On day 1, Kevin and myself made the trip to Copperopolis for the Topsport Stage Race this weekend. Our field was 6 strong. Yes, you read that correctly, only 6. However, with Dean LaBerge being one of them there was some legit competition going on. The road race started us off on Saturday, and our group raced with the E3’s and the 45 1/2/3’s, for a field of about 40. On lap 2 Kevin flatted out, twice. He ended up tying his tube in a knot after discovering that his patch kit dried up, and he was given a 10 minute time penalty, effectively ending his chances in the overall.
The 6 in our field were very attentive to each other, and after spending a little time trying to get in a break it was clear none of us were going to let anyone get away. This made for a 75 mile crit, and with a group of 5 that got away containing 3 Cat 3’s and 2 45’s it was a matter of staying sheltered and conserving. The wind did take its toll, and whittled our group down to about 20 riders to contest the final sprint. Coming into the last 3K, we were fighting a headwind and I managed to put myself 5th wheel as we turned towards the hill and the finishing sprint. I knew Dean would be right up there, and he was on my wheel as we crested the hill. He came around me with 300 meters to go, and I jumped on his wheel, clicked down a gear and gave a hard push towards the line, just coming around him to take the win!
The circuit race was 2 hours later and the officials grouped us with the Pro 1/2 field. Again, no one was getting away in our field and it was all about a stage win. Kevin continued his weekend of bad luck and flatted within the first 2 laps. If you’re counting, that’s 3 flats in 2 days. Which is a bummer because Kevin is riding really strong.
In the last lap of the circuit race, there was a crash that Dean and I just got by, and then things got hairy as we were overtaking the cat 3 field within the last 800 meters. A Cliff Bar rider ended up cutting across the whole group, and went through the center divide and into the oncoming lane. I don’t know how he didn’t crash anyone out, but it sure screwed up my position coming into the last 500 meters. Dean was marking me and he jumped around at 200 to go, and i couldn’t make up the bike length difference. He won the stage, and I placed 2nd, but it secured my 3rd place overall.
A bigger field would’ve been nice, but it was a successful weekend for Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s!!