Friday, April 5, 2013


By John McKee

45 riders showed up at Ontario # 3 at the 7 corner Grand Prix course. 28 55s and 17 60s including one woman who we welcome racing with us. 2 category 5 riders did show up. This has been a buzz issue for weeks with 55/60+ racers. Fortunately for everyone the riders blended in without a problem. I have to say this was one of the least strong fields I have seen this year in our races. Rokform and UC Cyclery were light with riders. Rokform had zero and UC Cyclery was without Kal Szkalak the one man 60+ wrecking crew. Swami's was on the fence but decided to come. Radsport had Jay Wolkoff and Wayne Rosenkrantz but not Bruce Hartley. I was happy to see Rino Barbagiovanni back and racing with us after a layoff from a bad crash. Always good to see riders get back racing after an injury. So many don't make it back for lots of reasons.
The weather was good for this time of year and 100 times better than Ontario # 2. O #2 had gale force winds that deterred many riders like myself. I was thinking without Kal and Mike Marotta in 60+ I would have to look after a few other strong 60+ riders like Wayne Rosenkrantz, John Roest, Tom Reilly, John Wagenaar and Mike Fleming who I have all beaten before but would I this day. The total purse was $200 for 6 places for a mixed result. OBVIOUSLY  favors the younger stronger 55+ riders. The downside to this race was there was no one there to take pictures. I love to insert pictures in my blog.
I had some problems with Sciatica coming into the race and wasn't on full power in my right foot  so I figured to play a counter game rather than be aggressive. In 55+ Mike Birditt was the odds on favorite. Who could challenge him? We were called to the line by official John Allen. A few instructions were given and we were off. The driving force at this race would be primes. Most are lets say were... not much. There were some tires and a few others things that were useful but Reggie Jones won a T shirt in large that was several sizes too small for our former basketball player.
Ray is looking for another prime prize for 55/60+ racers
The opening laps came and went uneventfully. A few spurts and the like but nothing that really made a difference in the race. "Blue Boy" always likes to pick things up at the beginning of races and that is always appreciated. "Blue Boy" has been wears a white jersey now but I can't call him "White Boy" now can I. His name is Lothar Cramer and he rides unattached. Just a few years ago USAC tried to promote the racing teams and asked promoters to charge unattached riders a $5 surcharge but no one does any more.
We might as well get to it. The pivotal part of the race. The series point prime sprint. This always gets everyone riled up. Jay Wolkoff was leading Wayne Rosenkrantz around. I was "stalking" them. I don't usually go for any primes but had this in the back of my mind. I was watching Wayne but was on Mike Birditt's wheel. Everyone seem to let me go where I wanted in this race. I expected Wayne to take off but Mike opened it up and Wayne just sat there. "Big John" Roest went with a small group that included Cyril Hunte and Mike McConnell. The sprint took this small group away from the pack. I just sat there. My leg problem was more in my head. Wayne and Jay didn't chase or close the gap. I think most people thought that it would come back together. Mike Birditt figured Jay would counter off the prime sprint but it was Mike McConnell. The small group starting from there.
The break group got going and with 2 major teams in the break like Swami's and SC Velo. John Roest had just joined SC Velo and Cyril has been a member for a short time. I wasn't even thinking that they were members. Citrus Valley Velo tried to pull but didn't have the horse power. Lothar Cramer came to the front and tried. Gene Poyorena and Fred Hoblitt of Swami's went to the front to mess things up. I was watching Gene and thinking "Do riders actually read my blog??". Gene did exactly what I was talking about at a prior race. He got on the guy chasing and created a small gap. Riders were scratching their heads. Go around me lads!
The pack got pretty close the next time coming toward the start/finish line and Dale Luedtke doing what an experienced veteran would do jumped hard but way way on the left side of the road. As you know the roads are wide at Ontario and everyone let him go. I just sat there and watched thinking "Damn". We really missed Bruce Hartley and Cleave Law. Bruce would have buried himself to chase or tried to go across himself. Cleave would have worked for his teammate "Tailgunner" Alann. Jay Wolkoff was the strongest rider by far left in the pack but he figured to let the break group be. They made the right move so they deserved to be where they were.
In the break group Cyril had a flat tire. He got back in at some point. "Big John" was pulling hard and as most know he is very strong. Mike and Mike were pulling through but maybe Mike C. was getting a little  tired going into the last 3 laps. Cyril was thinking to soft pedal with 3 laps to go but was harassed into taking appropriate pulls. John Roest just had to stay away to win the 60+ race though the purse was 6 deep mixed. I just think John wanted to win the 60+ category. The purse would be a bonus. Dale was tired from coming across so he just sat in.
The pack looked like it was resigned to racing for 6th place overall and 2nd in 60+. I started following Jay Wokoff. The break group was still working together but the last lap "Big John" took 1/2 to 3/4 of the pulling. He knew victory was his if they stayed away. Birdy was planning his sprint program for the overall win and the 55+ victory. Right after the turn Mike Birditt hit it hard and created a gap. Mike looked back and soft pedaled a bit and saw Cyril Hunte making a run at him so Mike hit it again. Mike won the overall and 55+ fairly easily. Cyril was 2nd with Dale and Mike McConnell following in. "Big John" Roest rolled in for the 60+ victory.
With one lap to go in the peleton the speed was quite slow. Jay Wolkoff decided to jump the field at turn one. Caught me by total surprise but if you think about it, why not make a move like that. If Jay gets a gap, he should be able to maintain right to the house. Fred Hoblit wasn't having anything of it and gave everything he had left to chase. Fred told me earlier that he was feeling lousy. I decided to chase as well. I thought if I could get aboard this train that I could place 2nd. Fred caught Jay somewhere near the end  between turn one and two and I caught on soon there after. After we turned the corner Alex Collins came aboard. No one wanted to pull through or could actually at that point. Jay threw in the towel and the pack caught on before the next corner. Fred was finished but Alex, Jay and I tried to sit in and recover. The pace wasn't bad again so recovery was coming but slowly. Between turn 5 and 6 "Tailgunner" Alaan came to life and went all in. Nelson has a good acceleration so he was going solo pretty soon. Everyone else reacted and the finish game so on. I kept an eye on Wayne and hoped for the best. We rounded the last corner and Nelson was going to come in fairly easily for the bunch sprint win and the last paying spot. Ontario pays $200 to the 1st 6 across the line whichever cat they are. I have been lobbying for a separate purse for 60s but no luck here.  Nelson's top speed was 34.5 mph which isn't bad but with a last corner sling shot this is typically a little slow here. I jumped out of the saddle but had nothing. Dan Valentin showed his cycling strength and came across the line after Nelson for 6th place in 55+. Wayne Rosenkrantz rolled across the line for 2nd in 60+. Tom Reilly blew by me for 3rd place in 60. I finished 4th and Mike Fleming took 5th.
There was a snafu in the results for 60s. I stayed to get the results though I didn't do the 50+ race which I hear was very fast out of the blocks. The 1st list on the board was the combined result so there could be a payout. The separate results were a bit slow in coming but there are lots of categories finishing in the morning with all the junior categories. Anyway the 55 results came out and were fine but the 60 results left off Reilly, McKee and Fleming. I got them changed and took away a hard copy of all the results and posted them on my 55/60+ bike racing facebook page. Hint, hint.... Lol. The 60+ results that came out on the SCNCA website were the pre corrected ones. A few emails to Eric Smith and Larry Shannon and everything was corrected. No worries there.
This race was a bit different than some we have had but that is what makes it interesting. Changing situations and riders reacting to what is happening and what they think is happening. One thing though is I saw everyone stay within there comfort zone including me. That is probably not a good thing. The oldest rider to race was Michael Edwards. I was the 1st 65+ racer across the line. Sorry there weren't any photos. Complete 55 and 60+ results are below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Ontario 3  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 14
2 30596 Wayne Rosenkrantz Pinnaclife Racing Team 11
3 155459 Thomas Reilly Santa Clarita Velo 10
4 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 9
5 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 8
6 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 7
7 243425 Mark Wisnosky ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 6
8 7677 Jim Cooke CA Pools / Primal 5
9 9271 Pete Dern Montrose Bike Shop- CW Builders 4
10 61193 John Wagenaar UC Cyclery/JW Floors 3
11 180041 Angela Wimberly Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 2
12 126668 Joey Valdivia UC Cyclery/JW Floors 1
13 254258 Hugh Lothrop 0
14 24050 Steve Mera Citrus Valley Velo 0
15 366450 Joseph Deem Citrus Valley Velo 0
16 50406 Michael Edwards Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 0
17 266647 Allen Kizuka Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 0
Total # of riders 17      

Ontario 3  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 14
2 52086 Cyril Hunte Southern California Velo 11
3 47262 Dale Luedtke SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 10
4 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 9
5 64439 Nelson Alaan Lightning Velo 8
6 36299 Daniel Valentin Citrus Valley Velo 7
7 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 6
8 38811 Jay Wolkoff Radsport Cycling Team 5
9 15625 Demi Hechanova Southern California Velo 4
10 104199 Mark Parra Team Redlands 3
11 202041 Mark Planellas Southern California Velo 2
12 58799 John Ward Citrus Valley Velo 1
13 148853 Dale Raymond Southern California Velo 0
14 54084 Lothar Cramer 0
15 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
16 46255 Alex Collins UC Cyclery/JW Floors 0
17 187428 Michael Evans 0
18 94345 Gary Jones Citrus Valley Velo 0
19 98996 Mark Sauer Cycles Veloce 0
20 167453 Bob Estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
21 178640 Reginald Jones Lightning Velo 0
22 45552 Douglas Knox TIME - Velo Pasadena Team 0
23 34753 Rick Swanson Southern California Velo 0
24 51400 Mark Rich Southern California Velo 0
25 16360 Fred Hoblit Swami's Cycling Club 0
Total # of riders 28    

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