Tuesday, August 28, 2012


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.)

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