Being in a hospital bed is about the last place any of us want to be but the week prior the ever popular Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium one of our racing brothers found himself in one. Our friend raced on Sunday and found himself in a hospital bed on Tuesday without any knowledge of what was wrong other than a lot of pain. Frightening of course but this story has a happy ending. A regular 1950s romantic comedy. They always had a happy ending though our friend certainly wasn't happy on Tuesday. More of this later. Lol. Maybe some of you will actually finish my story.
OK, back to RMMC. The course was changed about 8 or 9 years ago to the easterly course. Very popular. A little more dicey. More of a power climb on leg 3. Fun course as long as you stayed upright. The 55/60+ guys had a great safety record there. In 2011 there was the lapping of the rider at turn 3 on the last lap that was a major fiasco(no one went down) but other than that the 55/60s did well there. The problem in 2013 was a indoor gun range and gun shop on Berry St. Now Berry was on the race route but the street was NOT completely closed down to traffic in either direction BUT the shop owner as I understand it complained to the city of Brea and they encouraged the race promoter to move the race over to where the race was for years as the St. Valentines Day Massacre. The old course has a church near by that gets their panties in a twist if you park near their place so racers were encouraged to park on the old new course. If you know what I mean. Right. Lol.
Sign ups for 2013 weren't restricted to 75 though they should have been. The maximum field you can have with cat 5s allowed is 75. Not 100 and definitely not 150 like at CBR. I didn't get a final count this year. The 2 prior years and nearly so 3 years ago was a sellout. This was the highest payout ever or a tie actually with the Paramount race. As you all should know the Paramount race is 55 and 60+ friendly. I wonder why that is. I guess some of you were afraid your dog would get into some trouble while you were gone and stayed away from Roger Millikan. See pics below.
|Bad boys 1 and 2|
|Bad boy # 3|
|Bad boy #4 - He doesn't look like he has any shame|
The 55/60+ racers were called to the line from the holding area. I got cut off by a rambunctious racer in a unnamed kit. Ricky Shorts said "Wow. The race hasn't even started".
Just so no one forgets what the race title is about, Roger Millikan was a long time rider and racer and member of Velo Avanti though he was a member of Paramount many years ago. I think I mentioned this before that he use to date Monty Pettus's wife before they married. While Monty was racing in Pacific Grove Roger was racing Diane though Monty won out in the end
|Leo (Monty) Pettus 5th in line here at the 1975 Pacific Grove Buterfly Criterium|
At the line we were told we had 40 minutes to race and we were off with the 1st lap neutral. The not so usual suspects went flying around like Bob Mosier(Bob unfortunately crashed later and broke his collarbone after driving down from Mailbu with his 11 year old daughter. Wish you the best, Bob), Brad House, John Roest and Bob Pelkofer(designed flyer for Rokform). The pace was brisk once the race was on but not near as hard as at Red Trolley. Maybe its the course. RT is definitely harder.
There was a crash at Roger Millikan. It was behind me so I didn't see it. I heard from 4 to 10 riders were in it. Bob Mosier took the worst injuries though Rick Carerra found out later that he has a fracture in his shoulder besides all the road rash. There were some close calls for some riders that avoided going down. Mike Birditt had to squeeze between a downed rider and the curb and got by him but bulldozed another rider and hurt his shoulder. He couldn't believe that he hit someone that hard and didn't go down on the ground. Track skills. Brad House ran over someone's rear wheel and went airborne. Came down on the tip of his saddle that went funky. Brad fought that the rest of the race. Some of the downed riders got back into the race and some just threw in the towel. This happened right near the start finish line. No one knows what caused it. I heard it behind me and knew right away what happened. That sound is unmistakable.
There were a great number of primes. Some for $20 and some for a water bottle full of something. I never understood what Ralph was saying. Racers will sprint for anything though. Doesn't matter.
|Mike Bird cooling his jets after killing another prime- $50 GC from UC Cyclery- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
The primes came and went and we were all together. Mark Hoffenberg was playing a waiting game and reacting to moves rather than starting them except for one break attempt early with Jay Wolkoff. They were going good but a hungry field brought them back. I guess I can reveal now Mark is the person that was in the hospital bed. Undetected kidney stones that were giving him major pain. He was feeling better Sunday morning and decided to race with us.
|Mark isn't looking too happy after having to go to the hospital not knowing the pain he was having was from kidney stones. This was Tues. 2/5/13. He was released later in the day.|
|Mark is killing it here late in the race after coming out of the hospital bed 5 days before. Photo courtesy of TruCycling|
|Cyril Hunte leading a chase midway through the race- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
|Pelky giving it a go late in the race. He was chased down by unknown assailants- photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
Later in the race Keith Ketterer made his move on the outside near the start finish line. Mark Hoffenberg was ever attentive and jumped after him with Steve Hensler on his wheel. They soon connected with KK to make it a threesome. This was the right combination of teams needed to cause major blocking in the peleton or at least to not be chased. 1/3 the riders were on these teams. Breakaway from Cancer, Rokform, and UC Cyclery. One lap after the 3 were together UCC rider Mike McConnell slipped away right near Ralph's famous announcing shack. Mike got some looks but no one chased. Mike was able to link up with the 3 other breaking riders.
|There they go- Ketterer, Hoffenberg and Hensler- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
|Mike McConnell adds himself to the group-that is Mike 2nd in line- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
|The front is loaded with blocking team members- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
The foursome that were breaking became two. A foursome is considered a near perfect combination in golf groupings but I guess the foursome didn't work out ahead of the pack. Steve Hensler and Mike McConnell(I keep wanting to write Mitch but that is that stiff Republican from Kentucky) dropped off of Mark and KK. KK actually attacked them between turn one and turn two and Mark and KK were away. Steve and Mike then hovered in between the two leaders and the pack. Kind of in no man's land. Not far enough away to actually have a chance of finishing away but not so close that someone closes them out.
|KK and Hoffy killing it- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
|Gene Poyorena pulls off in his attempted chase-Rokform setting up for a sprint finish- Photo courtesy of Maki Yamazaki|
With 2 laps to go an independent guy with a black and white kit that said Velo was at the front followed by Rokform. The distance to Mark and KK was constant and they were not going to be caught but the other 2 guys were going to sweep up by the sprint train. One lap to go and the 1st 4 riders in the pack were Rokform followed by Cyril, Kal, myself and then Dale. Mike Birditt was moving up looking for a spot to move in. The pace was steady at turn one and turn two but going up the slight rise on the back stretch saw a dramatic increase in the speed. Rokform was kicking it up. Caught me a little by surprise and I gapped on Kal. Mike Birditt filled the space.
The lead 2 guys were much closer together than at Mothballs where KK got the jump on Hoffy and almost stayed away from him. Here Mark was watching him closely and was thinking he could out sprint him if they were in a two up sprint. KK pulled on the last lap knowing they had to stay strong or they would get swept up. Mark thought KK might attack going up the hill on the backstretch but he didn't. KK must have known then he was riding for 2nd. Mark and KK go back years and were teammates at one point in the past. Coming off the hospital bed to tame the best of the 55+ racers in the biggest purse of the season so far. Mark wasn't even feeling that good on Friday and didn't get on his bike until Saturday when he made the decision to race on Sunday as long as he was feeling OK in the morning. Mark was hoping to win this race and dedicate the win to his son Max, who passed away in October of 2012. Although Mark didn't discuss this with anyone-even to his teammates prior to the race, it was something that he simply committed to himself. Mark explained this in more detail to me in an email: "The memories of Max yelling for me on the sideline of this particular course are well ingrained in my mind. When I heard that they had moved this race back to the old course this year, it started getting emotional for me. I was pretty disappointed after landing in the hospital on Tuesday night. Obviously there was the unbelievable pain caused by the kidney stones but as the week progressed the realization that I wasn't going to race was emotional painful. Fortunately it all worked out. Maybe Max was just testing my fortitude."
|Mark Hoffenberg with his son Max|
In the pack the Rokform train was working pretty good on the last lap until turn 3 came and then Cyril Hunte jumped everyone on the right curb side. Now this made for a dicey situation. Going fast next to the right curb and having to make a right turn to sprint for home wasn't going to easy especially with another group taking a "smarter" line for the last corner. Cyril was jamming it early kind of like I use to see Dale Luedtke do. I saw Dale do it years ago at Dana Point in the 50+ crit champ. Lead at the last corner and rolled it to the line. Cyril had these thoughts in his mind. He was sprinting for glory! The only thing was it was for 3rd place which still isn't bad.
|KK buried himself on the last lap so he and Mark could stay away. Photo courtesy of Ken Hill-Light &Shadows Photography|
|Cyril leading the field into the last corner. Can he hold on? Photo courtesy of Ken Hill- Light & Shadow Photography|
|Birdy is staying tight to Nick with Kal right on Birdy- Photo courtesy of Ken Hill- Light & Shadows Photography|
Mike Birditt and Danny Nicolette came off Cyril and Mike took the bunch sprint for 3rd place. Danny 4th, Cyril 5th, Kal followed in for 1st in 60+, Luedtke for 6th in 55, Shorts for 7th in 55, Wolkoff 8th, Rodiguez 2nd for 60, Lee Romans for 9th, Kirk Freeman 3rd in 60+, Alex Collins 10th, myself 4th in 60, C. Jones 5th in 60, Huffman 6th in 60, Tim and Ira of Simple Green 11 and 12 in 55, Miller 7th in 60, Wagenaar 8th in 60, Roest 9th in 60, Mallory 13th in 55, Lilleberg 10th in 60. I wanted to write the placings out further than I usually do because of a camera malfunction. The complete finish list was worked out by the racers and officials. Guys, you had to not only let the official know who you finished behind or next to but you had to wait and see what was posted and make sure you were on it. Sorry to guys like Howard Miller that finished 7th in 60+ and Lee Romans that finished 9th in 55+. Both Paramount members. If you want a placing you have to hound the officials until you see your name. I can't tell them where everyone finished. I don't know.
The average speed that I had was 26 mph which was fast but I started my Garmin at the finish of the 1st neutral lap. That was faster than the 50+ race.
Strong finishes in other races were:
9- Mike McConnell
26-Doug Knox-nice going Doug
Kal and Mitch were also in this race
The crash was the downside of the race and the camera problem. Other than that it was a good fast race. There is a mismatch of squads right now. Rokform in 55 and UC Cyclery in 60. Mark and Kal are killing it right now. Lets post a bull's eye on them and knock them down a peg or two. Just kidding guys! Thanks again to Alex Collins and Morgan Gold for the big money list. The last 3 photos were courtesy of Ken Hill. His website for some excellent action photos is www.public.fotki.com/quatre24. This was a great event. Nice job everyone! That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Offical finish lists(not accurate but this is what it is-sorry guys)
|Roger Millikan Crit (Rank 1.0)|
|1||45461||Mark Hoffenberg||Rokform/Rock N' Road||14|
|2||48434||Keith Ketterer||Breakaway from Cancer Masters||11|
|3||47255||Michael Birditt||SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team||10|
|4||26090||Daniel Nicolette||Rokform/Rock N' Road||9|
|6||47262||Dale Luedtke||Swami's Cycling Club||7|
|7||52251||Ricky Shorts||Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli||6|
|8||38811||Jay Wolkoff||Radsport Cycling Team||5|
|9||46255||Alex Collins||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||4|
|11||255052||Ira Schaffer||Team Simple Green/Bike Religion||2|
|12||258639||Timothy Meza||Team Simple Green/Bike Religion||1|
|13||16837||Brad House||Big Orange Cycling||0|
|Roger Millikan Crit (Rank 1.0)|
|1||54522||Kalman Szkalak||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||14|
|2||58847||Paul Rodriguez||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||11|
|4||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||9|
|5||18156||Craig Jones||Velo Avanti Cycling Team||8|
|6||59572||Mark Huffman||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||7|
|7||64127||Richard Lilleberg||South Bay Wheelmen||6|
|8||245777||Steven Borer||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||5|
|9||195498||Donald Kimper||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||4|
|10||46648||Peter Banko||Cycle U / Apex Racing||3|
|13||126351||Steve Bernede||Team Werks||0|
|15||50406||Michael Edwards||Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21||0|