I don’t as a rule ride Criteriums or Circuit races unless they are part of stage race. The Coppertown Circuit race course will be used in the Top Sport Stage race so I rode it for valuable experience. I actually really enjoyed the course which consisted of a fun blast through Copperopolis town center followed by a rolling out and back section on Little John road. It was not a particularly hard circuit in terms of climbing but there was a cool crosswind on the Little John section which made it a little more difficult.
My wife was racing too so we stayed the night in Copperopolis with our dogs. This didn’t work out so good as one of our dogs was unsettled by the strange surroundings and she wouldn’t settle. I ended up with about an hours sleep and a stinking headache in the morning. At least it was quite cold (around 45 degrees) when I raced at 9am so the cool air refreshed me somewhat.
My race was dominated by some pretty large teams so the tactics seemed to consist of riders constantly attacking followed by team mates blocking before a rival team attacked then it all came back together. It was quite frustrating being a rider without team mates so I made several attacks just for the h*ll of it. I found that I was not going very well and on the windy section there was no way I was going to stay away by myself. I tried to go with a few breaks but none of them were successful and I thought it was going to end up in a bunch sprint.
On the last lap two riders got away and I decided not to chase this break and of course it stayed away. At one point one of the teammates of the riders put in an awesome attack and I thought we were going to bridge across but when he saw me he sat up. I had no intention of going for the sprint so I attacked with 2KM to go but was caught at 1K and ended up coming in with the rather small lead bunch. At least I got a good workout.
It was a safe race but a little frustrating and it didn’t really make me want to go back to short course racing. There were some really strong and fast riders in the group (I was not one of them) and they worked the team thing really well. My “Specialized Allez Race” handled the town center bit really well which is what i expected for a crit bike. Even though I didn’t have any team mates in the race it was nice to have other team Fremont members shouting me on through the town center and it made my day.
- Position: 15th
- Time: 55m
- Distance: 21.7MPH
- Climbing: 824ft