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

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