Thursday, February 7, 2013


By John McKee

Every week you reflect on the race that you just did or the week of training that you have been getting and think about the race that is coming up and the course you are going to race on. There are certain courses that are very challenging and really show the cycling strengths of the top riders and Red Trolley is one of those short criterium courses that kicks your butt. Red Trolley was scheduled for Feb. 3rd, 2013. The day before the 55/60+ riders were really tested at the Boulevard road course. The weather was decent considering the 7 am start time. New Rokform rider Bill(Super Cut)Ralph won the 55+ category with a solo breakaway. Bill used that awesome core strength to hold off the field to win by himself! Bill was followed in by Larry Nolan of Northern California fame and Jeff Moreton of Rokform. In 60+ action Kal Szkalak continued to dominate this category with the win. Kal was followed in by Josef Lemire and Mark Huffman. Complete results are below.
Power to the people! OR is that power to the 55/60+ racers that are alive and can still stay in a pack with Mark Hoffenberg
Red Trolley is the same date as the Super Bowl(actually was an exciting game this year). The 55/60+ race was scheduled for a 10:45 am start. A real treat for us racers that usually start at 7:30 am. Red Trolley does a lot of collegiate categories and the "kids" rightfully go first. Signups for Red Trolley went slow for the 55/60+ racers but a decent field showed up. Larger that at Mothballs the prior Sunday. Of course Red Trolley is in Mira Mesa which is San Diego County. UC Cyclery territory. There were 33 starters and 32 finishers. I say kudos to EVERYONE that did this race and finished in the group. Hard doesn't describe this race well enough.
Malcolm Hill really putting the pressure on early. Notice Mark Huffman marking him closely.

Bob Pelkofer making things hard early in the race

OK, 33 guys started this race and I am already sweating a bit just writing about the experience and it is behind me! I knew the drill and what would happen early in the race. Mark Hoffenberg's team Rokform/Rock N' Road was going to make it hard from the gun and for the added pleasure of everyone, Malcolm Hill of Breakaway from Cancer Masters was there to spice things up.
The race got going just like I thought. I stayed near the front but not at the front. The first time up the hill didn't seem too hard but with the pace high and the surges coming from the sources I thought would make the race hard just harder each lap. I was starting to hurt. Hurt really bad though I wasn't losing position. I was on auto pilot. I kept myself up there but I wanted to quit! I was having a bad mind body experience. Rokform and Malcolm Hill were taking turns making it hard. The pace would be frenetic and then ease off.
About 1/3 the way through the race or sooner,  Malcolm Hill attacked and Mark Huffman was right there. This course fits Mark well and he just aged up to 60+. Everyone that ages up to 60+ gets that motivation surge in there 1st year and then...burnout.

The break starts early with Malcolm Hill surging at turn 2 and Mark Huffman attentively following
The twosome got a gap. Malcolm is riding so strong right now. Bob Pelkofer attacked the field and made it across the gap to the break showing how strong he is. Then Kal did it a bit later. Someone told me after the 1st race of the year that they didn't think Kal was looking that strong. Boy did they get that wrong. After the 55/60+ race Kal of course did a 2nd race in the 45+ event and led a teammate out on the last lap. Kal is definitely strong this year. I said something to him after the race and he said "I am just doing my job". Wow and what a job he is doing!
Malcolm looks back as Pelky joins the lead group
Kal joins the break group
Once the break coalesced the pace slowed in the peleton at about 15 minutes into the race. I didn't have the early pace in me for 23 laps. Mike Birditt did what he could to chase. Even Dale Luedtke went out there and chased. I know Swami's was looking for some help but the 2 biggest teams were in the break. There is a over load on these 2 teams this year in the number of jerseys and horsepower that will create a problem in 55/60+ racing this year.
A prime lap came up and Mark Hoffenberg went half heartedly for it. That is still pretty fast. Larry "Microsoft" Shannon who aged up to 55+ this year was on his wheel. That would be what I would think but actually you can see from the picture that Mark was on Larry's wheel or least he was right after going across the finish line.  If you didn't know, Larry runs Larry is wearing the very bright green Monster Media kit.
John Rubcic takes prime that sets up Mark Hoffenberg

John Rubcic came out of no where to pass Larry and Mark to take the prime. 2 60s were near by but the rest of the pack was back a bit. Mike Birditt was not being attentive enough or tired from chasing. This is where Mark made his move. If you look at the picture you can see it coming. He launches off of Larry. The "Rocket Boy" is gassed from going for the prime and the 2 60 near by don't have a chance. Larry Shannon was able to grab onto Mark's wheel but he was the only one. They got a gap. Mark was going to try and get across a 25 second gap! Mark did all the pulling from what I hear. Mark didn't like towing Larry so Mark attacked Larry and went solo. 
Mark Hoffenberg between the pack and the break group with Larry Shannon on his wheel
Mark going solo now trying to bridge the gap to the leaders

Up front in the break, Bob Pelkofer got word and I don't know how unless someone on the course gave him the tip that Mark was trying to get across the gap to join him and the other 3 riders. This created a major problem for Malcolm Hill. Kal and Mark were 60s and there was nothing in it for them to keep Mark away. They just wanted to stay clear of the pack. Pelky stopped pulling and sat on. It was now all up to Malcolm who I assume was frustrated with the situation. Mark made it across the gap within the last 5 laps and before there were 2 laps to go. With the way Mark is sprinting now and having a teammate in the mix made the situation almost idea for Mark.
In the pack the riders were churning with the laps counting down from 5 to go. No one tried any late heroics. Mark Hoffenberg set himself up for the final sprint with the help of his teammate. Mark won easily with Kal Szkalak being the 2nd rider across the line and winning the 60+ category. Malcolm Hill was 2nd in the 55+ category and Bob Pelkofer was 3rd. Mark Huffman rolled across for 2nd in 60+ and a very strong showing. 
The pack sprinted in over 30 seconds down from the break group. The peleton was together with one lap to go but broke up on the last lap. I felt I was in decent position but actually wasn't. My teammate Lee Romans was on my wheel and came off it on the backstretch on the outside to move up which was a bit too late but in the nick of time as well. Paul Rodiguez gave up the ghost in the lead riders which actually didn't matter that much but Fred Nicolet who was on Mike Birditt's wheel threw in the towel and created a split. Lee Romans was able to go around Fred and split Rod and his teammate Mark Helvie in pursuit of the lead guys that were setting up to go for the bunch sprint. Lee took a good turn at number 4 and finally made contact with the leaders who were marking each other before sprinting. About the time Lee made contact Mike Birditt unleashed his sprint. No one was going to beat Mike here and they didn't. Mike easily won the bunch sprint for 3rd place in 55+. Cyril "The Parachute" Hunte threw away his parachute this year going up the hill. Last year Cyril looked like he was riding in tar going up the hill on the last lap but not this year. Cyril came across the line right after Mike for a very good finish and 4th place. Cyril was followed in by Tony "The Unknown Rider" Darr(Tony didn't check the results when he should have and wasn't identified by the finish camera and was listed unknown for the longest time). Lee Romans followed in tfor 5th place in 55+. Lee waited a fraction too long to move up and I should have gotten on his wheel. Damn! John Rubcic was in the lead bunch sprint group and came across the line for 3rd place in 60+. I took the space between turn 3 and 4 in the wind and took turn 4 fast and solo. Going up the hill I passed a few riders but tied up about 75 meters from the line and Rick Lilliberg and John Wagenaar who had gotten on my wheel when Lee left it came around me to finish 4th and 5th place. 4th place was the best Rick has done in quite a while. Nice to see Rick back riding well. Rick use to be one of the strongest 55+ racers when he moved down the coast from Washington and won Socal Cup when he turned 60. John "Wags" Wagenaar rode very strong last year as a new 60+ rider and I can see he is going to continue this year. 
It was a very hard race and everyone seemed to be able to hang in there. Like I mentioned earlier I was really hurting early in the race but it got easier after 15 minutes. We did 23 laps on this challenging course. The average speed for the leaders was 25 mph and 24.8 mph for the bunch. To put this into perspective the 45s raced at 26 mph and the 35s averaged over 28 from what I hear. That is an amazing speed for this course. 
I mentioned that I would spotlight the oldest racer in the event and that was myself but only by a year over Don Kimper and Rick Lilliberg.
Another victory for Mark Hoffenberg and Kal Szkalak. Those guys are tough to beat. I have a link here to a dropbox link. You will have to download dropbox to view the pictures and vids of the last laps. The 6th to the last one is a very cool Go Pro in the race cam thing that Lee Romans did for the last 7 laps in the pack. It is really good. All the photos are courtesy of Maki Yamazaki. Complete results are below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Boulevard Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 28
2 26205 Lawrence Nolan Team Specialized Racing Masters 22
3 25023 Jeffrey Moreton Rokform/Rock N' Road 20
4 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 18
5 32300 Lawrence Shannon Monster Media Racing Team 16
6 15874 Steve Hensler UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
7 89462 Randy Liechty ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 12
8 106989 Pato Munoz Velo Allegro 10
9 69952 Robert Willcox UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
10 208622 Steven Farner Swami's Cycling Club 6
11 250331 Peter Dufour ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 4
12 16837 Brad House Big Orange Cycling 2
13 8667 Tony Darr CA Pools / Primal 0
14 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
15 148853 Dale Raymond Southern California Velo 0
16 338398 bernie bogard San Diego Bicycle Club 0
17 188585 David Van Wawick Celo Pacific 0

Boulevard Road Race  (Rank 2.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 28
2 46799 Josef Lemire Hammer Nutrition 22
3 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 20
4 126351 Steve Bernede 18
5 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 16
6 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 14
7 59805 jean villiot CA Pools/Primal 12
8 64127 Richard Lilleberg South Bay Wheelmen 10
9 72139 Armen Khachadourian San Diego Cyclo Vets 8
10 335674 Bud Stratton San Diego Cyclo Vets 6
11 243425 mark wisnosky ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 4
Red Trolley  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 14
2 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 11
3 47652 Bob Pellkofer Rokform/Rock N' Road 10
4 47255 Michael Birditt SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 9
5 52086 Cyril Hunte 8
6 8667 Tony Darr CA Pools / Primal 7
7 110259 Lee Romans Paramount Racing 6
8 89462 Randy Liechty ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 54084 Lothar Cramer 4
10 1254 Mark Ainslie 3
11 222523 Rick Carrera Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 2
12 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 1
13 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
14 255052 Ira Schaffer Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
15 46996 Peter Allen Rokform/Rock N' Road 0
16 58847 Paul Rodriguez UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
17 46688 Michael McConnel UC Cyclery 0
18 15760 Mark Helvie UC Cyclery 0
19 47262 Dale Luedtke Swami's Cycling Club 0

Red Trolley  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 59572 Mark Huffman UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 10
4 64127 Richard Lilleberg South Bay Wheelmen 9
5 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 8
6 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 7
7 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
8 203308 Daniel Yeager Swami's Cycling Club 5
9 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
10 51026 Theodore Lee ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 3
11 140826 Robert Mosier Bahati Foundation-CA 2
12 26089 Fred Nicolet ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 1
13 50765 Richard Roberson UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0

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