Copperopolis Road Race

On Saturday, most of the Team Mike's Bikes riders raced the Copperopolis Road Race. For those not familiar with the race, it is perhaps the most challenging and classic of the northern california road races. The course is a 22-mile loop on some of the bumpiest roads imaginable, and includes a 1,000 ft climb and numerous other hills and rollers. In the men's pro field, we had to tackle this a total of 5 times, making for a true war of attrition. On the first lap, John Piasta managed to get off the front with another rider on the main climb. When Jim Stemper (Kenda/5 Hour Energy) attacked over the top of the climb, I jumped on his wheel and the two of us made it up to John. The four of us rolled along nicley for half a lap. Unfortunately, John -- who was taking some excellent pulls -- got a flat tire. This took the impetus out of our move, and we were caught soon afterwards. The pace was pretty hot the next two times over the climb and many riders were getting dropped. After the third time up the climb, Shawn Rosenthal attacked out of a reduced group and was joined by Jim Stemper and eventual winner Mauricio Prado. The fourth time up the climb, Max Jenkins drilled it on the steeper ramps, forcing a selection of 9 riders behind Shawn's group of 3. Both Tyler Brandt and myself were able to hang on. We traded some attacks in this group and I started to wear out rapidly. The last time we hit the climb, we passed Shawn, who had fallen off of the lead group. I was dropped halfway up the climb but mangaged to easily ride in solo for 9th place. Tyler hung on with tired legs until the finish for 7th place. There was some drama in the finish that I won't comment on. The breakaway was caught, and Kirk Carlsen was first across the line, but later disqualified, giving Mauricio Prado the victory. Our entire team rode well; it was nice to see so many of us still up at the front later in the race. Dana Williams in particular rode very strongly, and Andy Goessling finished in a respectable 11th place. -Jim W.