This Past saturday was the 2012 edition of the Copperopolis road race, an epic norcal classic. Many have made the trek to rural Milton every spring to test their metal against the competition and “the Paris-Rubaix of northern California”. Marc Pro-Strava was ready and willing to take on the competition.
We started the race with 8 riders which gave us a significant numbers advantage over other squads. This really worked to our advantage as we were able to cover moves and send guys up the road, allowing designated riders to save energy for later in the race. Heavy hitter Kris Lunning (Marc Pro – Strava) pretty much spent the first 2/3 of the race of the front. Hats off to him. While he was off the front all we had to do was cover moves and mix up the chase.
With two laps to go the race was getting interesting. Lunner (Kris Lunning) was still hell bent on getting out front and the undulating climb was really reeking havoc on fools. I was still feeling pretty good at that point because I hadn’t had to do much except for cover moves on the climbs.
After Lunner had finally run out of steam it was only Jesse Miller-Smith and I representing MPS. The field had been reduced down to about a dozen riders with 3 off the front. Jesse did a stellar job of chasing down the leaders while I focused on being fresh for the last lap. By this time it was getting warm out and I remembered that all I had to wear after the race was a sweatshirt. I didnt want to be stuck in Kris’ car for 3 hours wearing a sweater so I was extra motivated to win a coveted Velopromo t-shirt.
The final time up the feed zone climb Kirk Carlsen (prooffcycling.com), attacked when the grade got steep. A Cal-Giant rider went with him and I was able to just hang on to Max Jenkins’ (Competitive Cyclist) wheel as he gave chase. Jesse told me not to work with anyone if he was chasing so I sat on Max’s wheel for most of the climb. I could still see the two attackers up the road so when the time was right I attacked and tried to bridge. I made some progress but it wasn’t enough and Max clawed his way back and proceeded to yell at me. It was clear that we had to work together to catch the leaders.
Two Groups formed. Carlsen had joined one of the breakaway riders and the second group consisted of Max, myself, cal giant and another breakaway rider from Kenda-5 Hour Enegery. We were giving a good chase but Carlsen was riding strong and we weren’t able to reel them in before the finish. I jumped with “200” meters to go, ending up 3rd.
It was at the reg tent MUCH later that we found out that Carlsen had been DQed for unsportsmanlike conduct so I was promoted to second. I won a beautiful t-shirt with a picture of a spring lamb and was comfortable the whole ride home.