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

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