Saturday, August 15, 2015

PROFILE IN COURAGE FROM A 60+ RACER- RICK SWANSON

By John McKee

I am going to write about Rick and wrap up some of the races that were done since the last time I wrote. I got a little overwhelmed and in a mental funk so I didn't write about every race I did like I use too. Below are the criterium ranking for the different age categories above. I didn't list road rankings because Socal riders aren't well thought of in the USAC ranking system. Thurlow Rodgers is ranked 40th in his age cat so I know Socal riders are slighted.
I also listed the ranking in Socal Cup points of the 60+ riders up through Brentwood. The 55s don't have a Socal Cup cat this year. There are 3 races left in Socal. Ontario and 2 CBR type races in Carson and Dom. Hills. Let's(55 and 60+ racers) support these last races and put up some decent numbers. It might help for next year. I can tell you for a fact that the numbers make a big difference in deciding who gets a Socal Cup category and which cats are looked on favorably by promoters.

Current rank points for Road: Criterium Mens (55-59)
Rank Points Name City, State License Racing Age
1 69.67 Bradley Jones Brea, CA 18133 56
2 70.50 Thurlow Rogers San Diego, CA 30417 55
3 70.82 Mark Hoffenberg Ladera Ranch, CA 45461 58
4 73.31 James Edwards Rcho Sta Marg, CA 53917 55
5 74.00 Evan Teske Mission Viejo, CA 35248 56
6 74.23 David Prechtl Garden Grove, CA 56118 55
7 75.47 Gilbert Hatton Pottstown, PA 61128 59
8 75.51 Brent Emery Menomonee Falls, WI 45303 58
9 75.97 Robert Swigart Ladera Ranch, CA 259109 55
10 77.87 Gary Dyer Alton, IL 50908 57
11 78.08 Stephen Tilford Topeka, KS 35598 55
12 78.44 Cyril Hunte Rancho Cucamonga, CA 52086 59
13 78.77 Frank Picarelli Long Beach, CA 333410 56
14 79.95 Daniel Nicolette Los Alamitos, CA 26090 58
15 80.11 Mike Okano Trabuco Hills, CA 26616 56

Current rank points for Road: Criterium Mens (60-64)
Rank Points Name City, State License Racing Age
1 77.19 Michael Birditt Escondido, CA 47255 61
2 79.25 Dale Luedtke Oceanside, CA 47262 61
3 80.25 Thomas Gates La Mesa, CA 45364 60
4 87.10 Ricky Shorts Long Beach, CA 52251 61
5 90.56 Kalman Szkalak Capistrano Beach, CA 54522 62
6 92.39 Mike Marotta Bakersfield, CA 72880 64
7 109.81 Bob Wright Castaic, CA 39024 64
8 110.57 Rick Carrera Laguna Niguel, CA 222523 60
9 111.03 Demi Hechanova Claremont, CA 15625 61
10 113.78 Pedro Ordaz Oxnard, CA 55635 61
11 116.65 Dirk Cowley Salt Lake City, UT 7974 60
12 116.82 Rodney Malloy Los Angeles, CA 107559 60
13 118.79 Paul Pearson Allentown, PA 54984 60
14 119.88 Donald Denegal Los Angeles, CA 93812 60
15 121.53 Howard Miller Long Beach, CA 49424 63

Current rank points for Road: Criterium Mens (65-69)
Rank Points Name City, State License Racing Age
1 105.59 Leo Pettus Yorba Linda, CA 219074 66
2 108.12 John McKee Westminster, CA 180386 69
3 118.08 Richard Lilleberg Cypress, CA 64127 68
4 127.35 Michael Fleming Pomona, CA 129293 68
5 157.10 Douglas Knox Santa Barbara, CA 45552 65
6 166.93 Donald Kimper Solana Beach, CA 195498 68
7 173.77 Francisco Vasquez Cooper City, FL 159632 65
8 189.72 Robert Tompkins Anthem, AZ 305794 65
9 199.50 Ed Grystar Oakmont, PA 224526 66
10 202.58 Jack Neyer Pittsburgh, PA 60507 69

Current rank points for Road: Criterium Mens (70-90)
Rank Points Name City, State License Racing Age
1 162.73 Robert Paganini Los Angeles, CA 45763 79
2 290.81 Michael Edwards Pasadena, CA 50406 70
3 377.11 David Burnett Norwich, CT 227154 71
4 387.88 E Michael Ozment Champaign, IL 46412 70
5 501.57 Gary Simmons Layton, UT 199407 70
6 521.73 Dale Harless Bellevue, WA 57571 72
7 523.38 Roger Springer Atascadero, CA 198617 70
8 529.30 Richard Ellwanger Tucson, AZ 272136 71
9 534.30 Leon Sowers San Diego, CA 351238 78
10 538.14 Scott Tucker Golden, CO 71040 76

Place
Rider
Points
1
Dale Luedtke (Jet Lagged Velo, HiTech/Ridley Masters)
150
2
Michael Birditt (Jet Lagged Velo, HiTech/Ridley Masters)
120
3
Thomas Gates (G S Adams Avenue Bicycles)
101
4
Kalman Szkalak (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
88
5
Mike Marotta (Jet Lagged Velo, HiTech/Ridley Masters)
70
6
John McKee (OCW / Paramount Racing)
46
7
Reed Moore (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
45
8
Ricky Shorts (Bahati Foundation/WinTeam Racing)
41
8
Robert Willcox (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
41
10
Michael Mueller (G S Adams Avenue Bicycles)
40
11
Howard Miller (OCW/Paramount Racing)
39
12
Peter Dufour (SDBC/EMERALD TEXTILES)
38
13
Paul Rodriguez (G S Adams Avenue Bicycles)
37
14
Ken Louder (FFKR - CONTENDER RACING)
28
14
Kim Bleth (Bicycle Bob's Racing)
28
16
Leo Pettus (OCW / Paramount Racing)
27
17
Kirk Freeman (South Bay Wheelmen)
26
17
Mark Huffman (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
26
19
Rick Carrera (Team Simple Green/Cannondale/Stage21)
22
19
Richard Mull (Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21)
22
21
Mark Helvie (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
21
22
Lionel Space (Arizona Faster Cycling)
20
22
Ronald Lillis (Crest/RBM Cycling)
20
24
19
25
Eddie Morris (Breakaway from Cancer Masters)
18
25
Kevin Ryan (Metalmtn Cycling )
18
28
Roger Gottfried (Best Chauffeured - Mazda - Pro Bike Supply)
17
29
David B Stanton (Canyon Velo)
14
29
Dirk Cowley (Velosport Racing)
14
29
Michael Fleming (South Bay Wheelmen)
14
32
Pedro Ordaz (S2C/Primal)
13
32
Rodney Malloy (Bahati Foundation/WinTeam Racing)
13
35
James Swigart (SDBC/EMERALD TEXTILES)
12
35
Frank Tai (Michelob Ultra - La Grange +21)
12
37
Richard Lilleberg (South Bay Wheelmen)
11
38
Donald Kimper (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
10
38
Bob Wright (Jet Lagged Velo, HiTech/Ridley Masters)
10
38
Angela Wimberly (UC Cyclery/JW Floors)
10
There have been a lot of great races since I last wrote and that was a LONG time ago. The 1st race that comes to mind is the 805 Criterium Weekend. There was a 55/60+ race each day. Friday through Sunday with a great race each day. Money for each cat, each day. PLUS there was an Ominium for the 60s with extra cash there. Thank you to Mike Hecker the promoter for including both categories in his event. Sorry I rolled over your sign Mike when you were setting up the 2nd day. LOL!  In 55+ action James "Breakaway" Edwards proved he has the stuff to stick off the front. In each of the 3 days, James was in a break that actually made it to the end. The downside of this was on the 1st 2 days he was away with Mark "Lightning Bolt" Hoffenberg. Mark beat him in the finish sprint each day and it was close on day 2 as you can see in the vid BUT on the 3rd day James was away with Mark's teammate Mark Palmer and he did win there.
In 60+ racing Tom Gates proved to be the best over the 3 days of racing. That was a tall order seeing that he was racing against guys like Dale Luedtke, Mike Birditt, Kal Szkalak, Mike Marotta, etc. The courses were great or nearly so-HaHa(I guess LOL is old fashioned. I just found that out.). There are 3 videos below from each day. The 1st 2 have everyone for the 1st 2 days while the 3rd only has the bunch sprint for the 3rd day at Lompoc. James Edwards and Mark Palmer were too far ahead to vid with everyone.
video
video
video

In the front row the 1st day of the 805 race series I can see- Tom Gates, James Edwards, Brad Decker, Me, Birdy, Hoffy and the rest of the gang lined up. This was the "wind" course and was tough but doable.
805 Criterium 60+ Ominium podium- Birditt 3, Gates 1, & Luedtke 2.

After the 805 race series besides Ontario there were a number of really hard events. San Luis Rey, San Marcos, Carlsbad(50/60 here vs the usual 55/60 and it really made a difference.) It was super hot at Carlsbad that day and that was a factor as well. Ontario had a race the same day and you can only imagine what that was like. Bradley Jones won the 55 race and Ricky Shorts won the 60+ race.
At San Luis Rey and at San Marcos climbing specialist Mike Mueller took 1st place honors. He won a close race against John Howard at San Luis Rey but won on a solo break at San Marcos which was the SCNCA Criterium Championship. Mike has come back from some serious injuries from a bike crash so kudos to Mike for his victories. The hard road back only made the victories that much sweeter. Strange course to have the criterium championship. Randall "base sticker" Tinley won the 55+ race at San Marcos. Randall doesn't often leave the confines of the Santa Barbara area but he made an exception here and it worked out nicely for him. Carlsbad and Brentwood 60+ were won by Mike Birditt. Bradley Jones won the 55+ race at Brentwood. 
There were a lot of great rides and I have mentioned a few of them already but I would say the best ride of the year was done by Rick Swanson. A lot of us like Mike have come back from bad crashes and tangles with cars and I had a bad crash at El Dorado in 2007. My wife and I recalled the other night the ordeal. It wasn't a pleasant memory. One thing stood out in my wife's mind was the kindness of Al Shorts helping her out. She had our dog, my bike and her stuff and was over whelmed. Al was most helpful and I am not sure I ever got to thank him. THANK YOU AL! My crash, Mike's, Pags, Hoffy's, Paul's, Ernie's(his was bad. His neighbor took him out. What are neighbors for anyway!) and the many other crashes you guys and gals have suffered were tough and hard to recover from BUT I don't think any of these were life threatening like Rick Swanson's. At least to the extent Rick's was. Rick was air vaced to a hospital and that probably saved his life. Rick was hit hard by a truck that didn't see him and he was thrown a distance and hit a pole. Rick doesn't remember the details and that is probably good. Rick had a fight for his life and then a fight to get his old comfortable life back. Rick had so many injuries to overcome. Walking was very hard to get back BUT he got himself walking again with many hours of PT time and of course time on his own. This was in 2014. I heard that Rick was riding again in 2015 and I was surprised and quite pleased because Rick has always been friendly to me and everyone else that I know in cycling. To see that he signed up to race the Ontario 4 corner race was a real eye opener. Would he be able to physically and mentally be able to do it. Racing isn't easy no matter who you are. Rick not only kept up but placed 18 out of 21 racers. THAT WAS THE RIDE OF THE YEAR! Nice going, Rick!

Some tough PT here for Rick.

Rick leaving the hospital with his wife Karen. It was plently tough on her as well.
Rick put some of his own money into a race team for 2015. He's got some pretty good riders there!

You can see Rick in the middle back with the orange helmet. This is somewhere in the middle of the race.
I think I have run out of words. Pics are some of my own and some from Emily Cramer. I don't know who took the pictures of Rick at the hospital but I am giving credit. That's all for now folks! Train hard and race safe!