Monday, June 27, 2011


By John McKee

It was the 50th year of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix which started in 1962. SBW founder Ted Ernst started the race. Nice story about this in the Daily Breeze newspaper -
In 1962 Kenny Fuller traded in a paper route back when newspapers were delivered by bicycle for bike racing. Kenny's first major event was the 1st MBGP in 1962. Kenny has stayed with bike racing and in those 50 years has amassed 7 world titles, 42 national titles and over 750 wins and the holder of the world record in the one hour time trial on the track in 55+. Astonishing record. Of course. Another article in the Daily Breeze about Kenny-
Kenny Fuller and his wife Pam relaxing after the race in the VIP tent. They are enjoying a nice serving of salad. Lol. Pam is looking a lot better here. Days before she had laser treatment on her face and she looked like someone took a 2 by 4 to her.
Kenny Fuller is still dishing it out nowadays. Not as often as he use to. The run of the mill local criteriums don't strike his fancy any more but he does like the big events like- natz, worlds and of course MBGP. The 55 and 60+ racers are always on the "clock" here as the SBW promoter and president of the SCNCA watches to see that all categories that are in the event are well attended. One year and I think that was 2008 that the women 3/4 took our place in the lineup but struck out with their numbers. Ever since the 55/60+ racers have had great turnouts. I believe this year we had between 60 and 65 sign ups. Not all finished. Thank you to all you guys that signed up. Your why we will continue to race at MBGP and else where. Great job! I want to also thank Eric Smith for giving us a second chance and keeping us in this awesome event.
The South Bay Wheelmen have always produced this event since it started and always do a great job and this year was no different other than it was a significant anniversary-50. The winners jersey was way cool. Yellow with a very nice but subtle design. Capo made. High quality. Looks great. The course has had a good number of crashes over the years and everyone talks about the final turn which Ralph Elliot the Southland's best bike race announcer calls the "Chevron Spin". It is a little tricky but no one crashes on it. It is always on the top of the course or after coming out of the turn. The cat 4 race traditionally has crashes and this year was no different. They piled up 25 or so coming into the finish line. It took quite a while to move everyone off the course and off to the local hospitals. This moved the 55/60+ start time back. There was a crash in the cat 3 race before the 55/60+ race and of the 5 guys that went down 3 were my teammates from Paramount. Not a very good start for the day for Paramount. None of the guys were hurt badly.
By the time rolled around for the start of the 55/60+ race it was 9:30 am. 45 minutes late. Our race was reduced 5 minutes to 35 minutes. We lined up with all of the strongest riders in 55+ and 60+ in the race. Kal and Alex from UC Cyclery were not here but everyone else was. The 55+ field had Keith Ketterer and Malcolm Hill from Breakaway For Cancer. Paul Rodiguez and Mike Mueller from UCC were at MBGP with Mike having just won the previous weeks SPGP. Swami's was there with a different strategy. No breaks with Paul R. or Mike M. unless Mike Birditt was in it. UCC's counter strategy was no go in breaks with Mike B. Pretty simple. The breakaway guys were going to try and do just that. KK and Malcolm would work with whoever thinking that they probably would be able to win the sprint. Fred Hoblit of Santa Clarita Velo has had good form and has a long sprint and would be looking to ride to his abilities.
In 60+ Kenny Fuller would like to go in  a break. John Rubcic of UCC was going to shadow Kenny and hope for a bunch sprint and come off Kenny at the end like he usually does. New 60+ racing sensation Mike Marotta hasn't done all the races but always does well in the ones he does and hasn't lost a crit he has done this year. He has a very long sprint and works with that premise. Monty Pettus and John McKee of Paramount were looking to come off a good wheel and sprint at the end. Bob Wright of Santa Clarita Velo and Fred Nicolet of SDBC are riding well in 60+ and could be factors in the race.
The riders were off with 35 minutes of racing. The early action was frenetic. Hard! Fast! KK, Malcolm Hill, Kim Bleth, Mike Mueller, Steve Bernede and Kenny Fuller were working and making the pace reasonable fast to very fast. At the end of the first lap 60+ racer Mario Seri lost control of his bike near the inside barrier after coming out of the "Chevron Spin". There are different stories as to what happened like clipping a pedal or his wheel locked up. Don't know but he lost control of his bike and he fish tailed and went down. Al Shorts was right behind him and went over the top and did a face plant into the orange wrought iron fence. I was on the outside and saw this and it freaked me out for a moment. I just tried to put it out of my mind and continued to race. The next time around the pack got the slow down because an ambulance was there picking up Al. Al was taken to a local hospital and got stitches in his lip, checked out and released. Hope Al is feeling better after what looked very ugly.
The course was slightly downhill from the start/finish line and also downwind. All that speed could then be used to race up the one short power climb and then the first 180 which wasn't bad. The top stretch of the course was hard because it was into the wind and had one small climb which added to the lung stress. Over the hump and it was a little easier and fast to the last corner the infamous "Chevron Spin". They changed it a bit this year and made you go wider where it was a little narrower. After the turn it was 250 meters to the line per the sign.
Any time in the race that Birditt showed his face in a break group... Shutdown! One time he hid behind Steve Cahill who was coming across a short gap to a small break group. Once there....Shutdown! No group of riders got far away from the reach of the peleton. About a third of the way through the race I started to see more 60+ riders moving up and made me worry. I always try and stay near the front and watch for 60+ guys. Kenny and John Rubcic were always at the front. Of course. John hasn't raced much this year but is still riding and racing at a very high level. I have told JR this many times before but he should go to natz. After about 25 minutes the pace was taking its toll on some 60+ riders. Some were falling off the pace or moving back in the pack.
There were many great primes. 2 place primes and primes for both 55 and 60+ racers. This drove the race. Fast. Ease off OR keep it going for a break move. The last major and I guess the only major break move started with Malcolm Hill, Pedro Ordaz, Rick Swanson and Mark Helvie. They had been going for a prime and keep it going. This was with about 6 laps to go. Pedro dropped off pretty soon. Rick was next to be dropped. Warning bells should have then gone off to Swami's but Mike Birditt decided to take a siesta. He figured the break would be caught and let himself go back a ways to take a breather before the finish. In the mean time Kenny Fuller went off in chase. He was using his time trial strength to catch the 2 leaders and help make the break really work.
Up front Mark Helvie was having mechnical troubles. His deraileur cable broke and his rear cassette was stuck in the 12. He either had to be in a 42 x 12 or 53 x 12 and Mark felt it was hurting their speed. The first news of laps to go was a call for 4 laps to go. Mike Birditt is back in the middle of the pack on his siesta time and the bells go off. Wow. 4 to go! Mark and Malcolm were still away and Kenny was gaining on them. The pace was pretty steady. The 2 laps to go call came up and someone unknown went to the front and hit it hard. KK jumped right on it and many thought it was him leading the peleton including a teammate that was watching the race. Keith was just following the wheel of another rider. The group got very close to Kenny and you could see it was curtains for him. Not sure when Kenny finally got picked up. I thought he would be very tired but not Kenny. A regular energizer bunny he is. The second to last lap was pretty hard. I was at the front but some of the starch was missing from my body.
The bell lap came and Gary Shuey of Swami's was pulling big time to bring everything back together. Swami's had waited too long but could still pull it out if everything went right for them. Mike Birditt came out of his slumber but was still pretty damn far back. We turned the top corner and the race just got harder. In the last few years the pace would let up because no one wanted to give themselves up to set a faster pace or UCC was off in a break. Coming to the little hill Mike Birditt went by me on my left. The correct side to move up on because the right side was death into the wind. If the left side had been clogged, I don't know what he would have done. Once over the hill Mark Helvie was picked up but Malcolm was still ahead. The pace slowed a bit and there was a shuffle of activity. Malcolm was picked up and Fred Hoblit launched it. KK was right on this as was 60+ rider Mike Marotta. They turned the "Chevron Spin" with a little bit of a gap. Mike Birditt, Paul Rodriguez, Steve Bernede, Dale Luedtke, Kenny Fuller, and John Rubcic were closing in on them. JR was "all in" on the follow Kenny strategy.
Fred was taking it from too far out to win but it was good for KK and Marotta. Marotta finished 1st. KK was the 2nd person across the line but the 1st 55+ rider. Mike Birditt was the 2nd 55+ rider and about 1/2 a wheel behind KK and 10 ft short of winning but that's bike racing. The first person across the line NOT the rider that is going the fastest. Fred Hoblit hung on for a well deserved 3rd place and the last podium spot. In 55+ Fred was followed in by Paul Rodiguez, Steve Bernede, Dale Luedtke and Mike Mueller.
In 60+ action John Rubcic played his cards perfectly from his master plan but opps.... John got by Kenny about 100 meters from the line but the new super star of 60+ Mike Marotta was the very 1st person to finish MBGP in 55/60+ and would be taking a well deserved winners jersey home with him. JR was 2nd and Kenny followed in. Monty Pettus and myself finished within a foot of each other at the line with Monty taking 4th. Everyone streamed safely in to finish off another addition of MBGP- 55/60+ style. Hard, fast, a little dicey and dangerous. Podium picks and complete results are below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

60+ podium with reigning natz champ Kenny Fuller in the 3rd place position. Mike Marotta at the top. John Rubcic was working the race and couldn't make the podium.
Fred Hoblit- 3rd place, Keith Ketterer- winner, & Mike Birditt- 2nd place
60+ winner Mike Marotta with 55+ winner Keith Ketterer
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48434 Keith Ketterer Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 28
2 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 22
3 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 20
4 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 18
5 126351 Steve Bernede Team Werks 16
6 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 14
7 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 12
8 93812 Donald Denegal 10
9 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 8
10 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 6
11 52086 cyril hunte 4
12 50532 Deogracias Asuncion SBW 2
13 61193 john wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
14 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 0
15 206734 John Huber Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
16 107559 rodney malloy 0
17 55635 Pedro Ordaz 0
18 44197 Gary Shuey Swami's Cycling Club 0
19 280155 Victor Miera FFKR Architects/ 0
20 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
21 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0
22 271566 Alex Gonzalez 0
23 23055 Reed Mayne Swami's Cycling Club 0
24 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 0
25 49191 Kim Bleth Swami's Cycling Club 0
26 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
27 222764 Thomas Buescher South Bay Wheelmen 0
28 222523 Rick Carrera Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
29 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 0
30 301372 Tom Herman South Bay Wheelmen 0
31 47314 gary prideaux Lightning Velo 0
32 6082 Ben Cardenas CarreraPromo/Competitive Edge 0
33 167453 bernard estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
34 50765 richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
35 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 72880 mike marotta Action Sports/Simply Fit 28
2 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 22
3 46765 Kenny Fuller Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 20
4 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 18
5 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 16
6 39024 Bob Wright Santa Clarita Velo 14
7 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 12
8 3793 raphael gomez Rage Cycling 10
9 107852 David Lang DARE 8
10 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 6
11 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus-Gym One 4
12 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 2
13 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 0
14 188249 Cully White Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
15 101582 william carvin 0
16 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 0
17 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 0
18 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 0

Monday, June 20, 2011


By John McKee

It's Sunday and Father's Day. Most of the 55/60+ racers don't have their father around any more but most are dads themselves so a early start was appreciated at the 2011 San Pedro Grand Prix. Not as early as usual but 9:35 am sounded pretty good. Unfortunately the area for the course of the SPGP has lots of parked cars and unaware folk. There were parked cars on the course that had to be towed away before the event could start and stack that with a pile up in the cat 4 race that stopped that race and we added 30 minutes to the start time.
UC Cyclery/JW Flooring came in with a lot of same day entries including president, Joey Valdiva. Pre reg Mike Marotta decided to forgo the SPGP to race the high point value ultra race in Lone Pine. For not seeming to understand the point system he sure caught on fast. His decision would move him into 1st place in 60+ for Socal Cup points.
It looked like a titanic battle shaping up between Swami's and UCC in 55+. Santa Clarita Velo had a limited crew of 2. In 60+ John Rubcic of UCC was there and looking fit. The Paramount duo of Pettus/McKee was there. This was Monty 1st shot at this course but I had done the race every time since it was brought back several years ago and won the 60+ cat in 2008. Fred Nicolet and Don Kimper of SDBC were there to add to the depth of the 60+ field.
Mike Birditt on a flyer after the MBGP prime-All pics from Jodie Borer
The race in 2011 was taken over by the Ironfly club and they were trying their best to put on a good race. I think they will get better as they learn the finer points of producing a race. The 55/60+ group finally got off a little after 10 am with about 40 riders. 60% of the riders were 55+. The first couple laps were lead by Gary Shuey of Swami's. Once we settled in and did the free entry for MBGP won by Steve Cahill and John Rubcic, Mike Birditt went on a flyer. He was just trying to stir the pot and see what shook out. It didn't work but A for effort. Lol. The first half of the race saw a number of moves and the pace was pretty high for this course. The only 60+ rider up near the front was John Rubcic and myself but Fred Nicolet joined in the action up front after about 15 minutes. It was pretty hard. Malcolm Hill of Breakaway from Cancer was there and is a super strong rider but didn't seem comfortable out there. The 1st race I have done that he has been in. I see him all the time on the Coffee Crew training ride in OC and know how strong he is. I hear he was working against Swami's and pretty much with UCC. He did do some early attacking countering off of Paul Rodiguez of UCC who also countered off of Malcolm. Were they working off each other? You think?
Tom Reilly, Mike Birditt & Paul Rodiguez- Steve Hensler in chase
About half way through the race Tom Reilly, Mike Birditt and Paul Rodiguez took off near the top of the course. Steve Hensler came across the short gap to join in the fun. I don't think Paul had his heart in a break with Mike. Why tow him to the line I assume was his thinking. Paul's mantra was "ABS". Anyone but Swami's. The group didn't last 1 lap. I think Mike should have put more effort in the break. Tom and Steve would surely have been game. Once caught the pack slowed of course. The pace was very surgee in the pack. When a block was on the pace would go way down but when a chase started the speed would really hit you in your lungs.
The next action was started by Mike Mueller and Gary Shuey jumped aboard quickly as you can see in the picture. Check out the faces of the 2 riders. They are really digging deep to get away. At  some  point

Mike Mueller jumps away with Gary Shuey in close pursuit

Mike Mueller leading off the winning break
Gary Shuey in chase of Mike Mueller
Tom Reilly joins Gary Shuey and Mike Mueller- You can still see the supreme effort being put in on their faces
The block was on from Swami's and UCC and the pace slowed way down
Tom Reilly joins the twosome. This was a full on lets try to take it to the house break. Since the 2 major teams had a strong rider in the mix, the block went on. The pace went down and though I liked the ease of the pace I knew that this was bad for me but maybe good for my teammate Monty Pettus. Monty was hoping for this exact thing before the race and he got it.
After a couple of laps Tom Reilly fell off the pace set by Mike Mueller. Gary was hanging in there. Malcolm Hill started a mini chase but didn't follow through and I know he could have. It was pretty much up to the strong solo riders like Steve Cahill, Steve Bernede and Steve Hensler all riding without a teammate to pull through and chase Mike and Gary.
Mike still pressing the pace with Gary hanging on and Tom tiring
Malcolm Hill leading a chase
Malcolm turning off the chase- no solo rider pulls through- UCC/Swami's/SC Velo won't
Mike and Gary keep it up and Tom comes back to the pack. They are going near max and working it together. They aren't going to be caught. On the last lap Mike jumped Gary and got a pretty good gap that Gary couldn't close and Mike Mueller rolled across the line the winner of the 55+ category! Gary Shuey was 2nd. Good job guys. UCC bested Swami's on this one.
Mike Mueller winner of the 55+ category

Back in the pack the pace was slow. Fred Hoblit, Steve Cahill and Paul Rodiguez jumped away within the last few laps. Mike Birditt and Malcolm Hill were marking each other and let this go. No one else chased.
On the last lap the pack hadn't reved it up until arrival at the top of the hill. About this time a car comes out of no where and gets between the threesome ahead and Mike Birditt who was leading the chase. I had been on John Rubcic's wheel but kind of freaked out and lost my focus. Fred Nicolet took a chance and jumped into the gutter and hit it. Birditt was almost drafting on the car. The driver didn't know what to do but finally pulled over to the right. Dumb shit.
From there to the last turn was a blur. I ended up on the outside of Tom Reilly's wheel going around the last downhill 180. I had been taking the turn well picking up spots each time. Braking early and then letting it go and taking it a little wider and faster than most. Tom locked up his bike and took it way wide and I had no choose but to stay outside him. 10 riders or more jumped inside me. My race was over.
Paul Rodiguez leading in the chase threesome
Paul Rodiguez lead the threesome in followed by Steve Cahill and Fred Hoblit. The field sprint followed with Malcolm Hill taking it from way outside. Malcolm was followed in by Dale Luedtke, Mike Birditt,
Field sprint won by Malcolm Hill- You can see John Rubcic in the middle with his head down- John won the 60+
and Don Denegal. In 60+ action John Rubcic passed Fred Nicolet coming home to win the 60+ category and add another victory for UCC. Fred was 2nd with Monty Pettus taking 3rd. It was Father's Day so it was time to pay honor to our fathers and except the praise from our children. Usually a fun special day for most. Happy Father's Day to you Dad and to all of your fathers and you that are fathers.  I had asked for pictures of you racers with your fathers and only got one response and that was from Jim Morehouse so there will only be 2 pics.  The rest of you are lolly gaggers. Podiums below along with complete placings. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Clint and Jim Morehouse- 1971- Inglewood
John and Jack McKee- 1947- Long Beach
Paul Rodiguez-3rd, Mike Mueller-1st,  Gary Shuey-2nd
Monty Pettus-3rd, John Rubcic-1st, Fred Nicolet-2nd

San Pedro Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 44197 Gary Shuey Swami's Cycling Club 11
3 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 10
4 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 9
5 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 8
6 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 7
7 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 6
8 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 5
9 93812 Donald Denegal 4
10 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 3
11 52086 cyril hunte 2
12 61193 john wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 1
13 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
14 206734 John Huber Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
15 49424 howard miller Paramount Racing 0
16 126351 Steve Bernede Team Werks 0
17 301372 Tom Herman South Bay Wheelmen 0
18 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
19 47314 gary prideaux Lightning Velo 0
20 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 0
21 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0
22 222764 thomas buescher South Bay Wheelmen 0
23 167453 bernard estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
San Pedro Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 11
3 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 10
4 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 9
5 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 8
6 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 7
7 188249 Cully White Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 6
8 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 5
9 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 4
10 107852 David Lang DARE 3
11 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 2
12 61278 Mario Seri Herbalife LaGrange 1
13 101582 William Carvin 0

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


By John McKee

It was Sunday June 12th, 2011 and time for the Ontario Airport Criterium and another 55/60+ race. This race is always produced by Pacific Sunset Velo like the races we do off of Archibald and Cedar. Usually this race is not part of the Ontario race series but I think Ray Moreno decided to make the Airport race part of the series to get a few more riders since the event was going up against CBR in Dominguez Hills. Attendance was light as our race had just 23 total riders lining up to contest this race. Swami's and SDBC had the largest team showing with 3 each.

Swami's dynamic trio- Mike Birditt, Gary Shuey, & Rick Swanson @ Ontario Airport Criterium
Everyone was off around 7:40 am. The riders were evenly split for the most part with 11 55+ finishers and 10 60s. Steve Hensler blew the lets do a parade lap and get the feel for the course thing. Steve took off like a rocket from the movie "October Sky". Mike Birditt, Phil Richards and myself got on him and he kept it up for 4 laps. Phil did pull through once but then decided to pull off the pressure and I was behind Phil. I was feeling the heat and decided to stay behind Phil. I was coming off a week of not feeling that good and the training was spotty. Mike stayed on Steve and the 2 remaining Swami riders Gary Shuey and Rick Swanson went to the front to "pace".  Mike and Steve weren't very far off and Steve Cahill went across and that stampeded the "herd" like in the movie "Red River". My favorite John Wayne film though I am not the biggest fan of his I do enjoy a lot of his pictures and Monty Cliff and Walter Brennan are really good in the film.
OK, we are all back together after the first 5 laps. The middle of the race and not a lot happened. Swami's would work it up a bit especially for the Ontario Series points. Dale Luedtke has a commanding lead there but Swami's didn't want anyone else to get points so Rick took Mike Birditt to near the line the get the 55+ points. I followed them to bag some 60+ points but I freewheeled it 10 feet from the line and David Lang came by me out of the saddle to pip me at the line. Serves me right for being so lazy. There was a little action for primes of popcorn and socks but it was pretty hard to hear what Ralph Elliot was telling us.
After that everyone really calmed down. The 8 lap card came up and no more free laps for a flat. Mike Marotta came out of a slumber and decided he wanted to stay right at the front. I kind of wanted Mike's wheel but Mike Birditt was glued to that and that was fine. Mike Birdditt's wheel is always a good one but Don Denegal of Velo Allegro wanted it really really bad and never got more than 12 inches away from it so I just got on his wheel. Steve Borer pretty much lead us around and around the last number of laps. Phil Richards might have come forward to help out.
With 5 laps to go Steve Hensler decided to give it a solo effort for glory but after about 1/2 a lap Steve Cahill and Rick Swanson chased him down and he went back into the pack. The last few laps Swami's went to the front and did the pacing work. Gary Shuey was on duty for the bell lap. Marotta was on Gary followed by Birditt, Denegal and myself. There are only 3 corners in this fairly flat loop but once you turn the 2nd corner it is slightly downhill and one can ramp up a pretty good speed. The race is too the last corner because there is almost no distance left once you turn the last corner.
Once Gary Shuey turned corner 2 he bent off to the right meaning I am done. That is when Mike Marotta struck. Mike Birditt was waiting for this and didn't plan on getting caught out with his pants down like at Roger Millikan earlier this year. Mike B. was all over Mike M. and Steve Cahill was somewhere nearby and jumped on Mike B. Don Denegal sat up to my amazement. By the time I figured out the situation the threesome was speeding away and I had no chance of catching them. I went into a funk/stupor and never shook it off. The 3 guys were gone but the pack had to race in and Steve Hensler went to the front to get things going.
55+ podium group- Steve Cahill, Mike Birditt, & Rick Swanson

Mike Marotta was going good but Mike Birditt felt he was slowing going into the last corner and both Birditt and Steve Cahill got by Marotta for 1/2 in 55+. Mike Marotta won the 60+ category. Rick Swanson came out of the pack to finish 4th overall and 3rd in 55+. Steve Hensler was the next in. In 60+ David Lang came across the line for 2nd place followed in  60+ by Mike Fleming, myself and Jim Swigart.
Complete results below. Not exactly a super exciting race but no one got hurt and we got another chance to race which I think we sometimes take for granted. No other area of the country has the opportunities for racers our age that there are in Southern California. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Ontario Airport Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 14
2 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 11
3 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 10
4 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 9
5 61504 Andrzej Fidelus Ranchos Cycling Club 8
6 277180 John Roest Rock N' Road Cyclery 7
7 93812 Donald Denegal 6
8 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 4
10 167453 Bob Estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 3
11 44197 Gary Shuey Swami's Cycling Club 2

Ontario Airport Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 72880 mike marotta Action Sports/Simply Fit 14
2 107852 David Lang DARE 11
3 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 10
4 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 9
5 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 8
6 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 7
7 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 6
8 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 5
9 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 4
10 45342 Domenick Forte Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 3

Monday, June 6, 2011


By John McKee

The story for the 2011 Masters SCNCA Road Race Championships started many days before the start of the race. The 55+ and 60+ groups have had separate races for many years going back to the days when we raced at the great course at Vandenburg AF base. What views there were there. Challenging course but no extended climb and had a flat finish. The last few years we have raced at the Oildale course in Bakersfield. We have had separates races there as well for the 55s and 60s. It took a little work but we did have them and they were well attended, especially in 55+.
The flyer for 2011 came out with the 50s, 55s, and 60s racing together and scored separately. The prior year the flyer said something similar so I didn't think much of the new flyer. Mike Birditt raised the point to me and had me thinking. I decided to message the promoter, Sam Ames. Sam waffled and looked to Eric Smith who is the president of the SCNCA. Eric pointed out that there were but one follow vehicle so where would it go if the 3 groups were split. To cut this short, several people came forward to volunteer to man follow vehicles and that road block was jumped. The final ok was given by the chief referee, Rich Savitt. Done deal. SEPARATE RACES! More competitive and fair racing. I am going to write about the 55+ and 60+ race separately.

55+ SCNCA Masters Road Race Championship

The pre registered list was long but not as strong as 2010. There were several missing riders for a number of reasons but injuries were a major factor. Kal Szkalak is recovering from his extensive injuries. Kal was 2nd in 2010. Alex Collins as I just heard on race day had very extensive injuries the day before Kal hurt himself. Alex crashed on a training ride and separated his shoulder, broke his collar bone and a few ribs. Alex is just now getting back on a trainer. Alex came all the way to the event to drive a follow vehicle. It's great to have guys like Alex that are dedicated to our sport and the 55/60+ group.  Thank you, Alex. In fact 6 of the top 10 finishers from 2010 didn't show including the defending champ, Bob Wilcox. Bob had an untimely infection that left him weak. A 7th rider, Mike Marotta aged up to 60+. A different ball game in 2011 for sure and especially with Keith Ketterer and Malcolm Hill of Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters entering the race. KK is 56 this year but Malcolm just aged up to 55+ in 2011. It was rumored that he was racing the 50+ event that he won in 2010 but he was going to do the 55+ race this year. Swami's had Kim Bleth and Mike Birditt who is climbing better all the time. UCC had Mike Mueller who won at SLR.
55+ Podium- Keith Ketterer and Malcolm Hill were in the 45+ race- Mike Mueller (3rd) and Mark Huffman (4th) are shown
The 50s started off first and there was no "Turbo". Good group of racers though. The 55s were next. I didn't get a lot of feedback but this I do know. The group went to the base of the climb all together. Malcolm Hill attacked out of the pack. Kim Bleth of Swami's felt trapped by the center line and initially let him go with 2 other guys.  Kim did start a chase and eventually caught Malcolm. At that point KK countered and no one touched him for the rest of the race. Keith used that world record setting power to keep away solo to the line. Great win by Keith Ketterer. For those mortal humans there was a selection going over the hill and those included in this select group were: Mike Birditt, Malcolm Hill, Kim Bleth, Mike Mueller, Wayne Hermes, Mark Huffman and Steve Hensler.  At first Malcolm was a short distance ahead and maybe thought of joining KK but KK was gone. Coming down they formed a group. On the flats coming home the worker bees were: Mark Huffman, Kim Bleth, Mike Mueller and Steve Hensler. There were thoughts of catching the uncatchable. Over half way back on the rollies they threw in the towel. Malcolm tried one effort at solo but Mark Huffman covered it and they all turned for home together.
The group crossed the last intersection and Mike Birditt was thinking of maybe catching everyone with their pants down. He did it at the Paramount SCNCA champ crit race. When he got near where we entered the dirt parking area he hit it hard. Very hard. He got a 30 meter gap on Malcolm who started to chase with Mike Mueller and Mark Huffman in tow. Mike started breathing hard and looked up for the finish line and it was still way far away. UH OHHH!! Mike had started too soon but there was nothing he could do about it. There is an old saying "No guts, no glory". Nice try but it didn't work out. They were racing for 2nd place any way. Malcolm was the 1st across the line followed by Mike Mueller, Mark Huffman, Wayne Hermes, and then Mike.  Hensler and Bleth followed in for 7th and 8th.
Good race but KK is in a class by himself at this time. 30 miles of racing wasn't enough for him so he and Malcolm did the 45+ to do another 60. OK. Lol!

60+ SCNCA Masters  Road Race Championship

The 60+ guys were last off. Kenny Fuller was there in his NatzMarotta and Bob Guglielmelli. Phil Richards is riding well and of John Rubcic is always a challenger. John was there with his vid camera on his bars(Hopefully at some point John will post on a photo sharing program-I will keep you posted). Jim Morehouse had a sore knee and Jean Villiot is recovering from his very bad crash a few months ago and both couldn't make it. Jim and Jean pushed the pace last year going up the hill with Kenny long gone.
Bob Guglielmelli with Kenny Fuller on the podium- no Mike Marotta but he doesn't seem to believe in podiums
Top 60+ climbers- Mike Crystal, Kenny Fuller and Bruce Steele
We were all off and the pace was like a hard tempo ride. Leo Longo stepped it up a bit but still wasn't as hard as it was last year. Once we turned right onto the lead up road to the climb the pace slowed a bit. The pavement was really really bad and everyone had to dodge the pot holes. Kenny tried one jump but Marotta and everyone else was right on it and Kenny shut it down. Not Phil Richards. Phil saw this as an opportunity. He countered and no one responded. Nice move. He kept going and got out of sight. Phil came to the base of the climb which meant you had to turn right. Phil saw a sign with an arrow that pointed left. No mind that it was a dirt road and a permanent sign wouldn't be for a one day bike race. Phil said he saw a paved road in the distance. It was a mirage, Phil. You were so oxygen deprived that your mind was playing tricks on you. Voices in his head were calling...Phil, Phil, turn left Phil. It's the "Sugar Shack". It's just for retired postal workers. You can stop in and still get back into the race the voice was telling him. Phil turned left onto the dirt road. He was in search of the "Sugar Shack". Here below are some revised lyrics of the original song recorded by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs in 1963.You can listen to the original song on you tube-

"Sugar Shack"

There's a crazy little shack beyond the Oildale tracks
And ev'rybody calls it the sugar shack
Well, it's just a coffeehouse in the oil fields and it's made out of wood
Expresso coffee tastes mighty good
That's the reason why I've got get out
To that sugar shack, whoa baby
To that sugar shack.

There's this 60+ bike race a way out there
Everyone knew that Kenny would win the dash
Might as well drink a lotta coffee, spend a little cash
smoke some cigars and talk some trash
You can understand why I've got to get out 
To that sugar shack, whoa baby
To that sugar shack, yeah Phil
To that sugar shack, whoa yes
To that sugar shack.

Once Phil road about 3/4 of a mile on dirt roads some oxygen got back into his brain and he saw the whole "Sugar Shack" thing was a mirage. Damn. He turned around and went back to the road and everyone was gone. The voice in his head lied to him! Damn! Double dog damn!!
Back to the real race. Now this is not as much fun and actually very hard. Once we all turned right it was game on. Kenny went out and started riding hard tempo. It was like he was riding up Newport Coast Dr. on Tuesday mornings after the coffee crew ride and he is riding circles around John McKee and still going up at an amazing speed. The line of riders at the race started to spread out based on the ability to climb. Pretty soon it was Bob Guglielmelli and Mike Marotta on Kenny. The follow group included John Rubcic, Bruce Steele, George Chester, Mike Crystal, Bob Wright and Fred Haim. The 3rd group not far behind included myself, Don Kimper and Leo Longo. Everyone else was pretty far back because I couldn't see anyone when I looked around. Going further up Bob and Mike dropped off Kenny Fuller. No surprise the way Kenny is riding. I was 99% sure he would be able to do that. Bob and Mike formed up and rode together. A little further back Bob Wright and Fred Haim fell off of the chase group. Leo went ahead of Don and I but once all down the mountain the 5 of us formed a group(Wright, Haim, McKee, Kimper, & Longo). 
Kenny was solo and using that world champ power to hold everyone off. Bob G. and Mike M. were working it but Mike's cassette was stuck in the 16 tooth and he wasn't able to keep top speed up. Kenny soloed in for another win added to his 750 lifetime wins. Good job, Kenny. No surprise of course. Bob Guglielmelli beat Mike for 2nd and Marotta had to settle for 3rd.
Sprinting this hard for 8th place- Socal Cup at stack, baby! Lol. From left to McKee-8, Wright-9 and Longo-10
The main chase group came in and Mr. Rubcic won that sprint for 4th. Following in were Bruce Steele, Mike Crystal, and George Chester. My group of 5 came in and Leo lead it out hard. He was making me hurt. Bob Wright came off his wheel for the line but maybe a little soon and I was able to get by Bob for 8th place and a few points picked up for the Socal Cup. We are tied after this race for 1st place in the cumulative Socal Cup. Leo followed in with Don Kimper and Fred Haim next.
Complete results are below. Both cats had hard fair and competitive races. The favorites won but that's why they are the favs. KK and Kenny are amazing riders. I want to take a few lines to thank Sam Ames the promoter for working with me and a few of us that contacted him and getting us separate races. Thank you, Sam! That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Master Road Race Championship  (Rank 3.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 46765 Kenny Fuller Cycles Veloce 42
2 14374 Bob Guglielmelli Central Coast Tire CCT 33
3 72880 mike marotta Action Sports/Simply Fit 30
4 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 27
5 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 24
6 8283 Michael Crystal METALMTN Cycling 21
7 196820 George Chester LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care 18
8 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 15
9 39024 Bob Wright Santa Clarita Velo 12
10 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 9
11 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 6
12 269972 Fred Haim Herbalife LaGrange 3
13 107852 David Lang DARE 0
14 72139 Armen Khachadourian Echelon Gran Fondo/Zteam 0
15 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
16 273411 Paul Anderson South Bay Wheelmen 0
17 113281 Barry Nazarian Montclair Cyclists 0
18 351320 Larry Bailey 0
Master Road Race Championship  (Rank 3.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48434 Keith Ketterer Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 42
2 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 33
3 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 30
4 59572 mark huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 27
5 272891 wayne hermes 24
6 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 21
7 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 18
8 49191 Kim Bleth Swami's Cycling Club 15
9 291027 Bill Pinckard Barry Lasko DDS Race Team 12
10 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 9
11 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
12 61193 john wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 3
13 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 0
14 61353 Reed Moore UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 162650 Jim Parkhurst Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
16 170892 Fernan Lozano Team Velosport Club 0
17 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 0
18 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 0
19 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
20 18156 Craig Jones Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
21 15625 Demi Hechanova Southern California Velo 0
22 29477 James Reilly Bike Palace 0
23 50765 richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
24 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 0