Saturday, May 12, 2012


By John McKee

2012 Brohure
 The 16th annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix is one of the top races on the calendar each year. I can never understand why so many riders from the "northern" teams avoid it. The course is technical and the pavement is rough but not to the point of being unsafe. This year the BLGP had to contend with the behemoth Dana Point Grand Prix on the next day. Tough competition. BLGP use to partner with the SLR road race and that made for a great weekend of racing but the last few years have broken this combo up. Not all the Barrio Logan races have had the 55+ and 60+ categories but have for the last several years. There are a lot of reasons I like the race. SDBC and Ralph Elliot do a great job with the event. Every year they put together a race brohure and that is not done by anyone. The course, area,  payouts($250 in each category), and a number of small intangible elements make this a fun event. The 55/60+ event was scheduled for 7:50 am. Right after the cat 5 racers but before the cat 4s. I suggest the senior riders have put enough time in grade to warrant racing behind the cat 4s and in a better time slot. More riders are likely to drive down having more time to do so.
Another great small thing about this race is they have a "hall of fame" based on everyone that has ever won a race here. Butch Stinton has won more than anyone but John Rubcic is up there in total wins. John has won some pretty darn close races here.

Barrio Logan Hall of Fame
 This year's 16th annual BLGP lined up 30 racers for the 55/60+ race. 12 of the racers were from UC Cyclery. This was the most lopsided showing I have ever seen in a race. Swami's had 3 riders but were missing their ace, Mike Birditt. Mike is out with a bad back and his return is undetermined. Chris Black was there and is a whole team all to himself. 4 of the 12 UCC racers were 60+ leaving 8 at 55+. 6 of the 8 are very strong riders and would dictate the race.

The lineup for the 16th annual BLGP 55/60+ race
The race started on time and like some of the more recent races was fast and hard and averaged over 25 mph for the 1st 5 miles on a course that is not particularly fast. UC Cyclery pushed the pace along with Chris Black and Rick Swanson. Mark Helvie started a solo break early and hung out there for a short time but was caught. Chris Black started riding tempo at the front for 3 or 4 laps. UCC was just waiting and struck not long after the 1st 5 miles were covered. Kal Szkalak, Mark Helvie, John Rubcic of UCC teamed up with Don Davidson and Chris Black. A very strong group and this made the time to chase but Swami's and Paramount didn't come to the front when the punch was needed. To add insult to injury Mike Mueller and Steve Hensler also of UCC got away from the pack and was able to link up with the break group.
Early break including Helvie, Davidson, Szkalak, Rubcic and Black

Rick Swanson chasing the break including lots of UC Cyclery racers
Mark Helvie slipping away from the break group

After Hensler and Mueller joined the break group, Mark Helvie slipped away as you can see in the photo near the start/finish line. This left Chris Black and Don Davidson to do the chasing and work in the main break group. Mark got out there and was doing a great job solo. He was doing over 25 mph by himself.
Back in the pack Alex Collins and Paul Rodiguez were able to slip away and team up for an in between group.
Lap after lap the break group was being lead by Chris Black and Don Davidson but Mark Helvie hung tough. In fact, Don Davidson ran out of gas and couldn't hang with the break group. Don shouldn't have pulled so hard but Don's focus was the ITT being held one week after the BLGP. It was now Chris Black vs Mark Helvie. The pack churned helplessly. 1st and 2nd place was gone in 60+ and lots of 55s were ahead. Dale Luedtke and later Monty Pettus tried kamikaze moves but  you could say at least they tried something. Dale move was before Alex and Paul got away and Paul just sat on Dale until he came back. Monty's effort had a chance of catching Alex and Paul later in the race but Monty also came back to the main pack.
Dale Luedtke trying to come across the gap to the break with Paul Rodiguez on his wheel
Kal Szkalak attacking Chris Black and the break group. I assume he was trying to link up with Mark but couldn't
Mark Helvie going solo late in the race- Great effort
The race got down to a few laps to go and Mark Helvie was still away but not far. Don Davidson was off the back of the lead break/chase group and was just trying to hang on. Alex and Paul were still slightly ahead of the main pack. Chris Black was doing all the work trying to bring back Mark Helvie. The final lap came and Mark was still ahead but precariously close. UCC hit the panic button and thought they needed to start a train to lead out Kal Szkalak. John Rubcic had the 60+ race locked up. They were chasing down their own man. They were afraid that Chris Black would be able to counter off of "the catch". The catch being Mark Helvie. I think this was wrong thinking but that is just my opinion. Chris would have been tired after chasing Mark for so long and the UCC riders would have been fresh having been dragged around for the last half of the race. Mike Mueller started the train and everyone caught Mark at the bottom of the course. What a shame there. The sprint was left to come. John Rubcic was first to the last corner and first across the line to win the 60+ race. Kal Szkalak was the 2nd rider and the 1st 55+ rider across the line. Kal was followed in by Steve Hensler, Mike Mueller and Chris Black. Mark Helvie strolled in for 5th place. Great ride though.
Don Davidson was able to hang on and finish 2nd in 60+. Alex Collins and Paul Rodiguez came in together just ahead of the pack sprint. Monty Pettus won the pack sprint and showed how strong he is riding having jumped from pretty far out and held everyone else off. This was a very lopsided and not so fun  race for everyone but UCC. This was in their backyard and many teams didn't come down which was their loss. Like to see UCC race full strength like this against a full field somewhere north of the San Diego County border. In fact, Dale Luedtke has thrown down a challenge. Come out of your home court and race against a full field stacked with all the 55/60+ teams. With Sho Air, Velo Allegro, and Santa Clarita Velo and Swami's with Mike Birditt back we would see a very exciting, hard and fun race. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe! Full results below.
Break sprint finish- Henlser, Black, Mueller, Rubcic, and Szkalak- Rubcic was 1st 60 and Szkalak 1st 55
Right after the sprint looks like Mr. Rubcic needs some oxygen
60+ podium- Nicolette, Davidson, Rubcic, Pettus, & Miller
55+ podium- Helvie, Henlser, Szkalak, Mueller & Rodiguez(Chris Black missing from photo)-Ralph Elliot looking on

Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 15874 Steve Hensler UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 46688 Michael Mueller UC Cyclery/JW Floors 10
4 3814 Chris Black Morgan Stanley /Specialized 9
5 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7
7 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
8 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 5
9 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 4
10 189931 Kasey Haws Team Redlands 3
11 167453 Bob Estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 2
12 178495 Steve Diamond Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 1
13 177591 Kenneth Caldera CA Pools /CFS Mortgage 0
14 34753 Rick Swanson Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
15 50675   0

Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 11
3 219074 Leo Pettus Paramount Racing 10
4 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 9
5 49424 Howard Miller Paramount Racing 8
6 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 7
7 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 6
8 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
10 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 3

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