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Old 04-09-07, 12:06 PM   #1
platypus
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Copperopolis race report - OTB and DFL

I went out this weekend and raced in the famous Copperopolis road race. The race takes place approximately in the geographical center of nowhere, the nearest town being Copperopolis about 10 miles away. The race itself starts and ends in the "town" of Milton which, as near as I can tell, consists of a Masonic lodge and nothing else. The course is a 21-mile loop consisting of a hard 3 mile climb, about 11 miles of rolling roads through some lovely cow pastures, a completely insane 3 mile descent, and some more rollers back to the start of the climb. My group was slated to do 2 laps for a total of 42 miles.

My race was pretty much over from the gun, as my group shot out of the gate at 30mph. What the heck? This is road racing, not a crit! I guess they didn't get the memo. I was slowed down a bit by the awful pavement, but by chasing at 32mph I was able to catch back up to the back of the group at the base of the big climb. Given that I'm not a stellar climber, I was predictably left behind in short order. Once I was at the top, the group was long, long gone. I praticed my time trialling around the back part of the course, holding a pretty steady 22mph on the flat sections. I can go pretty quick when the road's not going uphill! :']

I had been warned about the descent, but the reports didn't do the thing justice. 3.5 miles of rough, potholed, cracked roads so bad I had to hold my speed down to 25 or so to keep from getting thrown off the bike. Ugh, no fun! I considered simply pulling off at the start of the second lap, but I decided that I'd do the second lap and get my workout for the day in. The second time up the climb was actually a bit easier since now I knew the topology. For whatever reason, I was completely shot on the flat part of the second lap and couldn't maintain much over 15mph. I guess I wasn't eating enough, and my energy levels were getting low. On the second lap I also started having weird foot cramps, which I've never had before.

I got to the end, and I'm glad I did it. I'll go back out next year I'm sure.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by platypus
My race was pretty much over from the gun, as my group shot out of the gate at 30mph. What the heck? This is road racing, not a crit! I guess they didn't get the memo. I was slowed down a bit by the awful pavement, but by chasing at 32mph I was able to catch back up to the back of the group at the base of the big climb. Given that I'm not a stellar climber, I was predictably left behind in short order. Once I was at the top, the group was long, long gone. I praticed my time trialling around the back part of the course, holding a pretty steady 22mph on the flat sections. I can go pretty quick when the road's not going uphill! :']
How long were you chasing at 32mph? If you're talking about more than a sprint, you shouldn't be complaining about the pack taking off at 30.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:17 PM   #3
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Its funny that all you can remember about this race is the brutal roads, long uphill, scary down hill and wanting to do it agian next year, me too.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by platypus
I had been warned about the descent, but the reports didn't do the thing justice. 3.5 miles of rough, potholed, cracked roads so bad I had to hold my speed down to 25 or so to keep from getting thrown off the bike.
You need to go flat out, that way you only hit every 3rd or 4th patch. Much smoother when you're airborne...plus it's over a lot quicker.

Way to hang. A lot of folks bagged it after a lap.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:23 PM   #5
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Also, congrats on mixin it up.
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Old 04-09-07, 12:56 PM   #6
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Good job, platypus -- way to hang in there on a tough course. DFL > DNF any day!
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Old 04-09-07, 01:56 PM   #7
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Good job, platypus -- way to hang in there on a tough course. DFL > DNF any day!
+1. I've never claimed the DFL spot, but I've been demoralized by bad finishes until I saw all the DNF's.

Way to fight it out--Sounds like a beast of a course. Now you'll be ready for next year.
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Old 04-09-07, 01:56 PM   #8
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Great job platypus! Way to hang tough. I've done Copper 7+ times now and have seen the good (t-shirt worthy), bad (shelled on the 1st climb), and the ugly (close to DFL if NOT DFL!), but I keep coming back because it's EPIC!!!

When things have gone well it's because I've really trained for the course. Lot's of over/under intervals (e.g., 10min at just below FTP/4-5 mins all out) to simulate the climb. Also getting in a good warmup is critical because as you noted this race starts out screaming from the gun with your lungs searing. I made the mistake last year of not pushing hard while warming up and paid for it on the first climb.

I'm curious, for those that did well (Vino), how did you prepare? Anything different than you're usual training?

gene r
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Old 04-09-07, 02:04 PM   #9
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I raced there as a junior. I remember it being painful. Nice recap and great job.
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Old 04-09-07, 02:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Yep
How long were you chasing at 32mph? If you're talking about more than a sprint, you shouldn't be complaining about the pack taking off at 30.
probably no more than a mile. It just wasn't what I was expecting, that's all.
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Old 04-09-07, 03:08 PM   #11
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. DFL > DNF
Correct. In fact, I'd suggest the first person to drop out was in fact actually DFL,
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Old 04-09-07, 03:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus
I had been warned about the descent, but the reports didn't do the thing justice. 3.5 miles of rough, potholed, cracked roads so bad I had to hold my speed down to 25 or so to keep from getting thrown off the bike.
Have you ever descended Tunitas Creek Road? If so, how does the descent at Copperopolis compare?
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Old 04-09-07, 03:54 PM   #13
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Nope, I've only ever gone up Tunitas. From my estimation, the road surface was comparable if not a little worse than the rough parts of tunitas. Even on the relatively well paved sections, there were deep washboards from tractor tires. It was enough to rattle the teeth out of your head!
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Old 04-09-07, 04:29 PM   #14
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Just finishing that thing is an accomplishment from what I've heard. Good job for sticking it out!

Regarding the rough section - how would it compare to Morgan Territory road? specifically the part that descends down towards Clayton? I did that one a few weeks ago and recall that it was awful. Tons of potholes, cracks and what not. That is a road I'd rather climb than descend.
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Old 04-09-07, 04:56 PM   #15
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probably no more than a mile. It just wasn't what I was expecting, that's all.
Damn dawg! 32mph for a mile solo is strong.
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