Monday, July 25, 2011


By John McKee

The Sisquoc Road Race was scheduled for July 23rd, 2011. 2 laps of the 14.2 mile course was due to all that signed up and lined up. The course was deceptively hard. Only 600 ft of climbing a lap but when you turn for home on Dominion Rd. the climb kicks up to 7% and the pavement is very rough making for a poor roll and you can't fake it or just tough it out. You have to climb at speed.
The Sisquoc RR is located near Santa Maria and for those that live south of San Fernando Valley is quite a drive on Friday and Saturday. The field size considering was very good at 34. There are a number of "road race only" guys and add to that some all arounders, Socal Cup point chasers, and a few local lookyloos. There were kids all over the place since it was Jr. SCNCA championship and good for them. Nice to see kids doing something quite healthly. There were 6 porta toilets but always seemed to have a line to get in. The SDBC gals had there own idea and went into the bushes and just did a drop and go. Pretty good all around turnout considering how hard it was getting there and the low payouts with a lot of them merchandise only. More on this later.
The 55/60+ race was scheduled to go off at 10:15 am giving a few guys the opportunity to drive up on Sat. morning. I drove up on Friday like a lot of people and stayed at the opulent Holiday Motel in Santa Maria with Gary Shuey. Not much of a place. Lol. We did have a good meal at the Magic Dragon on Broadway. Veg only for us. Of course. Kung Pao Beef(fake) and Lo Mein.
Kal Szkalak was back! Very glad to see Kal back in the saddle and racing again. As mentioned 34 guys lined up pretty close to the 10:15 am. Swami's was there in force. Santa Clarita Velo had several riders. Keith Ketterer is a team all to himself and rides for Breakaway from Cancer. The course was all rolling and down for the first 10 miles or so. KK was constantly attacking drawing a number of riders to cover like Gary Shuey and Kim Bleth. I was midfield or slightly further up and could see the attack go and knew it was going to cascade back for a very hard effort. We were plainly going very fast most of the time. Basic crit riding actually with a few short hills. Nothing too long though.
Once the field turned onto Dominion Rd. which would lead directly back to the start/finish line the race hit its decisive point. For myself and others. Guys were dropping off and forming small groups. George Chester told me before the race that this would happen. George loaned me some arm warmers as it was pretty chilly in the morning there.
The pace up Dominion Rd. was heated and I looked ahead and saw the road continue up and knew the jig was up for me. The road was mostly 4 to 6 % with some points at 7 %. Don't know for sure but assume KK was pacing up the harder parts. I went backward fast and that was that. See Ya! Rick Szkalak of Santa Clarita Velo joined myself and we rode most of the course together.
Ahead of me the field kept chasing KK and dropped off a few more riders. I believe that 18 riders hung in there in the main field including 60+ racers- Bob Wright, Mike Marotta, Bruce Steele and Mike Crystal.
There was a small group in between myself and the main peleton and that included Dale Luedtke, George Chester, Leo Longo and Fred Haim.
The main field kept in contact with KK until about half way into the second lap. Not even on Dominion from what I heard. He got a gap with Steve Bernede but Steve was dropped and it was see you later. Turn out the lights. The party's over as Dandy Don use to sing on Monday Night Football. KK has a lot of natural talent but like Kenny Fuller and maybe even more so he REALLY works hard in his training. At the Paramount GP he did 3 races and worked hard in them and then went over to the track to do more work. At the Bakersfield Masters Champ race he did 2 races. At this event he went for a 3 hour tempo ride after the race.
KK then did a TT into the house for 1st place in 55+ and 1st of course overall since the payout was to be overall. In the main field coming for home Gary Shuey was setting a brisk pace on the uphill sections and gaps were forming but the gaps closed on the downhill portions. There was a fairly good downhill section before the final 200 meters or so uphill to the line.  Jim Parkhurst of Simple Green was the first one to jump for the finish line but was way too early. Mike Marotta then went and we know that is his MO. He is strong and can hold his sprint for a long time. Mike Birditt was holding back and then sprang forward in his 53 x 13 and was the first across the line for 2nd in 55+ and overall. Kal Szkalak was 3rd. Nice result for Kal's 1st race back. Fred Hoblit was 4th and Steve Hensler was 5th. The 55s had the 1st 8 places so no 60+ rider got anything for their effort.
Since Mike Marotta went a little too early, he paid the price and Mike Crystal's jump got around him at the line by the width of a tire. Nice job, Mike. Nice to see you win a race. Bruce Steele was 3rd in 60+.
The finish line took a very long time to come up and it came up separate because that is what the chief judge sent to Marilyn Allen. Marilyn had to send it back because the payout was mixed. They had to go over the finishes completely again and came out with one list to help the promoter with the payout. The payout turned out to be one bottle of wine for the 1st 4 places. Don't know what 5 and 6 got. We were suppose to get $250 in merchandise but..... I have a message into the promoter asking for clarification on the payout but haven't heard from him. You will have to check the SCNCA website for complete results when available. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!


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