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??|
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|
|Mike Marotta leading the chase of Rick Swanson, Tom Buesher and Phil Richards|
|Fred Hoblit going it solo midway through the race|
|Rick Swanson putting the chase on Fred Hoblit|
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+|
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!