Nick Schaffner P 1,2 – DNF
Glenn Rawlinson 35+ 1,2,3 – 9th
Paul McKenzie 55+ 1,2,3,4 – 12th
Ben Ragains 4 – 45th
Rick Reynolds 45+ 4,5 – 3rd
This year’s Copperopolis, or Crapperopolis, or Coppercrapolis, or whatever you want to call it, was its usual, brutal self. The “Paris Roubaix of California” certainly has some rough pavement, but comparing it to the “Hell of the North” is a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, the rough pavement does give a feel for what our Paris Roubaix heroes might be going through!
I hung out a bit before the race with Truckee friends Martha Bellisle and Peter Taylor (Peter raced in my group and won the race! Not bad for a nordic skier). Nick and Glenn were already out on the course.
Thinner CWC field this year with Nick, Glenn, Paul, Ben, and Rick competing, all in different categories.
My second race with the 55+ 1,2,3,4 boyz. Race started off pretty brisk on the gradual downhill after the start. I figured I’d better move up as something could happen early. It did. Up the first climb, it was a brutal pace. About 40 guys in the field. I was dangling off the back of the lead group of 12 over the top. Just a few miles into the race, two thirds of the field already had been shattered! One guy took a flier, and individuals took turns trying to bridge, making for repeated surges.
Hellish headwind on the back side of the course made the solo breakaway futile. We went over the back side climb together, same group of 12 or so. I knew I had burned a lot of matches on the first lap. My only hope was that the lead guys would take it easy the second time up the climb. They didn’t. I just couldn’t hang and was dropped. They had 30 seconds going over the top. I fought to get back on as they eased up a bit, but leg cramps and lack of watts made it impossible.
From then is was just a matter of trying not to allow the field behind to catch. On the back side of the course I was caught by Micky Caldwell (Morgan Stanley). He caught me, patted me on the back and said, “Let’s go!” I jumped on and we began to work together against the head wind. We picked up another guy with a Santa Barbara jersey. Mickey Caldwell tried to rally him too but he was all over the road, not a good rider and not helping much, so Mickey began to bash him. A couple of classic quotes ensued. “Hey, we’re not going for Gold here, let’s work together!” And my favorite of several more quotes, some not so nice, “Is this how they ride in Santa Barbara?”
We finally got it together, started working to help each other, and reeled the pack to within about 30 seconds. But it was right before the last climb a few miles prior to the finish. The lead group started attacking each other and opened up the gap again. I forced my tired legs into a push for the finish. Dropped both of my mates and finished solo, fighting for the crumbs and holding my 12th place. The field never caught me, and that’s about the only good thing I can say about the day other than the weather and the course were absolutely beautiful.
I rode straight through the finish, went to my car, grabbed a drink, and my camera, and took another lap to cool down (in more ways than one). When I returned the place was a ghost town. I suffered badly on my cool down lap. I could only think of Nick having to do 5 laps, err actually 4 (read below), chasing Levi, who showed up to race! Brutal.
Had a great day. Great course. Really glad to be on the Scott Addict with the Ritchie carbon fiber bars! Spent most of the race up front setting the pace. On the second lap, 3 of us got away and I ended up taking 3rd. Good day for me pretty much off the couch. Now….. get ready for Sea Otter!
Skiing was fantastic today!
My race was no bueno- let a gap open in a decisive split on lap 3 and after working hard for most of lap 2, had no gas left. Not really sure why- it just hit like an atomic bomb. Literally limped home, finishing by myself. Wanted to drop due to super violent cramps (never an issue) and small child syndrome, but finished anyway in the name of miles for next weekends bigger event.
It’s the Masters, it’s Paris Roubaix–it’s…Copperopolis. Oh Yeah. A Northern California Cycling Classic for almost 30 years that is humbling and hard. This year, I went with my CX wheels glued up with some new tires. Strong and light. I played is smart and started at the front leading the group with good friend Bill Sans as we rolled down the hill through the feed and up the climb. With a sizable group, I didn’t want to find myself lingering midpack fighting for room and blind to unseen holes. I rolled off the front slightly and felt great. The climb was steady and well in control. As we begin to roll around the lake, I slid back to 20th or so when whammo, a hole and a guy flipped up in front of me take two more with him. Just a little reminder that we’re at Copper. The small 2nd climb was steady and the field began to string out on the fast descent. My cornering felt a little off and at the bottom of the descent I noticed a noise in my
rear wheel but didn’t give it much thought thinking perhaps it was bearing or some other small issue…this while watching three more guys roll tubulars and fly off the course at high speed. After the race, I noticed this noise was from a broken
spoken. Luckily it didn’t cause a puncture and so much for “strong Cross wheels”.
Coming off the 1st descent the field was strung out and continued to rage as we passed through the start beginning lap 2. Through the feed it was still strung out and I was catching wheels to get up to the front for the start of the climb. What a barn burner…I was sitting 3rd wheel as the climb started and we were tapping out a serious effort already. I started to slowly slip back and by the smooth section, I was about 8th until the road kicks up and gets rough again…I continued to struggle. My legs seemed to have gone dead on me and I working hard to hold position. A small gap appeared with about 14 guys up the road gapping us by 20m or so by the top of the climb and I was in a smaller group of 10 or so. We spent the next 20min chasing that gap. I wasn’t recovering very well after my pulls at the front but I held strong and stayed in the group. When we reintegrated, I sat on for the next 10min or so until the shorter 2nd climb. The pace seemed a bit more relaxed as we came down the descent and Start but kicked again a little before
the feed and the group strung out again as Kevin Metcalfe slipped off the front setting up for the final big climb.
I was sitting about 14th by the top of the climb with another split up the road with 8 guys and Kevin Metacalfe further up the road. Five of us regrouped as we hit the lake and we worked together well but just couldn’t close the gap of 30-40 seconds we carried around the final short climb. We were hoping for the lead group to race tactically and slow but it didn’t happen. At the start of the climb, our group of five started to get tired and I instantly found myself with a small gap as I took a pull so I just hit it hard and began the final effort that I would carry to top and down to the finish. I found a few carrots and passed two guys who had fallen off the front group. Behind me, three guys were chasing hard but I fought off the demons and held on for a solid Top 10 finish at my favorite road race of the year.
Nick Schaffner (Ouch!)
DNF at Copperopolis in the Pro 1/2 race. I was Leipheimered, Nydamed, Jacques-Mayned (twice), bamboozled, horn-swallowed, pig-stuck, flipped upside-down, turned inside-out and spit out the back of the peleton like a greasy watermelon seed. Whatever I was supposed to have on the day, I didn’t have it. I kept looking down to make sure my tire wasn’t flat and my brakes weren’t rubbing, because my legs felt like they were doing too much work for little gain. I lost contact on the 2nd lap, chased like an abandoned dog on the 3rd and quit like a gassed fat-ass on the 4th.
On a positive note, while analyzing my power files, I shattered my personal records for everything from 1 second through 120 minute max watt outputs. Strong, but not strong enough.
(Ed. note: I just spent this past evening sipping beer with some of the Clif Bar boyz and Troy Wells. Evidently the pace was off the hook with Levi attacking then the Bissell boyz chasing. Nick will be back with some good placings on the NorCal P 1,2 scene once Levi heads back to Europe! Levi was DQ’d in the race due to a centerline violation.)