Thursday, May 9, 2013


By John McKee

It's the first Saturday in May and time for Barrio Logan. May 4th, 2013 is the date of the 17th annual Bario Logan Grand Prix. This weekend BLGP had to buck the giant NRC event, the Dana Point GP.
Unfortunately many racers would forego BLGP and just do DPGP. Barrio Logan is on a very cool course which it tough and fun all wrapped into one. Add some really bad pavement in areas and the course is quite a challenge and you can see breaks work here where they might not any where else. Bike handling is important here. Flying through the corners into the next leg WITHOUT using your brakes is a learned skill in a group but important to conserve energy. If you are too far back in a group you have no choose but to brake but a course like this you want to fly through the corners and into the next leg. There are 8 corners with 2 of them left handers in a short course. Quite fun actually!
Peter Pountney
The 2013 BLGP 55/60+ race is being sponsored by the Peter Pountney family. They donated $1,000 to be put into the 55 and 60+ categories. Peter was a long time SDBC member. Peter starting racing for SDBC as a junior and won the State Junior Championship at the 1965 Rose Bowl Race. Peter got married in 1969, started a family in 1976 and developed a successful engineering company. Peter stopped racing but continued to ride his bike when he could and did many many SDBC club riders with the  thought of getting back into racing some day. Peter was a big supporter of the Barrio Logan race. Sadly Peter passed away August 16th, 2012 at the age of 66. This really hits home since I am 66.
The sign ups were amazingly low in 55+ but fair in 60+.  There would be a 55+ category at DPGP but NO 60+ category. Unless 60+ riders race more often there will be no inclusion in big events like DPGP but BLGP has a better handle on categories that make for a well rounded event that racers of all ages have a chance to compete. The 55/60+ racers came to the line at 7:50 am after a spirited cat 5 race. No crash there. Awesome! Can't say the same for the cat 4 race which was after the 55/60+ race. You should be able to take that last corner in a sprint without going into the hay bales but the cat 4s piled up there. They were the leading riders too!
Yours truly with Peter's family. Those are Peter's Shimano jerseys from the 1960s. Photo courtesy of unknown person using my camera. Thanks though!
There were a few former winners of this event in the pack ready to race. Kal Szkalak won the 55+ race in 2012 and would be racing 60+ in 2013. Rick Swanson won 55+ in 2011 and I won 60+ in 2011. John Rubcic won 60+ in 2012 which was his 6th win at BLGP. The 2013 BLGP would be an attempt for "Rocket Boy" to win an unprecedented 7th time! Seems like UCC would work toward this goal. Wouldn't you think?
We were off and Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer led us around. In fact he got a gap because that bum UC Cyclery rider Don Kimper starting blocking because there were 2 UCC rider with Lothar(Lothar changed course at DPGP and wore a orange jersey. He really stood out). Don't know what got ahold of me but I started a spirited chase on the downhill leg. I pulled over going uphill and let someone else have some fun. Lothar doesn't have 40 minute "legs" at this time so everyone was all back together.
Mike Birditt takes up the early chase.  Our new Canon Rebel is awesome. I left it on a commuter train at the Denver Airport but it was quickly turned in and I got it back without my wife knowing. She doesn't read my blog so don't tell her. It's our secret. Lol. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
The next move was taken by UC Cyclery but this like almost everything they did ended in disaster. They have got to know the players and what they can do before racing with success. Rick Roberson and Mark Helvie went off the front and took "Big John" Roest with them.
The dangerous "Rouleur" John Roest with Mark Helvie and Rick Roberson. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
Mark Helvie used a lot of energy getting away. Rick dropped off and then "Big John" showed his stuff. His stuff is really strong riding. To the point that he dropped Mark. This wasn't a charity ride. Mark went too deep to get away and paid the price but the paying went way down the line. It wasn't just Mark's fault. The club should have chased down their own riders and waited for a better mix. Roest was too much of a threat to "Rocket Boy".  Once away "Big John" was ALL IN!
Early race action. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
Even with Roest away they still had Szkalak, Rubcic, Collins and Rodiguez to chase but Kal jumped a couple to times which caused a reaction but sustained effort. I know its a lot easier to do Monday morning quarterbacking but the successful teams do it on the road and make those split second decisions that make or break a race.
Roest with Helvie. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.

"Blue Boy" is pretty much solo in chasing Roest. Nothing in it for Birditt to chase. He is 55+.  Rick Swanson is on the same team as Roest. No help there. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
With Roest away field setting up for prime sprint for $80. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
Mid race picture. Birditt, McKee and Rubcic. Photo courtesy of Jinna Thomas. Jinna took 6,000 pictures of the race and was there all day. Thank you, Jinna. Jinna is at turn 2 here and sticking out a bit. I was worried she might get pegged. 
The field whiled away its race time sprinting for primes.  I knew this was where a break could occur and stayed close to Birditt's wheel on the $80 prime. I thought after Mike B. won the prime sprint that Mike McConnell would push it but wisely he didn't and "Rocket Boy" wouldn't want me away. "Blue Boy" is a natural born chaser so it wasn't going to happen. 
After a time Kal Szkalak figured a concerted team effort wasn't in the cards. He had tried to get away for a solo chase but was chased down. The 3rd time he got away. I was caught flat footed too far back to get on him. Kal got a gap and was off on a hopeless chase of the race leader.
"Big John" Roest rolling it on his own. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
Kal Szkalak on a solo chase of the race leader. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
OK. The lap cards come up and 2 60+ riders are away. John Roest comes to the front of the pack with one lap to go. Roest took the lead which was perfect for Mike Birditt. I got my lap cards mixed up but
John Roest to the front with one lap to go. Mike B. is ready. I got my laps mixed up and was caught back but was reacting. Photo courtesy of Lisa McKee.
came up and Lothar was on John Rubcic and I asked "Blue Boy" if I could have his wheel and he let me in. Thanks Lothar Cramer. The speed was medium fast so no one came forward to take up the pace and or tried to jump it to the line. Roest, Birditt, Rubcic and myself. Not sure who was behind me. About 2/3 the way up the hill Birditt jumped. He figured no one could contest from that point and he was right. He was first to the line with Rubcic right behind him. Birditt won the 55+ but "Rocket Boy" was 3rd in 60+. Roest was the winner and Kal was 2nd being between Roest and the peleton.
The remainder of the race finish is a little fuzzy. My wife's camera came up with memory card full after turning on the video mode. 3 seconds into the vid it says memory full and here comes Birditt. Lol. I don't know if any one else took photos or knows. I saw Paul Rodiguez on my right sprinting for home and came by him. I think Paul sat up for I don't know what reason. Rick Swanson and again I don't know where I was compared to Rick at he finish. Rick took his foot a little off the gas and Alex Collins comes by him for 3rd place in 55+ and the last podium spot. It was a good hard race. UCC didn't exactly race the smartest race I have ever seen. They seemed so focused on taking it out of Mike Birditt.  Mike had 15 surges on his power meter later when he downloaded it. Other than the prime sprints they were taking it too him but he handled everything they threw at him with ease. They should have focused on John Rubcic. Focus, focus!
It was a shame we didn't get a better turnout. A number of riders are injuried at this time and a few had to work on Saturday(hospital and Post Office). I hope this low turnout is a wake up call to racers because the races we take for granted may end. Promoters can duplicate younger racers like at DPGP and do say 35 3/4 or 40 4/5 or whatever and get more riders but reduce the race opportunities to all riders that would include us. Yes, we could race down and finish 20th or 40th or whatever but id you want the chance to really compete you HAVE TO SHOW UP. You guys have to come out more often or we will lose the opportunity to race. Podium pics and full results are below.
55+ 1st podium - Birditt 1 & Collins 3. Photo courtesy of John McKee.

2nd 55+ podium- McConnell 2 & Birditt1. Mike C. was out looking for hammers and didn't make it to the 1st podium. He has a hammer in his back pocket in the picture. He had a beauty with a wooden handle and a head that was about to come off. Photo courtesy of John McKee.
60+ podium- Roest 1 & Rubcic 3. Photo courtesy of John McKee.

Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
PlaceLicenseNameTeamSoCal Points
147255Michael BirdittSKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team14
223303Michael McConnellUC Cyclery/JW Floors11
346255Alex CollinsUC Cyclery/JW Floors10
454084Lothar Cramer9
534753Rick SwansonSouthern California Velo8
615760Mark HelvieUC Cyclery/JW Floors7
750302Richard LeeSan Diego Cyclo Vets6
8282806Ralph Rivas5
Total # of riders8

Barrio Logan Grand Prix  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
PlaceLicenseNameTeamSoCal Points
1277180John RoestSouthern California Velo14
254522Kalman SzkalakUC Cyclery/JW Floors11
348760John RubcicUC Cyclery/JW Floors10
4180386John McKeeParamount Racing9
558847Paul RodriguezUC Cyclery/JW Floors8
626089Fred NicoletACQUA AL 2/SDBC7
761193John WagenaarUC Cyclery/JW Floors6
851026Theodore LeeACQUA AL 2/SDBC5
972139Armen KhachadourianSan Diego Cyclo Vets4
10195498Donald KimperUC Cyclery/JW Floors3
11228631James SwigartACQUA AL 2/SDBC2
1250765Richard RobersonUC Cyclery/JW Floors1
13126668Joey ValdiviaUC Cyclery/JW Floors0
Total # of riders13

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