Thursday, August 15, 2013


By John McKee

August 11th, 2013 was the date for the Torrance Criterium. This is the 1st time the 55 and 60+ racers have had a cash purse. Races in the past have been paid with merchandise. The host team is the Peninsula Cycle Club. This is the 17th year for the Torrance Criterium though it is fairly new to the Telo course. The Telo course is used Tuesday evenings for criterium practice for those in the South Bay area that wish to do a El Dorado or Hughes Park type midweek race type effort.
This year as mentioned earlier the 55s and 60s are being paid cash in the amount of $200 each. Thank you!
The category sponsor is the Harmonic Life Center which is a full service chiropractic office in San Pedro. The Torrance Criterium is the week after the Brentwood race which is a very tough act to follow. The head count was bound to fall off and it did. The race was early at 7:35 am vs prime time at Brentwood and that hurt. There were a total of 30 riders broken down to 16 55s and 14 60s. One of our smallest fields of the year and definitely the smallest for a $400 payout.
The Peninsula Cycle Club has stayed in Torrance for the 17 years. The city is named after a early 20th century developer by the name of Jared Sidney Torrance. Mr. Torrance had the vision of a mixed use industrial/residential. Torrance and other investors purchased an old Spanish Land Grant and had a planned community designed in 1912. The city was incorporated in 1921. Torrance has seen a few large aerospace companies come and go but is the USA headquarters for Toyota and Honda.
The Bike Palace bike shop and are major sponsors at this race. is the law practice of Gerald Agnew a 65+ time trialist and track specialist. He also is an expert in injuries to cyclists and the law. On the course is a new brewery by the name of Strand Brewery. They started in 2010 and you could only find their craft beers at their Torrance Taproom Thursday thru Sunday. In 2013 they are launching their beer at Whole Foods Markets. Here is an excerpt from the OC Register:
"Don't let the industrial park locations fool you. There is some serious beer-making happening in Torrance.
Sure, people are making great beer all over Southern California. But there is something special going on in Torrance now, with three very good craft brewing operations getting a lot of attention.
It's a destination that might seem odd, but with its location not far from Orange County and Long Beach, Torrance is a good place to make beer these days. And, for those who like to try new brews, it's a terrific place to drink beer these days." The address is 23520 Telo Ave. between turn 5 and 6 of the race course. Unfortunately the taproom didn't open until 12 noon so it wasn't going to do any of us any good. Otherwise it would have been a great place to decompress after a race.
Pre race field.
They're off!

The 55/60+ lined up at 7:35 am to partake in the 40 minute criterium. Sometimes we race and say hello to our fellow participates not knowing much about them. I just learned of the background of SBW member Deogracias Asuncion. Deo as he is called a track cycling legend in his home country of the Philippines. He joined the national track team at the age of 16 and participated in cycling races for his country through 2007 as far as the research took me. Look at his bike some time. It says Olympian all over it. You can see it in one of the photos. Here is a short resume:

1979 - Southeast Asian Cycling Games held in Indonesia; 100kilometers, 3rd place
1982 - 9th Asian Games held in New Delhi, India; Velodrome 400m Team Pursuit; 3rd place Bronze. Points Race, 4th place.
1981 - World Championship Road and Track held in England; Participated
1981 - Southeast Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines. Participated in 8 events in track racing - 8 gold medals
1983 - Asian Cycling Points Race Track and Road. Gold Medal recipient. Team Pursuit, 3rd place bronze medal.
1984 - Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles CA. Points race track, 14th place
1988 - Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, Manhattan Beach CA, 1st place.
In 2007 he competed at a World Cup event at the Home Depot Center or as it is now known Stub Hub Center in the points race.
2007 World Cup. Photo courtesy of Arden Arindaeng.
No wonder Deo Asuncion is so good at the end of races. Major track background. The SBW squad was working for Deo at the Torrance Criterium and I will fill you in on that later.
Let's go right to the race itself. 30 racers started off and the 60s were most active at the beginning. John Roest tried to get away early with a 55+ racer. I had to shut that down early before they got too far away.
Rick Swanson leading the pace early on. Mike Birditt is always near the front.

The race early on was pretty straight forward and somewhat aggressive. A number of small groups tried to get away. Bruce Steele was very active looking for the right group to breakaway with.
Bruce Steele lining everyone out with some hurt.
The "Inland Strongman" John Roest putting some hurt on and he can do it even though he is 60 this year.
4 man break with Roest, Birditt, Pettus and Ralph.
SBW likes riding in the rear. "The Man" has an excuse. He is 77 years old and still keeping up. Way to go Pags!
Here is a pic of Pags racing in France in the early 50s.
The pressure is being put on by Mike McConnell with Birdy on his wheel.

If it wasn't for the "Inland Strongman" Mike and Mike might have gotten away. Kirk Freeman is chasing John. The hurt was definitely on. I can remember that.

 A number of riders tried to get away with one group including John Roest, Mike Birditt, Monty Pettus and Bill Ralph. This time like always in the race there were strong riders willing to chase. Rod Malloy with Kirk Freeman on his wheel put the chase into this group. One thing I didn't see much of were counter attacks. When most everyone has their tongues hanging out including guys like Cyril Hunte you counter if you are stronger. You may be hurting but the others are hurting more.
Another opportunity came with Mike Birditt and Mike McConnell. Mike has a torn rotatoar cuff and is having a tough time but is still racing. Birdy saw a chance to with Mike M. but the "Inland Strongman"(his initials are JR) dug deep to get across the gap and inspired Kirk Freeman to chase him and Bruce Steele to chase him. It definitely wasn't an easy day to breakaway. The field was compact and strong. There was always someone strong to chase hard and it was hard at times but not all the time like at Brentwood.
As we reached down to less than 1/2 the race to go it became clear or so it seemed that nothing was going to stick. It's tougher in the later parts of the race because if your attempt fails you are way tired. At the beginning of the race you can recover and have plenty for the finish. The stakes are higher but the possible reward is greater as well. You also have to know what you can do and can't do. Sometimes you don't know what you can do until you try.
With 10 minutes left the pace slowed and it dodgey in the pack. This is where larger teams help. They have riders to spare and pull or attack to keep the pace up. This of course is only good if your team members are strong and can withstand the pressure. A team with straight sprinters would rather see it slow before the end so he can use his strength to his advantage. Some sprinters are also strong like Birdy and Hoffy and they would rather see it fast and hard to keep the lesser riders back and away from them.
The lap cards came and it was hard to maintain position with the speed like it was, slow. 2 laps to go and Bruce Steele jumped. Alex Gonzales got on his wheel pretty quick. This was great for the race.
One lap to go and Bruce Steele is trying to stay away.

Alex Gonzales is falling off of Bruce's wheel.
The thing was who was going to chase. If you chase, you lose some stuff for the sprint. Well Kirk Freeman went out and took a pull. The SBW team came to life. Marlon Cortez went to the front with Deo on his wheel.
The pack with one lap to go. You can see Ralph on the other side of Deo. He launched solo on the backstretch.

One lap to go.
The rabbits were out front and something to shoot for. Bruce and Alex are it. Bruce is doing most of the work. Bruce is riding strong right now. I know. I see him every Wed. morning at the track. We came around to hear the bell and Bruce and Alex are still there. Alex looked to be hurting and was having a tough time staying on Bruce's wheel. Bill Ralph was lurking near the front on the other side of Deo. After the chicane and turn 4 there was a long stretch and Bill Ralph attacked the field. It was all or nothing in situations like this. Bill flew by Bruce on the other side of the road and Bruce was spent anyway. It was up to SBW to pull now. Marlon was doing a pretty good job of keeping a distance to Bill. Mike Birditt was Deo. Coming to the next to the last corner Paramount member Lee Romans decided to throw his ring into the race. He took off in chase of Bill Ralph. All good for Mike Birditt. Mike jumped wheels and now had a faster ride. Turning the last corner Bill was ahead by a ways but the pack was closing in on him. Lee Romans was the next to the last corner with Mike on his wheel. Mike looked down the straightaway and tried to gauge how far Bill was away and what effort it would take to over take him. Mike used his track form and hit it hard in the saddle.
Mike put the jets on he does have an extra jet speed in his legs. Mike hit a max speed of 38.6 mph which was the fastest of the speeds I checked of fellow riders. When Mike got 100 meters from the line he knew he was going to get it. He hadn't over taken Bill Ralph yet who was putting in a terrific effort. At less than 50 meters Mike came by Bill to win the 55+ race. Mike is still hot after winning 2 national championship jerseys at the track championships in Indianapolis in the scratch race(closest thing to a criterium on the track) and the 4 man team pursuit. This man has some skills! Like Ned(played by Paul Rudd) in the movie "My Idiot Brother" said to his former girlfriend(this gal is way funny in the new move "We're the Millers") "You know what. You know what. Wow!"
Mike Birditt with his Natz jersey. Nice going, Mike!

Mike follow fellow rider in the scratch race. 2 man break and Mike won the sprint.
With Mike in for the win Bill Ralph was just trying to hang on and I am sure in a whole lot of hurt. Deo Asuncion was hot on his tail and closing fast. You can see from the photo that Bill just beat Deo at the line for 2nd. Right after the line Deo passes him but it is too late. Deo is 3rd in 55+. Then a mass of 4 55+ riders come through with Cyril leading the gang of 4. Cyril was next to last with one lap to go. No worries I guess. Ricky hit 38.0 mph. After the gang of 4 Monty Pettus came in to win the 60+ race. Monty's top speed was 36.8 mph. I was a ways back at the turn and didn't take a good corner per Mike Fleming. Once I straighten up I saw the "Inland Strongman" John Roest. I thought I could take him as he got out of the saddle. I started my sprint out of the saddle and wasn't making much headway. I had to kick it up a notch and did get by John and then cruised in for 2nd place in 60+ with John taking 3rd. John was followed in by Mike Fleming and Howard Miller.
Nice payoffs by the host team. Thank you. I got $60 for 2nd place. Per an earlier declaration I am donating any winning from racing to animal rescue groups and had focused on Best Friends Animal Society but decided to spread it around. I gave half to Ghetto Rescue FFoundation in LA. They do some great work helping out animals in distress and helping people with spayed and neutering of their animals in certain areas of LA. I also gave $30 to Paw Protectors Rescue of Seal Beach. They do some great work as well. I found out about this group from Chris Lotts. He is an animal lover. He interfaces with animals better than humans and I think he would admit that. All of these groups are on Facebook.
It was a fun race that was well organized and run. Thank you to all that came out. No crashes and good competition. Full results below. Thanks to Alicia McKee for most of the photos and Make Yamakazi for one of the photos and the video of the finish which I have on my 55/60+ bike racing Facebook page. Put a like on it and you will get all the updates and stuff and there is lots of stuff. Well over 100 photos of the race plus the vid. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!

Birditt wins!

Ralph holds on for 2nd place. Deo is 3rd in 55+.

Cyril is leading the pack of 4.

The pack of 4. Romans, Luedtke, Shorts and Hunte.

Pettus winning the 60+ race.
McKee besting Roest for 2nd in 60+.

55+ podium- Ralph 2, Birditt 1, Asuncion 3, Hunte 4.

60+ podium- McKee 2, Pettus 1 and Roest 3.

Torrance Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47255 Michael Birditt SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 14
2 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 11
3 50532 Deogracias Asuncion South Bay Wheelmen 10
4 52086 Cyril Hunte Southern California Velo 9
5 52251 Ricky Shorts Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 8
6 47262 Dale Luedtke SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 7
7 110259 Lee Romans Paramount Racing 6
8 64439 Nelson Alaan Lightning Velo 5
9 54084 Lothar Cramer 4
10 34753 Rick Swanson Southern California Velo 3
11 23303 Michael McConnell UC Cyclery/JW Floors 2
12 107559 Rodney Malloy Bahati Foundation-CA 1
13 49110 Rino Barbagiovanni Santa Clarita Velo 0
14 271566 Alex Gonzalez Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 0
Total # of riders 16      
Torrance Criterium  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 14
2 180386 John McKee Paramount Racing 11
3 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 10
4 129293 Michael Fleming South Bay Wheelmen 9
5 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 8
6 3793 Raphael Gomez 7
7 170779 Edgardo Potes Bike Palace 6
8 228631 James Swigart ACQUA AL 2/SDBC 5
9 195498 Donald Kimper UC Cyclery/JW Floors 4
10 12354 Kirk Freeman CA Pools/ Primal 3
11 301363 Mick Iwadare South Bay Wheelmen 2
12 140826 Robert Mosier Bahati Foundation-CA 1
13 45763 Robert Paganini PAA/REMAX 0
14 236498 Bruce Steele South Bay Wheelmen 0
Total # of riders 14    

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