Friday, August 9, 2013


By John McKee

The Brentwood Grand Prix has turned into a big event in a few short years. The "new course" is very challenging and with a fast group it is just plain tough. The date in 2013 was Sunday August 4th(Happy Birthday, Carey). I was prepared to race and visit my daughter Carey and celebrate her 44th birthday but a number of things went wrong. Let's start at the beginning then.
My wife and I got to the venue plenty early and parked in the VA parking area. The VA hospital and rehab center is huge but decaying. The facility serviced many more veterans in the past then it does now. None of the buildings have been torn down. There is still a small train station that looks like it was for the Red Car back in the day.  In 1944 the Red Car carried 109 million passengers. There were 1,150 miles of track and the last one ran in 1961. Now we all drive in gas guzzling automobiles. What progress. Just down the hill from the VA is UCLA's baseball stadium called Jackie Robinson Stadium. Jackie was of course a 3 sport star there.
Entrance to the Jackie Robinson Stadium with my grandson Brent Conine getting ready to do an Elite Baseball showcase for high school players just 6 days prior to our race.
Nice shot of the scoreboard. My last year playing at this spot was 1968 when I played for Long Beach State.

Brett Conine getting ready to field a grounder at 3B.
Statue commemorating Jackie Robinson
On the other side of the freeway is a veteran's cemetery. There is some cruel irony there. My grandfather Archie McKee is buried there. Archie served in WW I in a observation balloon and was injured if that is the right term by mustard gas. He made it back to Long Beach and started a family or I wouldn't be writing.

Archie McKee-circa 1917
In any event the VA has buildings every where around there and chain link fences. After my trainer warmup I got on one of the local roads and was spinning with Howard Miller, Monty Pettus and some of the other racers. 2 gals wanted to cross the road but were on the wrong side of the fence. The tallest of the girls climbed atop the fence and then looked helpless. Ricky "You can't touch this" Shorts went over and "helped" the gal down from the fence. Before the second gal tried to scale the fence I sent Howard over to tell her that there was an opening in the fence 50 meters further up the road. No more Hammer time for Ricky.
Yo, I told you
(You can't touch this)
Why you standin' there, man?
(You can't touch this)
Yo, sound the bell, school is in, sucka
(You can't touch this)
We all went down to San Vincente to start the 55/60+ race. There were more 55s(30) then 60s(14). The vibe was that the race would be too hard for many 60s because of the course and strength of field. Our race was to start at 9:35 am which is prime time. Great start time and $300 for BOTH 55and 60+. This was the 1st race of the year that had the complete Rokform squad. Glad to see Danny Nicolette back. The last time I saw Danny was at the Dana Point Grand Prix and he was in a wheel chair. Great to see him back racing. Behind every comeback from a serious injury is courage, strength of will and hard work! I admire all of this so I say welcome back! I don't see this will in many 60s. It is so easy to give up. There are hundreds of reasons to give up. Screw all of them!
Start line- official had to tell someone to put away the earphones. Wow! How stupid can you be!

Robert Mosier really stands out in his Bahati kit.
Bob "Killer" Pelkoffer showing his stuff early on.
You can see Gerald "The Minnesota Chaser" Finken pulling the field early on.
 The race started nearly on time. I knew it was going to be hard and dug in. Bob "Killer" Pelkoffer took off. His team is amazingly strong and "Killer" was showing his stuff. Come and get me if you can. It was hard the 1st couple of laps though Mark "The General" Hoffenberg thought it was pretty easy. From there it just got harder. The course has several hard sections including the looping chicane that you have to break going into, charge up a small hill and afterward a short downhill sprint over 30 mph down a straight away. At the bottom of the course you also have to break and go into an apartment area  and come up a hill out of there and sprint for home. There wasn't much rest for the weary. Every lap it just got harder as Rokform threw everything but the kitchen sink at everyone. If it wasn't for Gerald "The Minnesota Chaser" Finken, Malcolm
Kim Bleth leading the field.

KK now putting on the hurt.

Malcolm Hill is outnumbered. If it wasn't for Finken this most likely would have been gone.
Hill would have been surrounded by 3 Rokform riders. KK saw the danger and started chasing. Lee Romans was in between Gerald and KK. KK was leading everyone that could hang on up to the speedy front runners. This is why it was so hard. You only have to look at the pictures above to see that all the Rokform riders were in on the program of making it hard. Kim Bleth, Jeff Moreton, Bill Ralph and of course "Killer" and "The General". Henry Schnepf was the chase man for KK or whoever would jump out without permission.
Witold Czulak trying to put the hurt on. No wonder it seemed so hard.
It seems hard to believe now that I see the photographs but Rokform got caught. Finken and KK literally pulled the race back together. Pelky went back into the pack to recover and get ready for another go at getting away. It really didn't take long for that to happen. Rokform had B F C out numbered 2 to 1. 10 riders were spit out during the race. I am a little surprised that there weren't more but most riders are pretty fit this time of year or they wouldn't sign up. 6 of 14 60s were off the back. There was no strategy for the 60+ riders. It was just hang on and as far up as you could stand it. That is one of the major complaints I get from potential 60+ riders. While the elite 55 are fighting each other almost all the 60s are just able to sit in. Paul Rodiguez was an exception at Buelton but Paul and Kal Szkalak weren't at this race for UCC. UCC had just 2 60+ racers.
At some point near the 15 minute mark into the race Bob Pelkoffer got away. Hoffy had taken a $50 prime and Henry Schnepf took the next prime and then Bob was off solo. I marvel at what he can do. He seems stronger this year than ever. Malcolm Hill used his ample strength to get across the small gap to Bob and they were off. 8 of the strongest riders wouldn't chase now and in fact would do some blocking. The race may have toned down like at Buelton when the break got away but I wasn't still there to attest to any of this. 
The race was scheduled for 40 minutes so there was a lot of time left but Malcolm and Bob just kept working together. Malcolm did most of the work that I could see early and then Bob started taking very strong pulls seeing how strong Malcolm really was. Back in the pack KK would jump trying to get away or join the break but Henry Schnepf was all over him and since he couldn't shake the Rokform grip on his wheel he integrated himself into the middle of the pack.
Bob "Killer" Pelkoffer and Malcolm "Pink Shorts" Hill late in the race. My wife is on the far right taking photos.

The break group got 15 seconds quickly and never got more than 20. The speed was still kept pretty high in pack.  Finken was another person that wanted to get across to the leaders but he didn't have the horse power to do it. Rokform was all over him anyway. Both B f C and Rokform were good with what they had up front. A bunch sprint with everyone was not preferred by either of the 2 big teams with Gibby Hatton in the mix. 
With 3 laps to go it was all a done deal for the break but who was going to win the 55+ race. The entire 60+ field or what was left of it were in the peleton so that race was up for grabs. For sure. Lothar Cramer didn't hear the laps to go and thought he would chase with 3 to go. Nice pull there Lothar. Now everyone knows Lothar as "blue boy" but his wife had a new nickname for him- "bonehead blue boy". I am not making this up. Lothar took one more hard pull before the end of the race and then Rokform went to the whip.
What did Lothar's wife call him?? Lol!
You can see Lothar's vid from his bike cam on my facebook's 55/60+ bike racing page. There are also over 100 photos there of the race. My wife and Lothar's wife took some really good pictures. 
Up front Bob and Malcolm took the last lap together. Coming home Malcolm led it out. He did a little bit of a snake going from right to left at the end. Pelky decided to come around to Malcolm's left and I thought that was a bad move. The short side. Malcolm could have really squeezed him but there was enough room for Bob Pelkoffer to come through for the win. Pelkoffer first and Hill second in 55+.

Bob Pelkoffer wins the 55+ race with Malcolm Hill taking 2nd.
Back in the pack Bill Ralph went to the front on the last lap and made it quite hard. He was trying to take some of the sting out of Gibby's sprint. Gibby had locked onto Hoffy's wheel on the last lap. Once Gibby is locked on to someone's wheel he isn't going anywhere. With things strung out Henry came by Mark on the downhill right turn. Gerald Finken took control after coming out of the "pit". He hit it hard. Henry was all over this and lead it from there. He dropped Mark off a little further than they would have liked but Mark is fast and strong. Mark Hoffenberg took 3rd in 55+ by a bike length with Gibby Hatton taking 4th and Cyril Hunte taking 5th.

Mark Hoffenberg taking 3rd in 55+ with Gibby Hatton taking 4th and Cyril Hunte 5th

Mike Marotta taking 1st in 60+ by a long ways.

John Rubcic(green helmet) took 2nd in 60+ while Monty Pettus(between Lee Romans and Ricky Shorts)took 3rd place.
Mike Marotta hung tough through the whole race and definitely proved to be the strongest 60+ racer in the group. Mike came in between Cyril and Gerald Finken to take 1st in 60+. Mike is riding very strong at this time. Mike was followed in by John Rubcic, Monty Pettus, and John Roest. There was a long string of riders finishing with their tongues hanging out. You know you have been put through the ringer at Brentwood and great job to everyone that did race and those that were able to finish.
Rokform is a killer team in 55+ with the numbers and quality of riders. They obviously dominant a race which isn't necessarily a good thing but it is what it is. The addition of Bill Ralph and Kim Bleth this year has made a difference. Complete results below. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
55+ podium- with Hoffenberg, Pelkoffer and Hill.
Brentwood GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 55+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 47652 Bob Pellkofer Rokform/Rock N' Road 14
2 156650 Malcolm Hill Breakaway from Cancer Masters 11
3 45461 Mark Hoffenberg Rokform/Rock N' Road 10
4 61128 Gilbert Hatton Team Alliance Environmental 9
5 52086 Cyril Hunte Southern California Velo 8
6 49239 Gerald Finken St Paul Bicycle Racing Club 7
7 26090 Daniel Nicolette Rokform/Rock N' Road 6
8 93812 Donald Denegal Velo Allegro 5
9 125834 William Ralph Rokform/Rock N' Road 4
10 70853 Henry Schnepf Rokform/Rock N' Road 3
11 52251 Ricky Shorts Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 2
12 110259 Lee Romans Paramount Racing 1
13 60602 Daniel Swietlik OTR Racing 0
14 258639 Timothy Meza Team Simple Green/Bike Religion 0
15 177958 Kevin Ryan METALMTN Cycling 0
16 5094 John Brown Family Cycling Center 0
17 25023 Jeffrey Moreton Rokform/Rock N' Road 0
18 47262 Dale Luedtke SKLZ-Swami's Cycling Team 0
19 107559 Rodney Malloy Bahati Foundation-CA 0
20 1254 Mark Ainslie 0
21 49191 Kim Bleth Rokform/Rock N' Road 0
22 54084 Lothar Cramer 0
23 271566 Alex Gonzalez Bahati Foundation p/b Major Motion Cycli 0
24 276778 Witold Czulak Breakaway from Cancer Masters 0
25 48434 Keith Ketterer Breakaway from Cancer Masters 0
26 6082 Ben Cardenas Squadra Carrera 0
Total # of riders 30    

Brentwood GP  (Rank 1.0)
Masters 60+
Place License Name Team SoCal Points
1 72880 Mike Marotta Swami's Cycling Club 14
2 48760 John Rubcic UC Cyclery/JW Floors 11
3 219074 Leo Pettus OCW/Paramount Racing 10
4 277180 John Roest Southern California Velo 9
5 49424 Howard Miller OCW/Paramount Racing 8
6 140826 Robert Mosier Bahati Foundation-CA 7
7 245777 Steven Borer UC Cyclery/JW Floors 6
8 126351 Steve Bernede Team Werks 5
9 101582 William Carvin 4
10 3793 Raphael Gomez 3
11 Chris Cochran 2

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