. The course takes you into a valley at the second turnaround where you can see the river. Lots of water this time of year. I forgot to put my road cluster on and did it in my crit cluster which is 11/21 and didn't have a problem. Great looking and challenging course. Of course road racers love it but bigger riders with lots of sustained power can do it well. The 55/60+ group was to do one lap. The start time was 8:20 am.
|55+ Podium- Benner, Shuey, Mueller, Baron & Birditt|
|Map and Profile of De Vlees Huis Road Race course|
Everyone stayed together going out except Mike Birditt of Swami's. He went off the front by himself. No one paid much attention to him since there was over 2,000 ft. of climbing left. Maybe he could hook up with a mini break group?
As the road started to tip up more a few of riders went off the back including myself. The first climb is the longest and about the length of the climb in Bakersfield at the championship course. At the top of the climb and the turnaround there was 4 riders off the front and 2 major chase groups. I formed a group with Mike Crystal and Al Shorts to ride in for the crumbs. There were a few riders behind us.
Mike Birditt was caught before the end of the first climb and Bob Wilcox of UCC was giving it his all to catch him. Right behind him was David Brenner of Wolfpack. Wolfpack?? They have a all black kit and are from Solana Beach. Mike Mueller of UCC was behind him and the rest of the field was really strung out. The lead group at the turnaround had Gary Shuey, Mike Mueller, Richard (Skid lid) Barron, and Kim Bleuth. Behind were 2 pods of riders with a mix of 55 and 60+. Further on the course Gary Shuey hit it hard and dropped....Kim Bleuth. Oh no! Another Swami's rider.
I could see the small groups going the opposite direction twice because there were 2 turnarounds. I could see Gary, Mike and Richard together with Kim looking stressed a little behind. Then the other 2 pods. Kim finally came back to the main chase group and there was no other movement throughout the race. The course going out to the 2nd turnaround has been described as "rolling" but that was not what I call "rolling". A little harder than that. Lol.
After the groups made the last turn for home it was all downhill except for the finish uphill kick. The front group was working together coming back and Richard Barron said he wouldn't contest the finish. Up to Gary and Mike to fight for the win in 55+. Coming into the last short hill Gary decided to hit it hard going up the hill. Mike sat on and when it leveled out and there was 200 meters to go, Mike turned on his jets and finished several bike lengths ahead. Gary was 2nd and Richard was 3rd.
The 2nd group came in with Socal points heavyweights Mike Birditt and Kal Szkalak. Also were 4 60+ riders to decide on their podium finish. Mike Marota(60+) of the host squad Action Sports took it up the left side with David Benner on his tail. Bob Wilcox lead another string up the right side with Birditt on his wheel and Kal right behind him. Mike Marota and Bob tailed off and Mike Birditt got on David Benner. Once the course leveled out Kal clicked up his gears and started his sprint and Mike jumped on him. There was a hole to the left of Kal that he started to close but Mike made a statement and Kal leveled out and Mike sprinted by and finished a half a bike length ahead of Kal.
Mike Marota hung on for first place in 60+. Mike showed how strong he was at Roger Millikan and this was his backyard and he knew the course well. A win here was no surprise. Glenn Baldwin rode a great race and was 2nd in 60+ with Phil Richards taking 3rd and George Chester getting 4th in his first race of the year.
The promoters and his club did a great job with this event. Registration which was at the promoters front lawn the evening before was smooth. He also had food for anyone that wanted it. Packet pick up and same days were still possible the morning of the race. The course was well laid out with signs and volunteers that knew where and how to direct you. There were even some cool Flanders flags out on the course. There was a snafu with payout for 60+. Don't know if that ever got squared away. No good photo of the 60+ podium because the winner from the host team didn't show. Bad form. All in all a great event that should be ridden by more riders.
Going to finish with a short story. The winner isn't always the person that comes across the line in first place. It may even be the guy that comes across in last place. I am referring to John Sinz. John finished a tough course and was happy to be out there. 5 years ago John weighed 240 lbs and had a heart attack. Of course he survived and turned his life around and got on a much better diet and started riding his bike again. He weighs 195 now is looking to get back to his former racing weight of 180. Good job, John and keep coming out. It isn't always about finishing ahead of everyone. It's way cool to be part of the racing peleton. Fun and motivating that nothing else will do. Complete results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
|Vleeshuis Road Race (Rank 2.0)|
|1||46688||Michael Mueller||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||28|
|2||44197||Gary Shuey||Swami's Cycling Club||22|
|3||2734||Richard Barron||Southern California Velo||20|
|4||47255||Michael Birditt||Swami's Cycling Club||18|
|5||54522||Kalman Szkalak||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||16|
|6||274212||David Benner||Wolf Pack Cycling||14|
|7||69952||Robert Willcox||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||12|
|8||162650||Jim Parkhurst||Team Simple Green/Bike Religion||10|
|9||187845||Henry Pfister||Action Sports/Simply Fit||8|
|10||49191||Kim Bleth||Swami's Cycling Club||6|
|11||46255||Alex Collins||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||4|
|12||206734||John Huber||Velo Avanti Cycling Team||2|
|13||52251||Ricky Shorts||Velo Allegro||0|
|14||247382||Richard Gentili||Citrus Valley Velo||0|
|15||1254||Mark Ainslie||Ranchos Cycling Club||0|
|16||49110||Rino Barbagiovanni||Santa Clarita Velo||0|
|17||277180||John Roest||Rock N' Road Cyclery||0|
|18||230085||Albert Shorts||Velo Allegro||0|
|19||177958||Kevin Ryan||The TEAM - SoCalCross||0|
|21||66553||John Sinz||Canyon Velo||0|
|Vleeshuis Road Race (Rank 2.0)|
|1||72880||Mike Marotta||Action Sports/Simply Fit||28|
|2||45047||Glenn Baldwin||SLO Nexus-Gym One||22|
|3||238828||Phillip Richards||Citrus Valley Velo||20|
|4||196820||George Chester||LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care||18|
|5||48760||John Rubcic||UC Cyclery/JW Flooring||16|
|6||39024||Bob Wright||Santa Clarita Velo||14|
|7||236498||Bruce Steele||South Bay Wheelmen||12|
|8||269972||Fred Haim||Herbalife LaGrange||10|
|9||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||8|
|10||8283||Michael Crystal||METALMTN Cycling||6|
|11||189814||Leo Longo||South Bay Wheelmen||4|