Wednesday, April 11, 2012


By John McKee

It was Easter 2012 and time again for another Ontario criterium race. The 3rd in a series of 6 for the year. The 1st 2 races were wildly popular and the fields were quite large in all the races. There were 58 finishers in 55/60+ at Ontario # 2 but only 38 riders toed the line at #3 on April 8, 2012. Easter has really had a big effect on attendance. The 55/60+ race was way early at 7:35 am so I didn't see the problem but it is a big family day so we had 21 fewer finishers. The 50+ field went from a 100 to 48 and there could have been more at #2. I got #99 and Monty Pettus got #100 at that time. Sold out at 100. Not this day. Oh well. The 37 finishers is more than the 29 in 2011 so that is good news but the growth is in 55+ not 60+(I see a lot of burnout in 60+ racers). I was able to spend the rest of the day with my family after doing the 55/60+ race and the 50+ race. Brunch was awesome with more carbs than I have had the previous 2 weeks but my weight was fine the next day because of all the hard work I had done. Way good! One of my granddaughters who we also celebrated her 9th birthday turns out is a jokester. Sydney "The Jokester" Conine told some pretty funny ones. "Why did Cinderella get kicked off her soccer team? She was always running away from the ball". Another beauty... "A young man walks by a house and sees that there is a party going on. He decides to crash the party. Our young man goes inside and sees that all the party goers are mushrooms. One of the mushrooms ask him what he was doing there. His reply 'Well...I'm a real fun guy!(like fungi- get it-Lol).
Sydney "The Jokester" Conine with her grandfather on Easter 2012
OK, back to the race at Ontario. The weather was warm for this time of year as it has been throughout most of the United States. The warmest late winter/early spring on record but I know global warming is a hoax. The Republicans  tell us it is. They of course must be telling us the truth and not shilling for large corporations. Right.
Spy/Swami's had 5 riders in 55+ and were expected to dominate. No Sho Air who is turning the 55+ races upside down but Velo Allegro was there as was Santa Clarita Velo. In 60+ the Paramount trio of Pettus, Miller and McKee were looking to sweep the podium. The race was off without a hitch. 38 racers ready to rock n roll. Nothing unusual seeing Don Davidson jumped from the gun and go off the front but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a Paramount jersey riding off with him. I thought maybe John Sinz was warming up his legs but no it was late starting Monty Pettus. Monty use to hang out near the back at the beginning of races but he had turned a new leaf and he wasn't even that mentally positive before the race. One lap and they were back with the rest of us mere mortal riders.
The basic strategy was pretty simple. Spy/Swami's was going to try and get Kim "Breakaway" Bleth in a small group or away by himself late in the race. Other than that Spy/Swami's would be looking to launch Mike Birditt and Dale Luedtke on the last lap for a 1/2 in 55+. Santa Clarita Velo was looking to mark Kim and also launch their own riders solo looking for....maybe someone to join them? In any event it certainly helped keep the pace up because this was the fastest race of the year with a smaller field. Wow. Not that far off the 50+ pace but more on that at the end of the story.
Don Davidson did his best constantly working off the front or chasing. There were primes and Ontario is really light on primes but they seemed to have more this year. Riders off the front from the prime sprint or countering prime sprints is always popular.
The pace did feel brisk with a few lulls so to speak but they were usually short. It was harder to move up. Respites are always times for the bottom of the pack to move forward but there weren't that many. Like mentioned above Kim Bleth was always jumping and was marked by Alex Collins. Alex basically marked everyone throughout the race. If it moved off the front, Alex was jumping after them. Alex teamed up with Kim several times and then Mike Birditt came aboard and Alex wouldn't work with such a dangerous combination. Surprisingly Kim and Mike were chased down. As mentioned Santa Clarita Velo was very active in chasing and going off the front. Kudos to Rino B., Kirk Freeman and Fred "I can't read the lap cards" Hoblit. Bruce Hartley and Don Davidson were also very active through the race chasing and jumping. Velo Allegro seems to be playing a waiting game though Rod Mallory helped chased a time or two.
I see 7 laps to go and this is a dangerous part of the race. A solo break or a twosome maybe could get away and not get chased hard because the players would be saving themselves for the sprint. This is where Spy/Swami's is so strong. They have veteran racer Rick Swanson all over stuff like this and Steve "Chaser" Diamond. Steve chases everything on two wheels. Steve does need to learn that on the last lap he especially needs to bury himself to chase down lone riders trying to solo in for the win like Bruce Hartley.
Two laps to go and everyone knows this but Fred "Fun guy" Hoblit. Fred gets very active and charges ahead. He thinks it is the last lap. I am afraid Fred for a brief moment had his brain turn to "Fungi" and though he would fit in at the mushroom party well didn't do well in the race. Thanks for keeping the pace up though Fred. Once at the finish line with one lap to go for real, the bell is rang and Fred figures out his mistake. Doh!!
The pace for the last lap is modest but not too slow. After a few corners, Rick Swanson goes to the front to monitor things and pace when needed. Don Kimper of UCC has placed himself in great position to have a great finish in 60+. Mike Birditt is there lurking along with his mate, Dale Luedtke. Bruce Hartley tries to sneak attack quietly going off the front. A left, right and then another left and not much has changed except for some jockeying. You can always expect Cyril "Wildman" Hunte to be up there and causing some kind of trouble. Cyril has a new Cannondale coming in with some race wheels and will be tougher to race against.
2 corners to get around and then the dip and the straightaway to the line. Bruce Hartley is still away and Rick has his sights set on him. Rick finishes a hard pull and then pulls off to his right and Birditt launches. No one seems to be able to follow. Mike is "all in". Dale "1st Mate" Luedtke lets a gap form to Mike. What is Velo Allegro doing? I don't know but got caught with their pants down. I moved up on the right side and used some of my energy bullets to fly by Don Kimper. I was in the wind but along side the leading riders being paced by Dale.
Mike Birditt has already flown by Bruce Hartley. Nice try, Bruce. Don't know until you try. Between the last 2 corners Birditt has about 30 meters and no one is catching him. Finally Velo Allegro comes off the deck. Ricky Shorts goes by Dale and starts the field sprint. All hell breaks loose of course. The last corner is soft and gives you a bit of a slingshot and is no problem getting around. I tried to bury myself in the 55s but didn't quite get on a wheel. Dale jumped on Ricky coming by.
Coming down the stretch it's Mike "Alcatraz" Birditt with an easy win. Nice team work by Spy/Swami's. Dale Luedtke comes around Ricky for 2nd and Ricky hangs on to 3rd place. Nelson "Quiet Man" Alaan takes 4th. You don't even know he was in the race until you see the results. Nelson has a powerful sprint. He hangs out in the back of the pack until very late in the race. Following in were Don Valentin and Don "Pinkie" Dengegal. Or maybe "Bubba" would work better. Bubba Watson won the Masters golf tournament with pink highlights in his clothing kit and a driver that had a pink shaft and a pink head. Obviously he was supporting the fight against breast cancer. I assume the the pink gloves by Don were a similar gesture. The Breakaway from Cancer racers now sport some pink in their kits and on their bikes though none race in our category any more(hint hint). That would make for another dynamic element in the 55+ race though I could see a split field. A small elite 55+ group getting away.
In 60+ action I was the 1st 60+ rider around the last corner and started a good sprint from a long way's out for me but bogged down about 60 meters from the line and teammate Monty Pettus came by me on my right to take the win in 60+. I took my foot off the accelerator shortly there after and was pipped at the line by another teammate, Howard Miller. Paramount sweeps the 60+ podium. Spy/Swami's finished 1/2 in 55+ and took the last 3 spots in the race, therefore sandwiching the field. Good clean fast race. Our pace was 25.7 mph. We are usually 2 mph slower than the 50+ field but was within 1 this Sunday. I say good job 55/60+ racers! Complete results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Race winners- Monty Pettus(60+) and Mike Birditt (55+)
Easter Sunday GP 3  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 14
2 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 11
3 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 10
4 64439 Nelson Alaan Cal-Pacific Export Packers / LV 9
5 36299 Dan Valentin Citrus Valley Velo 8
6 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 7
7 52086 cyril hunte 6
8 46255 alex collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5
9 104199 Mark Parra Team Redlands 4
10 352540 Scotty Bohlman Jessup Auto Plaza p/b P.S. Cyclery 3
11 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 2
12 107559 Rodney Malloy Velo Allegro 1
13 174212 Brian Carrico PAA/REMAX 0
14 247382 Dick Gentili Citrus Valley Velo 0
15 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
16 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0
17 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 0
18 58799 John Ward Citrus Valley Velo 0
19 45431 Bruce Hartley Pinnaclife Racing Team 0
20 66553 John Sinz OCW/Paramount Racing 0
21 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 0
22 187428 Michael Evans 0
23 9271 Pete Dern Velo Club LaGrange 0
24 178495 Steve Diamond Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
25 49191 Kim Bleth Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
26 34753 Rick Swanson Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
Easter Sunday GP 3  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 14
2 49424 howard miller Paramount Racing 11
3 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 10
4 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 9
5 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 61278 Mario Seri Velo Club LaGrange 7
7 50498 Richard Rodriguez Pacific Sunset Velo/Pac Sun Velo 6
8 107852 David Lang DARE 5
9 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
10 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 3
11 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 2

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