Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Koppenburg

The 2012 season is in full swing. We've had a large contingent of the Foxtrot racing team out this year and Koppenburg was no different.

In the Master 55+ race, Rob Stanley finished an impressive 11th place finish.

Our top placing honors go to Ciro Zarate with an impressive 6th place finish in the SM3 race. Find out more about Ciro.

Rounding out the day, Lee Gerakos placed 10th and Ryan Taylor finished 21st in the SM3 race. Both showing strong form.

I'd like to give a quick shout out to our sponsors Fluid Sports Nutrition and GU Energy. I had been battling cramps and gut rot during the early season races with my prior nutrition. As a last minute decision I decided to give Fluid Performance and GU Energy Gel a try. Normally this would be a bad idea on race day, but I have to say it worked out incredibly well! I haven't felt that good towards the end of a race this season and I do think that staying properly hydrated and getting my electrolytes played a large part in our teams success today.

Here is a recap of the Masters 55+ race followed by a SM3 recap:

Masters 55+

I had a good start and was positioned in the top 10 out of 40. When we hit the gravel no one was incline to take the lead and we bunched up some. I just had to watch out for the guys who do not do cross. Passing the some of the juniors on the gravel was no problem.

I moved up as we neared the climb and was in a good position just a few riders back. I noticed a lot of juniors slowly climbing the hill in front of us. I am not sure what the guy in front was doing, but he came in too hot and could not pick his way through the kids so he dismounted as did the guy in front of me. I was hemmed in and had to dismount. Cross mode kicked in, I scrambled pass the blockage and CX mounted the bike on the hill. Wrong gear, of course, so it took more time to get moving fast. I emerge from the top of the hill first of the held up riders, but a long way down on the 15 or so SM 55+ leaders.

TT time! I passed a mass of juniors with one of them crying on the side of the road because he crashed on the gravel possibly because the mass of 55+ passing him made him scared or due to the fierce crosswind. I passed my 10 year old neighbor on the drop to Marshal Road and he was spinning out the junior gearing like mad on the undulating pavement.

I started to catch the lead group up the hill and in the finish straight, but when we turned back into the wind they pulled away with ease. It was training time for XC and I just put my head down and peddled. Just before the hill a wave that started behind us (SM 5?) came up on me. There was 4 of them and it was hard not to draft them. I did the climb among them but did not draft behind them on the top losing them shortly, but some of the guys that had been dropped by them started to draft off me. I raced them the rest of the way.

On the last lap I came up on a group of 3 dropped 55+ racers and passed them up the hill. I found new power and passed some of the stronger guys on the climb of the SM 5 guys I had been racing with, one of them coming with me. On the last climb we caught one more of my group and I made a bad turn onto the finish straight, but managed to keep in front of him for 11th.

It is very dangerous to have those juniors start in front of us. There are cat. 2 and 3 in my group! We are going to catch them and in this race there was a bottleneck at the hill when we caught most of them. These officials need to race some........

SM 3

The race started out in the typical Koppenburg fashion and I was prepared with a first row lineup. The pace was aggressive but steady up until about 1/2 mile to the climb. From there, people started jostling for position and before I knew it, my top 5 position was now mid-pack. As usual, Ciro found himself perfectly positioned for the climb and throughout the race. The ride up the climb was not like in years past. This time around, there were multiple routes to take and no one was stalling out. This lead to something I had never seen before; the pack more or less stayed together for the whole race. The second lap was much of the same, guys bumping a little and other guys panicking and yelling every time they got bumped. I don't know why you would race on the dirt if you're not expecting some aggressive riding. But lap 2 ended much like lap 1.

At the start of lap 3, I tried to put a little dig in the first climb onto the dirt. But that didn't do much other than string things out for a brief moment. I really need to get better at attacking, not just riding hard.

Towards the end of the 4th lap, on Marshall Rd., I saw a couple of guys attack and then another bridge immediately. They started their rotation. I hesitated a little, but then went for it. I spent the remainder of the lap chasing, only to catch them at the stop sign after the start/finish. right before the climb! I was gassed. I started the dirt with them, but I doubted my ability to stick with them and feared getting spit out of the back of the pack. So I started the climb at a moderate pace and let the pack catch me. The thing I did not expect was at the top of the hill, there was a group of 45+ riders ahead. The break worked their way through that group before the Koppenburg climb and were able to get a substantial gap as the main field caught the 45+ group on the climb and this slowed us down considerably. Not only that, but getting through and past the group was mayhem. I was really pissed at myself as this break actually contained the eventual winner. Everyone else cracked except the winner. I know if that I could have caught them just a bit sooner and recovered, I could have stuck with it. win some, lose some I guess.

So, I sat in the field for the remainder of the race. On the final run up Marshall, I tried to move up a little, but I was nervous about the sprint. My last race last year resulted in getting taken out as everyone was jostling for position and a guy chopped my front wheel resulting in road rash everywhere. But we got onto the finishing straight, and somehow the previous 5 laps didn't burn into my brain how long the finishing straight was. So I just started pedaling and picked off 10-12 riders to finish 10th. I had a frontrow seat to see Ciro go for it in the sprint and do REALLY, REALLY well. I was very happy for him as he raced a perfect race. Ryan did an excellent job remaining well positioned throughout the race and finished a solid 21st.

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