Thursday, May 8, 2014


By John McKee

It was a great weekend for 55/60+ racing. In San Diego on Saturday May 3rd there was the Barrio Logan Grand Prix. Always a fun event in a interesting part of San Diego. Great course expect for the pavement. I always hear that the pavement is improved. LOL! I would hate to have seen it in worse shape. It was doable though. Not if it rained and if Hylton Murphy, kamikaze of Barrio Logan does it.
Hylton of course only knew one speed and one effort level. All out. When there is 2 to 4 inches of rain in the corners you have to have faith that you are going to come out the other end rubber side down. Hylton never worried about such things and he didn't crash but just kept pushing the pace until he had to cry "Uncle". That was over 10 years ago now. It really did rain there in May. Buckets!
In 2014 because of a lackluster showing in 2013 our race was put on the clock so to speak. I say thank you for all the racers that came out and one(Steve Whitsitt) that signed up and never intended to race. For those that didn't make the effort to come out because it was too far or too early or something or other. We will end up with a few 50/55+ races with no pay days and courses that are ok but overdone to say the least.
A big thank you to Alex Collins and Morgan Gold that was the title sponsor and put up lots of money to sponsor the race. $500 went to the 55+ category 10 deep. The same for 60+. Tremendous payouts for our categories considering the number of racers that we could turnout. 11 55s and 18 60s pre registered.
There were a number of heavy hitter 55s that signed up on game day like Mark Hoffenberg and Malcolm Hill and Kal Szalak in 60+. I never understood why Kal always does same day. You know he is going to race. Why not save the 5 to 10 dollars and prereg? There were 12 60 finishers and 16 55s. How many actually signed up will never be known. Somewhere north of 30. Not that good considering.
So many 55/60+ racers are what I call regional racers. They only drive so far or leave their house no earlier than....blah, blah, blah! It all amounts to a lose of important races.
Lining up at the Barrio!
 OK. Ralph Elliot announced prior winners and mentioned that the 55/60+ race was in honor of Jerry Rimoldi. Jerry was co founder of SDBC way back when and was an official mechanic of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Cycling Team in Mexico City, and was the 1972 U.S. Olympic Track Coach in Munich. 
After the officials gave the pre game chat we were off. Lothar "Blue Boy" Cramer was the 1st to take the lead in a new skinsuit with a blue top. Nice! Completely plain since Lothar rides independent.
The racers dithered back and forth and everyone tried to get there sea legs on the course. 
After 6 or 7 laps Paul Rodiguez went to the front and really put the pressure on. Malcolm Hill was right there with Mike Birditt and David Fetah there as well. Kal Szkalak and Mark Hoffenberg were a bit back and chose to not chase but block. Cramer was near them leading the peleton. Mark didn't want to lead everyone to the promised land and decided to wait until there was a gap and come across solo. 
Kal Szkalak and Chris Black didn't wait long and got on board quickly. Mark let the gap go and got teammate Jeff Moreton to bring him part way across and then Mark did the rest. Jeff started to drift back and here comes Dale "Sweat Bomb" Luedtke. Jeff said that Dale was really sweating and didn't think he could make the rest of the gap but NO Dale made it. Nice effort there, Dale!
Once the break went it was a sea change in the pack. We just went around and around at a moderate pace and maybe a plus added to it. 
Strong men Paul Rodiguez and Malcolm Hill start a break with Mike Birditt and David Fetah smartly grabbing on.

Kal and Hoffy form a early block line.

The pack saw Rick Lilliberg try to go solo from the main pack. I thought he was kind of crazy for doing this but I didn't care. Rick actually did quite well and was solo for 4 or 5 laps. Nice work there. Rick is 67 this year and the 2nd oldest racer at BLGP to myself.
In the break all 8 guys did some work. There were 4 55s and 4 60s. All the rest of us were racing for 5th place in both categories or so we thought. They got a very good gap over the pack and weren't seen from again until it was all over. The 5 lap to go card came up. Rick was still away from the pack and the break was planning their sprint.
The sprint in the break went as one might suspect. Mark Hoffenberg won the 55+ cat and Mike Birditt won the 60+ cat. Mark was followed in by Chris Black and Paul Rodiguez. Paul is 61 this year but chose to race 55+. Mike was followed in by Kal Szkalak and Dale Luedtke for the 60+ podium.
In the pack Rick was caught but Bob Willcox took off with a few laps to go and was chased by Jeff Moreton within the bell lap. Jeff went by Bob and got 6th place and Bob got 7th. The pack sprinted in with Tom Gates taking the field sprint and finishing 8th. Tom was followed in by Bill Pinckard and Alex Collins for the last paying spots in 55.
Monty Pettus bested the rest of the 60+ crowd for 4th with Rick Lilliberg hanging on for 5th. I have seen harder races at the Barrio but once the best riders were gone the pressure came off a little.
This is always a fun race and the turnout was ok but a bit disappointing. Complete results below.

Mark Hoffenberg wins again!

Mike Birditt wins the 60+ race.

Chris Black and Kal Szkalak finish 2nd in 55 and 60+.

Paul Rodiguez rolls across for 3rd in 55+ even though he is 61.

Field sprint with Bob Willcox leading the way. Ahead of everyone is Jeff Moreton.
Field sprint.

55+ podium- Black 2, Hoffenberg 1.

Szkalak 2, Birditt 1, & Luedtke 3.
55 and 60+ racers line up at DPGP.
The next day Sunday May 4th was the newly popular Dana Point Grand Prix. DPGP has quickly become one of the biggest events on the calendar. It is on the NCR calendar. There hasn't been a 55/60+ race here in years though it was the SCNCA championship one year. The course is wider and safer now. More 55s showed up for Dana Point while fewer 60s showed up. There was $500 to pay out to 6 places in each category. This was a pretty strong field and you would expect a fast hard race. 33 55s pre reged while 15 60s did. 50 or so racers showed up at the line to contest this race. All but Monty Pettus. Monty was in the porta potty when the race started. They say life is all about timing. Monty didn't time this one so well.
Mid race action.
Everyone else got going quickly. There was too much firepower in 55 and spread across lots of teams for a break to get away. The 60s were going to have to sit in and do the best they could. The course was rather hard to move up on. I quickly found that out after starting near the back. Paul Rodiguez mixed it up but Paul is riding so strong it figures he might do this.
It all came down to the last laps and a sprint finish for everyone. 55+ sprinter Evan Teske won the 55+ race and was followed in by Natz Champ Mark Hoffenberg and Brad Jones. In 60+ action would you be surprised to hear that Mike Birditt won. Of course not! Filling out the podium was Ricky Shorts and Mike Marotta. Complete results are below. There were a few close calls with pedals hitting down but no one actually went down and that was a very good thing. Both races this weekend were challenging and fun. Thanks to all that came out to both events. Photos are courtesy of Alicia Mckee and Emily Cramer. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Sprint finish with Teske winning 55+. Birditt is pictured winning the 60+ race following in a number of 55s.

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