Friday, January 30, 2015


By John McKee

Well the old wind bag is back. Windier and full of it more than ever. I have been told that people don't want to hear stories or history. I talk too much. Write too much. OK. You can stop now if that's the case. This is my 1st blog post of 2015. It just happens to coincide with my 1st race of the year. I was going to open up at Ontario since Ray Moreno brought the 60+ group back as a race. Separate with a purse. I pre reged for that race and the 55+ but didn't go because of the rain. I don't mind Ray getting my money anyway. No worries there. I ended up opening like I use to at the Carlos Soto Memorial Criterium.
Mondo Requejo is working registration. Monty Pettus is waiting for reg to open for 55/60+ racers.
Formerly known as Mothballs Criterium. I love to do this race. It is sponsored by the Echelon Cycling Club in the Santa Barbara area and their member Mondo Requejo is the promoter. Mondo and his teammates always put on a 1st class race. "Top Notch..Top Notch" as Judge Smails says in "Caddyshack"(who doesn't like this movie).
Carlos on his bike
Carlos Soto in the Air Force
Carlos Soto raced with a lot of us 55 and 60+ racers. He was a very strong sprinter and smart racer. He was a stickler for detail about everything including the courses we were to race. Carlos died way too young at the age of 61 in 2014. He will be missed by all that knew him and this race will carry his name as a tribute to what he meant to the cycling community in the Santa Barbara area and beyond. RIP CARLOS!
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.
Doggie 1
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+
Dale fell back a bit but was met by Paul Thorson. Paul got on the wheel of the resurgent Doug Knox and Doug brought Paul up to Dale. Doug fell on cardio hard times and dropped back and out but Paul and Dale started working together. They were out of sight of the pack. Randall was a bit ahead on his own but not sure how much. Randall has been riding strong as we know from last year's 805 so it was no great surprise that he was able to hold off Dale Luedtke and Paul Thorson working together. Good things for him or he would have looked like a bone head BUT he didn't get caught and won solo! Nice job Randall!
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+.

I tried to turn it on but had clicked up to a 12 which was way too big a gear for me and I started a terrible sprint. Mike was long gone and Gibby flew by. Lee Ziff also came by with a nice sprint. Gibby was 3rd in 55+ and Lee was 4th. I finally got on top of the gear and Monty came by me but I hung about a half bike behind him to the line.Monty was 3rd in 60+ and I was 4th.
Overall this was a great race as it always is but the weather was much warmer. The race was done in the 50s and it usually is in the 30s. By the time Monty and I did the 45+ race at 9:55 am it was nearing 70. Thanks to the host club Echelon and their promoter Mondo Requejo. No crashes. Everyone loved the competition. Nice to be back in the saddle so to speak. Thanks to all that came out and raced. Complete results below. There is a You Tube video done by Anthony Reguero. Thanks Anthony!
Thats all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!