Tuesday, July 19, 2011


By John McKee

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
There will be separate write ups for the 60+ and 55+ race. Every other race the 2 categories race together and are scored separately and there was pressure put on Paramount to combine the 2 with the incentive to  save money on officials and the County Sheriff fee. Paramount had received some money from UC Cyclery/JW Flooring to co sponsor the race and get on the USA Cycling racing permit and fulfill their obligation to the national organization. Because of that and this being a championship race made the decision easier to keep the races separate. There was also generous monies coming in from Rick Swanson as a sponsor but will get into that in more detail when I write about the 55+ race.
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
After all this the racers were off. Phil Richards and William Langstaff did a lot of the early pace setting. Mike Marotta was always at the front and jumped on anything that moved. There were primes throughout the race including prizes from Pinnaclife and Amino Pure. The biggest prize would be half way through the race and that was the teeth whitening donated by the field dentist, Bill Langstaff. This was a $500 value and Kenny Fuller has won this before and was targeting this one.
Phil Richards doing some early prime killing- Go Phil!
All of the early break efforts were easily covered by Mike Marotta and everyone else. Kenny wasn't expected to make a move until the teeth whitening prime had come up. The prime killing was being done by Mike Marotta and Phil Richards. Hylton Murphy who was the defending champion in this race made a few moves early but Hylton commented later that the pace was pretty high and the race felt hard. I think most of felt this as well. A lot of pumped up riders and a strong field.
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 this Kenny went on the attack every couple of laps. John Rubcic, Monty Pettus and Mike Marotta were those that chased the hardest. There were others but those guys were always there. Kenny would shut down because no one would pull through and everyone else got back on. The thing that Kenny doesn't realize is almost everyone is totally gassed after chasing him down. Not sure about Marotta because he is riding very strong right now.
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)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
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
8 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 15
9 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 12
10 71812 John Magnanti 9
11 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 6
12 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 3
13 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 0
14 107852 David Lang DARE 0
15 101582 William Carvin 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
19 110233 John Fitzgerald 0
20 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 0
21 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 0
22 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 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

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