Saturday, April 7, 2012

Copperopolis Road Race 35+ Cat 5 - Race Report

About 25 guys started the race - a 2 lap 42 mile affair with 2600' of total climbing.  I coordinated with Geoff (friend of CJ) and Erik (friend of Hans) prior to the race about working together. 
The pace was slow until the feed zone when a few guys started to pick up speed. About half-way up the climb I jumped on the wheel of a guy who was making a break.  At the top the field was completely blown up and we had 15 seconds on a gaggle of 6 remaining riders (Geoff was nowhere to be seen, Erik was in the 6).  It was way to early to exploit this gap so we let the 6 riders slowly catch us. 

On the upper flat sections a couple guys tried to make breaks but the group pretty much stayed together. Unfortunately Erik flatted just before Carmen City and was out.  At the beginning of the short climb before the downhill to the finish a different guy made a break which I followed.  Once again not much of a gap opened up and the group of 7 came together again on the fast, rough downhill.  I threw my chain on the downhill but managed to get it back on while riding.  Disaster averted. 

As we started the second lap nobody wanted to lead so I set a comfortable pace as we started to climb.  At the feedzone the group of 7 was still together so I slowly ramped up the pace to put pressure on any struggling riders.  Once we reached the smooth pavement about halfway up I put the hammer down - no more messing about! Probably too early and a bad idea but like I said - I'm impatient.  At the top of the climb only one rider was with me and we had 30 to 40 seconds on a group of 4 (shit, we're out numbered). 

As the cards had been dealt and my companion was raring to go we took turns at the front in an effort to stay away or at least make the riders behind us work for it.  We finally got caught just after the Carmen City turn but our pursuers had been whittled down to 2.  Now as a group of 4 I tried to organize us and continue to push least any stragglers catch up.  I'm taking my pulls just like the other guys but at this point my legs are going away (don't ask - I know not where they went).  When we reached the final uphill I was toast.  The other 3 riders pulled away but I managed to finish within about a minute of first. Good times. I'm looking forward to the Sea Otter Classic in two weeks.