Wednesday, February 8, 2012


By John McKee

It's Feb. 5th, 2012 and time for the Red Trolley Criterium. Red Trolley is always the day after the Blvd. Road Race and never has had a 55/60+ race but this year with the help of Steve Borer we were in. Not everyone was happy with the promoters though. They asked a premium entry price at $30 and only offered $200 in prize money split between the 2 cats and might have reduced that per the flyer if 50 riders didn't show which didn't happen. Blvd. tired a few riders out and there was a TT at Fiesta Island though I doubt if more than one of those riders would have done a criterium. It also was Super Bowl Sunday but as you should know, the game lasts a long long....time. No worries in missing anything important except some of the one of a kind TV commercials. Always a lot of really good fun stuff there. Loved "We Go" fetching Bud Lights. The team(Patriots) I rooted for didn't win but didn't care that much and was glad in the end when I saw a pic of Rush Limbaugh in the Patriots owner's booth.
Spy eye ware (the major Spy-Swami's sponsor) was there and giving out free glasses to the winner of each race so Red Trolley had that going for it. For a change the 55/60+ racers were slated for a mid day race. Wow. That doesn't happen very often. Some of our riders liked it and some didn't. If you race early, you have the rest of the day to play with but have to get up way early.
Early action at Red Trolley- from left to right- Steve Diamond, Mike Birditt, Paul Rodriquez and Alex Collins - Photo courtesy of Jinna Thomas
About 35 racers showed up to start the race at 12:35 pm. 20 of the racers were 55+. 40 minutes was the allotted time for the race. The Red Trolley course was new to many of us. Once we started racing it didn't take long to figure out that the course was difficult. From turn 1 to turn 3 of the 4 corner course the grade was slightly downhill and required tempo type pedaling. It was more downhill from turn 3 to 4 and you picked up good speed. After the last turn toward home the course kicks up quite a bit. It is a good power climb. It really helps if you can keep your mo going into the climb. It took a few laps to figure that out. After the power climb it was still a pretty good distance to the finish line and it was a false flat with no mo going into it. Pretty tough course I would say.
The first few laps were an education. Got a feel for the course and learned how to take the climb. The pace was pretty high and there was some probing but it took about 4 to 5 laps for a break to form off the front. Mike Mueller of UC Cyclery, Mike Birditt of Spy-Swami's, Mark Hoffenberg of Sho Air/Rock N Road and Scott Bohlman of Jessup Auto Plaza were in the break. There may have been a mystery 5th person later but that is unconfirmed. 3 really strong riders so I figured this was it. The 3 strongest teams were represented as well. Spy-Swami's, UC Cyclery, and Sho Air/Rock N Road. No 60s in the group though so I wasn't worried. John Roest started a chase. John is strong and pulled for several laps. Steve Cahill also helped out. The combination of the chase and lack of commitment up front spelled... caught. All together. Surprised the heck out of me. The pace picked up again and some riders were going off the back. Mostly 60s but a few 55s as well.
Mike Mueller and Mike Birditt in the early break- Photo courtesy of Jinna Thomas
A prime lap came up and don't really know what it was for but Bob Pellkofer thought it was worthwhile to go for. Paul Rodriquez hung on his wheel and snatched the prime at the line. They looked back and had a mini gap. They decided to go for it and traded pulls. They started to build a lead but Paul was getting tired and thought about throwing in the towel. Bob was feeling great and was having none of this. They came to an agreement which is often done in pro cycling. Paul would sit on and Bob would do all the work. Paul would not contest the sprint if they stayed away.
The pack worked the gap down to 20 seconds but didn't have the fire power to reign in the 2 riders. Kim Bleth did his best for Spy-Swami's but not enough riders to do the work. Steve Cahill was on Kim once but was tired from racing Blvd. the day before and couldn't pull through. After the 20 second gap the next reading was 30 seconds and 5 laps to go and it looked like that was that. The pace slowed a bit and everyone took stock of themselves and where they were in the pack. My heartrate had hit 163 and my max is around 168 so was I was near my limit. An easier pace was find with me!
The final lap came and Bob and Paul were still away. Bob Pellkofer came across the line for the win in 55+. Paul Rodriquez was 2nd. The 55s in the peleton were now racing for 3rd place but the 60s still had all the players out there. Getting a good ride up the hill was critical in the sprint for home.  Cyril Hunte took an inside line at the last corner and was the first to it but came in at to shallow an angle and took it wide after the corner taking most riders further out then they would have otherwise. Mark Hofenberg showed his bike handling skills and after a short bit was ahead of everyone by quiet a ways. Mark had the help of his teammate Dan "The Broom" Nicolette. Dan was making the claim after the race that it was easy sweeping Mark's wheel clean during the race. Cyril Hunte found himself  in way too big a gear and bogged down going up the hill. Mike "Jet Butt" Birditt was behind him and saw a small opening between Cyril and another rider. Mike yelled stay and it was like Charleston Heston in the movie "Ten Commandments" parting the Red Sea. Mike started his sprint for home with a good 20 to 30 meters to make up on Hoffy. Mike was really chewing up the real estate and gaining on Mark coming for home. Mike was able to overtake Mark by the finish line for 3rd place. What an effort for 3rd place. He must have jets in his butt! Mark Hoffenberg rolled across the line for 4th place in 55+.
In 60+ action John "Rocket" Rubcic was doing his 1st event of the year and looked in mid season form. The uphill sprint is a natural for him since he lives and trains in Hemet. I have trained with John before around his place and he likes to climb the local mountains and does his sprint drills uphill. John had a good race in 2011 at Natz in 60-64 criterium. The pace was faster than Natz 55-59 on a different course.
Monty Pettus had 3 wins running already in 2012 and wanted to challenge John Rubcic and came along side of John right after the last corner but Monty's mo took him to Cyril Hunte's wheel and Cyril was pedaling squares and going backward. Monty took his foot off the accelerator and that was that. The "Rocket" kept up the pressure all the way to the line and was the next finisher after Mark Hoffenberg. Lee Romans was the next racer across the line for a very good finish at 5th place in 55+. Monty Pettus came across for 2nd in 60+. I rolled across with a few 55+ riders for 3rd place in 60+. Howard Miller was 4th 60+ giving Paramount 2, 3 and 4. 5th place in 60+ went to Fred Nicolet of SDBC.
The race was hard but pretty safe. The average speed was 24.66 mph with an average wattage of 195 from a Powertap. 270 watts while pedaling. We gained 962 feet during the race. Monty Pettus hit 1148 at the end of the race. New challenging course for everyone. Podium pics below plus a bonus picture. Full results below as well. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
60+ podium- Pettus 2, Rubcic 1, McKee 3- photo courtesy of Steve Borer
55+ podium- Rodriquez 2, Pellkofer 1, Birditt 3- photo courtesy of Steve Borer

Mark and Mike after race- 55/60+ racers are tough competitors during the races but good friends afterward- photo courtesy of Jinna Thomas
Red Trolley Classic  (Rank 1.0) Masters 55+ Place License Name Team SoCal Points 1 47652 Bob Pellkofer 14 2 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11 3 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 10 4 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 9 5 110259 lee romans Velo Allegro 8 6 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 7 7 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6 8 26090 Daniel Nicolette Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 5 9 46255 alex collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4 10 352540 Scotty Bohlman Jessup Auto Plaza p/b P.S. Cyclery 3 11 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Floors 2 12 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 1 13 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0 14 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0 15 52086 cyril hunte 0 16 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0 17 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0 18 177376 James Aslagson Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0

Red Trolley Classic  (Rank 1.0) Masters 60+ Place License Name Team SoCal Points 1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14 2 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 11 3 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 10 4 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 9 5 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 8 6 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7 7 61193 john wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6 8 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5 9 101582 William Carvin 4 10 203244 cary alpert South Bay Wheelmen 3 11 301363 Mick Iwadare South Bay Wheelmen 2 12 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 1 13 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 0 

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