Monday, September 12, 2011


By John McKee

It's time for the final race of the season for the hard core racers. The same guys you see week in and week out. Sunday comes and there's Mike Birditt, Dale Luedtke, Kal Szkalak, John McKee, Monty Pettus, Bob Wright, etc. The date is 9/11/11. A somber date and anniversary.
California Bicycle Racing was holding their own Cal State Criterium Championship with a champ jersey at stake and BAR points to be finalized. The BAR points were locked up by Dale Luedtke in 55+ and Bob Wright in 60+. Dale was also 2nd in Socal points and Bob was 3rd in their respective categories. The start time was the usual 7:35 am though next year it will change to 9:35 am. Premium time. Not sure why we rate that but pretty sure our number of entries was higher than groups starting in front of us. Over 30 guys showed up to race. Just plain pure racing. 2 categories racing at the same time but separated for BAR points but racing for the same purse(one finish list).
The description of the race could be one of many this year. A number of break attempts with Swami's always in the action joined by Santa Clarita Velo and Velo Allegro. I had nothing to lose so chased down and on a number of early efforts. The major effort came about 40% into the race. The group included Fred Hoblit, Mike Birditt, Ricky Shorts, Rick Swanson and Deogracia Asuncion. Rick was a little tired from being at the UCLA night football game and wasn't totally into it so he soon dropped back to watch after Dale.
You would think we had a perfect mix of riders here to stay away for sure but Craig Jones and Pat Huber of Velo Avanti were chipping away at the break group. Howard Miller of Paramount made one effort and other than that I can't say there was much of a chase. The break group wasn't fluid and there were attempts to break from the break group. Swami's was going to have a good chance to win either way. They were in the driver's seat. Mike out of the break group or Dale out of the main pack or even Mike again if the break group got caught. It didn't look like they would be caught but with a few laps to go you could see the gap closing. Pretty sure there was infighting ahead.
With one lap to go Rick Swanson took matters into his own hands and with Dale Luedtke on his wheel he went to the whip. If the break group stays away, he leads out Dale for the bunch sprint. If the break group gets caught he leads out Dale for the win. Rick dropped Dale off a little early after turn 3 but Dale was locked on. The pace really reved up when we hit the hump which is about half way between turn 3 and 4. Pretty hard actually. About that time the pack met the break group and riders were going in all kinds of different directions to find a hole to ride through though Mike Birditt and Deogracia Asuncion from the break group saved some for their sprint.
Dale Luedtke won the sprint for first place in 55+. Monty Pettus got himself in very good position and finished 1st in 60+ and 4th overall. 2nd and 3rd in 55+ and overall went to Mike Birditt and Don Denegal. I finished 2nd in 60+ and 9th overall. Cully White was the last 60+ podium finisher. Carlos Soto raced with us and very glad to see him out there racing. Carlos has one of the best sprints around and finished 4th in 55+. Hope you race with us more next year, Carlos. Bob Wright finished off his season with a 4th place finish which secured the BAR points in 60+. Complete results below.
All in all it was a good clean fun race. Average speed was a hardy 25 mph for the 44 minutes. Only .9 lower than a younger and bigger 50+ field. It was a good year of racing with mostly highlights. Love to see us build on this year and show more "boots on the ground" next year. We are going to have a large number of races that count toward Socal points. If anyone has any ideas on making our racing better, lets hear it.
We had an after race get together that I invited everyone to though not many came. Those that did, thanks. It was fun. I did have a plastic tie wrap in my veggie burger but other that it all good. The group included- Pags and his wife,Terumi, Cully White, Rino B. Monty Pettus and myself. We ate at a nearby Chili's. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

60+ race podium- McKee, Pettus, & White

60+ BAR points winner Bob Wright- Dale Luedtke won the 55+ but didn't do a podium

55+ race podium- Birditt, Luedtke & Denegal
55+ finish list

60+ finish list

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