Friday, February 14, 2014


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:
For the 55+ race:
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.

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