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

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