Tuesday, March 6, 2012


By John McKee

Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I'm asking YOU who's on first.
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Oh no! Lets not start this again.
Mike Birditt of Spy/Swami's
Abbott: OK, then who won the 55/60+ race at CBR # 3.
Costello: Mike. 
Abbott: Mike who?
Costello: Mike of Spy/Swami's.
Abbott: Oh, Mike of Spy/Swami's.
Costello: Yea, that's what I said.
Abbott: Which race?
Costello: What do you mean...which race!
Abbott: Well, the 55s and 60s race together and are scored separately.
Costello: Is that right.
Abbott: Well, yes it is.
Costello: Now we're getting to the bottom of it.
Abbott: Then who won the race.
Costello: Mike.
Abbott: Which race?
Costello: The 55+ race.
Abbott: Are you sure.
Costello: No.
Abbott: Why aren't you sure.
Costello: It was so close.
Abbott: Did you see the vid?
Costello: Which one?
Abbott: The one that Chris took.
Costello: Who's Chris?
Abbott: He's the one that calls everyone "Cupcake".
Costello: Oh him. I like him. He says he's fatter than me.
Abbott: OK, did you study the vid in slow mo. Did you go frame for frame?
Costello: Yes I did.
Abbott: Then who won?
Costello: I don't know.
Abbott: He's on second.
Mike Marotta of Spy/Swami's
Costello: Here we go again.
Abbott: Concentrate!!
Costello: OK, OK.
Abbott: Well then who won the race?
Costello: Mike.
Abbott: Are you talking about the 55+ race or the 60+ race?
Costello: 55+.
Abbott: I heard he won the 60+ race.
Costello: Mike of Spy/Swami's?
Abbott: Yes, Mike of Spy/Swami's.
Costello: You talking about the Mike that is short with the BIG legs.
Abbott: No. Mike is tall. Rides a white Cervelo. Married to Lee.
Costello: Lee?? I thought Lee was dead.
Abbott: No, wrong Lee. You must be thinking of that Confederate general. 
He died years ago. Besides, he is a man.
Costello: Well this is California. Prop 8 was overturned in the courts.
Abbott: Lee is female and alive.
Costello: Is Lee cute?
Abbott: Certainly.
Costello: Would you introduce me?
Abbott: No, of course not. You Casanova. She is married to Mike.
Costello: Mike who?
Abbott: Stop it!! Who won?
Costello: I got it! Mike Birditt won the 55+ race and Mike Marotta won the 60+ race.
Abbott: How do you know that.
Costello: I went to 55/60+ Bike Racing Facebook page. The 55/60+ results are always posted there. So there. Now lets read what that writer guy has to say about the race.

Now we got to the bottom of who won. Let's talk about how did we get to the finish. That is the question. It was a Sunday like many race Sundays but much hotter than you would ever expect for this time of year. March 4th, 2012 and time for the 3rd race for CBR now under the SCNCA banner. You would expect large fields as there have been at almost all the races so far in 2012. The 55/60+ field topped out at around 60 racers at the Ride Like You Stole It Criterium. The larger 55+ field was racing for $250 and the 60+ field was racing for $100. 
This race in 55+ looked to be a shootout between the Sho Air/Rock N Road team and Spy/Swami's. Mark Hoffenberg has been the top dog for Sho Air and Mike Birditt has been so for Swami's. Neither faced off against each other in the prior 2 weeks of racing. Both riders and teams are racing very well. Velo Allegro was out in force and had all their riders and has a lot of cards to play.
It looked to be a hot race from the start but all the teams started the race with a cautious attitude. Sho Air was looking to do 3 races during the day and decided to converse some energy unlike CBR #2 where they attacked from the gun. Swami's was playing a wait and see game. Hoping for a field sprint for Mike Birditt. Velo Allegro looked to be playing a very cautious game as well. 
The first break effort got going with the ever active Doug Knox getting things going. Doug was joined by Henry Schnepf, Fred Hoblit and Rick Swanson. The foursome got a decent gap going. No one seemed to be chasing. Sho Air and Swami's had riders in the break. Velo Allegro didn't seem to be concerned. After 3 or 4 laps off the front the cohesion of the break group kind of fell apart.

Mid race action- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki

Mid race action- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki

 The break group went backward quickly then and were back in the fold. There were other attempts. Not many. Mark Hoffenberg tried his hand a few times on the uphill segment of the course but was marked by Swami's Steve Diamond. No one else seemed interested in attempting to get away. Steve got kudos from his own team captain and the opposing team captain for his team work. Good work, Steve. Henry Schnepf always seems up for a break attempt but nothing seemed to jell. Velo Allegro was totally sitting in. The mid race lull set in. Not much action. The field was constantly churning and the ever present snake would come into play on the 3rd leg which was uphill. One of the up leg snakes bite Ricky Shorts. Ricky overlapped a wheel on the right side and someone came from Ricky's right and forced him into the wheel. What do lumberjacks say....timber! Down went Ricky. No one else went down.
The 5 lap card went up and everyone is all together. Not good for Doug Knox. Off he goes. No one really joined him but strung things out nicely for a short while. A bunch sprint was sure to come later. The bell lap came and everyone was looking around. Joey Valdivia of UC Cyclery had gone to the front to produce some pace. Mike Birditt was on Rick Swanson and they were moving up. Sho Air was lining up as well. I got on Mike and looked to move up with energy loss. Rick and Mike moved into a line and I got cut off but Rod Mallory let me back on Mike. After turn one we were going downhill and it was pretty fast. Rick moved Mike up more and moved back into a line and I turned to my right and it was Al Shorts. Al looked locked and loaded so I didn't ask to get back on Mike's wheel. I drifted back. After turn 2 some jockeying was going on. 
Mike Marotta took off going into turn 3. No calm before the storm on the 3rd leg. It was all out of the saddle go. A little back from the front it was slower going around turn 3 and I had to hit my brakes once or twice. Bad deal. Henry Schnepf had taken the Sho Air job of chasing Mike Marotta of Spy/Swami's. Mark Hoffenberg was on his teammate. Behind Mark...well I got 2 different stories. Sho Air's Dan Nicolette thinks he had the right to Mark's wheel and Mike Birditt thought it was his wheel. In the end Mike got it. 
Closing in on turn 3, Mike Marotta was still charging but was being caught by the group and especially Henry Schnepf with the favorites in tow. Mike Birditt decided it was time to go and GO he did. Mike jumped hard like few riders can. Al Shorts had maintained his wheel since before turn 2 and was in good position and jumped as well. The 3rd leg showed the rider strength. Some riders were going backward while others were weaving there way forward. Monty Pettus was coming up the outside and came by me before turn 3. I jumped on his wheel. I know a good wheel when I see it.
Up front, Mike Birditt hit the last corner first and looked to be cruising to an easy victory but Mark Hoffenberg wasn't going to concede just yet. Mike looked back twice over his right shoulder and didn't see Mark coming up on his left. Mike had to hit it again and the 2 of them threw their bikes. It looked like a virtual tie. It took the officials a long time to declare Mike the winner. 
Al Shorts was the next rider across the line. Very strong race for Al. Henry Schnepf was next followed by his teammate, Dan Nicolette. Mike Marotta showed great strength to hang on and finish so high after leading the entire 3rd leg by himself. Mike was the 1st 60+ rider to finish. Great win for Mike.
In 55+ next in were Cahill, Luedtke, Romans, Alaan, Ascuncion and Ainslie. In 60+ action I followed Monty in and he eased up a bit and I decided to ease up as well and maintain my space next to Monty and on our outside the hard charging H "K Mart" Schneider(H has a inexpensive Giro helmet that doesn't adjust and slides all over his head. Buy a better helmet H!!) came flying by and got me at the line for 3rd. Monty was 2nd and I was 4th.
 I was followed in by Swigart, Kimper, Miller, Borer and Fleming.
This was not the most exciting or agreesive race of the year. I got 25.1 mph while Jim Swigart got 25.7 with the same Garmin 500. Very similar speeds to the other 2  CBR races. The 50+ race was 2 mph faster while the 45+ race was just 1 for some reason. One person down is one too many. Too bad for Ricky. Snakes are dangerous. Hate to see them. Video of the finish below. Good work by Maki Yamizaki. Full results will show below when the SCNCA website comes back up. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!


Doug Knox charges off with 5 laps to go. Huber, Moore, Cahill and Roest in chase- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki

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