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

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