Tuesday, January 29, 2013


By John McKee

The weekend of Jan. 26 and 27th had 2 races scheduled but there was the possibility of rain. Rain really puts a damper on bicycle riding. It goes from fun to not fun. Well the rain didn't come and the Poor College Kids Road Race went off for the 55/60+ racers on Sat. Jan. 26th. I didn't feel I was ready to race with the 55s on a course like this for 3 laps as I had done it in 2011 when the race(Sisquoc) was 2 laps and later in the year. PCKRR changed their course to the old Sisquoc course from what they had done the last few years.
Similar view from a pro picture- Copyright by Alcohobo(pic will be deleted soon)
It was no surprise when I heard that Mark Hoffenberg got away on the 1st lap with Malcolm Hill. KK at some point in the 1st lap had a flat so he was out. Mark and Malcolm shed the other 2 riders that were with them and they came to the finish by themselves with Mark winning the race. I don't have details on the 60+ race but it was no surprise that Kal Szkalak won the race. Kal has won every 60+ race he has entered so far in 2013. The finish lists are below. The 55s had a lot more racers. I think like myself some 60s saw it as hopeless keeping up the pace on this course with a younger driven pack. There were 22 55 finishers and 9 60 finishers. Among the 55s was Brad "Rand Paul/don't take my guns" House. The promoters give no money and some merchandise to 3 guys that placed 1/2/3 overall. The merchandise has been described in the past as "shoddy". "Shoddy" was one of the nicer terms. Lol. The 55/60s were given a premium starting time so that was good. 3rd place in 55+ went to Daniel Swietlik. In 60+ 2nd went to Kirk Freeman and 3rd went to Mark Huffman. Both Kirk and Mark are new 60+ riders this year.
The hotel/motel rates seemed a lot higher this year in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area so my wife and I decided to drive up Sunday morning to do the Mothballs Criterium. The Santa Barbara Echelon club always does a great job producing this race and their promoter Amando Requejo is a super nice guy and has been receptive to getting 55s and 60s a cash purse and decent primes including wine and cash.
My wife and I left our house in Orange County at 4:45 am. Little traffic so we made good time. Coming up the coast from Oxnard the clouds parted and you could see the most beautiful moon you could imagine simmering over the ocean. At first it was just over the ocean but as we drove further north toward Goleta the moon was over our destination beckoning us to come to Mothballs! Come to Mothballs! OK. OK. We were coming anyway!
When we got to the race there were no clouds, rain or cold temperatures. In 2011 there was a gully washer that we raced in. No crashes but up to 6 inches of water at turn one. Every other year it is usually in the 30s when we race. The promoter did us another favor this year and moved us back another spot in the race pecking order. We were 3rd off and raced at 8 am. The men cat 5s were 1st and then the women cat 4s were next which is only fair. The young and inexperienced need the initiation. We have been there and done that SO many times. I don't know why other promoters don't make the newest riders go first.
55/60+ racers tow the line at Mothballs
OK, there was a crash in women cat 4 so we were delayed a bit. We did get to the line not too long after 8. The turnout was frankly disappointing. Some of the road riders from the day before went home and we were left with 11 55s and 9 60s. This is the lowest turnout in maybe 8 years.
Bill Ralph-Do you see any bodyfat?
When we came to the line Malcolm Hill fell over. He got back up but he found out when he was racing that something was rubbing on his bike and driving him crazy. Everyone else stayed upright at the line. KK was there so I had a good idea what was going to happen in the race and I pretty much called it. Mark Hoffenberg had one teammate for his Rokform/Rock N' Road squad. A new rider. At least to us. His name is William Ralph. Bill is a fitness expert and has zero bodyfat and I mean ZERO bodyfat. Look him up in facebook and see(Pic included. Bill lives in Agoura Hills. Bill works in the fitness industry. If you have any questions about cross training, rehab, etc. message him on facebook).
Keith Ketterer would have Malcolm Hill both from Breakaway from Cancer Masters to link with while Mark would have Bill Ralph. Kal has been cleaning up in 60+ so far this year so he would be hard to beat. The remainder of the field was small with any Swami's, Santa Clarita Velo, 4 UCC riders(3 being 60+) and one Simple Green and SBW rider. In other words the competition may not be as strong as it has in the past except for the top.
The race started fast as expected. Mark Hoffenberg would hit it and then KK or Malcolm Hill would attack. This went on for 4 or 5 laps. It was quite hard. A small group would form but wouldn't work well together and everyone else would chase back on. I knew I couldn't keep this up for 40 minutes. Either a group was going to get away or everything would settle down for a while.
This Training Peaks guy should have been saving his strength and let the strongmen initiate the early action
The 4 strongest guys eventually did get away. I should have tried to close the short gap when it was short because Kal was there but I wasn't sure he was. I don't know if I could have made it or if I would have been able to keep up but I soon learned that Kal was aboard the breakaway ship. They were gaining time on every lap. 20 seconds, 25 seconds, etc. We would be lapped. That I knew for sure. The pace of the pack wasn't that high and I wasn't feeling that strong.

Malcolm Hill, Kal Szkalak, Mark Hoffenberg and Keith Ketterer in a breakaway
Probably 25 minutes into the race I saw KK. I thought the rest of the breakaway were in the back cooling their jets but I learned that KK had jumped across to the pack from the breakaway group. That left Hoffy to pull Malcolm and Kal up to the peleton. KK made several jumps and Mark's teammate Bill was all over this as were a few other riders. I just sat in. I wasn't much concerned. KK never got very far away and it might have seemed like "everyone" was teaming up against him.
Peleton without the break group
KK jumping the field before Hoffy gets aboard. Surprising he was chased down. I know I couldn't do it.
Pack all together now. You can see Malcolm between Bill Ralph and myself(blue and yellow)
Pretty soon I saw Mark near the front so unless a group broke away again, there would be a bunch sprint with Mark, Keith and Malcolm fighting it out for 1,2 and 3 in 55+. Kal had 60+ locked up and he was unconcerned about the race action now. He just had to stay upright and he would win.
With one lap to go KK really hit it at turn one. The course is 1k so he figured his best shot would be to do a mini kilo to the line. Could anyone match it? That was the question he threw out. Caught everyone by surprise.
Mark Hoffenberg had Tim Meza of Simple Green ahead of him and ask him to go. Tim did the best he could most of the back stretch. KK was still pulling away slightly but Mark didn't have to be in the wind and was saving energy he could use later. The rest of the pack fell back. Kal was up front and didn't chase so a gap formed.
Nearing the last corner Mark had to go it alone. He dug deep. He figured if he could get within 5 to 10 meters of KK with some distance to the line he could come around him. This is exactly what happened. Mark dug deep and was barely able to get by Keith at the finish linefor the win!
The rest of the pack came to the last corner and Alex Collins jumped hard on the outside. Bill Ralph tried to mark him. Tim Meza was ahead but dying a bit. I hung behind a few riders on the inside including Richard Robertson. He was the only 60+ rider I could see ahead of me. Cyril Hunte had unleased his sprint early. The wind was cross from the right and a slight head wind. It was pretty tough if you weren't behind someone. I hit it at 150 meters not knowing what to expect. I hadn't been feeling that good but got going very well.
Mark Hoffenberg coming home for the sprint- Copy courtesy of Jodie Borer
Alex Collins held off Bill Ralph for 3rd in 55+. Cyril and Tim were dying coming to the line. I was accelerating and almost got them at the line but it didn't matter because they were 55+. Cyril bested Tim Meza. I came across the 1st 60 but for 2nd place. Kal soft pedaled across the line for 1st place being a lap up. John Roest motored across the line for 3rd place in 60+. The honors for the oldest rider goes to Dale Harless. Dale is 70 this year and raced 65-69 last year at nationals. Dale crashes at the "corner" and got a concussion. He asked me if I knew what happened. No. Lol. I was ahead of him and didn't see him go down.
Field sprint at Mothballs 2013 in 55/60+- Photo courtesy of Jodie Borer
It was a bit of a mismatch out there but a fun race none the less. Something different anyway. The weather held out for us. The payout was a FULL $250. The purse was split 50/50 between the 55s and 60s. There was exactly a split in the number of racers even though there was more 55 finishers. Doug Knox raced 55 even though he is 60+. You will have to ask him why. He has a long explanation. I used my $29 at the local farmer's market just a half mile from the race site. Awesome stuff. Bought organic veggies, olive oil, and fresh apple pie. Thanks to Mike Birditt for the tip.
I mention that the payout was the full amount shown on the flyer because that isn't always happening. What I am see happening this year is there is an asterisk on the flyer that says that if half the field size isn't met that the payout is 50%. The higher the field size the tougher it is to get a full payout. For example if Chris Lotts says his race allows 75/75 then the field size is 150. If the 50% rule applied then we would need 75 riders to get the full amount which we didn't meet for the last race in Dom. Hills. Red Trolley has this 50% rule and a 100 field size as does Velo Allegro in there St. Pats Day race in March. I am trying to get an answer from the SCNCA what field size is allowed for us since cat 5s are allowed in our races. I can see that maybe a thing of the past. Looks like some of the 55/60+ riders are seeing burnout and some of the teams that had 55/60+ riders are also having trouble getting their riders out to races. Maybe there are too many races and too much to choose from. There is a video of the finish at Mothballs that my wife took on our iPad(Blogspot is having trouble processing the vid. I will try to put it in the story later. Sorry for now). That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Mothballs Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 14
2 48434 Keith Ketterer Breakaway from Cancer Masters 11
3 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 10
4 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 9
5 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 8
6 52086 Cyril Hunte 7
7 258639 Timothy Meza Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 6
8 88537 David Tonello Peaks Coaching Group Racing Team 5
9 193819 Chuck Thompson Polli Veloce 4
10 131303 Mark Luke Platinum Performance Cycling Team 3
11 45552 Douglas Knox TIME - Velo Pasadena Team 2
Mothballs Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 545212 Kalman Szklak 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 277180 John Roest Dons Bikes 10
4 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 9
5 3793 Raphael Gomez 8
6 64127 Richard Lilleberg South Bay Wheelmen 7
7 57571 Dale Harless Apex Racing Team 6
8 254258 Hugh Lothrop 5
9 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
Poor College Kids Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 28
2 156650 Malcolm Hill 22
3 60602 Daniel Swietlik OTR Racing 20
4 49239 Gerald Finken St Paul Bicycle Racing Club 18
5 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Floors 16
6 25023 Jeffrey Moreton Rokform/Rock N' Road 14
7 52251 Ricky Shorts Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 12
8 162650 Jim Parkhurst Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 10
9 193819 Chuck Thompson Polli Veloce 8
10 131303 Mark Luke Platinum Performance Cycling Team 6
11 109008 David Smith Santa Clarita Velo 4
12 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 2
13 16837 Brad House Big Orange Cycling 0
14 258639 Timothy Meza Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
15 247382 Richard Gentili Citrus Valley Velo 0
16 21803 John Luke Fast Friday 0
17 378143 David B Stanton Canyon Velo 0
18 341568 Owen Thomas 0
19 287880 Harry Fekkes METALMTN Cycling 0
20 61353 Reed Moore UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
21 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
22 45582 Cleaveran Law Lightning Velo 0
Poor College Kids Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 28
2 12354 Kirk Freeman CA Pools / Primal 22
3 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 20
4 126351 Steve Bernede 18
5 48278 Donald Davidson Citrus Valley Velo 16
6 269972 Fred Haim Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 14
7 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 12
8 45047 Glenn Baldwin SLO Nexus-Gym One 10
9 46799 Josef Lemire Hammer Nutrition 8
10 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
11 59805 Jean Villiot CA Pools/Primal 4

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