Wednesday, January 16, 2013


By John McKee

It gets earlier every year for the start of the new race season. Early in this century the 1st race for 55/60+ racers was the Mothballs Criterium in Goleta which was always the last Sunday in January. Then Chris Lotts threw a criterium in for CBR in front of that and then Ray Moreno threw his 1st Ontario race in front of that. This year the date for the 1st Ontario race was Jan. 13th, 2013.

55/60+ racers lined up at Ontario

 A cold spell hit the Southland and I was expecting some cold temps for this 1st race but it was colder than expected at around 30 degrees at or near the start of our race. This was the coldest I have done a race. I was dressed for it as were almost all the experienced racers. We use to race at 7:35 am but moved back slightly to 8:05 am. The extra time was appreciated because it took longer to get prepared to race with the cold conditions. Things like putting on the number, getting the booties and gloves on, setting up the trainer took longer and the lines for reg were long as well. I just rode my mountain bike in the 30s in the Denver area and Ontario felt colder because of the moisture.
Reggie Jones taking in a rebound for AF vs Maryland
There are always new riders aging up into our group. Last year it was Mark Hoffenberg and a whole host of "top notch"(as Ted Knight would say in "Caddyshack") racers. This year one particular rider was aging up and was boasting that he was going to make short work of the competition. He pre reged but didn't line up. I guess we will have to wait another day to get our clocks cleaned. One rider that did age up and did line up was Reggie Jones. I met Reggie at El Dorado in Long Beach in 2001. We use to do it every Tuesday. Before that and many years before that Reggie played basketball for the Air Force Academy. Reggie is the all time leader in rebounds and blocked shots for the AFA. Reggie was in the class of 1981 and is still remembered as one of the best players to have played there.
This year like 2012 the 60s do not have a separate purse at Ontario but share a combined result for money and a separate result for Socal Points and the Ontario Series Points. I didn't like this then and don't now and let Ray know how I felt. Ray said this wasn't going to change. Even still there were more pre reged and more total registrations in 60+ than 55+. I guess we don't race for the dough but to me it's as much a matter of respect as anything. The money gets paid out to racers through the day and I think the 60s should get a share of the purse based on the percentage of the total that show up. Ray does provide a race venue for juniors and that is good. Juniors are a money loser for the time they take so Ray is sacrificing there. Ray did dump all the women's races except junior women.
The cat 5 men went 1st and then the young juniors. Of course I saw some cat 5 guys without leg or knee warmers. Damn! We were up at 8:05 and there were no crashes in the first 2 races so we were set to start on time. The gun went off and it was time to focus on the race at hand. I think everyone wanted to start the race year off fairly slow but not Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer. Lothar use to race for Simple Green but Sunday had a plain blue jersey on. "Blue Boy" went off like he had a fire cracker up his butt. Lothar was off almost 2 laps before he went back into the field but his hardcore style of riding wouldn't finish here.
Mike Birditt leading the chase of "Blue Boy" early on.

Reggie Jones out in front after securing his prime. Reggie creamed everyone.
When you start a new year one has no real idea of what kind of form he would have. I think everyone was feeling out themselves more than anything. I had no idea how I would feel and wasn't very confident based on some group rides I had done. Once in the race I felt good and churned near the front like I always did in the past. The overall speed wasn't very high and I expected the field to churn more than it did considering. The primes are always few and far between at Ontario but there was a saddle bag and some kind of food thing that Reggie Jones won.
There are many riders aging up to 60+ this year but only a few chose to come out to Ontario. The top racers that did age up and raced at Ontario included Kal "Muscles" Szkalak, Wayne "The Vet" Rosenkrantz(Wayne is a very renowned veterinarian doctor) , Tom "Breakman" Reilly, and John "The Chaser" Roest.
Wayne "The Vet" Rosenkrantz aged up to 60+ this year
Rick Swanson sporting his new SC Velo kit
Mike "Legs Diamond" Birditt besting Cyril "The Bike Handler" Hunte for the Ontario Points prime by a lot!
The middle of the race nothing happened! I mean nothing!! There were a few surges and jumps but no real attempt at a break. Kal jumped a few times but was always covered. The race came down to 5 laps to go and I thought for sure this would be bunch sprint. I was already looking for Dale's, Kal's or Wayne's wheel for the ride to the finish line. Dale started to move forward.
Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer went off the front and was joined by Joseph Deen of Citrus Valley Velo with  5 laps to go. It looked like another kamikaze run like at the beginning of the race. They were only 100 meters ahead. Pretty soon Tom "Breakman" Reilly joined them. Tom knows what he doing off the front so alarm bells should have gone off but then the 3 guys were quickly joined by Gene Poyorena of Swami's and Michael McConnell of UC Cyclery and lastly Bruce Hartley of Radsport. A lot of teams were here and with Gene being on Swami's now, Mike and Dale wouldn't chase. Mike figured there weren't any sprinters in the group and Gene had a good chance of winning with his track smart skills.
Joseph Deen and Lothar Cramer start a break with 5 laps to go.
The break group grew to 7(front two riders not shown)From L to R- Briggs, Poyorena, Reilly, Cramer, & Deen

Gene just sat in the break group and let everyone else do the work. He figured if they stayed away he had a good chance of winning for Swami's and if they were caught that Mike or Dale would win the bunch sprint. Great tactics by Swami's. Of course you have to have good riders to do stuff like this.
With one lap to go the break group had 200 meters and no one to chase. Don Davidson would be chasing but he had a man in the break and it was hands off. Many teams were in the break and the critical team in the break was Swami's. It is after the fact thinking that SC Velo should have chased with 3 riders in the race.
6 of the breakers finished together with Gene Poyorena using his track savvy to best everyone for the 55+ win and the overall win. 1st place check! Nice going. Tom Reilly came across 2nd for 2nd overall and 1st in 60+. Tom was followed in by Michael McConnell, Lothar Cramer, Bruce Hartley, Jack Briggs(2nd 60+ finisher) and Joe Deen rolled between the break group and the bunch sprinting for the line which were but 60 meters behind.
In the peleton the last lap was going to be nerve wracking because of the relative slow speed. Pags moved forward at 76 years of age and looked really good. I was surprised that more guys didn't jump forward. I wasn't in that great of position but at turn 5 and 2 turns to go I jumped a lot of riders on the right side. Right about when I went forward the speed really picked up. Mike Birditt wanted to move Dale forward to do the sprint and he wanted to see his teammate ahead fight for the finish line and possible victory. I saw Wayne "The Vet" Rosenkrantz and thought this was a good wheel to follow in.
Keichi McKee( 2000-2012)
The speed stayed up there after the last corner and I felt fairly fresh for this stage of the last lap. I saw Mike peel off to his right part way to the finish line and Dale take it on his own. Nelson Alaan and myself started to move forward and pass a few riders including Wayne. I was spinning in a 53 x 12 and should have clicked up to a 11 and got out of the saddle but even if I did I wouldn't have passed Kal. I finished just behind Nelson and just ahead of Wayne with Kal following  Dale "High Speed Cruiser" Luedtke. Once Dale gets up to ramming speed(We know from "Ben Hur" that ramming speed is max) he can hold it for a long time and there aren't many riders that can come around him. For the overall pace being fairly slow the sprint speed was pretty high. I hit 36.6 mph which is my best or near so in this race. Have done faster in 50+ but there was a faster leadout.
The overall speed was 23.8 mph which was the slowest we have done there that I know of. The 50+ speed was 25.6 mph with only a slight increase in wattage.
No one went down and we got through the cold. Only one person didn't finish of the 35 starters. Complete results are below. As this writing the 60s aren't being given credit at SCNCA for the finish. I am working on trying to get us results. We don't get any money. At least we should get a result and Socal points. The 55+ results have a void in placings 11 and 12. 13th should move up to 11, etc. There is a good vid of the race on YouTube produced by Mike McKinney.   Hope the link works. Monty Pettus took the pictures of the race with my camera. Monty is awaiting surgery for a torn Rotator Cuff. Wishing Monty a speedy recovery. That is all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

PS- I am dedicating this race and this season to my dog Keichi McKee who my wife and I lost to brain cancer late last year. We miss him so much.

Ontario 1  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 177283 Eugene Poyorena Swami's Cycling Club 14
2 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 54084 Lothar Cramer 10
4 45431 Bruce Hartley Radsport Cycling Team 9
5 366450 Joseph Deem Citrus Valley Velo 8
6 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 7
7 64439 Nelson Alaan Lightning Velo 6
8 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 5
9 34753 Rick Swanson Southern California Velo 4
10 15625 Demi Hechanova SC Velo 3
13 255052 Ira Schaffer Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
14 47255 Michael Birditt SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 0
15 52086 Cyril Hunte 0
16 178640 Reginald Jones Lightning Velo 0
17 258639 Timothy Meza Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
18 104199 Mark Parma 0
19 167453 bob estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
Masters 60+

1 Reilly
2 Briggs
3 Kal Szkalak
4 McKee
5 Rosenkrantz
6 Fleming
7 Kimper
8 Dern
9 Roest
10 Swigart
11 Edwards
12 Pags
13 Lilleberg
14 Hoffer
15 Mosier
16 Lothrop
17 Davidson

OVERALL FINISH LIST- All riders numbered 105 and below are 60+.

No comments:

Post a Comment