Thursday, May 30, 2013


By John McKee

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.
Their off!

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.
Former Olympic racer Tim Mountford on the far side of Mike Birditt. Tim raced in the match sprints in 1964(he was pretty young then-18) & 1968. Tim started racing again in 2012 and looked stronger this year at 67. Great to have you out there, Tim! Somebody older than me by a few months!

That's KK cooling his jets at the back of the pack waiting for another moment to strike.
The attacking place was right after the start/finish line. Breakaway from Cancer was the most active looking for a grouping that DIDN'T include Mark Hoffenberg. Those bums! Mike Birditt was also active. Looking at any move as maybe the one that gets away. Most of the rest of the racers would react to the chases making the race very surgie if that is a word. My wife says it's not but that's ok. You get the idea. Hard efforts and this was having an affect of the health and well being of the peleton. They were being worn down rather quickly. No 60s seemed active except John Roest but he was marked by other 60s like myself. Grab onto "Big" John's wheel and with his height it is a great draft. Cyril Hunte had a flat half way through the race and got back in after a change but didn't have it after that and pulled out.
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)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
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)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
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
7 54084 Lothar Cramer 6
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    

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