|Swami's Gary Shuey & Mike Birditt "The Godfather" of crit racing|
|Paramount's dynamic 60+ criterium duo of McKee & Pettus|
35 hardy 55/60+ racers started on time. The pack was neutral the first lap because 3 cat 5 racers were littered across the course after a crash on the last lap. We rode by carefully and they all looked ok and were getting up with their bikes and walking off. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see crashed riders get up and feel a sinking feeling in my stomach when they can't get up. All good this time. Next time by the start/finish line Dale Luedtke takes it out. Not ramming speed or even attack speed but maybe hard tempo speed. After a 1/2 lap I decided to ramp it up a bit. After having won the day before, I was somewhat indifferent as to a result and was just looking to do some good racing and let the finish fall where it may. I went by Dale and tried to incite him to go with me but maybe I was going too fast for Dale. Yea, right. That's a good one. I was out there solo but kept the pressure on and knew someone or the whole pack would catch me soon and after less than a half lap Gary Shuey brought everyone with him. I say thanks there. Gary, Kim Bleth, Dale Luedtke were added to the Swami's lineup which had Steve Diamond, Mike Birditt and Rick Swanson on the 55+ podium on Sat. at BLGP. Rick couldn't make it at the CBR Mother's Day race but everyone else was there. Very strong team!
There was a lot of shadow boxing and some prime killing going one early but a definite break formed with the major teams involved about 1/3 the way through the race. Santa Clarita's Fred Hoblit, Velo Allegro's Alex Gonzales, UCC's Alex Collins and Swami's Kim Bleth. The driving force for Swami's was to protect Dale Luedtke's BAR point lead over Fred Hoblit, Ricky Shorts and Pat Huber. The foursome stayed away for several lap but Mike "The Godfather" was at or near the front closely monitoring the situation. After several laps away Doug Knox tried to get across the gap which hovered between 100 and 200 meters. Doug had a tough time but made it. After 5 or so laps away I measured the distance away and on a section of the course where you get a little sling shot I jumped hard to try and get across when the break group was at around 100 meters. I was just having fun. When I joined the group Fred Hoblit said that the group wasn't working well together and was quite negative about the whole thing. While I was there Alex Collins made a hard move but nothing was smooth and Kim was there more as an observer than a break participate. Bottom line this wasn't going to work. It didn't get the blessing of the "Godfather". I was with the break for a little less than 2 laps and was starting to get my sea legs and do some work when the pack closed it out. Que Sera sera!
The race didn't seem like it was going anywhere but a bunch sprint when Gary Shuey quietly rolled off the front with 7 laps to go. No one paid any attention to him. Once he got out there he went ALL IN! What does it have to lose. If caught, his team still has the 2 fastest sprinters. Gary kept going and no one reacted and everyone went into that reserve your energy for the sprint mode.
In 60+ action I saw Rich Stahlberg and Bob Wright continually at the front. Monty Pettus as he usually does was cooling his heels comfortably tucked away in the pack. Max draft and max energy conservation. Monty came forward in the last 10 laps and was working for good position like Rich and Bob were. Rich and Bob were close in BAR competition. Phil Walters was also close but didn't show.
Within the last 2 laps Gary was out of sight and definitely out of mind of anyone. Swami's could now ramp it up and bring Dale up for the bunch sprint. Swami's is now the 100 pound gorilla like other teams in the past. Gary easily came across the line in 1st place in 55+. Nice job, Gary.
In the peleton Mike Birditt went to the front to ramp it up big time with Dale Luedtke on his wheel on the last lap. Each corner Mike ramped it up faster. Everyone was single file with 2 corners to go. Between the next to last and the last corner is a tough little hill. It doesn't look like much but at ramming speed it was hard. I got passed by Ricky Shorts and Don Denegal of Velo Allegro on the hill. Once near the last corner I got a second wind. Mike took Dale to the corner and no one was going to pass Dale now.
Dale was the 1st sprinter across the line followed by-Fred Hoblit, Kal Szkalak, Monty Pettus(1st in 60+), and Ricky Shorts took the last money spot and 5th in 55+.
Bob Wright was ahead of me when we turned the corner and I closed some ground on him but came up at least 1/2 a bike length short. Bob got 2nd and I got 3rd in 60+. Everyone else streamed in. Pretty good race though lopsided with the fire power that Swami's brought to this race. They have a lot of strong cards. I have a podium pic for 60+ but don't have one for 55+(sorry about that). Results down to 12 are below for each category. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
|60+ podium- McKee(3rd), Pettus(1st), & Wright(2nd)|
60+ results from 4 to 11