Thursday, April 5, 2012


By John McKee

It was one busy weekend for racing for masters 55+ for men and women. Time trials and criteriums galore. The Cyclo Vets Spring Classic Criterium was selected to host the SCNCA criterium championship for those 65+ and older.
There were 17 riders to contest- 65-69, 6 to contest 70-75, 2 to contest 75-79, one rider in 80-84 and one brave sole to finish 90+. That person was of course, Gordy Shields. Still riding. Great to see. Not fast mind you but rubber side down.
The main competition was in the 65-69 and 70-74 categories. A surprisingly strong and big field showed up for 65-69. There were a few more than 17 that signed up and didn't show. The race was set for 7 am. A championship race and you have to race at the crack of dawn. Wow. Tough but doable. I left my house at 4:20am after driving back from Buelton the day before. A high miles weekend for sure and I am of course talking about driving an automobile and not a bicycle though I did 3 races. I know some of you do 3 races in one day.
OK, we the supermasters are all there early not bright but early none the less while the 55s and 60s are racking it in considering they don't race until 9:20 am. The course is the usual Hennekens .7 mile loop. You gain a little over 600 ft. in a 40 minutes race. The finishing stretch is very rough this year.
 The race didn't include one of the favorites in Hylton Murphy who had a tough crash a month before this race. Hylton is still rehabing after his accident. Hylton is 65 this year as is Bruce Steele a former winner of the championship in the 60+ category. The defending champion from the prior year was Mike Duck of Paramount. Harold Schnieder also known as H aged up to 65 in 2012 and was one of the favorites based on performance in other races he has done in 2012. Both Bruce and H plan on going to Bend, Or. for Natz this year and Mike Duck had told me he was also planning on doing it again. Fritz Tomasello was also in the field and Fritz can always be expected to be in play for a good finish. Before the race H was telling me that he wasn't sure he could ride half the race. His back was killing him from some kind of injury working on his house. He said the day before he couldn't get out of the saddle. I got a real sad story! Lol. The field also included strong riders Mike Fleming, Don Kimper, Cully White and Jean Villiot. An amazingly strong field.
Supermasters lineup 2012
7 am came and we were almost ready. Dale Harless had his number on the wrong side and the official was helping him with it. Dale placed 4th at Natz in 2010 in 65-69 but got dropped in 2011. After Dale's number was changed over the riders were given their final instructions and off we went.
This wasn't the most exciting race I have ever done but it was a championship race. Bruce Steele reved things up as expected and I was all over this. I actually jumped on anything that moved out there. I didn't assume anything. Bruce was having trouble with his asthma so wasn't as strong as I have seen him in the past. I helped set pace at times and put in a couple of surges that H complained about later. Jean Villiot was good enough to come to the front and do some work. A few riders got shelled during the race but the over all pace wasn't at all frightening if one does the 55/60+ races. I do more than anyone though Don Kimper does quite a few.
Bruce Steele leading the pack around early
H- Get yourself a new helmet that fits!
John McKee leading the pack around-Ralph Elliot in his shack doing the announcing
Daniel Wulbert gave it a whirl late in the race-I should have let Mario Seri chase him since they were 70-74
The race came down to the last few laps and since the 7 to go the pace was awful except for an effort by Daniel Wulbert. I jumped on him but was quickly chased down. I should have let Mario Seri chase him down since they are 70-74. One lap to go and Bruce Steele went to the front and I was on his wheel. Michael Edwards had jumped with a little more than one lap to go. Bruce's hard tempo looked like it was going to take care of Michael's jump. H was on my wheel as I expected. I had asked Don Kimper weeks ago if he would get on my wheel at the end and keep my buddie H off it. Nope! H was right there. Going into the last corner Bruce had overtaken Michael Edwards and gave one last surge and then swung wide. I followed for a second and this opened the door for my shadow(I got a lecture afterward from Mario that I shouldn't have hestitated). H started the sprint and then I got out of the saddle. It didn't take long to see that H was faster. This day. This time. He smoked me.
H wins 65-69. I was 2nd. Mike Fleming let up a bit at the end and Fritz pipped him at the line for the last podium spot. In 70+ Mario Seri was 1st and Daniel Wulbert was 2nd. The last podium spot in this category for the SCNCA championship went to Jacobo Melcer.  In 75-79 Robert Paganni won the affair in  two up finish. Jack Palmer was the only 80-84 rider and of course Gordy Shields was the only rider 90+.
It was a good clean race. Not too exciting though. The pace was 22.8 mph or 2 mph slower than the 55/60+ race. We were paid $200. I suggest forgetting the money. We didn't race for that. Give the 60s some incentive to race with  the 55s later. I also suggest a slightly later race time. Cat 5s traditional start a race or the group that has the least riders like the women masters. Sorry gals. If you don't show up in numbers, you should go before the men that do. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

65+ podium- Tomasello, H, & McKee

70+ podium- Melcer, Seri, & Wulbert

75+ podium- Paganini & Sowers

80+ podium- Palmer

Spring Classic Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Men 65+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 315702 Harold Schneider Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 0
3 177453 P (Fritz) Tomasello Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
4 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 0
5 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 0
6 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
7 188249 Cully White PAA/REMAX 0
8 58170 Sydney Duck OCW/Paramount Racing 0
9 331126 Peter Pountney ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 0
10 266647 Allen Kizuka Velo Allegro 0
11 99906 Michael McKinney Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
12 one day Ray Lafleur
13 57571 Dale Harless Cycle U 0
14 198617 Roger Springer San Diego Cyclo Vets 0
15 59805 Jean Villiot CA Pools / CFS Mortgage 0
16 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 0
17 17745 Michael Jenkins G S Adams Avenue Bicycles 0
Spring Classic Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Men 70+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 61278 Mario Seri Velo Club LaGrange 0
2 46904 Daniel Wulbert UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
3 18933 Robert Kenner San Diego Cyclo Vets 0
4 207024 Jacobo Melcer
5 63449 Jim Turner Webcor/Alto Velo 0
6 168704 James Fitzgerald PAA/REMAX 0

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