Copperopolis RR (E4)

In the photo: Mikal Davis

Written by Mikal.

I came into this race feeling strong, but without having much success in the past few weekends of racing. I was cautiously optimistic considering the unpredictable road surface and my untested climbing legs. The main team strategy was to survive.

I tried to stay out of the wind as much as possible, while also marking some of the well-known strong riders in the field. Fortunately, the road surface and main climb served as a natural selection and after the first lap the group was already significantly reduced (unfortunately, the elements took a toll on our 8-man team…and we were down to 4).

Right before the second climb of the second lap, Jonatan from Alto Velo made a move and I knew together we had a chance to make it stick (see Bariani), so I quickly reacted and got on his wheel and after working hard we managed to get a ~30s gap at the base of the climb. Another rider had bridged and pulled up the entire climb (total beast) and after the fast and bumpy descent the 3 of us regrouped and started rotating nicely.

A fourth rider from Cycle Sport - Specialized bridged and at that point it was clear this was the winning move. The four of us worked nicely together for the last lap, we had no time checks, but were guessing we had over a minute on any chase group. The Cycle Sport - Specialized rider attacked the break right before the last climb and put in a hard-enough dig that we couldn’t even think of trying to hold his wheel. At that point, it was a race for second and Jonatan was already off the back.

I just sat on the remaining guy’s wheel waiting for my chance to pounce. Unfortunately, he dropped his chain about halfway up the climb…not the way I wanted it to go, but I used it to my advantage nonetheless and accelerated hard to the top of the climb.

From that point, I knew I had 2nd place locked up, so I descended cautiously and rode it in at a decent tempo. I emptied the tank to get 2nd place so I was happy, and super stoked to get the points needed for my upgrade to Cat 3.