Monday, May 9, 2011


By John McKee

Racer floored! He missed pre reg for the 2011 BLGP
The Barrio Logan Grand Prix is the San Diego Bicycle Club's sponsored and produced race. Ralph Elliot is the promoter/announcer and Steve Borer is the president of the host club. The date of the 2011 race was Saturday May 7th and the location San Diego, Ca. There were some glitches coming into the event. The cut off date for pre registering was the Sunday before the race(May 1st). Most racers like myself don't look at registering for the next race until the Monday before but that was late. Oh well! Add $5.
John McKee on the right coming across the line in 1st place in 60+- Mike Birditt(2nd in 55+) lead John in. Fred Nicolet follows in for 2nd place in 60+.
 SDBC always puts on a great event and the course is way cool. Rough pavement for sure but doable. Another problem for the race was several cycling events on the same date. There was a Tour of California pre ride to Mt. Baldy that many cyclists did and much of the Breakaway for Cancer riders did in support of their sponsor Amgen as I understand it. There was a Tour de Cure ride in San Diego County that the sponsored UC Cyclery racers had to attend. That really weakened the 55+ field and 60+ as well.

Swami's Rick Swanson coming across the finish SOLO with the win in 55+ @ the 2011 BLGP

Proceeds from the race were to go to Logan Heights Family Health Center. That made the $5 late fee issue no big deal. Glad to see a worthy cause get our money. Especially in hard times like we are in and with the U.S. House majority wanting to trim programs that help the poor to give to the wealthy. Reverse Robin Hood.  
55/60+ racers before start @ 2011 BLGP
Only 9 55s and 14 60+ racers lined up. There was $300 to be paid out to BOTH categories. Good pay day compared to other races. The host team SDBC had a good showing of riders as they should. The start time for the 55/60+ race was 7:50 am. Before the race promoter and announcer Ralph Elliot read the former winners in 55+ and 60+ over the years. Those that win here  get their name in next year's Barrio Logan GP race booklet as a race winner.
"The Godfather" starts the  break w Wright & McKee chasing
Very cool thing. The race started on time and Doug Knox started the ball rolling with a jump off the front. Mike "The Godfather" Birditt got right on it and I was determined to stay at the front and go with anything that moved off the front. Without UCC and only one Santa Clarita Velo racer the race was wide open and Mike Birditt and Rick Swanson were definitely the two strongest riders in the field. If Mike went, I went. I didn't let him get very far away. Mike and Doug were going and I jumped across the gap to get in on the action. Doug took it for a little over a lap but everything was together again and Doug went back to sleep. Steve Borer and David Lang were being attentive. Rick Swanson did a short solo effort for a prime lap and softened everyone up. Mike "The Godfather" Birditt started the winning break with Bob Wright and myself in chase soon afterward. After a lap away Mike, Bob and myself were together with only 50 meters of a gap. Not much.
Break evolving with McKee, Wright and Birditt
Fred Nicolet of SDBC started across the gap with Norm Kibble of RPM in Arizona. Norm is a former 55+ champion at BLGP. Once the 5 of us were together we got going but Norm wouldn't take a turn at the front. The 4 of us started working it with "The Godfather" doing the most work. He was the strongest. Rick "Cobblestones" Swanson decided to come across now before the gap got too large. After Rick joined, the six pack started slowly but were picked up steam. Steve Borer also tried to come across and Doug Knox was chasing hard. The pack was strung out single file. The pressure was on every rider. Mike Birditt taking the most work in the break. We were hearing that we had 10 seconds on the pack and then 12, 15, & 20. The key to the break group was Fred Nicolet. He was of the host club SDBC. They had many members in the main pack to pace and block and they did their job well  near the beginning of the break which is where the help was needed. Once the block was put on the break was going to work almost surely.
Fred Nicolet & Norm Kibble starting to come across the gap
There was a $100 prime for food at a host sponsor- Acqua AL 2 Restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter. That really got Mike going. I was on his wheel but it was pretty hard. Bob Wright said he was really hurting and had to suck it up to get back in close contact. Mike was uncontested for the prize prime.(Enjoy your dinner there with Nancy, Mike. No Lulu though[Lulu is a Min Pin just like my companion dog]. This is high end Italian.) No one wanted to risk cracking with a high effort sprint for the prime. This was the hardest lap. We started to see the pack opposite us on the course which meant we were one half a lap ahead. We weren't going to get caught. We all continued to work except Norm. Norm just hung on the end of the break group. Rick and Mike were 55+ racers and the class of this field. The remaining 4 of us were 60+ and were going to have to fight it out at the finish for one through four.
SDBC put on the block with Don Kimper leading
Back in the pack Phil Richards was doing most of the pacing. Phil can't stand to just sit in. The 5 lap to go card came up and everyone was plotting their finish. At first Mike was going to lead out Rick though however they finished was up to them. Later Rick decided he was going to try and take it solo in from 2 laps out. Mike was happy to let his teammate get some of the glory. Swami's already had 4 different winners in 55+.  Rick would be 5.
Mike "The Godfather" Birditt leads the break group around one of the many corners on the Barrio Logan course
The 2 lap to go card came up and Rick put in a hard surge. He didn't go out of the saddle but just pushed very hard on his pedals like he was in France riding on the famous cobblestones in the Paris Roubaix. Rick actually was there on a bike tour and rode many of the sections of the race and watched the 2011 race in person. At BLGP Rick was going good and I started to chase. Then a light went on in my head. If I break my neck and connect with Rick and bring everyone else across, what have I gained? If I fail and tire myself out, I would really be sunk. Rick is not in my cat so I took the pressure off the pedals and let Fred and Bob pull through. Rick kept going to solo in for an excellent victory. Nice job, Rick!
Rick Swanson zipping up for the finish photos- In the background the  sprint is heating up- Birditt, McKee & Nicolet
On the second lap to go I asked Mike if he would help me and lead me out. I got on his wheel coming to the finish line for the next to the last time. Rick was off ahead and headed for victory as mentioned. Mike lead us around for the last time. Mike kept a steady speed up and when we made the first left turn on the course headed for the bottom of the course I asked Mike to ramp it up. About that time Norm Kibble jumped the field from the rear position. Mike got right on him and I stayed on Mike. It was uphill from this point home with the hardest stretch after the next corner which was the 3rd corner to go to the finish. I was out of the saddle going up the hill. Once we hit the next to last corner I could tell Norm was spent. Mike stayed on him then went around. The course flattened out there. I was starting to hurt but saw the last corner. It was a sprint home from there. Mike hit the last corner hard and went wide. I turned inside him and once I straightened out  I got out of the saddle for a max effort. It was my race to win now. I hadn't looked behind me but Fred Nicolet had stayed on me but must have been tiring. I sprinted as hard as I could and with 20 meters to go Mike looked around and told me "You got it". I kept the pressure on and then freewheeled it across the line and raised my tired right arm in triumph.

McKee at max effort with "The Godfather" checking for followers

The main peleton were racing for the final 55+ spot on the podium and the 60+ racers were going for 5th place at best. The payout was to 6 places so there was money out there. Doug Knox jumped the field coming home as he usually does from pretty far out. David Lang got on him but Doug was able to hold David off for 5th place. David got the last paying spot in 60+. 6 of the first 8 finishers were 60+.
Doug Knox and David Lang sprinting home

Steve Diamond of Swami's lead the field in for 3rd place in 55+. Steve is another body builder turned bike racer. Steve Borer raced in for 4th place in 55+.

Steve Diamond on the left leading in the field with Steve Borer next. Phil Richards & Don Kimper racing in for 60+ placings

Sydney Conine w her trophy.
The Barrio Logan Grand Prix is always a fun event and the cause that the proceeds go to is quite worthy. The course is challenging and the pavement choppy. Of course this is a poor mostly Hispanic area so that kind of tells you why it is so bad. I of course had an especially good time this year. LOL! Wonder why. I wish the top riders in both 55+ and 60+ could have been there but for those that did come it was a great experience. I dedicate my victory to my 4 grandchildren. I started the day off and was finished off by my athletic grand kids. My granddaughter Sydney(8) won a trophy for runner up in her softball league losing to a much better team 7-2 though Sydney got 2 hits. Sydney's team lost every game going into the playoffs but at 8 years of age...well anything is possible when you watch them. Sydney's mother who is my daughter told me "The kids love trophies and medals too." I was smiling to myself thinking my racing friends race to near exhaustion for the smallest of medals. I guess we are all just older grown up kids but I don't think that is a bad thing. If racing keeps us "Young at Heart", that's great. Better than sitting on the couch watching TV and letting everyone else have fun. I am having fun just like my grandchildren.
Jenna finishing 2nd place in a 5k run at Angel Stadium
Jenna Conine(12) played a soccer game that Saturday and her team won 1-0. Way to go, girl. Jenna is a 10 year cancer survivor. Jenna is also a good distance runner. My grandson Brett(14) had an excellent day to finish everything off getting to the final championship game in a baseball tournament and pitching a shutout in the final game. Way to go, Brett. My youngest grandson is 5 months and Jonathan is very big for his age and also photogenic as you can see below.
Since not many of you racers are still reading and that's ok since I went so personal, I want to give a shout out to my many readers that follow my blog around the country. Thanks for reading and hope you all enjoy what I write and the photos I insert. The photos here are mainly from Steve Borer's wife, Jodie. Some of the pics are from my wife, Alicia and from Season Everton. Season is the wife of a new Paramount racer, Ben Everton. Thank you all for the great photos. Below are 2 vids courtesy of my wife. The first is the break finish and then the pack finish. Podium pics are below as well. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Brett Conine nailing one-chip off the old granddad block

5 month old Jonathan Wooley in his Ivy League button down collared shirt
55+ Podium- "The Godfather", Rick Swanson, & Steve Diamond
60+ Podium- Fred Nicolet, John McKee, & Bob Wright holding up the tortillas won along with cash

Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 14
2 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 11
3 39024 Bob Wright Santa Clarita Velo 10
4 45539 Norman Kibble Team RPM 9
5 45552 Douglas Knox Santa Ynez Valley Racing Team 8
6 107852 David Lang DARE 7
7 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 6
8 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 243425 mark wisnosky ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 4
10 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 3
11 314990 Matias Garcia Donny's Cafe Cycling Club 2
12 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 1
13 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
14 72139 Armen Khachadourian Echelon Gran Fondo/Zteam 0
Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 14
2 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 11
3 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 10
4 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 9
5 51028 Marc Lee SDBC 8
6 167453 Bob Estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 7
7 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 6
8 23055 Reed Mayne Swami's Cycling Club 5
9 338398 bernie bogard 4

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