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

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