Tuesday, August 23, 2011


John McKee

In 1957 my family moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Kaneohe, Hawaii. From one coast to the other. My father was in the Marine Corp and was to be stationed at Kaneohe Marine Base for 3 years. I didn't know it but Dale Luedtke Sr. was also in the Marine Corp and was also stationed at the same place about the same time. I am 8 years older than Dale so when I was playing Little League baseball on the Marine base Dale Jr. was playing in the yard and riding a trike or a very small 2 wheeler. What a coincidence. Sunday August 21st, 2011 saw both Dale Jr. and myself racing the last in the Ontario criterium race series. My father is long since gone but Dale Sr. is still very much alive, very active and was at race. After the race while some of us were milling about at Swami's central, Dale Sr. said something like "there are the Kaneohe boys".  Well the "Kaneohe Boys" had a very good day.

The last race in the series always sees very hot weather in Ontario but alas it was actually pretty nice there. Not hot at all. It was a little overcast and maybe 68 degrees at race time which was 7:35 am. There was a smaller than expected turn out especially in the 60+ field. There was about 20 55s and 10 60s. That maybe stretching it a bit. Down probably 8 to 10 riders from 2010. Maybe everyone is getting spoiled with the big payouts we are seeing at some of the races. At least at Ontario the entry fee is still $24.
Swami's was out with their A team with specific goals in mind. UCC was completely absent. Nada like in no riders. It looks like UCC likes to dual with Swami's with a full deck or nothing at all. Santa Clarita Velo was out with a pretty good showing and also had a specific agenda.
The "30" riders were off on time and it wasn't long before it was quite apparent that this was no sit in and sprint criterium. I hear this criticism a lot about some of the 60+ riders. "You guys just sit in with the 55s and sprint at the end". Phil Richards and Bob Wright made sure of that. I desperately needed a win in the 60+ category to keep my hopes alive in the Socal Cup competition. I couldn't let ANY 60+ riders get away. The 55s started it off quickly with a move off the front within the 1st few laps. There were so many efforts during the day that I can't possibly get the names of everyone in the groups. One thing that all the groups had in common was the look over there shoulder every few seconds. You guys need to take a lesson from Mike Gourley who we sorely miss in the races. Mike would just put his head down and go as hard as he could as long as he could in any break he was in. Of course it wouldn't hurt to be as strong as Mike is but that's another story. Mike hasn't been back since the Kal/Birdie/Gourley/Pettus crash several Ontarios ago. Too bad.
There were 3 55s away and had been joined by Phil Richards and Bob Wright. I am pretty sure that Kim Bleth and Fred Hoblit were among the missing. Monty said something to me that this looked dangerous and I had to take action. I saw Mike Fleming make a move to get across the gap and I went also. Whenever I go everyone takes notice and starts chasing. Within 1/2 a lap we were all together again. This was the first attempt but it wouldn't be the last.
Kim Bleth and Rick Swanson made the race quite active and Phil Richards and Bob Wright were doing their best to get away but I wasn't having any of that. There are few primes at Ontario but one came up for a Ontario series T shirt. Don Dengegal thought he would pick up a free T but David Lang thought he wanted it as well. Don looked at David coming by and thought you really want that shirt. The prime lap came up for Ontario series bonus points and since it was the last race the bonus was 4 points up from the 3 points it usually is. I had already figured that I couldn't overtake David Lang for 60+ so I wasn't interested. Dale Luedtke was in a commanding lead in 55+ and wasn't worry about the prime sprint. Monty Pettus wanted to move onto the podium in the 60+ series  so he came off of David's wheel in the last 50 meters and banked the 4 points.
Dale Luedtke besting Fred Hoblit for 1st place in 55+ action
Rick Swanson taking 3rd, Mike Birditt 4th, Don Denegal 5th and Steve Hensler 6th in 55+
John McKee besting David Lang for the 60+ win
Monty Pettus to my left was 3rd with Mike Fleming(just showing a wheel) 4th and Bob Wright 5th
The race was quickly coming to a close and the lap card was showing 4 to go the first I saw it with a number on it. Not long after this Kim Bleth and John Roest got away. Phil Richards came across but used too much energy and had to drop back. When everyone was overtaking Phil, Phil got tangled up with David Lang. I was by Phil and heard God ... it and then a very loud God ... it and a bike slamming to the ground. Phil was the only one that went down. Since we were within the 5 laps to go, no free lap. Phil would have to race one lap down. At some point in the last few laps Rino B. of Santa Clarita Velo was able to come across and join John Roest and Kim Bleth.When Phil got up off the asphalt mat he joined the lead threesome but just sat on the back.
The bell lap came and the break group was little more than 100 meters away. Not much of a lead at all. Kirk Freeman of Santa Clarita Velo came to the front to start pulling the pack up to the break group. Kirk was trying to help Fred.  Monty Pettus was on Kirk and I was on Monty. After Kirk pulled his share he pulled off and Monty started to pull. Mike Birditt came to the front to do a balancing act. Kim Bleth had broken away from Rino and John so Mike was trying to slowly catch Rino and John so Dale could sprint was 2nd, Rick to sprint for 3rd and leave Kim for the win. Steve Hensler got right on Mike as his pace was pretty good. I got  on Steve and was in the position I wanted to be in. Monty got on my wheel. We got closer and closer to John and Rino and Kim wasn't much ahead of them. John and Rino got caught with 2 corners to go and the field swarmed by me and I had to brake for a second but then got out of the saddle and got right on Bob Wright. I figured I would sprint off of Bob once we got around the last corner.
Kim Bleth got caught right at the last corner about the time Dale was winding it up. Fred Hoblit was right on his wheel and would surely love to come past Dale at the end like Dale did to him at Ladera Ranch. Dale was really moving and it took about 100% effort for Fred to stay on his wheel. This is from Fred. Fred backed off his effort a bit nearing the line trying to bank some energy so he could come by a out of the saddle Dale Luedtke. Not many racers can do this. It was a really good effort though as you can see in the picture inserted. Dale Luedtke the winner and Fred Hoblit 2nd place. Again. Yikes! It did give Fred some valuable Socal points which was the team objective coming into the race. 3rd, 4th and 5th place was way close. Mike Birditt was watching to his right to make sure that Rick Swanson got 3rd but still beat Don Denegal between them. Mike was able to do this and it was Rick- 3rd, Mike- 4th and Don- 5th. Steve Hensler followed right behind for 6th in 55+ and the last paying spot in the race.
The battle for 60+ was right behind. At 300 meters out I jumped off of Bob Wright's wheel to his right and got out of the saddle. I wasn't going to sit until I got to the line. I was in my 53 x 11 since the last corner has a sling shot and gives you a whip toward the finish. Monty was to my left and David Lang was right behind us. I had looked up out of the saddle and didn't see any 60+ riders ahead. Decided to stay out of the saddle and keep the pressure on the pedals. Didn't want to lose it at the line. Mike Fleming was lurking near Monty and David Lang pulled around to my right and ducked his head and was trying to come around me. David fell about a wheel short. He was going good as he did get by Monty. Mike Fleming came across for 4th place and Bob Wright had to settle for 5th place in 60+.
It was a fun clean race with a lot of action. The 60s were in a lot of the action and I had to do a lot of work keeping it together so I could use my sprint for the win with the help of my teammate, Monty Pettus. Swami's strategy worked to near perfection. They placed 1, 3 and 4 and ended up sweeping the podium in the Ontario series. Dale was 1st in the series with Mike 2nd and Rick 3rd. In 60+ David Lang won the series with myself placing 2nd and Monty taking 3rd. In the end the "Kaneohe Boys" came through and the wins!
There was one glitch in the race and that was the officials video camera malfunctioned and there was no vid of the finish. David Lang's wife Laurie had a vid of the finish on her camera and this helped out a lot. Guys came forward and pretty much figured out where everyone finished. Unfortunately not everyone got placed for the finish list. Like mentioned this was a good hard race and fun for everyone but Phil. Phil and his bike weren't hurt too bad and is still on track for Natz like many in the race. The finish lists are below. Thanks to Laurie Lang for the finish pics which came from the finish vid  which is below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
55+ race podium- Fred Hoblit 2nd, Dale Luedtke 1st and Rick Swanson 3rd
Ontario Series podium- Mike Birditt 2nd, Dale Luedtke 1st and Rick Swanson 3rd

Ontario # 6 race podium- David Lang 2nd, John McKee 1st and Monty Pettus 3rd

Ontario Series 60+ podium- John McKee 2nd, David Lang 1st and Monty Pettus 3rd

Summers End GP  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 28
2 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 22
3 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 20
4 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 18
5 43812 Don Denegal 16
6 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 14
7 167453 bernard estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 12
8 187428 Michael Evans 10
9 66553 John Sinz Canyon Velo 8
10 49191 Kim Bleth Swami's Cycling Club 6
Summers End GP  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 28
2 107852 David Lang DARE 22
3 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 20
4 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 18
5 39024 Bob Wright Santa Clarita Velo 16
6 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 14
7 50406 Michael Edwards Herbalife LaGrange 12

Friday, August 19, 2011

2011 SOCAL CUP STANDINGS - 55+ & 60+

By John McKee 

With the race season winding down here are the Socal Cup standings with just 2 weeks and 3 races left. This coming weekend has a TT omny and the Ontario crit. The last weekend has the San Clemente criterium. Mike Birditt and Mike Marotta are leading the 55+ and 60+ categories. The SCNCA will be paying out to 5 places in the standings. The 55+ standing are updated through Ladera Ranch. I corrected Kal Szkalak's points because they didn't include Ladera. He would have gotten 20 points there.

SoCal Cup Standings For 2011
Masters 55+
Place Name License # Team Name SoCal Points
1 Michael Birditt 47255 Swami's Cycling Club 410
2 Dale Luedtke 47262 Swami's Cycling Club 247
3 Kalman Szkalak 54522 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 236
4 Keith Ketterer 48434 Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 206
5 Fred Hoblit 16360 Santa Clarita Velo 202
6 Gary Shuey 44197 Swami's Cycling Club 187
7 Steve Hensler 15874 Team Redlands 183
8 Michael Mueller 46688 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 174
9 Kim Bleth 49191 Swami's Cycling Club 159
10 Malcolm Hill 156650 Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 157
11 Ricky Shorts 52251 Velo Allegro 121
12 Robert Willcox 69952 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 119
13 Alex Collins 46255 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 110
14 Paul Rodriguez 58847 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 103
15 Mark Huffman 59572 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 101
16 Steve Bernede 126351 Team Werks 82
17 Donald Denegal 93812 Velo Allegro 81
18 Kenny Fuller 46765 Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 79
19 Mark Helvie 15760 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 63
55+ points leader - Mike Birditt

SoCal Cup Standings For 2011
Masters 60+
Place Name License # Team Name SoCal Points
1 mike marotta 72880 Action Sports/Simply Fit 343
2 Bob Wright 39024 Santa Clarita Velo 311
3 John McKee 180386 Paramount Racing 293
4 Leo Pettus 219074 OCW/Paramount Racing 234
5 David Lang 107852 DARE 222
6 John Rubcic 48760 UC Cyclery/JW Floors 218
7 Bruce Steele 236498 South Bay Wheelmen 188
8 Leo Longo 189814 South Bay Wheelmen 183
9 Kenny Fuller 46765 Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 159
10 Phillip Richards 238828 Citrus Valley Velo 159
11 Glenn Baldwin 45047 SLO Nexus-Gym One 139
12 James Morehouse 283640 FFKR Architects/SportsBaseOnline.com 112
13 Michael Crystal 8283 METALMTN Cycling 104
14 Donald Kimper 195498 ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 100
15 Michael Fleming 129293 South Bay Wheelmen 78
16 Fred Nicolet 26089 ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 74
17 Richard Stahlberg 50911 Ironfly 71
18 George Chester 196820 LIVESTRONG Army KC / Midwest Cancer Care 67
19 Raphael Gomez 3793 Rage Cycling 61
20 Robert Paganini 45763 PAA/REMAX 52
21 William Langstaff 49334 Cycles Veloce 51
60+ points leader - Mike Marotta with his new Mad Fiber wheels

Monday, August 15, 2011


By John McKee

It is August 14th, 2011 and date for the Ladera Ranch Grand Prix. The Ladera Ranch course is interesting and challenging but I wouldn't want to do it in a very big field. There are 3 fairly narrow corners and a power climb at the end which is not too steep. The field size for the 55/60+ race was about half of what we had at Brentwood. Ladera might even be safer than Brentwood so I am not sure why the big drop off. Location has to be a factor. Ladera like Brentwood has done a very good job making their event into a fun and exiting overall experience. Ladera does give out a winner's jersey to all cats though it is the same design as 2010. Only 13 60s signed up for the race and along with 26 55s made for 36 starters. I would have hoped for at least 45 to 50 to make our cats more saleable in the future. Can't sell no shows to promoters.
The race start time was 7:40 am for the 55/60+ race. The prior cat 5 race went off without a hitch with no crashes so we were able to start on time. Almost like at Brentwood but not quite as fast the race picked up quickly. UCC was full on with every rider that races on a regular basis there. Including the eclusive Paul Rodiguez. He needs the race miles since he is doing Natz in 55+ as are a lot of guys that were out there. Probably 12 or more for 55+, 60+ and 65+(Mr. Medicare{myself}).
Swami's was down to the bare bones and UCC was going to try and take advantage of that. Attack, attack and let's see. Oh yea, ATTACK! There were some mini moves and chases early but the first real move included Mike Mueller, Phil Richards, and .....(don't know right now). They were away for a number of laps but not that far. They were caught and per the pre race plan UCC would attack off a catch. In fact if they didn't like the make up of the break group that included a UCC rider they would bring it down themselves. I was right behind 3 UCC riders that did just that. Paul and Kal were 2 of them.
Mike Birditt was very active for Swami's. Chasing and getting involved in a few break groups himself. I actually saw Dale Luedtke out there chasing. UCC was taking Swami's to the ropes but was Swami's doing the infamous "Rope a dope". I really can't do everyone justice that was in a break because there were so many of you that were there. Pretty sure though that Phil was the only 60+ rider that was. Mike Marotta did pull the pack up toward a mini group. I believe someone told him there was a 60+ rider up the road but that was incorrect. All the 60+ riders were keying off of Mike and keeping him in their sights. Now whether that would matter in the end remained to be seen. John Rubcic did beat him at Brentwood but John was sporting some sore ribs. He took a tumble on his dirt motorcycle and landed poorly a few days before the Ladera race.
60+ riders Mike Fleming, Bob Wright, David Lang and Raphael Gomez with 55+ rider Steve Bernede
John's a tough guy. He wasn't pulling out.
In the middle of the race on a counter Paul Rodiguez took a solo flyer. He was away for 5 or so laps. Nice effort but it didn't last. UCC was pulling out all the stops. No stone unturned. Wear down the opposition and attack again. Mike Mueller and Mark Helvie were also very active for UCC. Kal Szkalak was mostly marking Mike Birditt of Swami's. Mike Birditt was in a break group that included Mike Mueller and Kal Szkalak but UCC didn't seem committed to this group and it failed. Mike usually would let a group get a short distance away and launch. Since Mike can accelerate better than anyone in this race it was a good strategy. Kal would chase him as would then everyone else. Others that were in break groups included Steve Hensler, Fred Hoblit, and Ricky Shorts. Rod Mallory put in a good chase at one point to help his Velo Allegro squad.
Paul Rodiguez on a solo break
Mike Fleming and Mr. Medicare marking Mike Marotta
The minutes were counting down. 40 minute race and 30 minutes had gone by and no break had stuck. We were suppose to see 7 laps to go but I had a hard time sighting the lap card. I heard Ralph say 3 laps to go. Before the 3 lap card though when Paul Rodiguez got caught Mark Helvie slipped away. Nothing seems to get by Mike Birditt and he filed this away. With Mark away another mini break group got a very short distance away and inside the 3rd to the last lap I thought I would jump across. I didn't know Mark was in front of this group. When I was half way across I turned my head I could see the entire pack was on me and was being dragged up to the break group which I closed. That was ok. I wasn't in that much  oxygen debt. 2 laps to go and Mike Birditt went to the front and took a look for the long lost Mr. Helvie. He could see him ahead. His duty in his mind was to bring Mark back late in the race. If he brought him back too soon, UCC might counter with Paul Rodriguez or Mike Mueller. The last lap came and Mike Birditt started to pull pretty good but not all out.
Mike Marotta was 3rd or 4th wheel and I right on him. At turn one John Rubcic came up and wanted his wheel bad so I gave it up and tried to stay on John. Shouldn't have done that but I did. Everyone pretty much stayed in line until between turn 3 and 4. Mike Birditt was gaining quickly on Mark Helvie. It was just a matter of when and where. The pace kind of slowed a hair or everyone else picked it up. Riders started coming around to my left and right. Dale Luedtke and John Wagenaar came around to my left. John started to lean on Dale. Don't know if he lost his balance or what. Dale leaned back and then there were some elbows and a little further up there were some more elbows. I got afraid and started moving to my right in case the worst happened which it didn't.
Once Mike Birditt had caught Mark he turned the corner and held to the right curb knowing he was totally out of gas. Another 55+ rider shot off and Mike Marotta got on him for a short spell and he started his own sprint for home which was uphill and a good distance away. Velo Allegro's Rod Mallory was setting up on the left thinking his teammate Ricky Shorts was on his wheel but Ricky was on the other side of the group. Poor team work there.
Mike Birditt charging off with Kal Szkalak, Ricky Shorts, Steve Hensler and Mike Marotta in pursuit
Dale Luedtke was taking another approach coming out of the last corner on the far left side and lots of riders to pass. Dale has a long sprint and it was going to be tested. Fred Hoblit had gotten himself in great position and felt like maybe this was his turn to win. Coming to the line it was Mike Marotta with a bike length or more on the field for the 60+ win. Mike creamed everyone. He seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on. He could be tough at Natz.
Fred Hoblit could now see the finish line and had thoughts of winning but alas it wasn't too be. On Fred's left a long buried Dale Luedtke came up on Fred's left and pipped him at the line with a bike throw. Yikes! In 3rd place was Kal followed in for the 55s by Cyril Hunte and Paul Rodiguez. All that work by UCC and they got 3 and 5. Tough finish for them considering all the work they did.
In 60+ John Rubcic beat Monty Pettus for 2nd with Monty taking 3rd and myself- 4th and Mike Fleming- 5th. Overall it was a very good race. Swami's was pushed to their limits and came out on top. UCC threw everything at them. In hindsight when Mike Mueller and Kal Szkalak were away with Mike Birditt they should have put more of an effort into it. They could have given him the old one two as the laps counted down.
No one went down though there were some close calls. Bob Wright got pushed toward the curb at turn 4 just before the bell lap and  bounced off the orange barrier on the left to stay upright. That is why Bob was last in 60+. There were 5 55s and 3 60s that didn't finish. It was pretty hard out there. Vid below.  That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+ Placings

60+ Placings

60+ Podium- Pettus, Marotta & Rubcic

55+ Podium- Luedtke & Hoblit- missing Szkalak

Monday, August 8, 2011


By John McKee

It was Sunday August 7th, 2011 and time for the Brentwood Grand Prix. This has become a big and popular event for the few shorts years that it has been in existence. The host club is LaGrange Velo Club. They have been able to get lots of sponsors, vendors in their Expo area, and political support. When you stage an event like this in a VERY upscale affluent area you had better have political support. Just think if it takes mom 5 more minutes to drive Johnny in her SUV to his gym sessions. Major inconvenience here.
The 55/60+ race was to start at 8:55 am and a great start time for sure. There were over 60 guys lined up to partake in this race. 2/3 of the entries were 55+. All the players in 60+ were there except Kenny Fuller. The course is new at least for the last 2 years. Many of us were at Natz in 2010 and weren't able to race this event. Natz is much later this year so no problem. The course is very technical. More turns then any course we do through the year. Hard and fun but with the proviso that crashes can occur. One side note is a race like this can draw novices. You can be a cat 5 racer and enter one of our events. Usually that isn't a problem if the pace starts out fast but here there were 2 guys that were pretty strong but had trouble in the turns. One guy  looked totally novice and was wearing a ball cap on backward under his helmet and had a red, white and blue Brooklyn jersey on. We passed him many times during the race but the rumor afterward was the reason he wasn't pulled was because it was Gibby Hatton. Monty knows Gibby and thinks this wasn't him but couldn't say for sure but Monty did say that Gibby was there afterward in more casual attire. If it was Gibby, wow.  He couldn't have fallen that far or could he?
The 55+ field was strong of course with Malcolm Hill in attendance. 2 stand out no shows were Keith Ketterer and Paul Rodiguez. They would have made the race even harder. Swami's was racing for their top sprinters in Dale Luedtke and Mike Birditt. Velo Allegro was working for Ricky Shorts. I think? Or were they all just out there racing. It was hard to tell.
When I line up and race I try and turn on my recorder button and observe as much as I can but I can't be everywhere and this race I had to turn the recorder button off but I will get to that in a second. The officials started the race and the 1st series of turns was started with a 120 degree turn. Some of you guys need better brake pads. Noisy. Damn. If you have carbon wheels, the SwissStop Yellow King brake pads work great. No noise and smooth.
I didn't know who was leading us after the first lap but it was ball busting fast and hard and I didn't know the course. Rick Swanson lead most of the first lap and tried to make a wrong turn but fortunately he was able to correct himself and no one else followed him. It could happen to anyone, Rick. Like I mentioned the 1st 12 minutes of the race were very hard and I was struggling to hold position about 1/3 the way back from the front or so. I couldn't move up. That's why I turned the recorder off. I was just trying to survive. Damn(Think I have said that before. How about shit. The blog is PG-13 today. No F bombs though. Don't want to be R rated). I was asking Mike Birditt some questions after the race and Fred Hoblitt asks if I was in the same race. Yes, Fred. I can't know all the details of every race without help. Especially in a big field with all the turns and hard racing.
After the first 12 minutes or so the sky turned blue, the Red Sea parted and the race slowed down. Now 2 out of 3 isn't bad and the last part of the last sentence is TRUE! Don't know what happened but I think Malcolm decided the take a siesta break and wait. I started to move up and the blender mode was on in the race. 2 guys went down solo at the 120 degree turn and I only know one of the names so I won't embarrass that person. There was a lot of incidental bumping and some hands on stuff but no one else went down. I tried to stay away from the 3 novices but they kept popping up near the front. You didn't want to be behind them because they may not make a good turn and you lose position. One of the guys took a turn too wide and fast and went into a driveway and onto a sidewalk in the last series of turns late in the race. Didn't see him again, thankfully. There were a lot of primes including $50 cash primes. Popular of course. Malcolm Hill would counter off these prime sprints and what was hard going to the finish line just got harder. That was part of the hard pace early. Overall the race was hard.
Once 20 minutes came around I knew I would finish and depending how things went I could do well. I moved up to the front and got behind Mike Birditt. Fred Hoblit went on a solo flight one lap and picked up a money prime. I did see that, Fred. Malcolm jumped solo off that prime sprint and made some fast nice moves through the first series of corners. He had a gap and hit the accelerator. It was up to UCC and Swami's now. This is where UCC really missed Paul Rodiguez. He is a major player for them with Kal making a comeback from his injury. Kal looks good but isn't where he was before his crash. Swami's didn't have Gary Shuey and Kim Bleth and Rick Swanson can only do so much.
With a little more than 17 minutes to go in the race Tom Reilly went for a money prime and got it and took Mike Mueller with him after the finish line. I was right on Mike Birditt on the right side near the finish line and he jumped. Mike thought this looked too dangerous. Can't let too many good riders get "up the road". Kal was in front as well but let him go. Mike got on just before the first corner. Mike Mueller was really drilling it. After coming out of the series of corners onto the straight away Tom said "Uncle". After drilling it himself to get the prime he was out of high test. Mike Mueller had a short gap and Mike Birditt closed that down. Tom had to go back to the pack. Mike and Mike shared the load after that trying to stay away and maybe catching Malcolm.
Back in the pack the paced slowed a bit. No one to pace now. Kal Szkalak did try to come across the gap to join M & M but failed and got caught by the pack late in the last lap. There were a couple of $50 primes for 60+ only which was much appreciated. John Rubcic and Mike Marotta shared them. The podium was basically gone by the time I saw 4 laps to go for 55+. Malcolm Hill is on great form and M & M weren't going to catch him. Malcolm Hill came across the line with a solo effort for the win in 55+! Nice job, Malcolm. M & M stopped working together and planned their moves for 2nd place on their last lap. Mike Mueller jumped hard on the last little corner coming off a little riser. Birditt was all over this and put him in 2nd wheel. Mueller wound it up but when Birditt hit it on his Cannondale Six, Mike Mueller sat up. No match here. Birditt 2nd, Mueller 3rd.
The rest of the pack was really churning. All the 60+ pod spots were still available. Mike Marotta was always up front and John Rubcic was most of the time. Going into the last lap I was in great position but Swami's didn't want to set too fast a pace and endanger Mike Birditt though in reality he couldn't have been caught but Rick Swanson didn't want to take a chance. I kept losing position on the last lap. Dale Luedtke got himself into a great spot. JR was right on Mike Marotta. Monty Pettus was in the pack not far behind as was Ricky Shorts. Al Shorts was in the mix as well as was David Lang and Bob Wright. I was behind these guys. After coming around the last corner JR lost Marotta's wheel on the right side and moved himself over to the left and started his sprint off of someone's elses wheel. The finish is very narrow. Don't like that part of the course. Dale Luedtke was the 1st rider across the line for 4th place in 55+. John Rubcic was able to get by Mike Marotta in a close finish. Monty Pettus was 3rd in 60+. I followed a close line to the rail on the left but ran into the UCC "slow train". Kal had quit and I had to go around him and then I almost ran into John Waganear who was really going slow. Cost me a couple of places but I had no chance at a pod spot. David Lang was 4th in 60+ and Bob Wright was 5th. Rich Stahlberg came by me at the end for the last paying spot in 60+.
Mike Birditt looks pretty happy being the closest to the podium girl. Malcolm Hill and Mike Mueller also shown

In 55+ Ricky Shorts came in after Dale  for 5th place followed by Steve Hensler, Fred Hoblitt, Al Shorts, and Rod Mallory.  This was a good hard race. The cream rose to the top. I liked the course but would be crash prone in a large field. Didn't like the narrow finish but I guess the pros have this too. We are usually lucky to have wide industrial roads to finish on. Photo courtesy of Dale Luedtke. Complete final results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Brentwood GP  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway-UBS Elite Masters 28
2 47255 Michael Birditt Swami's Cycling Club 22
3 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 20
4 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 18
5 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 16
6 15874 Steve Hensler Team Redlands 14
7 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 12
8 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 10
9 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 8
10 52086 Cyril Hunte 6
12 245777 Steven Borer ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 2
13 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
14 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 John Brown 0
16 206734 John Huber Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
17 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
18 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 0
19 49191 Kim Bleth Swami's Cycling Club 0
20 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0
21 9271 Pete Dern Herbalife LaGrange 0
21 Alex Gonzalez 0
22 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
23 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0
24 34753 Rick Swanson Swami's Cycling Club 0
25 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
27 177958 Kevin Ryan The TEAM - SoCalCross 0
28 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
29 222764 Thomas Buescher South Bay Wheelmen 0
30 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
31 277731 Ira Schneider 0
Brentwood GP  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 28
2 72880 Mike Marotta Action Sports/Simply Fit 22
3 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 20
4 107852 David Lang DARE 18
5 Bob Wright 16
6 Rich Stahlberg 14
7 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 12
8 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 10
9 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 8
10 Michael Fleming 6
11 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 4
12 189814 Leo Longo South Bay Wheelmen 2
13 353418 jeff golden 0
14 195498 Donald Kimper ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
15 101582 William Carvin 0
16 23456 Mark McGarry West Coast Wheelmen 0
17 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
18 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 0

Monday, August 1, 2011


By John McKee

Not sure exactly how this happened as the 55/60+ racers always race in the morning and often do so before 8 am. To change things up the promoter at the Torrance Criterium had us racing at 4:20 pm. I am going to stop bellyaching about having to get up so early any more. The entire day before the Torrance Criterium was pretty much honed around getting ready for the race. When we do it early like we usually do the rest of the day is ours to do whatever and I would have rather been at my grandson's baseball tournament in San Clemente in the afternoon.
The drama for the race scheduled for July 31th, 2011 started days before...no weeks before. A lot of talk about the high fee for the race($30) for a unspecified amount of merchandise. Are promoters taking advantage of higher Socal point values in the later races? They know they have a built in customer base.
 A number of us had contact with the promoter and he assured us that we wouldn't be sorry about the race prizes. Word was passed around. (feedback after the race wasn't that positive as we all have helmets, bibs, jerseys, and hats. Gu and bars were good.)It didn't seem to spur the pre reg. 5 60s and 10 55s but somehow a lot of racers wanted to race Torrance. There were a lot of same day signups. Mike Marotta seemed to have a fire lit under him by the his Socal Cup standing. He was in 2nd by a few points overall and passed myself with some great finishes in 60+. He had said he wasn't going to race after Paramount but.... those intoxicating Socal Cup points got in his blood. He is addicted now. By the time I got to the race there were 55s and 60s everywhere. 16 55s and 15 60s including one host team member which would be able to enter for free(Bruce Steele- Mrs. Fredell's favorite 5th grade student. Have to see his facebook page. Which boy is Bruce in the class picture?).
55/60+ racers line up at Torrance Criterium- Dale Luedtke is posing. Is this good luck or??
By the time the 55/60+ race was to move to the start/finish line the wind was blowing big time. It had completely blow up the 45+ race which was right before ours. There were pockets of racers all over the course. Last year there was some wind at a CBR race and it split the 55/60+ field wide open. It looked like our race was going to divide the strong from the weak. One thing though that came into play at the Telo course used for the Torrance race was a long stretch downwind. This would be the difference in the race from the CBR course. Easier to chase down riders. The upwind portion which was very hard of course was broken up by a chicane. The off wind portion which were short really made the bikes unstable. Knowing how to use the wind was going to be important per Fred Hoblit. Definitely, I say.
The group was sent off by the officials on time. I had heard that there were a number of crashes through the day but the 55/60+ have had a good history this year except the rain crash at Ontario. A number of guys have been taken out by training crashes but I always hear how dangerous the criteriums are. In any event the majority of the racers once off and into the race played carefully on the new course with the wind. There were a couple of brave souls that sprang away right from the gun. Tom Buescher and Rick Swanson decided to give it a go and had a gap by the first chicane which wasn't far from the start/finish line. After a couple of laps Phil Richards decided to come across the gap and make it 3.
1st break of the race- right from the gun-Rick Swanson, Tom Buescher and Phil Richards
The break group just hung out there with Mike Marotta at the front doing race tempo. Everyone seemed fine with sitting in. The threesome weren't getting anywhere. They were out there for about 5 laps. Swami's and SBW were out there so no chase from them and they had the biggest teams there.
Mike Marotta leading the chase of Rick Swanson, Tom Buesher and Phil Richards
Not sure who chased them down but they were. Steve Borer was very active in chasing throughout the race. The rest of the race was a series of small group breaks. We only had one solo effort and that was from Fred Hoblit. Rick Swanson put the chase on Fred. I assume he was trying to get across the gap and make it 2 but it all failed. The effort level in the race varied more than usual. Most the race was pretty easy. I was expecting a harder race like Eldo when it is windy there. The upwind sections weren't that hard when you had a good draft and there were a lot of tall guys out there. The down wind section was where all the mini breaks were chased down. Pretty easy to go fast there. We got to over 32 mph at times while the 35s got to over 36 at the same stretch.
Fred Hoblit going it solo midway through the race
Rick Swanson putting the chase on Fred Hoblit
The race counted down to 20 minutes to go and then it was 5 to go. 5 laps to go and it is customary to hit the snooze alarm and except for a few brief efforts this was true here. Whatever effort one made to stay near the front early meant nothing as the group churned endlessly late in the race. The lap card hit 2 to go and it was no surprise that Bruce Steele made a move. Solo move but he a had a tail gunner. It was Mr. Robert (tail gunner) Paganini. They had been hanging out together in the back. Robert is expert at sucking wheel and he was doing his best to hang on to Bruce. The lap card hit one to go and Bruce was still out there the tail gunner. It looked assured in a race that included faster 55s that Bruce would get sucked up. Rick Swanson went to the front to bring the Swami's guys home. Bruce did get caught but not sure exactly where it was.
The pace really didn't rise that much until going into the next to last turn. I had been in good position but was losing it quickly. Mike Fleming chose to hang onto Mike Marotta's wheel and Monty Pettus was nearby. Mike Birditt seemed to struggle staying near the front especially on that last lap. Mike is really focusing on his prep for Natz. Dale was moving into good position. Don Denegal was signaling to Ricky Shorts to get on his wheel. Deogracias Asuncion of SBW was threading himself in good position. Not a lot of wind draft there. Once the group hit the last corner all heck broke loose. It was well over 400 meters to the line and all into the wind. Unless you were in good position you were going to be hard pressed to do much about it because you would have to get in the wind. Dale Luedtke showed some early season form and smoked all racers for 1st place. Good job, Dale!
 Luedtke/1st 55+, Hoblit/2nd, Asuncion/3rd(Behind Dale), Birditt/4th- Marotta behind Asuncion placing 1st in 60+
Fred Hoblit came in close to the cones for 2nd. Mike Birditt was right behind him but placed 4th. Deogracias Asuncion had his best race of the season as he placed 3rd coming in to the right of the other 3 riders. Deogracias should race with us more often.
Mike Marotta came in pretty far ahead of the other 60+ riders for 1st in his category. Monty Pettus held off a hard charging David Lang for 2nd. David was 3rd.  The 60s were quite competitive. After the 1st 4 55s, 6 of the next 8 riders were 60+. Ricky Shorts was 5th and Don Denegal was 6th in 55+. Mike Fleming was 4th in 60+ and Bob Wright bested myself for 5th place. I saw Bob about 150 meters from the line. Bob is easy to pick up because he is tall and throws his bike from side to side more than anyone. Tip to Bob... Reduce the throw and you will go faster. I tried to make the best of the situation and at least pick up a point and a half on Bob but was 20 feet behind. I got within less than a foot at the line. Racing for 5th place like this. It's the Socal Cup point addiction. Lol.
The race was different in the wind and there were no close calls that I saw. The overall speed was slightly less than 22 mph so the wind really made a difference. I wish the last laps were harder but you need large teams with a master plan to do that. Photos are courtesy of Alicia McKee as is the first vid. The second vid is compliments of Laurie Lang. Vids below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!