Monday, June 15, 2015


By John McKee

The MBGP(6-7-15) and the CBR(6-14-15) June Criterium had good turnouts of 55/60+ racers. Little did we know that when we raced with Steve McDonald at Manhattan Beach, it would be his last race and the last time we would see him. Steve died on Friday(6-12-15) from injuries in a biking accident near his home. Steve wasn't wearing a helmet and crashed on his own suffering severe head injuries.
The CBR race on the 14th became the Steve McDonald Memorial Race for the 55/60+ race. More on this later.
Steve McDonald(1960-2015)
The MBGP had about 50 racers line up for the very early 7 am start but at least we had a race at Manhattan Beach. We haven't always had a slot there. The event has to end early because so many residential streets have to be closed off though residents are allowed to be escorted on and off the course. Not sure why because I am pretty sure the streets have an exit at the opposite end but don't know for sure.
A good number of top 55+ racers didn't attend while all the 60+ top performers did. Some riders don't like the nature of the course and the danger of the last 180. This year's 55/60+ race was crash free and almost all the races I have done there have been as well.
To cut to the chase, Malcolm Hill used Dale Luedtke as a rabbit with 3 laps to go and shot off from the pack. He asked Mike Birditt to not chase so he could join Dale but when Malcolm got to Dale the man was out of gas. Dale came back to the pack. Malcolm WASN'T out of gas and had plenty left in the tank. Malcolm held off the entire pack though the 60s didn't really care. They/We had their/our own race.
Start of the MBGP race
Malcolm was able to hold off the field and won the 55+ race. Really strong riding by Malcolm. The rest of the mortal racers and I must say racers rather than men because we do have gals enter out events and they are welcome. Angela Wimberly has raced with the 55/60+ racers for a number of years but is racing more this year and looks better than ever.
The 60+ race wasn't decided until late into the last lap. Mike Marotta jumped off the front with Yahuda "Pacman" Packer. "Pacman" is very strong and tagged teamed with Mike for 2nd in the 55+ race. Mike Marotta won the 60+ event. Deo Asuncion sprinted in with the peleton for 3rd in 55+. Mike "Oh my aching back" Birditt finished 2nd with Ricky Shorts edging Dale Luedtke for 3rd place in 60+. The pace wasn't as high and as hard as it has been in the past. A few of the stronger 55s that sat it out might have made a difference. The avg. speed was less than 25 mph and the avg. watts from my Stages power crank arm was 210 watts. Thanks to Emily Cramer for the action photos! There are videos at my 55/60+ facebook page if you want to see the action. Very good work by "Chaser" and "Backman".

60+ MBGP result

MBGP 55+ result

60+ MBGP podium- Birditt, Marotta, & Shorts

55+ MBGP podium- Packer, Hill and Asuncion
The CBR June Criterium was raced on the Carson course and that is a fun course but sometimes some of the riders go out into the cones. Stay away from those cones! Please! The turnout of 55/60+ riders ws pretty good but not as good as MBGP. 43 racers lined up behind a group of racers from
Best Chauffeured - Mazda - Pro Bike Supply team. I knew them as OC Armada. That's what you can see on the butt. All of these team members were there to lead a neutral parade lap to honor Steve McDonald. Thank you for doing that and thanks to Chris Lotts(promoter) for allowing it. You get to know people over the years of coming to race events and they are like an extended family. I didn't get to know Steve but of those that did, he is leaving a lasting memory. RIP Steve McDonald. 
We got to race after the parade lap but the race was an after thought. Unimportant compared to a man's like. The best thing to do in this situation is to race hard and I think for the most part it was a pretty hard race. The course is pretty fast and the avg. speed for the 33 minutes was 26.4 mph. The race was shortened because of a crash in an earlier cat 5 race. What a surprise. 
James Edwards and Frank Picarelli went off on a early flyer and were going pretty good but Lothar "Chaser" Cramer and a few others weren't having it so despite a good hard effort they were caught after about 3 or 4 laps. After that there were no majors threats that lasted very long. It was going to come down to a bunch sprint for the 55 and 60+ winners and podium placers. 
Mark Hoffenberg out sprinted the field for the win in 55+ with James Edwards and Steve Strickler following him in for the rest of the 55+ podium. Mike Birditt out sprinted the 60+ group to win that category with Ricky Shorts getting by Dale Luedtke again for 2nd place. Dale held on for 3rd. Good hard race. The 50+ race was 2 races later and had a strong field with the avg. speed coming in at a robust 27.4 mph. I did have a higher power wattage in the 1st race because I was circulating more. 245 watts vs 210. It was a solemn occasion but glad we got to honor a lost fellow racer and we did race hard in his honor. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!
55+ podium- June CBR- Edwards, Hoffenberg, & Strickler

60+ podium- June CBR- Shorts, Birditt, & Luedtke
55+ result- CBR June Crit

60+ result- CBR June Crit

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


By John McKee

It's Memorial Weekend and time to reflect in many ways but definitely time to honor those that served in military service in our long history though short by European standards. My father was one and I think about him often though he has been gone for a number of years. Many of you served and members of your family did as well. Just like mind which goes back to Revolutionary War service. Salute to all those men and women that served in many ways and not just on the front line.
Jack D. McKee in S. Pacific during WW II.
Mother's side. Alta Wright McKee.
I last wrote about Barrio Logan and am leaping forward to Memorial Weekend. I had to take a pass on writing about the popular Dana Point GP and Torrance Criterium. I was on Grandparent duty. Traveled to Denver to see my youngest daugther and 4 yr. old grandson and this spring have been following my 18 yr. old grandson play baseball at El Modena High for his final year. I took and processed thousands of photos to share and it was all time consuming.Photos later in the story.
At DPGP it was Teske-55+ and Luedtke-60+. At Torrance it was Preechtl-55+ and Gates-60+.
Barry Wolfe GP was on Sunday May 24th, 2015. The 55/60+ race was scheduled for 8:35 am with one purse of $250 going to the overall top placers. The 60+ category got Socal Cup points. The race time allotted was a surprising 50 minutes. The extra 10 mins really makes a difference in difficulty and makes more room for action and there was action to be had at Westlake Village.
Just before the start of the Barry Wolfe GP.
  The race started out on time and starting smoking right from the start. Thurlow Rodgers and most of his Amgen teammates were there and this meant the race was going to be hard and fast. It was from the gun. I felt good in the mix and was surprised at my form. After 3 or 4 laps a 2 man break started with Malcolm Hill of Amgen and Anthony Regueros of Bahati-WTR. They were soon joined by Dan Swietlik.
Malcolm Hill and Anthony Regueros starting their break.

Dan Swietlek joining Malcolm and Anthony.
The 3 of them were out there for about 8 laps but were closely watched. The threesome got about 150 meters on the peleton but others had plans of their own. David Prechtl with Danny Nicolette on his wheel flew forward in chase. They shot by Lothar Cramer who was in no man's land. Thurlow Rodgers also took off with Dale Luedtke in tow. The 7 guys got together and I thought the party was over but for some reason, they got caught.
And then there were?
Yes, with all that firepower they got caught. That means there was still some strong riders left that chased hard. 2/3 of the race was done and we were all together. This whole thing seemed to take the starch out of the star riders. I thought Thurlow would try something again but no. The laps came and went and there was no serious effort to form a break. The speed wasn't as high as the beginning of the race either. Strong but not really fast.
All together late in the race.

The lap cards came up and dropped off. One by one. Everyone was all together with one lap to go. Some of the 55s went out to keep the pace up but all died. The pace on the back side got going over 30 mph easily. It bunched a little going into the last turn. Anthony was pushing it. Malcolm tried to jump it and be the 1st one to the last corner but it was a long ways home and into the wind. Mike Birditt was coming back from back problems. He hadn't raced since LA Circuit. He was biding his time on the last lap on the wheel of Ricky Shorts. After the last corner he turned on the jets and it appeared that he still had it. "It" being blazing speed and hit 35.1 mph into the wind. He passed Ricky and about 6 other riders including Malcolm. Dale Luedtke made his own charge from a different direction and it turned into a Hi Tech 1/2 finish. Not just in 60+ but overall. Thurlow Rodgers was 3rd across the line and the 1st 55+ racer. Nelson Alaan was 2nd and Cyril Hunte 3rd in 55+. Ricky Shorts was 3rd and Tom Gates 4th in 60+. The last lap avg. speed was 29.6 mph. Overall the speed was in the upper 25s for an overall avg. Good race and the extra minutes were great. Great venue, race time, and course. Fun had by all!
60s kicked butt at the finish taking 1/2 overall.

Further back in the finish.

55+ podium.

60+ podium.

Mike Bird taking the bean for the team. Must have been rough.

Thurlow in the middle of this.
Results from Barry Wolfe.
The Monday after the Barry Wolfe GP was another CBR race at the Dom Hills course raced counter clockwise. This is actually a little harder because the uphill section between turn 3 and 4 is a little
steeper. It is fun to turn things around like this so this was fun. There was a good turnout and Chris Lotts put the 55/60+ race at 8:35 am which was a near perfect time. 2 races after this was the 60 minute 50+ race. Great training race or at least that's what most of us make of it. The name of the event was The Memorial Day PUBLIC SAFETY Criterium. There were 42 starters. 25 55s and 17 60s. The race started and was more consistently fast then the surgey BWGP.

Hi Emily!
You can see Brad "Breakaway" Decker just in front of myself.

The "Man" working it at the CBR race. The prior day at Barry Wolfe he went OFF THE FRONT near the end of the race!
The pack churned and churned and I thought it was going to a pack sprint. No Amgen riders but Malcolm Hill so the man to watch was definitely Dave Prechtl. Dave is very strong and likes to move in breaks but his finish is getting better now that he is doing track training in the early morning. I mean very early.
We are all together and the lap cards come up. 5 to go and surely there would be a bunch sprint but NO! David Prechtl didn't want that. David and 5 other guys got it going. Rather quietly but none the less they were out there. They got a pretty good gap. Lothar "Chaser" Cramer went to the whip to try and bring them back before the 1 lap to go card came up. You have a new nickname now Lothar! You earned it!
After the 1 lap card came up some 55s tried to chase hard but it was too late. Hi Tech had Fred Hoblit  in the break and this freaked out Bob Wright who was suppose to lead out Birdy. I gave up Dale's wheel to Bob at turn one thinking...ok they will have a train going and I can get on the end of it but I must say that Bob pissed away Dale's wheel and Mike got buried. I kind of did too but found Ricky Shorts's wheel. After turn 3 the pack really picked it up but the 6 breakers had too much of a lead. The pack sprint got everyone pretty close at the end but the 6 guys who were all 55 finished away. Dave Prechtl won. Marc "The South Bay Flash"Spivey was 2nd and Malcolm Hill 3rd. Brad "Breakaway" Decker was 4th and Fred Hoblit 5th. Mike Birditt made an amazing finish considering his injury. He was way back after turn 3 and dropped off of Bob's wheel and took off on the inside near the curb. Not to close though. There was a truck whose back end was sticking out in the street. The bottom of it was about 3 feet off the ground. If someone got pushed into to it could have taken their head off.
Mike was coming up the inside and Jay Wolkoff was coming up the right side. Jay was the 1st 55 to finish from the pack and Mike was the 1st 60. This meant that Mike won the 60+ race. Dale was 2nd and Ricky Shorts was 3rd. I lost Ricky's wheel before the last turn but finished a bike length behind for 4th.
David Prechtl winning the CBR 55/60+ race.

Birdy came from way back to take the 60+ race.

It was a fun race and the weekend was a treat for all the 55 and 60+ racers that did it. Thanks to the Barry Wolfe people and Chris Lotts for having us in their race.
I have got some "bonus" coverage here. Since I finished so late, the Ladera Ranch race is under our belt now. Rick Carrera broke the stranglehold that Luedtke and Birditt had on the 60+ field. He did it in a break with 3 other 55+ racers. I understand the numbering system was mixed and you couldn't tell a 55 from a 60 which is a no/no in our races. In any event Rick won and Lothar "Chaser" Cramer won in 55+. I guess you didn't have to call him a chaser in this race. Just call him a winner!
Rick Carrera and Lothar Cramer winning the 60+ and 55+ categories.
Field sprint.
55+ podium- Palmer 2, Cramer 1, & Carlson 3.

60+ podium- Birditt 2, Carrera 1 & Gates 3.
Super bonus section w pictures of my grandsons.

Season stats for Brett Conine- .725 ERA(MaxPrep) .538(Game Changer), .692 WHIP, 91 Ks in 78 Innings, Opp. BA @ .177, 6 Walks. Own BA @ .343 & OPS @ .892. Best all around pitching stats in CIF Div. 1.

Brett ready to let loose w another pitch in 2015 for El Modena HS. His senior yr. went so fast!

Jonathan Woolley at our house late last yr.

Myself, Alicia and Jonathan on our last trip to Colo.