Friday, April 27, 2012


By John McKee

The LA Circuit race has moved around on the calendar over the years and had to go up against the Redlands Criterium for several years but got a solo date in 2011 and also had a solo date in 2012 at April 22nd. This is all good but Brad "Ron Paul" House always puts us first on the schedule and even ahead of the juniors. 7 am start is pretty early. There was another wrinkle in 2012 as the flyer was incorrectly showing a cutoff date for mail in registration. No date was given on the flyer for online reg but the rumor had it that the cutoff was the 15th or the Sunday before the race. I messaged Brad with a protest and he messaged back that the flyer was incorrect and that the date was for the prior year. He said that online registration would be available until Thurs. prior to the race. Attendance seem to peak in 2009 and has been declining into this year. 2009 the total was 40, 2010 was 36, 2011 was also 36 finishers. 2012 had 31 finishers.
55/60+ racers @ LA Circuit- photo courtesy of TruCycling
At LA Circuit the race is distance rather than time. The 55/60+ racers were allotted 20 miles. 5 laps of the 4 mile course with 2 180 turnaround. The last one a mile from the finish so there was plenty of time to set up once you made the last turn. All the racers were off on time or nearly so. 7 am is early for everyone. It didn't take long to see the Swami's strategy. Send Kim Bleth off the front looking to mix in the "right" break group. Kim won in 2011 using a similar strategy and got away solo late to win. Kim was willing to work with most anyone except Ricky "Motor Game" Shorts(Ricky always does well in Roger Young's motor game on Tues. and Thurs. evenings at the Dom. Hills velodrome). Ricky has a quick sprint and no one has forgotten this. Ricky would like to recreate himself as a breaker/chaser but if he does get in a break group he would have the best chance of winning. Velo Allegro was there to neutralize any attacks. Rod Mallory, Alex Gonzalez, Al and Ricky Shorts all took turns chasing. I didn't see them take to the offensive though.
Chris Black of Morgan Stanley was a new addition to the lineup at LA Circuit. Chris aged up to 55 this year and is from Northern California. Morgan Stanley is a well known team on NorCal. Chris is a cat 1 racer so has a strong pedigree. Chris showed through the race that he was strong and knew what he was doing. The 2nd lap was a prime lap and Chris tapped Mike Birditt to go for the prime. Mike got on Chris but let Chris crossed the line 1st to win the prime. Mike figured that Chris did all the work and he should get the stuff, what ever that was. Brad "Ron Paul" House has a reputation for some unusually prizes.
There were times in the race that it was hard but overall the pace wasn't. In fact the race turned out to be the slowest race of the year and 1 mph slower than 2011. 24 vs 25 mph. The 4th lap was also a prime lap. Kim jumped early half way from the turnaround to the finish. Chris Black jumped to get across the gap but Velo Allegro was all over him. Chris knew Mike Birditt from prior races and pretty much was riding for him and his team. Chris saw what was happening and shut the chase down but VA went around to continue the chase of Kim. Mike Birditt figured enough was enough and jumped off a VA rider and used those "Schwarzenegger" legs to rev up his bike and smoke everyone at the line for the prime. That left one lap to go. The bell lap. All the riders were together but a dangerous part of the race when a solo rider might be able to get away. You knew Kim Bleth was going to try. We make the 1st turn with 3 miles to go and despite some efforts all is well and together. The pack gets really slow. This often happens without large teams to volunteer a rider or two to get the pace up and make the race safer for everyone. A faster pace strings things out keeping edgy riders from bunching up. We went by the start finish area going out toward the final turn. There was 2 miles to go and the pace was awful. Someone jumped and Mike Birditt chased them down quickly on the right side. Mike set tempo for a bit and then his teammate Kim Bleth jumped on the left side of the course. Who would chase him down? Well it was Fred Hoblit. Pretty sure Fred was looking to combine with Kim and bring it home. VA would have none of this and shut this down. We turned the last corner all together. Mike and Dale were on the right side of the course with Chris Black. I moved up to near the front of the group on the left side very near Deogracias Asuncion of SBW.
Kim Bleth opened it up not long after we turned the corner but Kim didn't have much left in the tank. Kim was quickly chased down and things settled down a bit before the final move would be made. Steve Borer seemed to be stuck at the front of the pack doing tempo before the storm struck.  Who would blink? Who couldn't wait. Who would basically give it up to start the sprint. There must have been 500 meters or more to go and Asuncion opened it up in the middle. I was surprised it started it so far out. I was near him and started my own sprint and quickly saw that I was getting little draft off the Deogracias. Deogracias is on the small size.
Chris Black opened it up on the right side. Mike Birditt let Dale Luedtke get on Chris and Mike lined up on Dale. Mike waited as long as he felt he could and jumped off of Dale and started to rev it up. The sprint was moving slightly from right to left because of the cones near the finish. Al Shorts had to double clutch to let Mike clear and started his own sprint. The previous week's winner Nelson Alaan was doing his best to dunk the basketball and had his sights set on Birditt but Mike looked back after he had taken the lead and could tell that no one was going to contest him at the line. This was easy! Mike was followed in by Alaan, Luedtke, Shorts, A., Black, Hoblit, Asuncion, Bohlman, Shorts, R.(Ricky came near me at the end and complained that they started the sprint without him. How unfair was that! Ricky was too far back).
Max effort by everyone but looks like Birditt is already pulling in his stinger- photo courtesy of Trucycling

Birditt is not even at the line but is starting his celebration-photo courtesy of Trucycling

In 60+ action I was bogging down a bit having lost Asuncion's wheel. Monty came by me on my left and I looked at him but had nothing left in my legs to respond. Monty said he was going about 95%. He made it look easy. I should have gotten on his wheel but limped home and was pipped at the line by that pesky Don Kimper. Don finished 15th the year before but Don is a renewed rider this year and loves to come around me at the end. I didn't even feel him to my right and eased a bit coming to the line there is Don. Doh! 4th went to Howard Miller for a Paramount 1, 3 & 4th place finish in 60+. Howard was followed in by Borer(Steve looked good out there in the sprint. It took me a while to get by Steve), Fleming, Swigart and Longo.
You can see 60+ riders Kimper, Borer,  Miller, McKee and Fleming. Pettus has already finished- photo courtesy of Jodie Borer

Overall it was a good clean race. Not very fast or that exciting but there were only 31 racers and only 2 big teams in 55+. Some of the proceeds from the race went to the Rashaan Bahati foundation. "The mission of the Foundation is to support inner city youth in under-served communities through inspirational speaking engagements and cycling outreach programs. These are designed to motivate and empower kids toward higher achievement in education, music and sports." Complete results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

The 55+ podium- Luedtke(Kim Bleth standing in for his teammate) 3, Birditt 1, & Alaan 2
Rahsaan Bahati, McKee 3, Pettus 1(with the cool race winner's jersey), & Kimper 2
LA Circuit Race  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 21
2 64439 Nelson Alaan Cal-Pacific Export Packers / LV 17
3 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 15
4 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 13
5 3814 Chris Black Morgan Stanley /Specialized 12
6 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 10
7 50532 Deogracias Asuncion South Bay Wheelmen 9
8 352540 Scotty Bohlman Jessup Auto Plaza p/b P.S. Cyclery 7
9 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 6
10 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 4
11 222764 Thomas Buescher South Bay Wheelmen 3
12 John Frankman 2
13 140826 Robert Mosier 0
14 271566 Alex Gonzalez Velo Allegro 0
15 49191 Kim Bleth Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0

LA Circuit Race  (Rank 1.5)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 21
2 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 17
3 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 15
4 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 13
5 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 12
6 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 10
7 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 9
8 189814 Leo Longo Bike Palace 7
9 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 6
10 62271 Louie Rivera ADOBO VELO 4
11 61278 Mario Seri Velo Club LaGrange 3
12 3793 Raphael Gomez Rage Cycling 2
13 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 0
14 301372 Tom Herman South Bay Wheelmen 0
15 301363 Mick Iwadare South Bay Wheelmen 0
16 203244 Cary Alpert South Bay Wheelmen 0

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


By John McKee

I got to the Home Depot Center Velodrome on Sat. April 21st, 2012 and found out my pursuit team was named the "Gentleman's Team". I had to smile to myself. Made me think of all the strip clubs that are called Gentleman's Club. Not that I would know anything about strip clubs or at least recently. Lol. Use to go with some work friends to Laker games and then hit a few "clubs" in the area afterward. That was a  long time ago though. I can't even remember if the gals took all their clothes off but they must have because you couldn't buy alcohol.
The "Gentleman's Team"- John McKee, Jerry McDonald, Alan Wignall, & Monty Pettus(post race pic)

The story of the "Gentleman's Team" goes back a few months. Alan Wignall was trying to build a 60+ pursuit team for 2012. He had heard about Monty Pettus and myself from his friend and Paramount member, Howard Miller. Both Monty and I were a go. We figured this would be fun and would make us stronger road riders. Monty wanted to go back to Bend, Or. for national road champions  a stronger rider and be more competitive in 60-64 and I wanted to move up from 2 to 1 in the criterium in 65-69. I wanted that red, white and blue jersey put on me at a podium in September 2012. Tall order for me but those were our long range goals. Alan had been on a team in 2011 and had been training almost exclusively at the track and was getting very strong. The search for a 4th person came upon Alan's friend, Jerry McDonald. Jerry is a long time trackie and very savvy about riding at the track and as I learned, very strong as well. The 4 of us starting working together under the tutelage of Roger Young and everything was going great. We were committed to state and natz. About 3 weeks ago we learned that USA Cycling was shaking up their categories and 60+ would not be one of them. 55-64 would be one and 65+ would be another as I understand it. Since Monty is 63 and Alan is 64 this year, they would not be in the same age cat as Jerry(65) or myself(66). Jerry and I would have to find 2 new partners and Monty and Alan would also have to find 2 new partners but for the 1st local LAVRA time trial the original guys would do it together for the 1 and only time. We had trained all aspects of the 3 k pursuit- starts, exchanges, the finish, cornering, riding tight, etc. I wasn't very good at much of this I have to admit.
The event at the Home Depot Center was going to start at 9 am. The 2nd event would be the pursuit and our team was 2nd up. I got to the venue at around 7:15 am and started setting up on the top level of the velodrome with the trainer, road bike, track bike, & bike bag. I set up with my team and other riders overlooking the track. There was a door behind us that we could walk out the back of the building, down a stairs and in the back door to the infield area of the track. Most of the infield is taken up by volleyball courts that is filled all hours of  weeknights and all day on the weekends with teenage girls on expensive volleyball club teams. I must admit that they train and practice hard.Their are always parents in the stands looking out for their investment.
The track was open to warm up from 8 to 9 am. We went down and did some warmup laps and a few 3 lap accelerations. Back up to our road bikes on the trainer. Keep the heart rate up. Everyone that didn't have their race bike in the proper gears made the change to the prescribed gear ratio of 92 inches. I had a combo of a 14 tooth cog in the back and a 48 chainring in the front. Back down to the infield and went up on the apron of the track near the start and watched the first group. They were thrown together just before the start and they looked it. One rider was dropped half way through the race and the 3rd who is the timed person fell off on the last lap. That was my biggest fear, getting dropped or how about not getting on at the start and chasing. Yikes.
Our turn came and we set up like we had in practice. Jerry McDonald was 1st on the track. Just above him was Alan Wignall and then Monty and myself. We were slightly staggered with myself the greatest distance from the pursuit line(center of the track) which is different than the sprint line. All being held by volunteers but Jerry. He was in the start machine.

McKee(can barely see on left), Pettus, Wignall and McDonald at the start- photo courtesy of Pat Benson
The start is a highly involved technique that I never even thought about when I committed to the team and I soon found out I was terrible at it. You get on the outside of your time trial bars and when you get the go you lock out your arms, thrust your hips forward, look up and push down on the pedals as hard as you can. As you get going you bring your eyes down and get in a more sprinter type position and each person drops behind the person in front of him after starting straight out. I would be the last to drop in. Roger was great working with us on this but also Johnny Walsh helped me a great deal with my start because I was so lame. Johnny is very knowledgeable about all track techniques and track protocol. Don't break protocol in front of Johnny or you will hear about it.
Wignall, Pettus, McKee & McDonald- looks like Jerry is getting a good draft off of me- photo courtesy of Pat Benson

McDonald, Wignall, Pettus & McKee at the start/finish line- Photo courtesy of Pat Benson

I can see Monty is already starting to drift a bit to do his exchange and I am thinkng of coming through for my pull- Photo courtesy of Pat Benson
My daughter Amanda with Jonathan-  50th anniversary edition of Go,Dog,Go!
OK, the countdown comes. The anxiety...five, four, three, two, one, go! Go Dog Go!! "Go Dog Go" is an old Dr. Seuss book that my daughter Amanda loved when she was a child that she is now reading to her son, Jonathan. Off we go. I get off without falling. Good there. I push to the max and go forward. I finally drop in at the corner and yell "Aller". That is go faster in French because I am on. 3 words to communicate on the track are Aller(go faster), Woo(go slower) and Up(move up the track and get the hell out of the way). Our main goal was to do the entire race together and look good doing it. 2nd was to do the lowest time possible. Our first lap taken out by Jerry was 23.7 and over a second slower than we had done in practice but we were tight which we hadn't always been in practice because of me. Our target was 19 second laps(per Roger) which wasn't super fast but we figured we could do that and finish the race. We had done shorter distances at much faster times and done 20 second laps for a long time but figured that 19 seconds would be right for us. Alan did his 1st lap at 18.5. Good time. Alan always is pumped up and this was no surprise. Monty did the 3rd lap and his 1st lap in the lead at 19.4. I was a little surprised at this. I followed with an exact 19.4. I was pretty happy to have copied Monty's time. Our exchanges were going well. Jerry followed with a 19.7.   I was really surprised here because Jerry has been so sharp but it turned out he was over cooked for the race. The prior Sunday he did 18 flying sprints chasing "Big" Mikael Weitze at the track plus Roger's grueling workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. The times after this are a blur but they were all in the low 19s. My 2nd time was 19.3. My legs were starting to load up. 4 laps to go and I needed to recover from my lap pull and have enough stuff to lead our team home on the last lap. That I have done well in practice but not after 12 laps. Monty did his last pull and I came through. My legs were loaded with lactic acid! I went to the max with my effort. Breathing really hard. Brain to engine. Go Dog Go! I wasn't getting the response I wanted. Not bad but not good. After the last corner I was too drift above the red line and Jerry who was right behind me would fly above me and to my right. Alan who was the 3rd man was too stay on the black pole line and come underneath me. Monty would come over the top if he could since he had just made the pull prior to the last lap.
I was coming toward home and had almost nothing. Really out of gas. Alan came by me underneath and then Jerry on my right. Alan was 1st to the line and then Monty came out of no where to finish 2nd. How did he do that?? Lol. Most of you know what a good finisher Monty is on the road. Jerry was 3rd. We were all very close at the end and we definitely got good style points for that. I think we got a 2 second deduction in our time for style. Our official time was 3:59:13. Not great but the first time we had done the whole thing for real. I was really happy. Finished it and didn't screw up!! My lap times were right there with everyone else and my last lap time was actually faster than my other 2. I felt great. Done! Over! What a relief!!
Looking back on the race there is not much we could have done different except go faster here or there like our start and overall our effort got an A grade. It is sad we have to break up for the SCNCA and Natz but onward and upward. We shall see what the future brings. Thanks to my teammates for showing support and encouragement and thanks to Roger for his help. It has been a great experience. Hard but really fun! I had never ridden at the track in tt bars and it isn't all that easy at speed doing the turns and staying tight on the person in front of me. You are suppose to stay 3 to 4 inches from the wheel in front of you and I definitely don't have that down but better than the pictures show. Thanks again to Pat Benson for the great action photos. The post race picture was taken on my Nikon camera and crafted by Gerald Agnew. Gerald will be joining Jerry and and I on our 65+ team. Ricky Shorts will be joining Monty and Alan for their pursuit team. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


By John McKee

April 15th, 2012 and time for CBR # 4 at the Carson course. The Carson course is very similar to the Paramount course on the other side of Wilmington but a little more difficult. The power climb between turn 3 and 4 is slightly harder. The turnout of 55/60+ racers was 48(finishers counted only) compared to #1-63, #2 -50, #3 -57. Good turnout but you can see some trending downward. Many of the fields are seeing this. Midseason slump. We see this every year.
The weather was good for the scheduled start time of 8:15 am. Mid 50s. The teams for 55+ looked strong for the most part and the competition was expected to be high. Sho Air, Spy/Swami, Santa Clarita Velo, and Velo Allegro would seem to be the leading teams but UC Cyclery and PAA would give the competition some juice. In 60+ Paramount(Pettus, McKee & Miller) would certainly be the strongest team but Mike Marotta of Spy/Swami's, Mike Fleming of SBW, Don Kimper of UCC, & Jim Swigart of SDBC would look to challenge.

The race started out on time but the initial pace wasn't quite as fast as the #2 race at the same course. That race Sho Air lit it up from the start. They had a slightly different opening strategy for #4. First off Mark Hoffenberg got to the venue late and didn't get a chance to warm up so he choose to sit in and warm up in the race. He was going to leave most of the active work in the race to his 2 top dogs- Bob Pelkofer and Dan Nicolette.

Early action shows riders cruising in the back of the pack- Notice Nelson Alaan back there. Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki
Santa Clarita Velo's Tom Reilly heating up the action. Photo courtesy of Maki Yamizaki
There were few lulls in the action but this must have been one with Pelky and Danno behind me. Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki
There was a lot of churning and attempted breaks, solo efforts(Mark Ainsle and Fred Hoblit) and the like but nothing was sticking this race. The pace was slightly higher than previous CBR 55/60+ races but with fewer riders. That makes for a harder race and a higher heart rate. Didn't seem like there were many primes during the race but there were a few. Primes can be a launch pad for moves either group or solo. Nothing was working through the race. It pretty much came down to the last 5 laps for some real action to take hold.
Jeff Moreton of PAA, Gene Poyorena of SCV, and Mike Marotta of Spy/Swami's got quietly away. Jeff and Gene are 55+ and Mike is 60+. Bob Pelkofer took note quicker than anyone and took up solo chase.  4 laps to go and Pelky has made it across as has Alex Collins of UCC. Rod Mallory of Velo Allegro looked like he was trying to get across or chasing and got isolated. Ricky Shorts was just off the front of the pack in no man's land burning valuable energy.
It is now down to 3 laps to go and things are changing every lap. The 5 breakers are still away but are being chased by a threesome- Ricky Shorts, Dan Nicolette and Deogracias Asuncion. Ricky gets tired of chasing and pulls over. Cleaveran Law is doing a hard chase and just off the front of the pack. Kal Szkalak of UCC is in the front of the pack. Nelson Alaan is still in the very back of the pack.
2 laps to go and Danno and Deogracias have gotten across but the lead now is very  small. Most of the breakers look like they want to throw in the towel but Pelky is trying to spur them on. Mark Hoffenberg thought that if 2 members in the break group were good why not 3. Hoffy tries to go across and has Mike Birditt with him. Doug Knox is at the front of the pack trying to do a late charge across but has Kal right behind him pulling the pack along.
With one lap to go and the bell ringing the break group is gone. Absorbed. Now at the front is a Sho Air train of Pelky, Danno, and Hoffy. Mike Marotta is trying to work his way into the train. Kal is marking Hoffy. Nelson Alaan is now about in 20th place. Monty, myself and Howard were about 15 back from the front so a long ways from Marotta, the top 60+ rider. I was feeling the effects of the prior day's road race and track pursuit training.
Hardly anyone knows Nelson Alaan and what he can do. I have mentioned before how quite he seems in a race. You never see him and then he ends up as one of the top finishers. CBR #4 would be no exception. Nelson hung out in the back the entire race and took advantage of the slight lull when the break was caught to move forward. He still wasn't that far forward with 1 to go but after 2 corners had moved way up. Nelson likes the Carson course and likes to launch with 2 corners to go. Charge up the hill as fast as he can and try and hang on to whatever advantage he has.
Nelson Alaan making the winning move in 55/60+ at CBR #4. Photo courtesy of

You can clearly see in the photo provided by action photos available at his website) that with 2 corners to go, Nelson has amassed quite a lead. In the background in the front of the pack you can see Asuncion, Marotta and Nicolette with Hoffy on Danno's wheel. Nelson was able to hold on at the end to a very nice victory in 55+.
Mike Marotta was challenged near the line by Monty Pettus but hung on for 1st place in 60+. Hoffenberg was the next 55+ racer followed in by Birditt, Nicolette, & Romans. 4 of the 1st 5 places are 55 this year. New blood at the front. Next in were Kal, Luedtke, Asuncion, Luke and Hoblit. In 60+ action Pettus was followed in by Miller, Fleming, Kimper, myself and Swigart. I tried to sprint after the last corner but had nothing.
The overall pace of the race was 25.2 mph. Faster by about .2 mph in a leaner field. No crashes so all good there. In the 50+ race John Luke went down and broke some bones. Good luck to John getting back. Full results below. Video courtesy of Maki Yamazaki. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

SoCal Cup Crit Series 4  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 64439 Nelson Alaan Cal-Pacific Export Packers / LV 14
2 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 11
3 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 10
4 26090 Daniel Nicolette Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 9
5 110259 Lee Romans Velo Allegro 8
6 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7
7 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 6
8 50532 Deogracias Asuncion South Bay Wheelmen 5
9 21803 John Luke Santa Clarita Velo 4
10 16360 Fred Hoblit Santa Clarita Velo 3
11 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 2
12 1254 Mark Ainslie 1
13 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
14 195285 Kenneth Neumeyer 0
15 222523 Rick Carrera Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
16 364856 John Erwin 0
17 230085 Albert Shorts Velo Allegro 0
18 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0
19 178495 Steve Diamond Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
20 25023 Jeffrey Moreton PAA/REMAX 0
21 271566 Alex Gonzalez Velo Allegro 0
22 9271 Pete Dern Velo Club LaGrange 0
23 222764 Thomas Buescher South Bay Wheelmen 0
24 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
25 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 0
26 177958 Kevin Ryan METALMTN Cycling 0
27 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 0
28 174212 Brian Carrico PAA/REMAX 0
29 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
30 206734 John Huber Velo Allegro 0
31 187428 Michael Evans 0
32 177283 Eugene Poyorena Santa Clarita Velo 0
33 47652 Bob Pellkofer Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 0
34 47314 Gary Prideaux Lightning Velo 0
35 45552 Douglas Knox Time Factory Team 0
36 236421 Sven Amundsen Team Redlands 0
SoCal Cup Crit Series 4  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 72880 Mike Marotta Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 14
2 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 11
3 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 10
4 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 9
5 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 7
7 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 6
8 101582 William Carvin 5
9 301372 Tom Herman South Bay Wheelmen 4
10 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 3
11 257503 Philip Walters Encino Velo Cycling Club 2
12 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 1

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


By John McKee

Going into the 2012 version of San Luis Rey Road Race(April 14th, 2012) the weather report showed the possibility of rain. The masters races for those 55+ and older were scheduled for starts at 7:35 am and 7:40 am. Driving to the event the roads were wet and there were a few showers here and there but by the time I got to the venue start area the skies looked like they were clearing and we would have a dry race. Little did we know that it would hail after the finish of our races but at least it was AFTER our races finished.
There were at least 53 racers to start the event. For those 65+ and older, this would be the SCNCA road championship. The 55/60+ racers started at 7:35am and would do 3 laps or about 44 miles. The racers 65+ and older would do 2 laps and a shorter distance.
The races were off without a hitch and fairly clear skies and damp roads. The 65+ and older racers rode neutral down the hill on the first lap. After that portion of the race the 1st lap was mainly the Bill Langstaff motor pace event. As most of you know once you turn right back toward the start/finish area, the course is almost all uphill with different percentage slopes. Unfortunately for Bill once the trip turned toward home and the pavement hit a bigger slope, Bruce Steele said "See Ya" "Thanks for the memories, Bill". Bruce upped the pace and Bill was gone. The race dropped a few guys on the way up but the pace was modest on the way down and on the flats so most of the racers were able to chase back on including myself. I was the last one to chase back on and it took a while. The cat 5s went around us on the flats on the 2nd lap after the turnaround and then they sat there like cat 5s. Lol. The motor ref had to give a stop sign for about a minute before the cat 5s got some life in them and decided to race again. I will go through the supermasters races 1st and then talk about the remainder of the races which was the combined 55/60+ race.
The supermasters race shook out again further up the slope on the 2nd and last lap. There was a tail wind that helped lesser riders hang on. Jean Villiot hit the pedals pretty hard going up and riders started to come off. I came off first. Then further up Don Kimper and Butch Richardson came off. Nice to see Butch racing again. The race was down to 5 riders- Jean Villiot, Fritz Tomasello, H, and Bruce Steele in 65+ and Daniel Wulbert was the only 70+ left. All except Fritz aged up this year in 65+. The 70+ title was a given but the 65+ title was to be determined. There was a 200 meter mark to the line set up on the road. Since it was mostly uphill it was a long ways or felt so in the warm up. Fritz knew Jean and Bruce were buddies and heard some interplay between Bruce and Jean and decided to not wait for any dual strategy. Fritz launched from 300 meters out. Bruce Steele tried to counter but has had major asthma problems lately and couldn't come up with the air to come close to Fritz. Fritz Tomasello won the 65+ SCNCA road championship. Bruce came across the line for 2nd and Jean Villiot was the last podium placer. Dan Wulbert won the 70+ race. Bob Lllamas followed in for 2nd place in 70+. Further back Robert Paganini bested much taller but not faster Leon Sowers for the 75+ title.
In the 55/60+ race early break efforts included- Bob Pelkofer, Mike Birditt, Kal Szkalak, & Alex Collins. The early efforts were brought back but then Pelky and Mark Huffman got away a little later with Mark Ainsle. Joe Lemire joined them. Joe is from a different area and isn't known in Socal but USA Cycling knows him and rated him to beat Kenny Fuller using their new ranking/rating system which I hate actually. Beat Kenny Fuller in a road race with an extended climb. Yea, right.
The 4 of the riders worked it through most of the race. Kenny Fuller was not liking it. He was always chased down when he tried to get away from the main pack. Kenny played another card. Talk his way away from the group. Kenny convinced the powers of the pack(55+) that it didn't matter that he get away from them. Apparently Kenny talks a good game as well. They let him go. Kenny was 1 minute down but was able to make this up. Not sure exactly how the break group played out but Mark Ainsle was the 1st to go.
The last time up the hill Kenny put on the power like he did last year. The 1st guy to pop was Pelky. Then Mark Huffman. Lemire hung on but Kenny was several bike lengths ahead at the line for the win in 60+. Joe Lemire was 2nd. Kenny is 64 this year and beating all the 55s. Wow! Nice going. I know I hear we let him go but you put any 55 on his wheel going up that climb. Can they hang on. We don't know but we do know the 2 55s and they are strong in Huffy and Pelky got dropped.
Mark Huffman came across the line for 1st in 55+. Nice job there. Mark broke a rib at Tucson a while back in a crash so this was a very good effort. Bob Pelkofer was 2nd. Bob is riding exceptionally strong this year. Mark Hoffenberg won the bunch sprint for 3rd place. Mark didn't even want to be there but that's another story. Lol. 3rd place in 60+ went to Paramount strongman Howard "I wear old kits" Miller. My goal is to get Howard in a new kit that has myself on the jersey as a clothing sponsor.
After the race it started to hail. Glad we didn't have to race with hail stones hitting you. I still can't get to excited about the new course at SLR. Not very exciting. The old course was cool but we were going over 50+ mph at  Hwy 15 so I am certain that crashes in the past and the Highway Patrol were a factor. Good clean racing though and a decent turnout considering the weather and the high fee for the race($39) plus $11 for same days. Thanks to Terumi Paganini for the podium pictures.  Pod pics and complete results are shown below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+ podium- Shown- Pelkofer 2, Hoffenberg 3 & Hines 5. UC Cyclery can't get one guy on the pod with a sponsored jersey?? They won 3 of the spots.

60+ podium- Lemire 2, Fuller 1. Since I hit UCC, I have to say after 50 years of racing Kenny can't get a  jersey on.
65+ podium- Steele 2, Tomsello 1, & Villiot 3. The 65s get it! Sponsored jerseys!

70+ podium- Llamas 2, Wulbert 1

75+ podium- Sowers 2, Paganini 1

San Luis Rey RR  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 28
2 47652 Bob Pellkofer Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 22
3 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 20
4 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 18
5 125061 Michael Hines UC Cyclery/JW Floors 16
6 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 14
7 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 12
8 203308 Daniel Yeager Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 10
9 250331 Peter Dufour ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 8
10 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
11 195618 Stephen Horine UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
12 193819 Chuck Thompson Polli Veloce 2
13 272891 wayne hermes Cycles Veloce 0
14 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 287584 Charlie Tatarian Canyon Velo 0
16 Richard Gently Citrus Valley Velo 0
17 45431 Bruce Hartley Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
18 266002 Laszlo Lukacs 0
19 61353 Reed Moore UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
20 104199 Mark Parra Team Redlands 0
21 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
22 178495 Steve Diamond Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
23 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
24 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
25 177591 Kenneth Caldera CA Pools /CFS Mortgage 0
26 279093 Moshe Ovadya Velo Club LaGrange 0
27 110056 William Arsenault 0
28 66553 John Sinz OCW/Paramount Racing 0

San Luis Rey RR  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 46765 Kenny Fuller Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 28
2 46799 Josef Lemire SHO-AIR/ SERT 22
3 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 20
4 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 18
5 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 16
6 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
7 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 12
8 58899 Mark Sullivan 10
9 269972 Fred Haim Velo Club LaGrange 8
10 126351 Steve Bernede Team Werks 6
11 189814 Leo Longo Bike Palace 4
12 350180 GINO DAGOSTINI 2

San Luis Rey RR  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 70-74
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 46904 Daniel Wulbert UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
2 162224 Robert Llamas Montrose Bike Shop- CW Builders 0

San Luis Rey RR  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 75-79
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 0
2 351238 Leon Sowers San Diego Cyclo Vets 0