Friday, July 26, 2013


By John McKee

The last time we were at Ontario it was the Masters Championship and there was a great turnout. Especially in 55+. July 21, 2013 and the turnout of 55 and 60+ racers was down quite a bit. I guess some are tired of Ontario while a few like Mike Birditt(racing) and Monty Pettus(volunteering) were at SCNCA track championship at the Stub Hub Center(formerly known as ADT) in Carson, Ca. 16 55 racers showed up compared to 44 at the championship the prior race at Ontario. In 60+ there were 15 vs the 29 at the championship so obviously the 55s dropped out at a greater rate than the 60s. The weather was overcast with a hint of rain though it was July. It felt humid and the warm up felt like you were in a sauna on the trainer. There were no wives there that I could see. We use to see lots of wives at Ontario but they put the snooze back in practice and all decided to pass on our race.
The start of the Ontario race. Photo courtesy of Richard Ahn
We came to the line at the new 2013 time of 8:05 am. Not bad and definitely better than the 7:35 am of years past. Not sure why some of the juniors get to race after us though but maybe to split the 55/60 race and the 50+ race. In years past we use to do the 55, 50 and 45 in a row and many of us did all 3 including myself. Oh those were the days. LOL! I believe Pags use to do that as well and he was in his late 60s at the time.
We went off without a jackrabbit start or racer. We went pretty easy for a little over a lap and then Brad House and John Roest went to the whip and rolled off the front. They got a gap and I was thinking of the last 55/60+ race in Carson and JR and Bob Pellkofer got away early and lapped the field. JR is 60 and I didn't figure this was a good thing at Ontario so I jumped by Rick Swanson who is John Roest's teammate. I got out of the saddle and went hard to try and reach the twosome and maybe get aboard a ship leaving  port.
Kal seemed to be sleeping. I got 2/3 the way there and hit the red line. Ran out of gas! I just maintained my speed then waiting for the pack to catch me. Bruce Hartley flew by me and I thought wow he is going good but he also ran out of gas the pack was right on his heels anyway. The result of all this was a narrowing of the gap to the twosome and they threw in the towel. I had to hide in the pack and get my heartrate down.
Considering the lack of star power in the field the race was pretty lively and hard or so it seemed to me. I had just got back from a vacation in Lone Tree, Colo. and did some mountain biking there but lost some of my sharpness that I had at the last Ontario race but was fresh.

Please excuse the blatant inclusion of family pictures in my race story. I need an excuse for not doing that well at Ontario. From L to R- my wife Alicia, grandson Jonathan and myself

My Son in Law Robert Woolley II, my daughter Amanda Woolley,  my wife Alicia, and Jonathan
Got feet in the Platte River

Jonathan with his buddy Nemo   

Jonathan's dad's off road motorcycle needed washing. Amanda is the Star Wars fan(shirt)

Jonathan in his backyard with a Florida Gator shirt(I am the Gator fan)

I was looking at my heart rate and it was pretty high which confirmed my freshness but I knew I wouldn't be sharp and have the snap I needed at the end or at least thought that. We kept riding around and around and around. I was surprised at the pace considering the field size but was able to get my heart rate down. 
Mike "sub racer" McConnell(Did you know Mike use to race 2 man subs in the ocean near Disney World in Florida. Mike was the 'cyclist' and the other person was the driver.) was always looking for an opportunity to get away with a small group of riders and was watchful at the front.
The primes came and went with none of them resulting in a break group. The prime came for Ontario points. Mike Birditt is the leader in 55+ but wasn't there so Cyril Hunte decided to go for it. John Roest was the leader in 60+ so I got on his wheel because I was 3rd in the 60+ category. Fred Hoblit hit it early and got the pace up with a long way to go. 4 corners to go to be precise. I was wondering whether I could keep this up but the pace hung there at a manageable level. Coming toward the line Cyril was in the lead and no 55 was going to contest him. JR was 2nd and since I was on his wheel I came around him but with a minimum of effort. I knew a counter might come and this has been a pivotal part of the race in the past. Cyril got the 55 points and I got the 60 points. JR waved to Cyril to go. JR came by me as did a few other riders but I got in the train. I didn't want it the leave the depot without me. The pace was kept up for a while and I was hurting a little but the pressure was lightened up. I needed to get my heart rate down again but there weren't many lulls in the remainder of the race. 5 laps to go came and the standard cards came up. I always listen for Ralph and what he has to say when we come by. He always mentioned the laps to go and I heard him say 5 laps to go and saw the card. I felt somewhat relieved that at least at this race I would know when the race was going to end unlike at Lompoc.
I think everyone knew this was going to be a bunch sprint except maybe the "sub racer". He hit it hard with 2 to go and I was on his wheel. He flicked his arm to signal for someone else to pull though. He looked under his arm to see who was behind him and saw me shaking my head no. No use killing myself pulling everyone else around to the bell lap. Mike is strong and kept the pace up for quite a while.

We had a shark in our midst and didn't know it
 The bell lap came I looked for Kal's wheel. There was another guy in an Alliance jersey that also wanted Kal's wheel and I didn't know who it was. He was a "little" wider than I am so I had no chance getting the wheel. The rider was Gibby "Shark" Hatton. This was one of his 1st races in 55+ though he is 57 this year. From now on I will know that his wheel is also a good one. I filtered backward and saw John Roest and Howard Miller ahead of me. Both 60+ racers though Howard is a teammate of mine. I definitely wanted JR though. JR and I are very close in Socal Cup points and he is the leader as mentioned earlier in the Ontario series points. We rounded the last corner and it was very crowded with 55s everywhere. Fred Hoblit had done a leadout and was dying. I came inside him and knew it was going to be tight but I wasn't going to use my brakes or even stop pedaling. Bruce Hartley said he cut me some slack on my other side. I rode in the wave of 55s and knew many would be dying. I saw JR on my right and in front of me. Howard was ahead of me and more directly so. Kal Szkalak was way ahead with the "Shark".
Gibby Hatton took the race in 55+ and the overall win since Ontario only pays out with an overall purse. Kal was the 2nd rider across the line and the 1st 60+ rider. Gibby came back later and placed 2nd in the 50+ category.
An old racing picture that posted to my 55/60 bike racing facebook page with Gibby Hatton on the left.
Dale Luedtke loves the Ontario course and came across for 2nd in 55+ followed in by Ricky Shorts and Cyril Hunte. All 55+. I started my sprint on the left side to get around the standard cadre of dying 55+ racers. I saw I was gaining on JR and kept the pressure on the pedals while out of the saddle. I started to tie up about 30 to 40 meters from the line and stopped accelerating. John Roest held me off by about 12 inches with Howard Miller between us though I didn't see him. There were other 55s around us. John Roest was 2nd in 60+ with Howard 3rd and myself a somewhat disappointing 4th. My top end speed was decent for Ontario at 36.8 mph though not near Nelson Alaan's max speed of 40 mph. Nelson placed 5th in 55+ because he started so far back. David "I don't like to train or race" Lang was very close to me for 5th in 60+.
It was a fun hard race with an average speed on around 25.4 mph which wasn't bad for the field size. I hope Gibby will race with us more from now on. Complete results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Ontario 5  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 54522 Kalman Szkalak UC Cyclery/JW Floors 14
2 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 11
3 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 10
4 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 9
5 107852 David Lang DARE 8
6 3793 Raphael Gomez 7
7 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 6
8 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 254258 Hugh Lothrop 4
10 140826 Robert Mosier Bahati Foundation-CA 3
11 9271 Pete Dern Montrose Bike Shop- CW Builders 2
12 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 1
13 48245 Gary Westerfield Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
14 238828 Phillip Richards Citrus Valley Velo 0
15 50406 Michael Edwards Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21 0
Total # of riders 15    

Ontario 5  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 61128 Gilbert Hatton Team Alliance Environmental 14
2 47262 Dale Luedtke SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 11
3 52251 Ricky Shorts Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 10
4 52086 Cyril Hunte Southern California Velo 9
5 64439 Nelson Alaan Lightning Velo 8
6 45431 Bruce Hartley Radsport Cycling Team 7
7 36299 Daniel Valentin Citrus Valley Velo 6
8 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 5
9 34753 Rick Swanson Southern California Velo 4
10 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 3
11 16837 Brad House Big Orange Cycling 2
12 45552 Douglas Knox TIME - Velo Pasadena Team 1
13 167453 Bob Estupinan Citrus Valley Velo 0
14 16360 Fred Hoblit Swami's Cycling Club 0
15 15625 Demi Hechanova Southern California Velo 0
16 177283 Eugene Poyorena Swami's Cycling Club 0
Total # of riders 16    

1 comment:

  1. Gibby was at the masters crit champs and finished 9th in the 55+...still good to see him again.