Copperopolis Road Race
Saturday April 19, 2014
"A 21 mile loop of fair to bad paving, two climbs and a fast, bumpy, twisty descent. Strong wheels, thick tires and no loose water bottle holders or dentures recommended." We were doing 3 laps for 63 miles.
7th in W3
Sunny - 60's to start and 70's by the end
*Personal - don't flat like last year, race smart, podium
*Team - podium
Conservative for lap one. Use the climbs to our advantage on lap 2.
I tried Osmo's preload the night before for the first time and I felt more hydrated than usual. We originally thought we had our work cut out for us when we saw Cara of Velo Sport (won the Sea Otter road race) but she ended up lining up with the P12 ladies and we were secretly relieved. Angel had a flat tire that led to some concerns pre-race but seemed to be ok after reinflating. It was a small field of only 8. The first climb is not long after the start and goes for a while. By the time we were at the top we had a good gap with Angel, Aliya (junior with Davis), and myself. So much for conservative on the first lap as we starting trading pulls and the pace was tough. I wore my heart rate monitor which I have not often done during races, and confirmed that we were going pretty hard. I was a little worried about going so hard so early but tried to take my pulls and be useful. Angel was saying a few things I didn't catch but presumed to be encouraging words. To my dismay I ended up dropping off the pace and figured maybe it was faster for the two of them to go ahead anyway. I recovered a little and then picked up the pace again, now solo, not knowing what was going on behind me. I had no time gap info. By the end of the flat part on lap 1, a group of 3 had caught up to me and I joined them. My focus now shifted to keeping this group from catching up to the front two. The mellower pace was a bit of a relief and we stayed together the 2nd lap. As we neared the 2nd climb on this 2nd lap, I had not been able to see our front group in a long time, and though we had no time gap info, figured it was safe to push the pace a bit. I attacked at the end of the climb and hit the descent hard, and noted a good gap behind me. The descent was semi-terrifying due to my arms going numb from all the bumps, but I just held on to my bars as hard as I could, (perhaps too hard as I ended up with super sore arms by the end of the race). By the end of the descent our group of 4 was back together and I eased up. We started the final climb and not too far into that I picked up the pace, got a gap, and continued to ride hard to get more time before the flats. As I got to the top, I could see Angel and Aliya ahead. Yikes - I was worried about the 3 behind me catching all of us on the flats. I rode hard on the flats and kept them in sight, getting as close as 15 seconds back, but could not close the gap. I was picturing Dana's bridge up at Turlock at this point, and trying to channel some of that energy and mental toughness. Meanwhile, I could see the group of 3 behind, still together, starting to get closer. I just needed to get to the last climb before they got to me. Somehow that happened, and I continued on, worried about my arms being so fatigued that I would not be able to handle my bike on the descent. Made it through that and up the small hill to the finish. Tried to stand to sprint but had major noodle legs and could not do a thing. A rider came out of nowhere and took me at the line but when I looked over, it was a guy - yay! I think the other 3 finished within a minute behind but I was too tired to really know for sure.
3rd and Angel was 2nd
It is tough to gauge efforts needed without having any time gap information provided.
Leaving it all out on the course is satisfying.
Racing with teammates is fun!
For more race photos, please visit: http://acaurora.smugmug.com/2014-Races/2014-04-19-Copperopolis-Road-Rac/W-P12--W3/