Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Race Duo for 55/60+ Racers in Los Olivos/Goleta- Part 1

By John McKee

It's the weekend of Jan. 28th and 29th, 2012. Time for Poor College Kids Road Race and Mothballs Criterium. A great double of racing. The racers split between staying up in the area and driving up before the races. Tough drive early but the traffic would be light. I stayed at the Andersen's in Buelton as did Monty Pettus, his wife and son. Short drive from there to the PCKRR start area. New area for registration, parking, start and finish. The course itself was the same. An out and back course down a narrow country road with wineries everywhere including Fess Parkers. A special note about Monty. He came home of course with his wife, son and their 2 bikes and all the luggage in his Prius. Not just that but an additional 36 bottles of wine. Now that was a good packing job!
The field size was good at 38 with 25 of the racers 55+. Defending champs Gary Shuey in 55+ and Bob Wright in 60+ didn't make it. No matter. There were plenty of guys that wanted to fill their shoes. UC Cyclery was out in force. This was a targeted race for them. At least 8 riders were in the white and green kits.
The weather was cold but dry. It could have been colder. The temp was in the low 40s when the riders started at 7:55 am. We were starting after the cat 5s.
The first climb is not that hard with a gentler slope than coming back toward home. The first victim of the race was Alex Collins. His seatpost dropped on him and he went off the back. The slope on the other side of the hill was pretty steep and the pack hit speeds well in excess of 40 mph. Wisely everyone spread out and gave themselves some room to maneuver. Once down the steepest part the group consolidated. The road was quite narrow and was nearly impossible to move up.
The course was almost totally downhill to the turnaround so no one was in danger of being dropped. At the turnaround it was very tight and those up front sprinted away after around the corner while the riders in the middle and the back were still waiting to turnaround. It really stretched things out. The slope started back up and the wind was now in everyone's face. After about a mile the pressure was taken off. I know I was about to snap having ridden in the very back of the pack. Tempo riding was the order of the day on the rest of the way back to the steepest climb. UCC was using Steve Horine and Mike Mueller to do the work coming back. Either doing hard tempo or going off the front to be chased by the pack or if things were just right, stay off the front. UCC was holding Mark Huffman and Paul Rodiguez in the pack for a latter time. It was no surprise that everyone was together coming to the pendulum point of the race. The steepest part of the climb.
Mike Mueller jetted off the front. He used his superior climbing ability to separate from the field. An unknown/clubless rider by the name of Owen Thomas went with Mike and they went over the top ahead of everyone. Mike Birditt was in damage control and keeping the leaders to a reasonable distance away and staying near Mark Hoffenberg. Mike and Mark went over the top next and started a hardy chase of the leaders. Pretty soon the chase group was between 15 and 20 with 5 60+ racers-Jon Miller, Howard Miller, Glenn Baldwin, Steve Bernede and Jean Villiot. Mike Birditt's trusty lieutenant Kim Bleth went to the front and started a furious chase. Mueller and Thomas were working together in front but were caught before the turn for home.
The rest of the field was scattered along the road. I was near the back and motor ref John Rubcic came up to me and seeing I wasn't climbing that great, gave me some advice "breathe deep John breathe deep".  I kept my teammate Monty Pettus in sight and joined up with him on the way down. We caught the 2nd chase group including Don Kimper(Don was complaining loudly after the race about his new Sram cassette but Don you have to try your new stuff in training before you race). Monty had his sights on the next chase group that included Steve Borer but we ran out of time.
Back to the leaders. All together and they all turn for home. Left turn after the cones and the group will have the entire road to race on to the top and the finish line or so they thought. The owner of the property that we parked on had come out of one of his dirt roads between the CHP road blocks and was coming down the road toward the riders. Yikes! Everyone smartly moved to the right and out of harm's way. UCC with their numbers decided to lead it out. There was 1 kilometer to go after the left turn but it was uphill and the last 100 meters really kicked up. Mike Mueller and Paul Rodriquez took flight. Mike "The Stalker" Birditt was marking them closely. Waiting for the right time to jump.
In 60+ action, Jon Miller coming off another successful cyclocross season was in the mix along with Steve Bernede, Glen Baldwin(Glen was so quiet Monty and I never saw him. I guess we never got near the front, Lol), and Howard Miller. Howard did Turnbull Canyon 20 times the prior week and got his climbing legs fit. Howard and I are usually pretty close in climbing but he left me in the dust.
"The Stalker" saw his opportunity when he saw the finishing stand that had Eric Smith and the other officials on it. Mike was all in! It was uphill and kicked up sharply but Mike eats this type of finish up. The last 20 meters kicks up even more and Mike was in the lead but felt like he was tying up. Mark Hoffenberg was right there and charging with his young 55+ legs. Mark Huffman who was UCC's sit in mate was throwing it down as well. Mark had been seen on the Wed. Camp Pendleton training ride and and was known to be sharp.
Mike Birditt was able to hang on for 1st place. Nice job, Mike!. Mike raised his right arm which blocked his numbers view to the officials and Eric. Mike got a lecture from Eric after the race but he still won! Hoffy came in 2nd and Huffy was 3rd. Albert Shorts of Velo Allegro had chosen to sit in this race rather than work for his brother like in prior events. Al has been doing climbing training lately and it was paying off. Al Shorts sprinted across the line in 4th place. A good result for Al. Al was followed in by Thompson, Cahill, Luke, Hoblit, Raymond, Mueller, Rino B., and Ricky Shorts. Ricky had made a chicky move on the left turn up the hill but everyone saw it was Ricky and just thought "Well that's Ricky".
The finish of the 60+ race was in the mix of the 55+ racers. Howard wasn't totally sure where he finished but saw he was about 6 inches behind Jon "Wave Dog" Miller after Jon passed him just before the line. This is his nickname for himself. I assume Jon is a former surfer? Jon had charged up the right side just inches from the dirt passing riders as he went. Glen "Quiet Man" Baldwin was 3rd and the favorite as I saw it Steve "Loyal" Bernede was 4th. Jean Villiot was 5th place. Jean is coming back from a very bad crash that damaged his hip. Glad to see him back racing. Steve Borer was in the 2nd wave and placed 6th in 60+. Monty Pettus, myself and Don Kimper were in the 3rd wave and placed 7, 8 and 9.
The PCKRR was a fair and good road race. The course isn't the most exciting or the hardest but certainly hard enough. Like to have seen the hardest part early rather than late. The pack was very edgy and there were a few near misses as far as crashes. It was a good turnout for such an early start. The weather wasn't near as cold as it could have been. Great place actually to set up for the race. The finish was improved and quite good. The parking area could have held many more cars and RVs then were there. It certainly could have held a "mile of cars"(the first person that knows the movie reference here wins a prize). Thanks to all the guys that came out and I know most traveled a long ways to get here. It took me 3 hours to get to the Andersen's in Buelton from my house. Results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

John "Wave Dog" Miller- Winner 60+
Mike "The Stalker" Birditt- Winner 55+

Poor College Kids Road Race  (Rank 2.0) 

Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 167489 Jon Miller Platinum Performance Cycling Team 28
2 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 22
3 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus-Gym One 20
4 126351 Steve Bernede 18
5 59805 Jean Villiot CA Pools /CFS Mortgage 16
6 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
7 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 12
8 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 10
9 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
10 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 6
11 269972 Fred Haim Velo Club LaGrange 4
Poor College Kids Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 28
2 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 22
3 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 20
4 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 18
5 193819 Chuck Thompson Polli Veloce 16
6 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 14
7 21803 John Luke Santa Clarita Velo 12
8 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 10
9 148853 Dale Raymond Southern California Velo 8
10 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
11 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 4
12 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 2
13 341568 Owen Thomas 0
14 49191 Kim Bleth Swami's Cycling Club 0
15 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
16 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
17 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
18 141141 Steve Nelson Echelon Santa Barbara 0
19 195285 Kenneth Neumeyer 0
20 352540 Scotty Bohlman Jessup Auto Plaza p/b P.S. Cyclery 0
21 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
22 364971 John Johnson 0
23 106989 Pato Munoz Velo Allegro 0
24 189931 Kasey Haws 0
25 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0

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