Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FAST CLEAN SAFE RACE AT CBR # 8 CARSON 55/60 RACE- "NICK" SHINES

By John McKee

It is nearing the end of the season. Only CBR races left. August 26th was the date for the next to the last SCNCA race(CBR #8). It was to be held at CBR's Carson course. I would rate the Carson course slightly harder that the Dom. Hills course across Wilmington Ave. The turnout was somewhat light at 40 racers(only 10 60+ racers) with a few riders doing late training for nationals somewhere else(Hoffenberg, Birditt, & Kimper). Sho Air brought only 2 riders but and this is a big BUT they are super strong. Dan Nicolette and Bob Pelkofer are riding at a very high level right now. They choose to race to get ready for nationals as did myself, Monty Pettus, Dale Luedtke, Rick Swanson, John Rubcic, John Wagenaar, Ricky Shorts and others for sure.Velo Allegro, Santa Clarita Velo and even UC Cyclery(light Kal Szkalak-I think he is throwing in the towel on this year and waiting until he turns 60 next year) brought strong squads.
The weather was warm but not hot. Our race was to start at 8:15 am so the temp wasn't going to be a factor. Not as hot and humid as the prior week at Ontario. Of course that was Ontario. This was in the beautiful Los Angeles suburb of Carson.
There were no crashes in the earlier cat 5 and cat 4 races so our race was to start on time. The category that is racking up the crashes is cat 3. They have had so many this year and they carted some poor soul away from Carson is a later cat 3 race.
The cones were back on the Carson course. BOTH sides of the course  are coned in. I looked at the cones and thought... stay inside the white lines. The cones came out to dashed white lines on the road. When I was in the pack I just focused on getting back inside those white lines and didn't come close to a cone like I did on June 10th.
With minor race instructions from the officials the race was off. No "Larx 3" prototype to dart off and get everyone chasing "tongue hanging" speed. Alas No Hoffy but here is Kirk Freeman doing his best to imitate Mark.
Kirk Freeman is a blur early in the race. Really heating it up. You can see everyone is lined out.
It doesn't take long before a break is formed with Kirk, Ricky Shorts, and Dan Nicolette. They looked good and were working smoothly though there are thoughts that Sho Air didn't want to be in a break with Ricky. A prime lap came up for the pack and Doug Knox took off. Doug races 55+ nowadays even though he is over 60 and was able to get across the gap. That surprised me. Either Doug is riding very strong or the threesome wasn't working to their max.
Early break with Ricky Shorts, Dan Nicolette and Kirk Freeman

Break with the added Doug Knox. Doug was tired from coming across and couldn't pull through.
After a few more laps the foursome was caught. This wasn't to be the first break attempt of the day. One thing you could be sure of, any break would include a Sho Air rider and Kirk Freeman. Kirk was marking "Nick" and Pelky sometimes as well.
Bob Pelkofer leading the pack making it hard, fast and safe for everyone followed by JR in his custom made champ jersey. Kirk Freeman is right behind John.

Kirk "Marbles" Freeman was marking Sho Air all day long! You would have to be a fan of the movie "Mister Roberts" to get this.

Mike McConnell is working the front- "Marbles" is right there on Nicolette's wheel
Sho Air used the old "Everly Brothers"(Don Davidson & Phil Richards)  one two. When one rider was caught, the other would charge off. Pelky usually was charging off solo with riders in chase. Nick would usually get away with other riders with Pelky blocking the front at a critical time when a group needed a little gap.
Small breaks were the order of the day. None of them got very far away. There were a lot of unsung heroes putting in efforts to bring the break groups back. John Wagenaar and Alex Collins were doing their best for UC Cyclery as was Dale Luedtke of Swami's. John Wagenaar is riding better as a 60+ rider than he did as a 55+ racer. Over half way through the race a rather large group formed off the front. Of course Dan Nicolette was in it with Kirk Freeman and 60+ racers John Rubcic and Monty Pettus. John and Monty were definitely the two strongest 60+ riders there this day. Both will be mixing it up in Bend, Or. in the 60-64 criterium. With Kenny Fuller, Mike Marotta, Gordon Paulson, and 2 76 Olympians aging into this category, it should be some humdinger of a race. Sunday Sept. 9th. They will be racing right after my race(65-69).
OK, we have 6 or 7 riders away but for some reason they aren't getting distance on the pack. Coming to the start/finish line, Pelky takes off. He is going to try and close the gap and join his teammate up the road. Seemed like a good idea at the time. If Nick and Pelky got together, the break would surely be successful. Unfortunately the best laid plans of mice and men go wrong sometimes. Pelky faltered at about half way across. Everyone else chased on Bob and pretty soon the break group is right there. There was no cohesion in the front group. It fell apart.
John Rubcic is looking around for his wingman, John Wagenaar. "Wags, get your butt up here!"
By the time this last break group fell apart, we were getting near the lap cards. Of course Pelky countered off the catch but he was chased down. Rod Mallory of Velo Allegro did some good work during the race for his team chasing when VA didn't have a man in the break ahead.
The laps cards came up and read 5. 5 to go! I was feeling ok. It had been hard out there and I was hurting a number of times but was hanging in there ok. I knew I couldn't contest JR and Monty at the end.
It came down to 2 to go and Rick Swanson of Swami's is having a go off the front and picked up a 2 wine bottle prime. Solo! He was ahead of the pack by about 40 to 60 meters. Rick got caught at turn 2.  Pelky was leading the pack with Nick nearby and Ricky Shorts marking the action up front. Mike McConnell and Alex Collins were also the the front line. John Rubcic was a little further back with Monty on his wheel and myself on Monty's wheel. Good formation for Paramount. Howard Miller wasn't far away.
One to go and Doug Knox starts his charge rather early. Doug is 25 meters off the front with the pack in a double phalanx. Pelky is leading on the right with Nick on his wheel and Ricky following. On the left is UC Cyclery wingman John Wagenaar leading with John Rubcic on his wheel and Dale Luedtke near JR. Monty is further back and I am off his wheel too. Howard is ahead of both of us. The Paramount formation has fallen apart.
Bob Pelkofer job was to deliver Dan Nicolette to a point that he could fly on his own. Homeward bound to a glorious victory. That was the plan anyway. Would it work? Ricky Shorts was now glued to Nick's wheel. After turn 2 the speed picks up. Doug is gone from the front. I am not sure how long Pelky was able to stay on the front but after turn 3 the peleton hit the hill and there was a hesitation on many of the racers. Dan decided to wait no longer. He hit it full bore going up the hill with Ricky still glued to his wheel. The last turn came and Danny was still looking very strong. Ricky was thinking to make his effort right after the turn. Ricky tried to make his move but couldn't come around Danny. Nicolette kept up the speed right to the line for a well deserved win. Nice job Dan and to his teammate Pelky for his help in the Sho Air victory.
There was a small gap to the next riders coming home. Deo Asuncion bested Dale Luedtke for 3rd place. Nelson Alaan rolled in for 5th place followed by Lee Romans and Alex Collins in 55+. John Rubcic came in near Lee Romans for 1st in 60+. Monty Pettus was not far behind with Howard Miller rolling in for 3rd in 60+. I just got by John Wagenaar for 4th place. John had already done some lead work on the last lap for Rubcic so he didn't have full gas left though he had been way ahead of me. Most of the riders finished in the pack including the ageless one. Robert Paganini. Nice job, Pags.
Good hard race and safe as well. The average speed was 25.6/25.7 mph. It felt faster than that. Earlier in the year in Feb. and April we averaged 25.1 and 25.2 on this course so this race was faster in maybe a smaller field without Larx 3 as well. Thanks to everyone that came out and made this race fun! Had to copy results from the CBR facebook page. All pictures and videos were taken my Maki Yamazaki. Thank you !! That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

55+: Congrats to: 1st Danny Nicolette, 2nd Ricky Shorts, 3rd Deo Asuncion, 4th Dale Luedtke, 5th Nelson Alaan, 6th Lee Romans, 7th Alex Collins, 8th ??, 9th Mike McConnell, 10th Craig Jones, 11th Tom Reilly, 12th Rod Malloy, 13th Kirk Freeman, 14th Robert Mosier, 15th Laszalo Lukasm 16th Brian Carrico, 17th Cleave Law.
60+: Congrats to: 1st John Rubcic, 2nd Monty Pettus,(Howard Miller finished between Monty and myself) 3rd John McKee, 4th John Wagenaar, 5th Steve Borer, 6th Mike Fleming, 7th Bill Carvin, 8th Robert Paganini, 9th Michael Edwards! Thanks 55/60 for your patience with the technical glitch!!! (Bonus sentence from "the man" Chris Lotts. No race day results.)
video

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ONTARIO # 6 BRINGS THAT SERIES TO AN END IN HOT MUGGY WEATHER

By John McKee

I hardly know where to start this story. As most of you know I crashed at CBR on June 10th(there is a vid below taken by Mike McKinney. Be warned..it's not pretty) and haven't written until  the Brentwood race. I started back racing at Brentwood and got dropped early there so I entered the Ladera Ranch race on Aug. 12th and low and behold I end up on the pavement again. Damn! What a season. Ladera is a narrow treacherous course and I hit a pedal down going fast and leaning too much at turn 3 and there I went. I didn't break any bones but lost lots of skin and was way discouraged. It looked like a good race after my crash but I wasn't in it. Just leaking blood here and there. There was another crash on the last lap at the last turn which is one of 3 narrow sections. The lead pack caught 2 lapped riders at the exact worst time and Dale Luedtke hit a curb and flew into a hay bale. Dale was OK but pissed that the chief referee didn't pull the lapped riders before the last lap particularly on this course which is so narrow. A wider course like Ontario can accommodate lapped riders much easier but at Ladera. No way. Many of the neighbors don't like us there anyway so it is doubtful this race will be back. The course is crafty and fun in a way but still treacherous. Mark "Larx 3" Hoffenberg(you will have to see "Bourne Legacy" to get this nickname) won besting break partner Wayne Stetina at the finish.John Rubcic won the 60+ race in a pack sprint.
OK, back to Ontario. I wasn't thinking of racing Ontario #6 after Ladera. One of my knees was very stiff and I was "down". Got a decent ride on the road on Wed. and then rode at the track on Thursday evening with Mike Birditt and others. After the training Mike asked if I was going to do Ontario and I said there was a 10 percent chance. Mike reply was "You'd better". This was Mike's own way of encouraging me to get back out there. I did some sprints on Friday and my top end was decent and then did 50 miles on Sat. morning. Most of that with Monty and felt better. I was locked on to going out to Ontario. I had told my oldest daughter during the week when she saw my wounds on Facebook that I would have to be crazy to race again the next week. Oh well. What a liar! Trisha doesn't read my blog anyway. Lol. I think getting out there and getting a positive race experience under my belt was just what the doctor ordered. Where better than Ontario. I can do the GP course in my sleep. I have done at least 4 races a year there for the last 12 years.
The weather has been hot and steamy in Socal and the last Ontario is traditionally hot. Our race starts at 7: 35 am so that is much better than being in the afternoon. I talked my wife into going. The last 3 races which were DNF with 2 crashes, she wasn't there. June 10th she was in Colo. and had to fly home that day to help me. I needed a change in the way I do things.
60+ Paramount trio- Pettus, McKee & Miller
There was a good turnout for the last race at Ontario but it could have been bigger. Some riders are burned out. Some are focused on Natz. Some are injured. Some are afraid of crashing and I seem to be an expert at that lately but I say to that "Don't get on your bike if you are afraid to crash. It can happen at any time and at any place." A lot of 60s don't like racing with 55s. Lots of reasons. 40 riders did show up. 28 55s and 12 60s though Doug Knox is actually 60+ but enters the 55+ category. The Ontario race series points competition would finish up at #6. Dale Luedtke had the 55+ cat locked up but Leo "Monty" Pettus(some people don't know that Leo and Monty are the same person) had a slim lead over David Lang in 60+. Most of the teams were short handed. Danny Nicolette was the sole rider from the super strong Sho Air team. Spy Swami's would have Mike Birditt(Mike raced at the track until 10 pm the night before in SD) and Rick Swanson backing up Dale. Velo Allegro and Santa Clarita Velo were light on riders as was UC Cyclery. Citrus Valley Velo, Paramount and So Cal Velo had 4 each. Paramount would have its 60+ trifecta in action again. Monty is riding super right now. He got a personal best the day before on our training ride in the Intergiro sprint at 1240 watts on his Power Tap. Howard has been doing very good all season. My form would be tested because I didn't know what to expect.
Kirk Freeman leading some of the early action at Ontario
The racers lined up at 7:35 am with Ed Keck giving everyone the instructions. John Rubcic was on the motor as a striped official in this race. Seems like John has a motor when he races as well. Just like Fabian Cancellera. Lol. The instructions were short and we were off. Without "Larx 3" hitting the gas from the start, the pace was gentlemanly. Just what I needed. It didn't take long though before riders started some action at the front. Kirk Freeman, Mark Planellas and John Roest did a lot of the work. Danny Nicolette was active but not as much as I thought we would see from him. Was there some kind of mutual team agreement going on that we didn't know about? "Quien sabe" as they say in Spanish(the one phrase that sticks with me from 9th grade Spanish).
Mike Birditt marking everything during the race
6 or so laps into the race and there are at least 6 guys off the front. Mike Marotta, Kirk Freeman and Mark Planellas were in the group. Mike was the only 60+ rider. Dan Nicolette took off in pursuit with Mike Birditt on his wheel. Dan couldn't seem to get across or he saw the group dissolving in a mess of riders. They disintegrated. Poof! Gone! That's when I thought we would have a bunch sprint unless "Nick" decided otherwise. I was just churning back to the front like I use to and feeling good. No major efforts. Keeping my heart rate in safe ground. Once I started doing well I started thinking about a placing. Yes!
I knew without being told that Mike would be working for his teammate Dale but in the race and you could see it the way he was racing. Mike found himself off the front with Mike McConnell late in the race but told Mike that he couldn't work with him. A number of riders were heating it up and of course Don Davidson would do his share of work and then some.
Felt good to get in the action safely- I love to race
The important series points prime sprint came up rather late in the race. I saw Monty moving up on the right side of the pack. David Lang was already at the front in anticipation of the sprint. Mike and Dale were doing there thing for the 55+ points. Monty went to the front nearing the line with David on his wheel. Monty tried to hold Dave off without going all out. David was going all in and got him at the line for the prime points bringing him within 4 points of the lead but he was in real oxygen debt and dropping like a rock after the sprint. Monty would have to finish ahead of David at the finish. Mike Marotta was lurking near the front most of the race with outstanding form. Mike is riding better now as a 60+ rider than when he was 55+. Go figure. Mike will be a force at Natz this year in 60-64.
I saw 5 laps to go and was thinking this was like old times but knew it would be tough at the end and I was pretty sure I couldn't hang with the best riders. At 4 laps to go Mike Birditt went to the front to try and keep the pace up. Good work. This is what teams need to do to keep things in order and safe but I don't often see it. There are certain riders that you see churning up to the front near the end and you know the pace isn't fast enough. I saw some of that but not that much at this Ontario race. The pace at the end was pretty darn fast. Mike kept it up through 2 to go. Mike took his foot off the gas and I don't know who went to the front but I got worried. When we turned the second time with 2 to go Don Davidson went to the front and set a very fast pace. As we turned for home for the bell lap, I was thinking I was hurting and wish we didn't have another one to go. As we got to the line the pace eased a bit and I got to catch my breath. Wow! Thank you! One to go! One to go as announcers always say.
I got on my teammate's wheel, Monty Pettus. It seemed that David Lang wanted it more than I did and I wasn't in the mood to fight with anyone for a wheel. We flew left around turn 2 and David's rear wheel skidded right and I was right there. Anxiety hit me for sure. David got control of his bike but set a bad tone for me for the finish.
With 3 corners to go Doug Knox set off on his standard shoot for the win from way out. Doug races 55+ nowadays because of a bad experience at a CBR race. Mike Birditt tried to close the gap but came up short. Danny Nicolette had more success and was able to get on Doug. This was a perfect launching pad for Dan. At some point Dan shed Doug and it was just Dan. Back with the mere mortals Mike Marotta was vying for the finish with Dale Luedtke. Cyril Hunte had come up on Dale leg near the end so Dale hit the turbo button.
Dan Nicolette finished 25 meters ahead of everyone for the win in 55+ and the first place paycheck. The payout is for one finish list while the riders(55+ and 60+) are separated for Socal points. The promoter Ray Moreno is the last promoter that I know that still does this. Hopefully this will change next year.
Even with the turbo charge in Dale's bike, Mike Marotta was the next rider across the line followed by Demi Hechanova(best race of his life that I know of) and Monty Pettus.
Overall podium- Pettus 5, Marotta 2, Nicolette 1, Luedtke 3 and Hunte sitting in for Demi Hechanova 4
It was a good pretty hard race. The average speed was 25.9 mph which was faster than 2/26 at 25.45 and 4/3 at 25.7. I didn't have a great finish but passed my friend and foe Mike Fleming coming home. I had my sights on my teammate Howard Miller next and was gaining on him but ran out of room. I finished 5th behind Howard in 60+ and a bunch of 55s. It was fun and exhilarating to finish rolling. Yes! My top end speed was 35.8 mph which was better than I did 2/26 but fell short of a top end of 36.6 on 4/3.
 We were missing some riders but it was still fun. Always fun to do the last race at Ontario. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe! Series podiums and full results below.
55+ Ontario Series winners podium- Birditt 2, Luedtke 1, Hunte 3
60+ Ontario Series Winners- Lang 2, Pettus 1, & Miller 3
video
                                               Video finish of the Ontario #6 race.
video

        Video of my crash at CBR on June 10th. This isn't pretty. Look out for those cones Mac!
Summers End GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 26090 Daniel Nicolette Sho-air/Rock 'n Road 14
2 47262 Dale Luedtke Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 11
3 15625 Demi Hechanova Southern California Velo 10
4 52086 cyril hunte 9
5 36299 Dan Valentin Citrus Valley Velo 8
6 64439 Nelson Alaan Cal-Pacific Export Packers / LV 7
7 266002 Laszlo Lukacs 6
8 46255 alex collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5
9 58799 John Ward Citrus Valley Velo 4
10 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 3
11 202041 mark planellas Southern California Velo 2
12 34753 Rick Swanson Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 1
13 66553 John Sinz OCW/Paramount Racing 0
14 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
15 277180 John Roest Team CF-Club 0
16 167453 bob estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
17 47314 gary prideaux Lightning Velo 0
18 12354 Kirk Freeman Santa Clarita Velo 0
19 9271 Pete Dern Velo Club LaGrange 0
20 52251 Ricky Shorts Velo Allegro 0
21 95649 Ken Burns Southern California Velo 0
22 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
23 187428 Michael Evans 0
24 47255 Michael Birditt Spy-Swami's Cycling Team 0
25 177283 Eugene Poyorena Santa Clarita Velo 0
26 45552 Douglas Knox Time Factory Team 0
27 148853 Dale Raymond Southern California Velo 0
28 236421 Sven Amundsen Team Redlands 0
Summers End GP  (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 107852 David Lang DARE 10
4 49424 howard miller Paramount Racing 9
5 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 8
6 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 7
7 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
8 64127 Richard Lilleberg South Bay Wheelmen 5
9 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 4
10 99906 Michael McKinney Pinnaclife Racing Team 3
11 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 2
12 50406 Michael Edwards Velo Club LaGrange 1
 

Monday, August 6, 2012

IT ONLY GOT HARDER FOR 55/60+ RACERS @ BRENTWOOD GP

By John McKee

Right shoulder looks a little swollen-lol
It was August 5th, 2012 and time for the Brentwood GP. $300 on the line for both 55 and 60+ racers. It has been a while since I have written but it has been since June 10th, 2012 that I have raced. I broke my collarbone bone in a season changing split second. I felt so lame laying there on the ground after I did an endo on my bike and really lame when I figured out I most likely could have prevented this collusion with orange cones and traffic barriers. I went into a catatonic balled up state for a while and had writer's block. I couldn't even write about the race on June 10th. I wanted to but nothing came out. As fractures go, this was rather mild compared to some of the injuries I have heard from many of you. I accept that these things happen on occasion in our sport. I still was totally bummed about this. I was going to do track Natz as well as road Natz but the first was out. Still going to Bend to try and better a second place finish in the 65-69 criterium. I would like to give a special thank you to Dale Luedtke Sr. who helped me right after my crash. Dale Sr. was stationed at Kaneohe Marine Base at the same time as my father in the late 50s. Thank you, Dale Sr. for your kind attention helping me after the crash!
This gal crashed like me-Think Ludtke Sr helping
Brentwood has become a popular event on the calendar. The host team LaGrange and their promoter do a great job. Lots of vendors. Interesting but hard course. A bit dangerous for sure though with all the turns. The one thing I must call the promoter on are the event jerseys. They give out 3 for the entire day and 2 of those go to categories that have the right to buy the "Bear" jersey. Why bother. Give one to every winner that can't buy a "Bear" jersey or forget it.
Brentwood was the elite SCNCA championship but not the masters championship which was the Paramount Criterium on July 15th. The Paramount Criterium had a record number of entries at 695 so bicycle racing seems to be surging back in Southern Cal. There were 43 pre registered 55/60+ racers at Brentwood but over 60 showed up at the line at 8:55am. Mark Hoffenberg was there with his 2 teammates Dan Nicolette and Bob Pelkoffer. Mark had to be talked into racing by Mike Birditt on Friday. He was worried about crashing going into the final month of prep for Nationals at Bend, Or. Mark and his teammates decided to go as hard as they could and make the race as fast as they could from the start. Staying out in front would be the safest place if you were strong enough to do this. Mark and his mates are plenty strong. I have seen big impacts in the 55/60+ races from riders that have turned 55 before but Hoffy would be # 1 in the last 12 years in the SCNCA. Kal, Dale Luedtke, David Bernhardt, John Rubcic and Mike Birditt would be up there in the list.
The race was off about 9:00 am with a bang. The pace was quite fast with the first turn close. The turn is almost a 180 and then a little uphill and then down with a quick turn to the left. The guys in the middle and back had to brake to a very slow speed and then ramp it up going uphill at this turn and the next one at the bottom of the course. Very hard. The speeds we started going were pretty crazy and I was feeling out of it. I couldn't get the feeling of getting in the flow. I started breathing hard. I had been training all along. Even 2 days after my crash I was on my computrainer but nothing is quite like riding fast in a group. The second lap felt harder and then on the uphill at the bottom of the course, Don Denegal's rear wheel locked up and everyone had to slow down to go around and that really strung things out. After 2 laps the speed and pressure were as tough as at the start. I knew I couldn't keep this up. I threw in the towel at about 10 minutes in and 3 laps. Quit and rode off the course. First time I have done that in 12 years of racing crits. Others had already gone off the back and others were slowly coming off. Mostly 60+ riders but some 55s as well. Never seen such an attrition rate. Things did settle down a bit after about 15 minutes. Pelky of Sho Air went off the front. Hoffy and Nick set a pace at the front. They were in the driver's seat now. Their teammate was ahead and is a very strong rider. H & N decided to let solo riders attack off the front and try and chase their teammate. They wouldn't chase that rider and bring everyone with them. If the rider caught Pelky then Sho Air still had a good chance for their team to win. If not, the rider had spent a lot of energy for nothing. Pelky wasn't that far away but no one could catch him until 2 laps to go. It all came back together.
The field chasing Pelky- Don Davidson is in the lead with Hoffy and Kal following
The field had really been whittled down to about 30 in the main pack. There were other riders off the back all around the course. 9 60+ riders were still left. It was nervous time. Tricky course with lots of turns at the bottom of the course. Hoffy and Nick were sure to stay at the front pushing it and trying to stay out of harms way. With one lap to go 60+ racer Mike Marotta was lurking near the front and started to push the pace going into the last series of turns. Nicolette went back to the front with Hoffy on his wheel. The next to the last turn is downhill and a right hander. You can see it in the above photo.
Cyril Hunte came into this corner a little hot chasing Mike Marotta's wheel. Cyril went wide to his left toward Kal Szkalak's front wheel. Kal put on his brakes to avoid a crash. Mike Birditt put on his brakes because he was behind Kal. Behind him all hell broke loose on the curb side. John Rubcic took the corner too hot as well and lost his rear end(per John) and went down. Howard Miller, Kirk Freeman and Rod Mallory went down. There may have been 1 or 2 more. No one was hurt badly, thankfully. I have 2 photos right after this happened. Steve Bernede rode over Rubcic's rear wheel and his front wheel came off the ground but he stayed upright.
Things are ramped up on the last lap- Dan Nicolette is leading the way

The 2nd in the series of pics of the last lap going into the hill- Steve Bernede is leading. Look in the upper left portion of the picture and you can see riders down.
Coming up the hill Dan Nicolette was leading with Hoffy on his wheel lined up by Mike Marotta, Ricky Shorts, Cyril Hunte and Steve Hensler. There was a little gap to Al Shorts, Kal, Birdy, and Don Denegal(Don got himself back in the race after the earlier problem). There was another little gap to the remainder of the pack lead by Steve Bernede(Steve is focused on climbing right now and is doing 5 to 6 hour training rides at GMR) and John Waganear(John says he isn't training much but is getting better results this year as a 60+ racer than he ever got as a 55+ racer).
Once the front group were on level ground and heading for the finish line, Mike Marotta started his sprint from pretty far out. Hoffy had been thinking of doing the same but Mike started so Mark got on his wheel for about 15 pedal strokes and started his own sprint. Mark has that extra speed that not many guys have. He smoked it for the win! Mike Marotta hung on as the next rider across the line and the 1st 60+ rider. John Rubcic and Howard Miller weren't there to contest. They were sitting on there butts back on the curb. Ricky held his position to take 2nd place in the 55+ race. Cyril Hunte came across the line for 3rd place. Cyril was followed in by Kal, Birdy, Steve Hensler, A. Shorts, and Don Denegal. John Wagnear came around Steve Bernede at the end for 2nd place in 60+. Steve was 3rd. Jon "Roady" Miller was 4th followed in by Richard Stahlberg, Steve Borer and Don Davidson(Don looked very strong out there). Don was the last 60+ racer to finish in the lead pack.
It was tough out there. A lot tougher than I was ready for. Good turnout of racers. Sorry to see a crash occurred on our race. Mark Hoffenberg's power meter showed around 280 average watts for the race with the average speed a little less than 25 mph. 280 watts is a lot. Not many guys can do that and explains why so many riders couldn't even stay on the pace. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
The 2012 Brentwood GP 55+ winner- Mark Hoffenberg

The 2012 Brentwood GP 55+ winner-Mike Marotta
55+ results

60+ results