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Old 03-23-08, 06:59 PM   #1
ifox
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Copperopolis race report (Cat5) - 3/22/08

I did it! I survived Copperopolis

My goal for this race was to get out there, ride well and complete the race. This was my first time racing over there. I read all sort of scary stories about how bad are the roads and sure enough, the roads were horrible (also I heard after race that this year they are better and there was some re-pavement efforts).

Cat5s started on time and the group in front started charging and burning matches before we even get to the feed zone. I stayed with the front group until the major climb begun and then decided to drop -- I estimated that with the effort we were going I wouldn't be able to finish the race.

After that it was pretty much solo effort. I shared some pulls with another Cat5 at the beginning of the second lap but than I rolled away from him on the climb. My third lap was absolutely horrible: my legs were cramping like hell. Yet I found some strength to keep going and finished the race.

I'm not sure about my placement, though. I finished alone and separated from the main group (or whatever left of main group). So, I guess I'll wait for the official results.
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Old 03-23-08, 07:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifox View Post
I did it! I survived Copperopolis

My goal for this race was to get out there, ride well and complete the race. This was my first time racing over there. I read all sort of scary stories about how bad are the roads and sure enough, the roads were horrible (also I heard after race that this year they are better and there was some re-pavement efforts).

Cat5s started on time and the group in front started charging and burning matches before we even get to the feed zone.
I stayed with the front group until the major climb begun and then decided to drop -- I estimated that with the effort we were going I wouldn't be able to finish the race.

After that it was pretty much solo effort. I shared some pulls with another Cat5 at the beginning of the second lap but than I rolled away from him on the climb. My third lap was absolutely horrible: my legs were cramping like hell. Yet I found some strength to keep going and finished the race.

I'm not sure about my placement, though. I finished alone and separated from the main group (or whatever left of main group). So, I guess I'll wait for the official results.
Good on you for giving it a go...and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but getting dropped should never be a choice. I always have to fight the negative self talk going on in my brain (you suck, you're slow, they're all faster, why did you even show up...blah blah blah) as do most other racers. If someone's going to ride away from me, it's going to be because they really are better. I'm not giving them sh*t

The thing is...if you just keep digging until you think you're going to pop, and keep going you may just be able to sit in the pack and wait it out. If you're on par with other racers in general, if you're hurting, so is everyone else. This is one occasion in a race where I like the power meter, when I look down and I'm putting out 500+ watts up a hill, I know the guys up front are laying it down, and probably won't keep it up for too much longer, so if I can just man up and keep going the pain will soon subside. Or at least diminish.
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Old 03-23-08, 08:09 PM   #3
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I am with Shuffle on this one. There is no incentive to just "drop off". Remember couple of things. One you are doing it for practice, so the point isn't really about finishing but gaining experience. You gain more experience by staying with the pack, instead of turning it in to solo training session. Second the pace usually goes down after few miles.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifox View Post
I did it! I survived Copperopolis

My goal for this race was to get out there, ride well and complete the race. This was my first time racing over there. I read all sort of scary stories about how bad are the roads and sure enough, the roads were horrible (also I heard after race that this year they are better and there was some re-pavement efforts).

Cat5s started on time and the group in front started charging and burning matches before we even get to the feed zone. I stayed with the front group until the major climb begun and then decided to drop -- I estimated that with the effort we were going I wouldn't be able to finish the race.

After that it was pretty much solo effort. I shared some pulls with another Cat5 at the beginning of the second lap but than I rolled away from him on the climb. My third lap was absolutely horrible: my legs were cramping like hell. Yet I found some strength to keep going and finished the race.

I'm not sure about my placement, though. I finished alone and separated from the main group (or whatever left of main group). So, I guess I'll wait for the official results.
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Old 03-23-08, 08:23 PM   #4
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Agree with what the other posters have said.

I've never had a race that due to the pace would keep me from finishing. I might keep me from finishing with the pack, it might prevent me from winning a group sprint, it might hurt me a lot. I've DNF'd my fair share too, three races last year, but that's because I had back problems, crashed out, got knocked off the course and couldn't get back terms and decided to stop wasting my time/energy and prepare myself for the next day, or some combo thereof.

And, given the fact that this was a Cat5 race, it was what, 50mi or less? Go out hard, blow up if forced to, but roll around the course until you get something back in your legs and keep on going. If you're going out the back anyway, a DNF after a big (fitness boosting) effort is the same, maybe even better, than rolling around the course picking off stragglers, simply because you didn't decide to test your limits.

There is no glory in finishing DFL if you didn't even put up a fight. Particularly in the 5s. You're not respecting yourself, your competitors or the race.
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Old 03-23-08, 08:45 PM   #5
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haha, Copperopolis ate my bike...was racing the E4's - first lap was easy enough then disaster struck. My F-ing rear rear axle bent causing my tire to push into my chainstay.

Was pretty bummed because I wasnt burning any matches hanging with the pack! Awesome course though with a moderate climb to rollers to multiple short climbs to a screaaaming descent. Will be back next year with some bullet proof wheels.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:02 PM   #6
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just in case it isn't clear, do not let them drop you by your choice. this ain't the tour and you're not trying to limit your losses to the climbers. many times when you think the group's too pace is too hard for you, it's too hard for everyone else as well and many times they slow down shortly after you were about to give up.
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Old 03-23-08, 09:53 PM   #7
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thanks for the advice! I know that my choice wasn't great, but I wanted to complete it.
I always try to stay with the group in the races or just group rides. sometimes it works, sometimes doesn't.
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Old 03-23-08, 11:23 PM   #8
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I have to live vicariously through my teammates since I wasn't able to get there
Zteam took 1st in the E5, E4, E3 races.

Finishing this race is an accomplishment all its own.
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Old 03-24-08, 12:27 AM   #9
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Way to go, ifox! It was my first Copperopolis too. Here's my short report:

Raced E4. Despite tightening my cages and taping my bottles, I managed to lose a bottle in the first mile. Yes, the road was that bad. Hung with the lead group on the first climb until the really steep step. Chased back on and finally caught them on the rollers on the back side. No one told me there'd be another steep climb on the back and got dropped again. Managed to keep my remaining bottle and most of my fillings on the descent. Got a fresh bottle from neutral support, caught a few riders, rode by myself for awhile, caught a few more. Managed to finish intact and upright.

God, that was a hard race. This morning I woke up sore all over, like the morning after a football game.
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Old 03-24-08, 10:21 AM   #10
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I still have mixed feelings about missing this one, but definitely didn't miss the drive. This from a teammate sums it up nicely:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teammate
This race is epic. Today, my hands have some raw and open blisters, my
back feels like someone worked me over with a bat, and my neck hurts so
bad that it's painful to look downward. I'm going back next year.
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Old 03-25-08, 09:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus View Post
Good on you for giving it a go...and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but getting dropped should never be a choice. I always have to fight the negative self talk going on in my brain (you suck, you're slow, they're all faster, why did you even show up...blah blah blah) as do most other racers. If someone's going to ride away from me, it's going to be because they really are better. I'm not giving them sh*t

The thing is...if you just keep digging until you think you're going to pop, and keep going you may just be able to sit in the pack and wait it out. If you're on par with other racers in general, if you're hurting, so is everyone else. This is one occasion in a race where I like the power meter, when I look down and I'm putting out 500+ watts up a hill, I know the guys up front are laying it down, and probably won't keep it up for too much longer, so if I can just man up and keep going the pain will soon subside. Or at least diminish.
Excellent point. I never thought about it that way until reading this post. When riding with a power meter I often focus on my wattage and what I can do. Much like the OP I concern myself with how hard I can go without popping. The more aggressive and - after reading your post I am convinced - correct way to race with a power meter is to think about what that wattage read out means in a more dynamic sense. Great post.
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Old 03-25-08, 09:49 PM   #12
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Race of attrition

I did this race a couple of times as a junior, and yep it's a race of attrition. The first year I raced it, we started with 40 riders. I was the last finisher and I got 17th.

Hanging in until you "can't do it" is a tough abstraction, and something I've found helps me stay with a pack is to pick out concrete obstacles like lamp posts or curves in the road and say "I'm going to stay with these f'ers until that curve even if it means my brain leaks out my ears and my legs burst and pate' comes out."

HTFU is an acquired skill.

GB
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Old 03-25-08, 10:52 PM   #13
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ifox,

Good job for going out there, giving it a try and finishing the race!
The results are posted here:
https://www.usacycling.org/results/i...ermit=2008-330

I agree with what others say in hanging on no matter what, even if you think it's harder than you think you're able to go for the whole race, because once you lose the pack, you're really out of the race. When I race there are always times when I'm hanging on for life going absolutely as hard as I can, knowing that I can only keep up that pace for a few more seconds, but I do it because I know that eventually things will slow down and I'll be able to recover.

Well, that's what always seems to happen anyway.
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Old 03-26-08, 01:57 PM   #14
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Excellent point. I never thought about it that way until reading this post. When riding with a power meter I often focus on my wattage and what I can do. Much like the OP I concern myself with how hard I can go without popping. The more aggressive and - after reading your post I am convinced - correct way to race with a power meter is to think about what that wattage read out means in a more dynamic sense. Great post.
since I also race with power meter, could you explain a bit more what you mean by dynamic sence?

thank you!
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Old 03-26-08, 02:01 PM   #15
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I woke up at 3:45, drove 2 hours and flatted out on lap 2 of 4. It was still worth it though, awesome weather this year - you cannot miss this race.
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Old 03-26-08, 02:13 PM   #16
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ifox,

Good job for going out there, giving it a try and finishing the race!
The results are posted here:
https://www.usacycling.org/results/i...ermit=2008-330

I agree with what others say in hanging on no matter what, even if you think it's harder than you think you're able to go for the whole race, because once you lose the pack, you're really out of the race. When I race there are always times when I'm hanging on for life going absolutely as hard as I can, knowing that I can only keep up that pace for a few more seconds, but I do it because I know that eventually things will slow down and I'll be able to recover.

Well, that's what always seems to happen anyway.

In retrospect, I should have dug a little deeper to stay with the group on the steep step. It might have meant going over the redline for 90 seconds or two more minutes, but it would have saved me 20 minutes of time trialing to get back up to the group.

(Sure seems easy sitting at my desk chair....)
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Old 03-26-08, 02:42 PM   #17
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Clobberopolis is beautiful.
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Old 03-26-08, 03:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
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since I also race with power meter, could you explain a bit more what you mean by dynamic sence?

thank you!
What I meant was you should not stare at your power meter and only think about what those little numbers mean to you. In theory, the little numbers on your power meter are comparable to the little numbers on the power meters of those around you. If you are putting out a painful amount of watts, so is the guy next to you. By having a predetermined wattage in which you decide you cannot exceed without popping, you are arguably limiting yourself to the benefit of your competitors. Racing is all about who can dig the deepest and - at times - ignore the little numbers knowing that your competitors are in a like situation. In sum, by "dynamic" I mean that those numbers should mean more than your own personal pain factor. Hope this makes sense!
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Old 03-26-08, 04:32 PM   #19
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It does. Thank you for the explanation!
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Old 03-26-08, 06:47 PM   #20
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It does. Thank you for the explanation!
The simple explanation:

You, on race day, are not limited to the "numbers" that you see on an average hard day of training.

Put a piece of electrical tape over your watts line, if you must, or turn your computer around your stem sideways.

Powermeters are a great training tool, but I would never race according to what they show me. I race to win, win money, get upgrade points or help others do the same. The numbers are nice to look at later, but you have to do what you can, when you can, in order to give yourself a shot.
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