May 29th 2013 and time for the NEW Barry Wolfe Grand Prix. A criterium by any other name is still a criterium. The old course was just plain dangerous and I only did it once but the organizers dropped the 55/60+ group and it was OK with me BUT in 2012 the planners brought us back on a new course and I don't know why but I say thank you. The new course is 1 mile in length with 3 turns and wide racing lanes. Flat and very fast.
The payout was $200 for the 55s and nothing for the 60s(I heard we got medals but did anyone bother to pick one up. I think we always think of those things we use to get at Ontario.) The turnout was light but quite strong. We seem to get stronger fields in the northern part of our district. 20 55s and 12 60s were entered. The 60 field had most of the strong criterium racers except the UC Cyclery's full clan. The 55s had a full Breakaway from Cancer squad to match against Mark Hoffenberg, William Ralph, Jay Wolkoff and Mike Birditt. Throw in Minnesota's Gerald Finken and assorted other strong 55+ racers and you are talking fireworks. We were in for a real criterium race. None of the ride around and pick off preems and sprint for the finish type race. We were in for a hardcore attacking style race.
The beginning of the race was a blur. Hot and fast! No move went uncovered though. The stronger riders were setting themselves up with body blows to the peleton. The preems were very generous in that they were 2 places. I couldn't hear what they were for. I didn't hear cash and that really makes racers blood boil. Whatever the preems were racers were going for them.
|That's KK cooling his jets at the back of the pack waiting for another moment to strike.|
Did I say the early part of the race was a blur? Well the middle really was messy as well. Attacks were coming from the sides and I was hanging and trying to stay somewhere near the front so I could see what was going on. At one point I drifted a little far back and Nelson "Tail Gunner" Alaan was right next to me. I asked him what he was doing so far up. Later he told me he thought about it and went back to tail gunning.
The race played out from a break fairly late in the race that included Malcolm Hill, Mark Hoffenberg and Rino Barbagiovanni. Swami's saw this as dangerous. Gene Poyorena drove the pack with Mike Birditt on his wheel and ready to launch. KK was on him and ready to go with him. Gene got within 50 meters and Mike sprang out. KK went with him and now there were 5 off the front.
|Malcolm Hill, Mark Hoffenberg and Mike Birditt|
|KK is ahead and Malcolm flatted leaving Mark and Mike to fight for 2nd place|
|2nd chase group- Rino, Eddie, Gerald, Lothar and William|
The 5 worked together but Rino dropped off. Behind Lothar Cramer jumped out of a blocking pack and met Rino. They started to work together. Soon there were more 55+ riders. Gerald "Lakes" Finken and William "Abs" Ralph came across and joined them. Word floated around the pack that no 60+ riders were ahead. If there were, the 4 men who weren't that far ahead would have been brought back quickly. Eddie "TT" Morris of Breakaway from Cancer jumped on the backside and came across the gap to the 4 other chasing riders.
At some point within 5 laps to go KK jumped Mike Birditt and Mark Hoffenberg. Malcolm Hill sat this one out because he and KK are on the same team. KK got away. Mike let the chasing up to Mark for some reason. At 3 to go Malcolm flatted and that was it for him. KK was smoking ahead and didn't seem to be in jeopardy of being caught.
The pack was cooling its heals and waiting for a pack sprint. John Roest and Mike Marotta were doing most of the work but weren't pushing too hard. KK was still ahead and rolled across the line for ANOTHER solo victory. Not only is KK strong but way smart. Tough combo to beat but of course if you that strong it makes you look smart.
|KK crossing the line solo for the 55+ victory|
Mark tried hard to drop Mike but this wasn't going to happen though Mike indicated Mark's attack was very hard. Both Mike and Mark came around the last corner somewhat recovered with Mike on Mark and the sprint for 2nd started. Mike 2nd and Mark 3rd.
|Birdy bests Hoffy for 2nd in 55+|
The 2nd chase group was 5 strong and all 55+ racers. Lothar Cramer did most of the work on the last lap and he paid the price and everyone else sprinted by him at the last turn. William Ralph won this sprint followed in by Finken, Morris and Rino B.
|William Ralph wins the 2nd chase group sprint|
The peleton was taking its time and sizing everyone else up. Tom Buescher went to the front to lead out his teammate Mike "93" Fleming on the last lap. Tom was going strong and kind of strung things out and I was wondering if he could keep this up and the answer was no. He needed to have waited and get "93" closer to the line. What he did do was set up Mike Marotta. MM is a killer and has not only a very good sprint but a long sprint. MM took it from the last corner and really wasn't contested. It was a pretty long ways from the last corner as well and there was a breeze starting up and blowing into the racers faces coming home which made the sprint harder and longer. Kal Szkalak chased and sprinted but no cigar here. Marotta 1st and Kal 2nd. Nelson Alaan woke up long enough to put in a very good sprint. Nelson has a great top end speed and
|Peleton sprint with Marotta leading everyone in.|
passed lots of riders struggling to get home. I was one of the struggling riders. Nelson was the 1st in the pack in 55+ for 8th place. Monty Pettus racing his 2nd event this year coming off shoulder surgery placed 3rd followed in by Howard Miller and John Roest in 60+.
It was a good hard race and a very strong field. Safe and very aggressive and the strongest riders won both 55+ and 60+. Full results below. All photos are courtesy of Emily Cramer though I did crop some of them. Thank you, Emily! That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
|BWGP (Rank 1.0)|
|1||72880||Mike Marotta||Swami's Cycling Club||14|
|2||54522||Kalman Szkalak||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||11|
|3||219074||Leo Pettus||OCW/Paramount Racing||10|
|4||49424||Howard Miller||OCW/Paramount Racing||9|
|5||277180||John Roest||Southern California Velo||8|
|6||180386||John McKee||Paramount Racing||7|
|7||129293||Michael Fleming||South Bay Wheelmen||6|
|8||353290||Tim Mountford||Judgement Velo/ TBOV||5|
|9||9271||Pete Dern||Montrose Bike Shop- CW Builders||4|
|10||257503||Philip Walters||Encino Velo Cycling Club||3|
|11||403798||Barry Miller||Conejo Valley Cyclists||2|
|Total # of riders||12|
|BWGP (Rank 1.0)|
|1||48434||Keith Ketterer||Breakaway from Cancer Masters||14|
|2||47255||Michael Birditt||SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team||11|
|3||45461||Mark Hoffenberg||Rokform/Rock N' Road||10|
|4||125834||William Ralph||Rokform/Rock N' Road||9|
|5||49239||Gerald Finken||St Paul Bicycle Racing Club||8|
|6||49080||Eddie Morris||Breakaway from Cancer Masters||7|
|6||49110||Rino Barbagiovanni||Santa Clarita Velo||7|
|8||64439||Nelson Alaan||Lightning Velo||5|
|9||38811||Jay Wolkoff||Radsport Cycling Team||4|
|10||110259||Lee Romans||Paramount Racing||3|
|11||49472||John Platero||FRANCO Bicycles Racing||2|
|12||46255||Alex Collins||UC Cyclery/JW Floors||1|
|13||16360||Fred Hoblit||Swami's Cycling Club||0|
|14||177958||Kevin Ryan||METALMTN Cycling||0|
|15||222764||Thomas Buescher||South Bay Wheelmen||0|
|16||177283||Eugene Poyorena||Swami's Cycling Club||0|
|Total # of riders||20|