Sunday, April 6, 2008

Koppenberg Circuit Race

The first road race of the year is always the Koppenberg Circuit Race. With 50% of the course on dirt it seems like the perfect transition from cyclocross season.

After a prolonged 5-hour donut run on Saturday, I didn't have the freshest legs at the start line, but then again, if you peak for Koppenberg you have some serious issues to take to your cycling psychologist -- ie, Kevin. However, I would like to remind you it's not appropriate to have an intimate relationship with your psychologist, or so they tell me at BCH ... eh, more on this later.

The first race of the year is always met with a certain amount of consternation.

Despite the soggy legs, the worst-case scenario for me was that Koppenberg would be a 90-minute workout with the added bonus of an excuse to suit up in the brand-spanking new long-sleeve skinsuit.

Jose and I took off with the 3s at an absolutely frantic pace. We covered the first lap in under 12'30", which is an average speed of 26+ mph. I felt worked but pleasantly surprised at the good sensations and the fact that everyone else was starting to look a little tired. On the back-side climb I rode right up the side of a strung-out peloton with a gushing "who me?" expression on my face. Unfortunately, during the descent back to Costco a couple riders banged heads, leaned on each other, and promptly hit the ground not more than a couple bike lengths ahead of me. I was able to slow significantly, but still had no choice but to hit one of the dudes and take a brief extravehicular flight. I got up, found my bike, and kept on going. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, Jenna assures me the long-sleeve skinsuit was unscathed. I was a little nervous riding with a gash on my shin, but so long as this was a high-quality workout I wasn't packing it in. It's too bad I wouldn't see the front of the field again, because I think I might have been good for a top 10.

Meanwhile, Jose was making his debut in the Cat3s. I can sympathize with the experience, because every time you make a leap it always feels mighty fast! Jose, I promise you that you'll get desensitized to this. Last year after a season of getting bashed in the 3s, I dropped down to 4s for cyclocross season and felt like an absolute stud!

I ended up in the second group on the road, with probably 25 guys ahead. I was riding with guys who got dropped, so I was probably one of the stronger guys. Cat3s still don't know how to paceline or cooperate, so it was too bad that we never picked anyone up, but I wasn't about to embark on a fruitless attempt to bridge. I just sat and waited for an opportunity to attack on the final lap.

On the last lap I rode away with 2 other guys on the climb, and we had a gap that would stick. This was a perfect scenario for me because I didn't want to solo in the windy conditions. The sprint from the final corner is 400m, and of course someone went ... I was sitting 3rd wheel and waited till about 150m, but was only able to come away with 2nd in the sprint. In retrospect I should have waited longer.

After the finish I had the medics take a look at my leg, but they couldn't really do too much for me. Jenna and I then headed to BCH Foothills to get it cleaned out. Three stitches and a few Pumphouse brews later and the first race of the season is officially in the books!

And I almost forgot ... mom always tells you to wear clean underwear in case you end up in the ER ... well, this should be amended for racers to, "Remember to wear any underwear at all!" I hit the road in the chamois this morning and had to visit the ER commando ...


Jose said...

My perspective....

today was just a test for me. My first time in the 3's, so I wasn't sure if I could hang, or if I made a big mistake. The verdict: all is well :) I was with the main group up the first climb. I was even moving up on the climb. And then....mechanical issues. I put on a beater set of wheels that I could abuse. Well the rear cog and the front chains didn't line up well. Every time I came off the hill, tried to go from small chainring to large, and it wouldn't go. I'd spend 15 to 30 seconds coaxing the chain up. Needless to say, I was dropped from the main group. But I swept up many stragglers and created a decent size chase group. We worked well toegther and brought it in. With the group, I was feeling good. The last time up the hill was hard, but otherwise I was dieseling my way around the course.

Don't know what my place was, but it didn't really matter this time around.

Jeremy Duerksen said...

great race guys. sorry I wasn't there to help either one of you out - nice work though in one of the season's toughest races! sweet new kits too.

flan said...

When did ksyriums become beaters? Maybe I oculd give them a good home ;-)