This past weekend the Copperopolis Road Race grinded over the aging roads of Calaveras County. After a boneshaking 109 miles, our very own Stephen Vogel and Cam Bronstein crossed together for a 1-2 finish in legendary fashion. Vogel was part of the early break that went in the opening miles with another TMBE rider, Dillon Hollinger. The pair crushed it off the front for nearly the entire race, till when Cameron bridged across with about 30 miles remaining. Stephen and Cam were able to consolidate their efforts and rode away from the break, coming to the line minutes well ahead of the closest competitors.
We asked Dr. Vogel a few questions about the race and how it went down for him.
Q: Having never done the race before, did the course lived up to the hype, or do you think us racers Exaggerated the “suffering” For dramatic effect?
It wasn't so bad, really, until we reached one of the few normal sections of road. I only had just enough time to realize what I was missing before I was back to praying my bike wouldn't break (It didn't!). The climb wasn't so bad until maybe the 4th time up it. Ok, yes, the course was as bad I'd heard and hoped it would be.
Q: What did you eat for breakfast? Did you have any new pre-race rituals you tried out this time?
My usual routine of neurotically organizing and then prepping some overnight oats the night before served me well for the jarring experience of waking up an hour late. Still have no idea how I managed that. My breakfast included more than a few shots of adrenaline. I was impressed at how well things went despite the stress of that morning. Maybe I'll be changing my habits.
Q: What was the team plan for the race and where did you see yourself in that plan?
We hoped to form an early break with Dillon, Andrew or me in it, to take the pressure off the other guys who could catch a ride up to us if the opportunity arose. Always one for the long haul, I was pretty excited to make it happen. This whole "greater good" thing that a team can deliver is all so new to me and incredibly gratifying. Give it a try!
Q: In med school, did you ever learn of the nutritional value of chip seal? Is there an optimum ratio of mouthfuls per hour?
Our curriculum wasn't big on alternative medicine, so I can't say I was in the know. I was just surprised at how salty it was. Carbon and sodium, what more do you need? Keep that mouth wide open!
Q: Was there ever one deciding moment in the race or did it all sort of unfold as the miles went on?
Cam's attack at the start of the last lap was certainly where it all went down. I followed him, then hesitated on his wheel for a second before realizing how shattered the break was behind us. Then it was all we could do to open the gap. Everything before that, though, was a methodical progression of feelings and decisions that can develop only over a race as long as that one. Sixty miles of "I'm in the break with Dillon, we're doing our jobs, nice!", to hearing we have seven minutes on the field, to realizing things were definitely in the cards when Cam showed up.
Q: Was there one set of kit or equipment that you had and that was especially important you’d like to give a shout out to?
I swear the Tarmac Pro shouldn't be as comfortable as it was on that lunar surface of a road.
Q: Now that you’ve conquered one of the hardest race is in Norcal, what are your plans for the rest of the season? Or are you just going to retire on top and call it a year?
Although I still can't believe I took the Norcal monument for Mike's, there's way too much to look forward to yet. Now I just get to do it all with a whole lot less self-directed pressure! I hope to keep this rolling into Cat's Hill and Wente before a bit of a break, building up the legs (and TT form) to some big summertime races including elite nationals.
Thanks Stephen. Keep keeping on.