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

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