By John McKee
|Mondo Requejo is working registration. Monty Pettus is waiting for reg to open for 55/60+ racers.|
|Carlos on his bike|
|Carlos Soto in the Air Force|
It's hard to get a lot of racers up to this race because of its location though it doubles up nicely with the road race the day before. There was a great turnout of 55/60+ racers at the Saturday road race with 40 to 50 racers lining up. Mike Birditt winning the 60+ race and Malcolm Hill winning the 55+ event. Raced together and scored separately. Unfortunately the turnout for the 55/60+ race on Sunday at the Carlos Soto Memorial Criterium(CSMC) had less than half that at 20. You just have to race against who lines up. The field was small but reasonably strong. There are always "new guys" that age up into 55+ that like to show there stuff. This race would be no exception.
We lined up on Jan. 25th, 2015 at 8:15 am for the race to start. Chris Black gave us our instructions. Eric Smith was in the "booth" handling the video of results and getting the finish sheets out in a timely manner. This was Eric's birthday and he barely made it there in his car which needed repair after the race. Thanks to Eric for all he has done for the 55/60+ racers. There was no memorial statement for Carlos Soto before the 55/60+ race but there was a nice statement by a friend before the 45+ race.
|Doggies 2 & 3- Love to take pics of dogs at the races|
The race started on time and the racers were off. There was no great jump. Someone did try and mix it up and ride away into the sunset but the pack kept him close and the peleton pretty much stayed together for the 1st 5 laps. I didn't see a clear favorite in 55+ if it was a field sprint which meant many of the strongest 55s would try and get away. Anthony Reguero aged up this year and is very strong. In the last 3 years Anthony has lost 100 lbs. and is still a big guy but can really put out the watts. He doesn't quite have the finer points of racing down. He like to race 3 or 4 races at an event and usually rides caboose.The primes started driving the race. Mike Birditt is the new prime killer. 10 to 12 years ago Robert Barney was the premiere prime killer. Mike and Robert are different racers though. Mike has a great sprint while Robert was an all around strong rider. Anthony Reguero took off once on the back side of the D shaped course trying to catch everyone with their pants down and he did the 1st time about 10 laps in but I do believe that Birdy and Gibby Hatton caught him at the line 2 other times for whatever the primes were. It was hard to hear out there what the prime was for. Doug "Grouchy" Knox looked pretty fit and mixed it up a little. I hadn't seen Doug since last year's 805 race series when he was really grouchy. Doug seemed to be in a better mood at CSMC. Dale Luedtke's form seems to be getting better with age. Dale had a down cycle a few years back that was health related but he seems healthly and cycling strong again. Great to see. Dale doesn't say too much but lets his bike do the communicating and it spoke volumes at CSMC. Dale doesn't usually look for an opportunity to get away but what do I know.
Randall Tinley won the last leg of the 805 trifecta event(2014) in Lompoc with a solo break so he was someone to be watched for sure. Randall rides a Giant bicycle with disc brakes. Not sure why the disc brakes but he had them. Certainly didn't need them until the race was over. Randall started the winning break with about 12 laps to go with Dale hot on his wheel. This was a very strong jump. I believe we raced 27. The race got very hard prior to this jump and everyone let this effort go. I was really stressed cardio wise. Is this the end of Rico? Lol. I was the oldest rider still in the pack. Dale Harness is over 70 but dropped off after about 4 laps to go so that left me with senior duties which was... don't suck! Make the young ones eat some of your wheel dust. I was definitely under pressure but once things sorted out up front the pressure was taken off.
It looked like Dale and Randall were going to ride off into the sunset with the win in 55 and 60 but that wasn't how the race worked out. Dale actually couldn't keep up with Randall and fell back. This was a bad tactical error on Randall's part. He should have kept Dale with him at a slightly slower pace to keep any stronger 55s from chasing him down but the field was small and there was no Mark Hoffenberg, Malcolm Hill or any number of the other very strong 55s. Randall was going to try and do it alone and its not like he hasn't done it before. I assume Randall knew Dale wasn't in his category.
|P. Thorson 2- R. Tinney 1 in 55+|
Another off the front solo win. I can see though that you are a base sticker and won't mix it up with the rest of us down south. There wouldn't be any 55/60+ races if guys did 3 or 4 a year. Sorry for the lecture.
Paul and Dale worked nicely together and Paul came across for 2nd in 55+ while Dale won the 60+ category with style! Nice going Dale!
Behind these 3 very strong riders was Anthony Regueros trying to chase the guys down or finish solo for the last podium spot in 55+. Anthony rode strong but couldn't gain much ground on the pack. The last 2 laps came soon enough without a lot of stress. I was quite rested after being under pressure 10 laps before. John Vargas of Metal Mountain went to the front and Mike Birditt got on his wheel and I got on Mike. You would think Mike's is a good wheel to be on but actually its not for most riders. The last lap came and I didn't see Kal Szkalak anywhere. I guess he declared earlier he didn't like the race and went backward but he did finish the race. Vargas kept up a steady pace but someone almost always jumps before the last corner on the last lap but no one did. Once Vargas rounded the last corner, Mike (Clark Kent/Sup) Birditt got out of the phone booth and put on his cape. He turned on the jets and flew across the finish line for 2nd in 60+. He passed Anthony with about 60 meters to go.
|Birditt 2, Luedtke 1 & Pettus 3 in 60+.|