Wednesday, July 10, 2013


By John McKee

Most of you should have read about the 805 weekend from Part 1 of my story. Part 2 will be about the race in Lompoc on Sunday June 30th, 2013. The criterium is called Valley of the Flowers. It is the new part of the 805 weekend. Last year there was just the Saturday race in Buelton. The City of Lompoc threw down some money as they saw this race as a benefit to the area besides the sponsorship of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The Lompoc Police Fountain also came in for this event. The course for this event is rather unique and fun. It is 1.1 mile figure 8 shaped loop with 6 right-hand and 2 left-hand turns. It is flat and has 600 meters to the line from the last corner.
55/60+ racers lined up for the start of another race but the 1st race in Lompoc.
There were 24 55/60+ racers that showed up on Sunday in Lompoc. 13 55s and 11 60s. One off the total from Buelton. The race time was the same 8 am. We got one practice lap and then we were off. It took a bit to get the feel of the course. It was fun but bumpy in a lot of spots and you had better turn pretty sharp at turn 5 because the barrier felt close when you took that corner at speed.
Gerald Finken and Brad House starting things off.

Kim Bleth early in the race showing what good form he had.
The early action was started by Gerald Finken and Brad House. I don't think Brad was "packing" or at least I hope he wasn't. Just kidding, Brad. Kim Bleth was all over this and as you will see this was Kim's race to shine.
Kim Bleth got away fairly early by himself. Kim looked very strong. Every time Malcolm would go to chase Mark Hoffenberg would be right on his wheel. This was a little frustrating to Malcolm but that is just racing. Malcolm knew if he kept going and only Mark was with him he would be out numbered 2 to 1. Malcolm didn't seem to like that idea.
Kim Bleth on his 1st break attempt.
There was a lot of churning in the pack. Everyone knew or at least thought that we were racing for 50 minutes which is 10 minutes longer than we usually do. A number of riders came out to chase Kim and included John Rubcic, Gerald Finken, Alex Collins and Mike Marotta. John Rubcic seemed to be UCC's rider to chase. At one point in the race Paul Rodiguez looked around and saw all the white and green made a comment in frustration about the lack of activity on his team.
Kim was out there for a number of laps and was brought back. Mark Hoffenberg then made the race

Malcolm Hill putting the chase on Kim Bleth's 1st break attempt. Paul Rodiguez is following.

hard and really worked it. There were a few splits in the group of racers and a few 60+ riders were off the back. Always sorry to see this since they are discouraged from racing more and other 60+ riders see this and don't want to come out and take the chance of getting dropped themselves.
The race was very hot and cold. Many hard sections where the pressure was on and everyone was lined out and there might be a break in the group here and there but we always came back together except for Kim Bleth and he was back in the after his 1st break attempt.
Late in the race and even before Kim was thinking of jumping the field solo again Mark Hoffenberg coaxed Kim into making another go of it. Kim got a gap again. The second time there didn't seem to be the effort to bring him back. Malcolm tried but always had Mark on his wheel.
Mark Hoffenberg making it hard on the pack. You can see everyone is lined out.
Like I mentioned we were suppose to have 50 minutes to race but we didn't get 50 minutes. I looked at my watch at one point and saw we had raced for a little over 30 minutes and figured we had a long ways to go. We actually got somewhere between 42 and 44 minutes depending on who you talked to.
The lap cards came up and they were held by hand quietly on the rail underneath the officials and announcers stand. They started at 6 to go. Few people saw the cards. The announcer was very busy talking about the race but I never heard him say anything about the laps to go. Others heard him that were up front. I was further back.
Kim Bleth on his last solo break attempt.

Kim Bleth was away for the last number of laps and there didn't seem to be the urge to chase Kim. About half the riders were 60 and didn't care that he was away. The last lap came and the bell was rung when Kim came by and if the guys up front heard it, I certainly didn't where I was and neither did Paul Rodiguez, Gerald Finken or Steve Hensler. Mike Marotta was further up then I was and happen to look up when he came to the line and saw the one lap to go card. Game on!
The last lap did get going pretty fast. I didn't know why but other laps during the day were hard. When we turned the last corner for the sprint home I saw my teammate Monty Pettus start his sprint. I thought he must be going for  a prime prize.
Kim Bleth held off the field and won the 55+ category by about 35 meters. Great job my Kim. Mark Hoffenberg used his great sprint to best the field and get 2nd in 55+ with a high speed of 35.3 mph which wasn't near as fast as the day before but that was a downhill sprint. The 60+ race was actually more competitive than the 55 considering 1 thru 3. 1 thru 3 in 60+ was pretty close. Kal Szkalak won with Mike Marotta barely taking 2nd over John Rubcic.  Malcolm Hill then rolled across for 3rd in 55+ with Monty Pettus nipping at his heals for 4th in 60+. Fred Hoblit was 4th in 55+ followed in by Alex Collins and Brad House. Paul Rodiguez and I rolled in for 5th and 6th in 60+ not even knowing the race was ending. Lol. It was our fault. I was upset right after the race but it was our responsibility to look for the lap cards. I got use to the announcers making a big deal about the laps to go but that isn't always the case.
Kim Bleth winning the race. "Where are you guys?"

Mark Hoffenberg taking 2nd in 55+ and acknowledging that his teammate had won.

Kal Szkalak winning the 60+ category with Mike Marotta just beating John Rubic for 2nd in 60+.

Malcolm Hill coming toward the line for 3rd in 55+ and Monty Pettus blocked out getting 4th in 60+.

You can see Malcolm having crossed the line just ahead of Monty Pettus. Fred Hoblit is coming toward the line.
Overall this is a great event and really fun. I hope it grows in the future. I know Mike Hecker wants to move it up on the calendar to avoid the heat in Buelton. We shall see later about that. Rokform proved to be the strongest 55+ team winning each day which UC Cyclery proved to be the strongest 60+ team also winning each day. Both teams won with different riders as well which is way cool. The average speed was a slow 24.4 mph but there were a lot of turns and a small field. Complete results are below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
55+ winners from the Rokform team- Mark won at Buelton and Kim won at Lompoc.

Valley of Flowers  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
PlaceLicenseNameTeamSoCal Points
149191Kim BlethRokform/Rock N' Road14
245461Mark HoffenbergRokform/Rock N' Road11
3156650Malcolm HillBreakaway from Cancer Masters10
416360Fred HoblitSwami's Cycling Club9
546255Alex CollinsUC Cyclery/JW Floors8
616837Brad HouseBig Orange Cycling7
749239Gerald FinkenSt Paul Bicycle Racing Club6
815874Steve HenslerUC Cyclery/JW Floors5
9131303Mark LukePlatinum Performance Cycling Team4
1049110Rino BarbagiovanniSanta Clarita Velo3
1145552Douglas KnoxTIME - Velo Pasadena Team2
1293812Donald DenegalVelo Allegro1
Total # of riders13 

Valley of Flowers  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
PlaceLicenseNameTeamSoCal Points
154522Kalman SzkalakUC Cyclery/JW Floors14
272880Mike MarottaSwami's Cycling Club11
348760John RubcicUC Cyclery/JW Floors10
4219074Leo PettusOCW/Paramount Racing9
558847Paul RodriguezUC Cyclery/JW Floors8
6180386John McKeeParamount Racing7
749424Howard MillerOCW/Paramount Racing6
8195498Donald KimperUC Cyclery/JW Floors5
9126668Joey ValdiviaUC Cyclery/JW Floors4
103793Raphael Gomez3
Total # of riders11  

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