It was July 17, 2011 and the date for the 2011 Paramount GP and the 2011 SCNCA Masters Criterium Championship. Back in November 2010 when the SCNCA had their scheduling meeting Paramount had put in for a May date but conflicted with Ontario and Paramount was put out in July. The date seemed like a decent date and had no local conflict though their were pro/cat 1 races(Cascades and Super Week) and one stage race in Utah(Capitol Reef Classic). The Paramount race was a criterium so a few of the masters climbers weren't there but everyone else that likes to race in Southern California certainly would have a chance to race. Carmageddon was this weekend which was another impediment but for those that didn't stay home their was little or no traffic delays on the alternate routes.
|The 60+ field at the 2011 Paramount GP/Masters Crit Championship|
Paramount had 31 enteries for 60+ and that made the minimum of 30 I had in my mind as acceptable as a separate race. I got at the race at 5:15 am to do some last minute things and only thing around besides a guard at the NEC building were coyotes. When race time of 8:15 am rolled around I had 3 hours in and and 8 more to go before my day was over.
The 60s lined up and the announcer read the script I had provided to mention something about the sponsors of the race which were JohnnyMcKee.blogspot.com and UC Cyclery/JW Flooring. He kept saying blogsport instead of blogspot but oh well. Everyone knew where the money came from.
The field was very strong with the defending Natz champ Kenny Fuller entered along with new 60+ strongman Mike Marotta. John Rubcic has enough races under his belt to be "on form". Several other riders including Monty Pettus, Bob Wright, Rich Stahlberg, myself , David Lang and Bruce Steele would be considered challengers. Bruce rarely does criteriums any more but with this being a 60+ only field the conditions would be more suited to his strengths. The field strength was near Natz quality. No other local organization of USAC in the country would be near this good in this category.
|Bill Langstaff doing some early pacing|
|Phil Richards doing some early prime killing- Go Phil!|
It came to half way through the race and the call came up for the William Langstaff teeth whitening. I went to the outside of the pack looking for Kenny to make his move early but he waited until between turn 3 and 4 of the 4 corner .8 mile course. EVERYONE was on him and he was picking up the pace quite high. Monty was on his wheel and figured he could come around but was going to concede the prime to Kenny but Mike Marotta jumped hard. He got it by 10 to 15 feet. Kenny later felt his legs weren't acclimated to this kind of effort at that time.
|60+ racers coming into the very fast turn 2|
After a while it almost looked assured that the race would end in a bunch sprint. Pretty sure even Kenny thought so. The 5 lap card came and went and the group was all together. Bruce Steele was thinking of a way he could do well. Maybe even win. He figured he had nothing to lose. Bruce didn't contest the sprint at MBGP and finished 17 out of 18 but that was a combined 55/60+ field. Bruce won on the Dom. Hills course in 2009 when he was in a breakaway with Kenny and John Rubcic. He jumped them on the last lap and held them off. In 2010 Bruce got in a 2 person break with Hylton Murphy and conceded the race to Hylton. What to do? Why not jump the field when they are the most vulnerable. When is the pack the most vulnerable? The last few laps if there aren't any strong teams. If everyone is racing for themselves, they don't want to chase someone down and give up their chance for a good finish. The team in the race with numbers was SBW. Bruce's team.
With less then 2 to go Bruce jumped away on the down stretch between turn 1 and 2. No one reacted. Bill Langstaff and Phil Richards did some pacing but NOT chasing. The lap card came to 1 to go. Bruce was still off the front but not that far ahead. After turn one Hylton Murphy went to the front to pull for his teammate John Rubcic. Hylton wanted his friend and teammate to win but remembered that Bruce had conceded the title to him the previous year. Hylton went 85%. Fast enough to keep everyone from swarming John Rubcic but not quite fast enough to overtake Bruce or to get the pack close enough to overtake Bruce in the sprint. Hylton may have been in front of John Rubcic but John had his eye on Mike Marotta. Myself and Kenny Fuller were marking John Rubcic. After turn 3 Kenny let me have Rubcic's wheel. Monty was on me. I knew the script in all the prior crits that Mike Marotta has done was to jump early and hard and try and keep it going to the line. Midway up the power climb to turn 4 Kenny jumped on the left side with Monty on his wheel. At almost the same time Mike Marotta jumped further ahead. Rubcic got right on this. I hesitated like I didn't know this was coming like a dope and Rich Stahlberg filled the breach in front of me. Bob Wright was right on my wheel.
As the field turned the last corner it was evident that Bruce Steele wasn't going to get caught. Bruce kept the pressure on none the less. Bruce came across the line for another SCNCA Criterium Championship to a rider that is better suited to road racing and time trialing but Bruce is better at crits than he likes to put on. Very strong all around rider.
John Rubcic was showing really good form and easily came around Marotta with Kenny Fuller on his wheel. Kenny couldn't come around John and it was good night Irene for the podium. JR 2nd. Kenny Fuller 3rd. Mike Marotta was tiring more coming down the stretch and Monty Pettus went around him for 4th place. Mike was 5th. I came around Rich but Bob Wright came around me in the last 100 meters for 6th. I was 7th and Rich was 8th. Here are a series of finish photos courtesy of Paramount member, Scott Sharp. Podium pick below those. The earlier photos are courtesy of Alicia McKee. Good hard race. The feedback that I got was that the 55+ race wasn't that much harder. Thanks to all that came out. It was a good day for 60+ racing though we could have had a bigger field. Complete finish list below. Video of the finish at the Paramount Racing facebook page. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
|Bruce Steele steam rolling to another SCNCA victory!|
|John Rubcic holding off Kenny Fuller- Monty Pettus taking on Mike Marotta|
|Finish Pic # 3|
|Monty Pettus overtaking Mike Marotta|
|Bob Wright coming by John McKee|
|Podium threesome(same as 2009- same order as well) John Rubcic, Bruce Steele and Kenny Fuller|
|SCNCA Masters Crit Championships (Rank 3.0)|
|1||236498||Bruce Steele||South Bay Wheelmen||42|
|2||48760||John Rubcic||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||33|
|3||46765||Kenny Fuller||Team Simple Green/Bike Religion||30|
|4||219074||Leo Pettus||OCW/Paramount Racing||27|
|5||72880||Mike Marotta||Action Sports/Simply Fit||24|
|6||39024||Bob Wright||Santa Clarita Velo||21|
|7||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||18|
|9||170779||Edgardo Potes||Bike Palace||12|
|11||129293||Michael Fleming||South Bay Wheelmen||6|
|12||3793||Raphael Gomez||Rage Cycling||3|
|13||189814||Leo Longo||South Bay Wheelmen||0|
|16||188249||Cully White||Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA)||0|
|17||228631||James Swigart||ACQUA AL 2/SDBC||0|
|18||195498||Donald Kimper||ACQUA AL 2/SDBC||0|
|20||50498||Richard Rodriguez||Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo||0|
|21||238828||Phillip Richards||Citrus Valley Velo||0|
|23||171652||Stephen Whitsitt||South Bay Wheelmen||0|
|24||3794||Vicente Gomez||Rage Cycling||0|
|25||49334||William Langstaff||Cycles Veloce||0|
|26||72995||Hylton Murphy||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||0|
|27||99906||Michael McKinney||Pinnaclife Racing Team||0|
|28||266647||Allen Kizuka||Velo Allegro||0|