Wednesday, February 15, 2012


By John McKee

It's Feb. 12th, 2012 and Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium is scheduled for the 7th year in a row. Prior to this race being named after a lost rider Roger Millikan, the name was the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. I mentioned this before but for those that didn't read it, Roger Millikan dated Monty's Pettus's wife Diane before Monty won out and married Diane. Roger would have raced 60+ if he were still alive.
The 2012 race sadly had another tribute to give to another rider that was lost the previous Thursday. I am speaking of Todd Schooler. Todd has raced for many years and raced with us mostly in 50+ races the last few years. I believe Todd racing age is 58 this year. I didn't know Todd well at all but many of you did and he will be missed.
The RMMC is fast becoming the most popular race on the calendar. Many of the races were sold out including the 55/60+ race at the field limit of 75. 2012 had record attendance at RMMC. Last year the race sold out on the day of but this year the race was sold out by the Wednesday before the race. The field was heavily weighted toward the 55+ racers. Only 20 of the pre regs were 60s and several of those didn't race.
The weather was a little cool with a few sprinkles but the skies cleared before the start of the 55/60+ race scheduled for 8:30 am. Everyone lined up many rows deep. The  large group felt a little scary. Ed Keck(The promoter for Velo Avanti) got out in front for the usual lap in honor of Roger Millikan but this year because of Todd Schooler passing away, Kenny Fuller came out to lead the peleton along with Ed. Kenny had known Todd for 25 years and had talked about racing at Roger Millikan this Sunday just days ago.
Ed and Kenny lead us around the Brea course which is somewhat unique and challenging. It isn't as hard as Red Trolley but difficult enough to make it a very good race. Once Ed and Kenny lead the group past the start/finish line for the first time it was game on. Almost all the strongest riders were there. Keith Ketterer was pre reged to race but didn't show. He was to designate a teammate to replace him and that was Malcolm Hill.
Start of the race with Kenny Fuller in his stars and strips out in front- Eric Smith is on the far left in the officials shack. Eric is president of the SCNCA. Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer.

Another start picture- Targeted race for UC Cyclery.. You think? Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer
That's like seeing Babe Ruth being pinch hit for and thinking that you just dodged a bullet but out of the dugout comes Lou Gehrig. Pick your poison. There were a lot of short lived moves early in the race and the pace was fast and pretty darn hard. Nothing was sticking. UC Cyclery, Spy-Swami's, Sho Air, and Malcolm Hill of Breakaway for Cancer were all watching each other. Velo Allegro was taking a more wait and see approach.
The 55s were racing for $1,000 thanks to Morgan Gold of Irvine, Ca. Fellow racer Alex Collins who is a Senior Account Representative there is totally responsible for bringing in this great sponsorship. Morgan Gold specializes in precious metals for part of your retirement nest egg. Thank you, Alex! Any more sponsorships in the future would certainly be welcome and would get play in this blog. The 60s were racing for a separate purse of $150 which wasn't bad for the turnout we got. Most of the best 60+ racers like- Fuller, Pettus, Marotta and John Rubcic raced down in age in the 55+ category to go for the $1,000 purse. I decided to stay in my category and try and get a big slice of a small pie and get the Socal points as well.
Early race action with Lee Romans leading myself. You can see Rick Swanson between us. Photo courtesy of Mike Lee/Starlight Photography.
Mid race action with myself, Mike Mueller, Monty Pettus and John Roest- Photo courtesy of Mike Lee/Starlight Photography.
 As the race progressed some of the leading riders were getting discouraged about the prospect of a break working off the front. The pace slowed slightly. The pack churned continually. A few riders got pinched in turn 4 and went down. Wayne Rosenkrantz and Mike Chicci were victims but got back up and raced. With 6 laps to go Kenny Fuller went to the front to work everyone over Thurlow Rodgers style. Kenny is only about 80% right now so the pace was kept high but didn't shake things up much. This told me that we were looking at a bunch sprint unless someone got a good jump and gap. Sometimes a late solo jump can work if the teams are denuded but today the teams were loaded and this was unlikely to happen.
Paul Rodriquez pulled double duty for UCC. Being active during the race and being the designed finisher. Steve Cahill is chasing up the hill. Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer.

Bob Pellkoffer(leading the pack here) pulled lieutenant duties for Sho Air/Rock N Road. Bob was very active during the race. Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer.

Kim Bleth was the workhorse for Spy-Swami's. Photo Courtesy of Jodie Borer.
The clock was ticking down and the teams were starting to take stock of their players and lining things up. Kim Bleth and Gary Shuey were burning their matches keeping the pace high on the last few laps and left the team somewhat bare going into the last lap. Coming into turn 4 on the second to the last lap Sho Air had things looking really good. Bob "The Killer" Pellkoffer was leading Mark Hoffenberg ahead of Dan "The Broom" Nicolette. UC Cyclery were lined up with Steve Hensler leading Mike Mueller and Paul Rodriquez. Spy-Swami's was left with 2 riders near the front. Mike Birditt was at the front in the middle of the pack. His trusted lieutenant for the last lap was Rick Swanson. Rick was on Mike left hip and started fading to his left. After going around the corner, Rick was going to punch it and lead a small group that would include his teammate, Mike Birdittt.

A little over 1 lap to go at the last corner. Mark Hoffenberg rounding last corner with Dan Nicolette behind. Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer.
Next frame shows UCC lining up with Steve Hensler, Mike Mueller and Paul Rodiquez. Mike Birditt is behind the Jessup Auto Plaza rider. Notice how the Jessup rider is on the top of his bars. Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer.

After turning the corner Mike was accelerating right up the middle and faded a couple of feet to his right. Another rider on the top of his bars in a red, white and black kit (NOT Santa Clarita Velo or Sho Air) was to Mike's right and leaned to his left for some reason. They made contact as Mike rode by at a faster pace. The contact didn't faze Mike in the least and he kept moving forward in a straight line. The "other" rider was totally surprised by the contact and lost control of his bike and swung widely to his left behind Mike now. You can see it all in the 2 vids but he swung to his left and forced another rider into Rick Swanson's front wheel and down went Rick. The "other" rider then swung wildly back to his ride. His bike was steeply slated to the right and he almost went down in front of Mike Marotta. The "other" rider finally got control of his bike and no one else was taken down. The downside besides Rick going down were the guys that were behind Rick and had slow way way down to get around. Included in this group were Mike Marotta, John Rubcic and Don Kimper. Things really heated up after turn 1 and then 2. 2 comes quickly. Kenny Fuller was near "The Broom" and was able to take Mark Hoffenberg's wheel. Now this wasn't in the best interest of Sho Air. Dan had a problem here. It wasn't like at Red Trolley where he thought he could flick riders off Mark's wheel easily. Kenny has raced for 50 years and has over 50 Natz titles and several world championship. Dan "The Diplomat" Nicollette decided to try another approach. He put his hand on Kenny's back and asked nicely if he could have his teammate's wheel. Kenny acquiesced. He didn't see any reason to make an enemy of someone over this race. Mike Birditt was right behind them. Mike was now a bike length off Mark Hoffenberg. Everything was pretty smooth and fast on the bottom of the course. Fast yes but not sure if it was as fast as last year. Turn 3 was hit at high speed and then it was all balls to the wall going up the next to the last leg. Everything was a near blur. I remember Cyril Hunte going backward again but not as bad as at Red Trolley. Slopes and Cyril don't seem to mix. 
Bob "The Killer" Pellkoffer was leading the Sho Air train and Henry Schnepf pulled in behind Bob and ahead of Mark. Velo Allegro had 3 riders up near the front. Don Denegal, Ricky and Al Shorts were in play. Nelson Alaan of Cal Pacific Export had moved up into good position. Nelson always sits in the back and then comes forward the last few laps and uses his good sprint to place high. Malcolm Hill had quietly got himself into good position.
Flying toward the last corner Bob Pellkoffer took Sho Air just around the corner and then Henry Schnepf went way wide to his left leaving the door open for Mark Hoffenberg. Dan was still on Mark. Mike Birditt cut inside a little bit and started his sprint for home. Mike couldn't make up the ground on Mark Hoffenberg and the win went the Sho Air ace! Another victory. To really nail it down, Dan Nicolette rolled across for 3rd place after Mike Birditt. Followed in closely were Malcolm Hill and then Paul Rodriquez. Paul who is 59 this year had quite a day. Besides the 5th place finish in the 55+ race, came back and placed 4th in the faster 50+ race. Henry Schnepf followed in making it a trifecta for Sho Air in the first 6 places. Nelson Alaan bested Ricky Shorts for 7th followed in by Don Denegal, Steve Cahill, Mike Marotta, Al Shorts and Mike Mueller rolled in next. I came in with Monty Pettus and Alex Collins right next to me. I was the first 60+ finisher for 1st place in 60+. Mike Marotta would have won the 60+ race but entered the 55+ race for the big money. New 60+ race John Wagenaar placed 2nd in 60+ followed by Rich Stahlberg, James Swigart, Don Kimper and Steve Borer. 
The average speed was pretty high for this course at 24.9 mph(26.3 mph in the 50+ race). The normalized power(while pedaling) was 296 watts while overall the wattage was 244.  Good hard race with a few bad moments. Cycling strength and inexperience is a problem for us. Don't know what more to say about that. The finish pictures are below. Complete results are below as well. I want to thank all the photographers that contributed photos to this story: Jodie Borer, Mike Lee/Starlight Photography, and Peter Carlson. 2 vids are available on Youtube: by Mike McKinney by Peter Carlson
That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Mark Hoffenberg with the win in 55+. Photo courtesy of Mike Lee/Starlight Photography

Mark at the finish line. Courtesy of Peter Carlson.

Mike Birditt in 2nd place. Photo courtesy of Peter Carlson.

From left to right-Malcolm Hill, Dan Nicolette, Paul Rodiquez(behind Dan), Henry Schnepf, Ricky Shorts and Nelson Alaan. Photo courtesy of Mike Lee/Starlight Photography.

Finish photo showing Malcolm Hill and Paul Rodriquez. Photo courtesy of Peter Carlson
Photo showing Mike Mueller, Alex Collins and Monty Pettus. I am blocked out by Alex and the 1st 60+ finisher. Photo courtesy of Peter Carlson.
The 2 winners- Mark Hoffenberg and John McKee

Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 14
2 61193 john wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 50911 Richard Stahlberg Ironfly 10
4 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 9
5 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7
7 203244 cary alpert South Bay Wheelmen 6
8 27989 Richard Pfeiffer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5
9 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 4
10 61278 mario seri Velo Club LaGrange 3
11 45763 Robert Paganini Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 2
12 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 1
Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 14
2 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 11
3 26090 daniel nicolette Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 10
4 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 9
5 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 70853 Henry Schnepf Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 7
7 64439 Nelson Alaan Cal-Pacific Export Packers / LV 6
8 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 5
9 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 4
10 204724 Steve Cahill Celo Pacific 3
11 72880 mike marotta Swami's Cycling Club 2
12 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 1
13 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
14 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 0
16 46765 Kenny Fuller Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
17 162650 Jim Parkhurst Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
18 47652 Bob Pellkofer 0
19 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
20 45431 Bruce Hartley Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
21 195285 Ken neumeyer 0
22 13594 Doug Gonda Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada 0
23 15874 Steve Hensler UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
24 45364 Thomas Gates MOAB Masters Racing 0
25 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0
26 21803 John Luke Santa Clarita Velo 0
27 52086 cyril hunte 0
28 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
29 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
30 50141 Robert Gregory MOAB Masters Racing 0
31 53584 Greg Mathes Velo Avanti Cycling Team 0
32 287584 Charlie Tatarian Canyon Velo 0
33 271566 Alex Gonzalez Velo Allegro 0
34 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
35 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
36 110259 Lee Romans Velo Allegro 0
37 44197 gary shuey Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
38 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
39 178495 Steve Diamond Swami's Cycling Club 0
40 151059 Joseph MASTRO Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
41 107559 Rodney malloy Velo Allegro 0
42 222764 thomas buescher South Bay Wheelmen 0
43 56643 robert shupper Pasadena Athletic Assoc (PAA) 0
44 49191 Kim Bleth Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
45 167453 bob estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
46 222523 Rick Carrera Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
47 9271 Pete Dern Velo Club LaGrange 0
48 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0

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