Friday, February 14, 2014

MAROTTA WINS 60+ IN SOLO BREAK/ MORETON DITTO IN 55+ @ RMMC

By John McKee

Wow! I have 247 posts and never lost my work before but Thursday night. Poof. 4 hours of work gone. If the race wasn't important to report on, I would have thrown in the towel. It will take me half the time now. I know what I want to say and the pics I want to use. The Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium took on a different hue this year. For the last 9 years Canyon Velo has honored the memory of a former member with the their race in his name. This year with the race on February 9th, 2014 we the 60+ racers had to honor another lost rider. Fellow rider and racer Phil Richards was struck by a drunk driver on Dec. 29th and passed away 2 weeks later from the injuries incurred in the crash. Thank you to the  promoters of this event for permission to dedicate the 60+ race not only to the memory of Roger Millikan but also Phil Richards.
Phil Richards (1949-2014) RIP my good man! We will miss you!
The 60+ riders were scheduled to race for 40 minutes at 9:50 am. The category W 3/4 was to race at the same time. 2 groups can't technically race at the same time and be officially separated at the start though it is done in other parts of the country BUT if everyone agrees the slower group can fall off the pace and the motor ref can then step in and keep the groups separate. This was the plan anyway.
We all came to the line and Don Davidson and Annette Richards were in the announcer's booth. The announcer Ralph Elliot said a few nice words about Phil and gave the mic to Don. Don thanked everyone for coming out and supporting the memory of Phil. Phil would surely have been here under different circumstances and ready to race. Phil was training for events like this when he was needlessly struck by an out of control alcoholic at 12:30 in the afternoon!
Phil's favorite bike. He wasn't riding the day he was hit. We chose green to off set the black on the wrist band to match this color.
 Don also mentioned the memorial wrist bands that we were all wearing. I designed the bands and Rick Swanson sponsored the purchase.
Memorial wrist band
Opposite side
After Don gave his presentation, he came down on the tarmac to get ready to race. Don, John Rubcic and John Howard were selected to ride out in front of the pack of  racers for a parade lap to honor the memory of Roger Millikan and Phil Richards. Over 32 riders were registered in the 60+ only category. They all were ready to race once the parade lap ended.  The two Johns dropped off and the rest of us started our race. The idea of separate races with the W 3/4 unfortunately didn't happen. 2 SBW riders in the W 3/4 category jumped on the tail end of the men when they should have been creating a gap. So much for the pre race instructions. It was one big race now.
I am not going to vent about the type of riding I saw but I will say there were some really strong riders in the other category. Denise Mueller and Kim Nida of Sisterhood of Cycling looked sharp and strong and would be welcome to race with us anytime.
Phil and Annette- Photo courtesy of Arnie Shaw
There was the early darting and diving. Paul Rodiguez and Rick Roberson tried to get things going but were marked out by Swami's. Swami's had the most riders by far and some of the strongest and fastest riders, so no wonder that they were going to dominate the race.
Swami's John Roest and Velocity's Ricky Shorts got going on a mini break but Swami's Mike Birditt didn't like the make up here and sped forward and shut it down. He couldn't have thought we would let him charge up to them and ride away. LOL. No. That wasn't going to happen then but it might have later with all the primes. There were more primes than I can remember. Every 3rd lap and late in the race every 2 laps or sooner. This dictated the race. Ease off after coming across the line and pick it up on the back stretch. A couple of riders would usually take off between turn 3 and 4. Swami's was always involved. Ricky Shorts of Velocity and Monty Pettus of Paramount were able to wrestle a few primes away from the "Prime Killers".
Gary Shuey of the "Prime Killers" leading the way. Love those shoes Gary!
John Wagenaar leading the pack mid way through the race.

Rick Lilliberg in another one of his comebacks looked quite strong.
It looked like Swami's could have done most anything they wanted but there were still some very strong riders on other teams. The surge of the prime killing continued through the entire race and when the lap cards came up it got even worse because there were more primes. A lot of good stuff as well as money. Very well supported race. The first lap card to come up was 6 to go. I got on Mike Birditt's wheel but his gears jumped from the big ring to the small one and I coasted by him as he stalled for a moment. That didn't work out well for me. The pace of the race didn't pick up as you might think it would late in the race. The kind of pace that would make the race selective. Nope! It was jockeying time and prime killing of course. This is where I think Swami's should have stepped in and thrown a few riders out there to help make the race more selective but who am I to fault them since they ended up with such a good result but they would have had a good result anyway since they had the best riders and the race would have been safer.
The pivotal point in the race came with 2 laps to go. Mike Marotta picked up a couple of tires and kept going. Few people even knew he was away. There were lapped riders everywhere so unless you were at the very front you had no idea that Mike M. was away. Mike Birditt knew and raced accordingly. The bell lap came and Mike M. was off the front by a good ways with lapped riders all over the place. In the pack Rick Lilliberg was at the front with the Sisterhood of Cycling lining themselves up. 2 groups are trying to finish here and we do this all the time with the 55s.
After turn 3 the pace was slow but picked up as Rick Lilliberg led it out. Mike Birditt was right there waiting to pounce and let loose those "Thunder Thighs" of his. Mike will hit about 1165 watts here at his max but that is well within his training max.
Mike Birditt taking 2nd and Ricky Shorts 3rd. Mike Marotta was so stealth he fooled my wife who is pretty aware at the races and takes the pictures.

Mike "Stealth" Marotta quietly rolled across the line for the win! Mike Birditt sprinted across for 2nd followed in by Ricky Shorts, and Dale Luedtke. There was a close fight for 5th place as 3 60+ riders were with 1/2 a bike of each other with the 2 top riders from the other category mixing in. It looks even closer in the photo but Monty Pettus was going the fastest and got 5th. Wayne Rosenkrantz was 6th and Rick Lilliberg was 7th.
Dale Luedtke rolling across the line for 4th place with a fight for 5th place brewing behind.
It looks very close here for 5th.Kim Nida(nearest the camera) beat teammate Denise Mueller for the W 3/4 cat.
The 60+ race ended and no one got hurt and crashed so that was the most important thing. The 60s are better off racing with the M 55s then any other category for many reasons. Thanks to everyone that came out and raced or just came out to honor Phil like Kenny Fuller and his wife Pam. They broke into their very busy schedule gaming in Las Vegas to arrive just before we raced. They went back to Sin City later of course. Mike McKinney made a very good video of both the 60+ race and the 55+ race. Here is  the link for the 60+ race:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLmvw5qBZsY&list=UUiqlc_kKSMGNfEbu_BB2clA&feature=share&index=1
For the 55+ race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8iKykVCXv0&list=UUiqlc_kKSMGNfEbu_BB2clA&feature=share
The 55+ race was 2 races later and had a good turnout. 46 total riders of which 10 were doing there 2nd race from the 60+ race. The official asked like the earlier race if the 2 groups wanted to have separate races and Suzanne Sonye stepped up and said her group wanted a 30 second gap and they honored that and there were 2 separate races. It didn't work out for the gals because of the 2nd pass from the 55s came late in the race and there was confusion amongst the women on how many laps to go there were for their race.
The outcome of the 55+ race was quite similar to the 60+ race in that a solo rider broke away late in the race and with another group on the course got lost. I think. If the other teams saw him, what were they doing? Jeff Moreton of Rokform won the race. Nice going Jeff! Mark Hoffenberg sprinted in for 2nd with 60+ racer Mike Birditt doubling up on the podium for the day at 3rd place.
60+ riders Mike Birditt and John Roest mix it up with the 55+ racers and are racing 55+ here.

Jeff Moreton is all in late in the race. Jeff hung on for the victory!
It was a good day for racing and always is in Brea at the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium. Next year Ed Keck the behind the scenes promoter will put the 55 and 60s back together again. Thanks again to all that came out to honor Phil. There was a lunch afterward at the Yardhouse and it was a big success. Full results for both groups are below. Annette was there with a number of racers. I wish more racers had turned up. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Group mixing around Annette Richards in the parking lot of the Yardhouse.

We traded cameramen and took the photo again.






















Friday, February 7, 2014

HILL WINS 55 IN BREAK... BIRDY WINS 60 IN SPRINT @ RED TROLLEY

By John McKee

It's Super Bowl Sunday and and there is anticipation in the air of a good fun tough football game. The Broncos were favored by 2 points so the odd makers were thinking it was going to be close... BUT the game doesn't start until 3:30 pm PST. We have all day to do whatever we want. Well how about bike racing. Most years the Super Bowl falls on the Mothballs Criterium in Goleta but this year Red Trolley gets the honors. Again since the game is so late it doesn't really matter. We can race and still watch the game. Yeah baby!
My daughter's and son in law's hotel under construction in the Denver Area. Woolley's Classic Suites. Go Broncos!
My 3 year old grandson in his Peyton Manning jersey. He uses legos like a Star Wars light saber.
 The 55/60+ race was scheduled for 9 am so the game was not going to interfere with any 55 or 60+ racer watching the game. Let's concentrate on the bike race then. Go Broncos! Oops! Sorry!
The Red Trolley has a tradition of being the day after Blvd. Blvd. is one of the hardest road races on the calendar and is really early in the season. On top of that the 55/60+ race starts at 7 am. Well at 5,000 feet it is very cold in the morning there in early Feb. This year at the start time the temperature was a toasty 29 degrees. Ok.. no thanks. Sorry. Not doing that one. You guys that roughed that are tougher than I am and there was a good size field. At Red Trolley the temp at race time was around 60 degrees. Double the temp from the race the day before. The field was pretty strong at Red Trolley as well. The pre registration wasn't that great but we ended up with 40 racers between the 55s and 60s. The field was split pretty much down the middle between the 55s and 60s.
Love the outfit on this doggie at Red Trolley.
55+ big hitters Mark Hoffenberg, Evan Teske and Malcolm Hill were present. Hot new 60s Mike Birditt and Dale Luedtke were also lining up. Kal Szkalak and Monty Pettus had good races in 60+ the prior race at Mothballs so with all this star power you expect a fast hard race. Or would you. Mark didn't have many teammates there and had been sick for the prior weeks. Evan and Malcolm are on the same team. Not sure of what to expect from the new 55+ Pinnaclife riders. Would the 60+ riders mix it up or sit in. There were a lot of questions that would make you wonder what was going to happen. I guess we wouldn't know until we actually raced the race. Yes, let's race the race! Go Dog Go!(I like to read stories like this book to my grandson when I visit Denver).
Best arty/farty picture I have taken accidentally- pretty cool.
It's 9 am and the officials give a few pre race instructions. Announcer Ralph Elliot has a few choose things to say and we are off! A racing we go. The 1st few laps not much went on but then fireworks went off. Larry Shannon of Monster Media on his bright green Masi tried to mix it up and laid down some major power. Monster Media is in a black kit but black kits are way popular this year so it isn't easy picking out the teams in a mixed pack. At least Monster Media's team bike really stands out. The field is lined out with gaps here and there. This effort didn't last long and we were back bunched up. "Big" John Roest in a new Swami's kit was the next to put some real effort into mixing things up. John is 61 this year coming off a good rookie 60+ season. "Big" John's health has been suspect lately with a winter cold. John had a partner in a 2 man break effort and they did pretty well. They had a 150 meter gap but they only lasted 3 laps. Larry Shannon put in another hard effort and this time to chase. Rick Swanson also of Swami's tried to come to the front to "monitor" the pace but 3 laps was all the twosome could do. All back together.
I was feeling pretty good and getting in the flow of the race. The effort felt easier than the prior week at Mothballs and my heart rate monitor would bear this out later. The race was easier for me. Possible a bigger field made for a greater drafter. The course itself at the Cyclo Vets crit course is pretty challenging. We gained over 700 ft. in the 40 minutes we raced. This is a new course for Red Trolley. The prior course was really tough. Hard power climb to the line every lap. It wore you down after a while. There was an open business near the course that complained heavily about parking violations, peeing violations, etc. and out we went. No city permit there.
Another break effort got going pretty quick. Malcolm Hill got himself away with a good gap. Kenny Steward of Pinnaclife, Mike Birditt of Swami's and Ricky Shorts on yet another team and it is Velocity are in a small group between Malcolm and the pack. Their gap is not bad. I am amazed that the threesome didn't become a foursome and stay away. The 3 guys much not have been committed. Malcolm was totally committed to winning in a break. He knew he couldn't outsprint Teske or Hoffy though Teske is his teammate. I assume the team game plan was Malcolm in a break situation and if it is a bunch sprint then Teske would be the team player for Breakaway from Cancer.
Larry Shannon put in a hard chase and maybe some Rokform riders helped out because they weren't represented. The 4 guys were swept up and the pack was totally churning with great surges in speed and pace after that. The play at the front on different laps was dynamic. Riding in the middle of the pack you don't see a lot of this. There were primes of course that brought certain riders up to swope up the goodies. There were Spy glasses for a 55+ rider AND a 60+ rider. The sprint out for the 60+ prime was between 2 brand new 60+ racers, Ricky Shorts(Ricky would flat within 5 to go and couldn't finish) and Mike Birditt. Mike won the glasses.
The time was running down and Malcolm was now marked pretty closely. Malcolm was looking to break away with a little over 5 to go but was marked out of doing so. With 4 to go the pressure was really put on. Rick Swanson was smoking it up at the front. There were small pods of riders and then the pack. Somewhere after Rick pulled off Malcolm made another play. Coming into 3 to go Malcolm had a decent gap. 2 riders from Rokform and Pinnaclife went out to chase but weren't successful. The remaining riders wouldn't even get on the chasers. Everyone was setting up for a sprint finish. Half the riders were 60+ anyway. Malcolm is 55+.
As far as Malcolm was concerned, he was all in. He was where he wanted to be and it was win or lose. Malcolm had another motivating factor in his corner. Malcolm lost his younger brother Mitch to pancreatic cancer in 2013 and Malcolm wanted this victory to honor his brother  in his first race of 2014.
Mitch Hill  (1958-2013) RIP Mitch
Malcolm carried his strength to the line for the victory in 55+. Nice going, Malcolm!! Malcolm had about a 1/4 lap on the field at the end. Everyone else was lining up for the bunch sprint. 2 and 3 were left in 55+ and all 3 places were still up in 60+. Red Trolley didn't give up any money though we paid top dollar at $30 and $37 same day. We did get medals and a podium for each category.
The pace on the backside of the last lap wasn't that fast. Kal Szkalak was a little far back and started to move up on the outside. I took a ride up behind him. Kal jumped a little harder coming near the last corner. Monty Pettus jumped out of the pack and on his wheel. I was a little back now. David Fetah was taking the corner a little wide trying to vie for a wheel with Dale Luedtke. David has something to learn. When Dale wants a wheel at the end well he is going to get it. David must have been leaning toward Dale who was on the inside and David hit his pedal down hard. His bike jumped up. I was now right behind him and I had to hestitate to see what happened. David saved himself and maybe me too though I think I could have gone inside David since he was on the corner. He would have slide straight toward the curb leaving the lane open for the rest of us who were turning right.
Evan Teske showed his stuff in the sprint and came across the line for 2nd place in 55+ followed in by defending 55-59 national champion Mark Hoffenberg. The 55+ podium was taken care of. Time for the 60s to show their stuff and they did. Mike Birditt came across next for a clear win in 60+ though he was having trouble with his gears jumping around. Didn't seem to matter. Mike smoked all the 60s. Next across the line was Nelson "Teach" Alaan. Monty asked me later "Where did he come from". That's Nelson's stealth riding style. Hang back and move up late and use his great sprint to get a good finish. If it was fast near the end Nelson would be in trouble.
The next 3 riders to finish were 60s and were close together. Monty Pettus on the inside, Dale Luedtke in the middle and Kal Szkalak on the outside. It went Dale, Monty and Kal. The next pod of riders to cross the finish line were Randy Liechy(55+), David Fetah(55+ David got going again after his near diaster), Ed Marcelo(55+) and myself(60+ and then some). There was a little gap and the rest of the field came across the line. The officials gave us our results mixed but were broken out to 55+ and 60+ for USAC and SCNCA.
The average speed of the race was a little slow for the field at 24.7 mph. It was a fun race and a pretty good turnout considering there was no purse. Thanks to all that did come out and race. The Broncos sucked later from the first snap on but that's sports. Steve Borer was there but not racing because of illness and took some great video and made a production out of it. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfKAk_qp2IA (you have to cut and paste the link). That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
60+ podium- Pettus 3, Birditt 1, & Luedtke 2
55+ podium at Red Trolley- Hoffenberg 3, Hill 1 & Teske 2