Thursday, October 9, 2014


By John McKee

The San Diego Cyclo Vets have produced the Super Masters time trial and criterium for a number of years. For 2014 they didn't get on the SCNCA calendar soon enough so had to select a date beyond when all other events have finished included Nationals. September 21, 2014 was the only date available. In 2015 they will have a proper date sometime in May. I was burned out after the National criterium in Utah but felt compelled to do this race because I was the defending champion and to support a great club like the Cyclo Vets. In 2014 my teammate Monty Pettus has become 65. This race brought in the 2014 National Champion in John Rubcic. John out sprinted Monty in a very close finish in Utah.
2014 National Criterium Championship. John Rubcic took it at the end over Monty Pettus. Monty took the lead out from the last corner but couldn't quite hang on.
Add to the mix 2013 SCNCA champion John McKee and the resurgent comeback king Rick Lilleberg. Rick won the 65-69 Super Masters RR IN 2014 and the day before the criterium championship he won the Time Trial by 1 and 1/2 minutes over Hylton Murphy. Bill Langstaff finished a close 3rd to Hylton. Mike Fleming who was on the 2013 podium was also in the race. I would say the downside was a lack of total entries. There were 9 in 65-69 which was down from 18 2 years prior. So many riders talk about a 60/65 race but if you can't get double figures in the champ race, you can forget that idea.
Start line with all the masters 65 and older. The oldest rider was 85. Photo courtesy of the SD Cyclo Vets.
Also bringing their bike to the line was time trial strongman Hylton Murphy. You can only race against who shows up and brings their bike to the line. The field was small but very strong. 1, 2 and 7 from nationals and Rick surely would have placed top 5. No where else in the country would you have this strong of field. In 70-74 Gary DeVoss and Richard Haas aged up and would contest for this age group. There are maybe 20 total riders among all the groups. Pretty low turnout but maybe the time of year has something to do with that.
Our start time was a comfortable 8:50 am. This was a very big improvement over prior years where we had to start at 7 am. At 8:50 am most of us could drive to the venue on race day like I did with Monty. We got the standard race instructions and were off on time. It wasn't clear to me but I guess the 1st lap was neutral. I must have missed that instruction. On the 2nd lap Hylton went to the whip which is standard op. This lap was a prime lap for Gordie Shields corn tortillas. Hylton took this one with a gesture to the sky to acknowledge Gordie.

Gordie Shields in 2013 still riding at 95 years old. A goal few of us will obtain.

From this point forward the group would break up. It might have broken up more but Monty Pettus came up with a flat tire on the 1st lap. The pace was enough to split the field but Roger Springer came to the rescue and brought some riders back. The lead group lead by Hylton of course eased up and waited for Monty to join in. Once Monty got on or in as you will the pace picked back up.
Hylton Murphy ripping the field apart as only he can. Glad to see Hylton back and feeling good.
Notice that Monty is back after the wheel change. Flat tire on the 1st lap. Don't think I have seen that before.

There were efforts by a few guys like Rick and Monty but most of the field hung in there. Mike Fleming took a hard pull but paid the price for it. There were a few primes and one created a break that included Monty Pettus, Rick Lilleberg, and John Rubcic. I couldn't close it down because my teammate was there but Hylton slowly brought us so close that I jumped across and everyone else went with me. Monty was better off with me with him than without. Robert Paganini hung in there and did very well considering he is 78 this year. Every year at our age seems to make a difference. More so than when you are younger.
The lap cards finally came up and the lead 10 were together and were joined by a few riders that were lapped. We lined up with Hylton taking the lead and everyone figured he would take us home. Roger Springer was behind Hylton and I lined up behind Roger. JR was behind me followed by Monty. Monty and I had a pre race agreement that I would be on Monty's wheel at the end so Mr. Rubcic wouldn't be there like at Nationals and we know what happened there. Good for John but not good for Monty. Monty is my teammate so that was the plan going into the race. With 3 laps to go I called Monty forward and had him drop in ahead of me. Pre race plan perfect. John wanted Monty's wheel but no that wasn't going to happen.
The 65s lined up at the end with a few 70s and Pags of course.

The last lap came and things heated up with a much higher pace. Roger Springer dropped back and JR got on Hylton wheel's. Coming into the last corner I figured we were going to sprint after the corner but Rick had a different idea. He was so far back he decided to attack before the corner. Monty saw Rick come by and jumped immediately. I hesitated and JR did as well. John was thinking Hylton was going to release him to the inside and Rick and Monty were going way wide which had much better pavement. It was down to Rick and Monty. JR gave it a go but the hesitation cost him as it did myself. Monty beat Rick for the win and his 1st SCNCA criterium championship. Rick was 2nd, JR was 3rd and I was 4th.
Final sprint with Monty Pettus taking it over Rick Lilleberg. Rick had already won the 60-64 age category.

Gary DeVoss beat Richard Hasse in 70-74. Robert Paganini was the only 75-79 in the lead group so was the winner in that group. Jack Palmer was the only 80-84 rider so he was a winner. Same situation for 85-89. John Sanmartini was the winner there.
This could be the last race at the Hunnekens for the Cyclo Vets Criterium and for Spy Trolley which uses the same course. There is a new tenant on the block that uses the property every day so this could be curtains. Too bad. Good course. The pavement has gotten awful over the years but is rideable.
I wish there had been more riders out there but you race against who comes out.That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
Race results

John Rubcic 3, Monty Pettus 1, and Rick Lilleberg 2 in 65-69. Wear a club jersey Rick!

Martin Katz 3, Gary DeVoss 1, & Richard Hasse 2 in 70-74.

Louis Brooks 3, Robert Paganini 1, & Leon Sowers 2 in 75-79. No photo available for 80-84 and 85+.