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Monday, April 09, 2007

CopperBlogolis

So, i guess in August CERN is scheduled to go online. On the slog to work today NPR had another little ditty about it with some geeked out superphysicist ... casually discussing how blasting protons together like a fleet of supersonic buses may rip some black holes in the time/space fabric, or something like that.


right on.
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Copperopolis ~ the anti-viagra

Copperpoopolis was divine this year. The conditions were perfect ~ it was warm enough to make you glisten but not bust a radiator, the winds howled a bit but didn't knock anybody into ditches, and the pavement was chopped and rutted and bumperific ... but didn't have any of the jagged potholes of last year's wet winter to crash or flat or deflate anybody.

perfect NorCal conditions for the spring classic.
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In the Men's Elite ~ Levi LippyHeimer showed up all incognito donned in some silly blacksuit. Apparently, he even walked up to registration with his mite-sized hoodie pulled dark over his shiny dome to shield off the sun and any who could recognize him as one of the beautiful people.

what ... didn't want to get swarmed with autograph hounds, Lippy?

wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible to not dim the local glory with your own majestic light?


get over yourself, bud. we're f'ing bike racers.
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ANYWAY, the AJM went pull for pull with Lippy off the front for a gazillion miles until the full-time job called and tapped Andy on the shoulder with a .... "son, you're writing checks on an account you ain't got the deposits for."

Still, you go toe-to-toe with one of the top-10 grand tour riders in the world on a course like Copper? shyyyyte. that's core.

Lippy solo'ed in for the remaining lap and AJM hooked up with a chase group a country mile behind. The honorable Klein had done his usual thing and was up the road a bit, but the chase group called him back and then AJM found the horses from somewhere deep to lay the spank down out of the group to take 2nd. Hard-earned, yo.
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In the women's Elite ~ Touchstone's McLaughlin took another impressive win. It's tough when you show up to a race like this as a heavy favorite. It's a different kind of pressure and you've got to rise to the occassion. It's nice to see McLaughlin doing so.

Her attack through the brutal 3% grade before the feedzone was the selector. It's a long, chopped up section of road that kills rhythm and bounces you off the powerstroke something evil. But she churned it like sweet cream and broke the race over her knee.

And the story of the day might have to be PROMAN's Shelley Olds bridging across and sticking with the Touchstone rider over that hideous climb ~ only coming off when McLaughlin unleashed the beast on the final hill and solo'd in for the win. The fact that Olds is turning on her climbing ability should bring shudders to the women's peleton. If Olds keeps improving on this trajectory ... we will have yet another National Caliber NorCal Star entering the ranks.

excellent.
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In the old boy's race we had a stacked field of ex-pro's, national champs ... you know, the regular powerhouses. Up the opening feedzone grade and down the sguiggly little descent that kicks you towards the main climb ... it was a nervous affair. The field was big enough to make positioning an issue and fast enough to make guys work hard to do anything about it.

As the first slope approached, there were more than a few guys willing to set tempo and keep the speeds uncomfortable. GiantBerry's TheoB was always in the first few riders and is a guy aching to flip on his diesel. ZTeam's Phipps wasn't showing himself yet, but you could feel the bustling energy of his little frame all around. Spine had a dozen boys up ready to engage, too. And, we even had the Santa Barbara legend Fanelli hovering about like a red-tail, looking for any opportunity to swoop and strike.

There was a crash on a tight section of climbing that split the field something frustrating. Lots of guys were caught out and there was a slight acceleration at the front ... the usual thing that happens when taut nerves get a little kick of juice with the sound of crashing, sliding and the odd 'fukkit.'

But, a handful of seconds later, cooler heads prevailed and the pace slackened a bit and some 'semblance of a regrouping occurred. But still, loads of guys were left standing behind the crash ... and it took them many a mile of hard chasing to re-connect to the lead pack (2 of my teammates, Jeff and Reed, especially).

After the first climb, we were greeted with just enough headwind on the high plateau to make it prime break conditions. When the speed slows in masters racing, someone attacks ... always. We've been doing this too long and the teams are too good nowadays and ... it's damn good bike racing. The Disco boys had Laberge covering moves like mad. He followed a couple of Spineys (the Gaver and Ford350) as well as StanleyMorgan's DelValle, i think. It was a bad move for us. Yeah, it wasn't a move likely to stick to the finish ... but, we weren't represented and if there's one thing i hate doing ... it's chasing. Luckily, bigbadLothar was up to the task and stormed across the gap in 20 seconds flat, hooking a BagBoy onto the break and saving us from stressing about the move. It was perfect.

That group stayed away for the rest of the lap until we got close to the final climb. Just before we hit the shorter, but often race-deciding slopes of the lap ending hill - Sierra Nevada's Fairbanks went nutz at the front and drug us all up by the neckerchiefs to the backend of the break. All together up and over the climb as we reshuffled and started lap 2 afresh.
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There was good gas laid on at the front of the pack up and over the long, cobbled climb. A smaller group formed at the front this time over and we of the black put in few tentative moves to force another move up the road. Eventually a little trio of Troy Barry (StanleyMorgan), Disco's Kevin uber-Metcalf, and I slowly pedaled away from the lead pack.

Disco was in a tough spot - Metcalf is just coming back from injury and isn't at full-strength yet. They had 3 very good climbers left in their group as well as a couple of superior finishers. Do they sit-out the chase and trust in Metcalf, or do they spend the energy and help pull us back? ZTeam, CalGiant, Spine, Sierra Nevada, EMC ... these were all strong teams left out of the break. But, would they be coordinated enough to keep the break within striking distance?

And up front - how much do we commit to a break that has so little chance of succeeding? But, in commiting strength to it ... aren't we doing it right by sacrificing ourselves to burn out all the strongmen behind - forcing them to chase so that our teammates get to rest and recover and prepare themselves to launch off when we are caught?


bike racing kicks ass.
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MS's Barry was very strong and rode his heart out as we approached the lap ending climb. We still had a good 25 miles left in the race and yet this guy was holding nothing back, riding for the win. Discovery's Metcalf was more guarded, knowing that we had a long way to go and also looking back every once in awhile to see that there were blue jerseys near the front of that chasing pack. But, Metcalf never missed a pull - he just did it right, by pulling a hair less than the rest.

There are few as good as him.
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We hit the climb and Barry fell off slightly as the pace remained very high. Over the top and through the vicious descent ... it was Metcalf and I still off the front by a bit over 30 seconds. At this point, there is nothing to do but throttle it. Up through the feedzone and on to the lower slopes of the climb, we separated slightly - riding the climb a few meters apart as each of us went our own pace. It wasn't quite au bloc, but the tempo was high and hard and it was a race to make it over the top of the climb before any of the big hitters behind swung for the fences on this final trip up the big hill.

In the pack, the pace was fierce and they smelled our break out in front of them ... singed little morsels ready to be pounced upon and devoured. BagBoy Martin sensed the right moment and attacked hard on one of the steeper slopes. This acceleration shattered the pack and sent the climbers scrambling to cover wheels. Martin stormed across the gap to Metcalf, then jumped straight past him with little more hesitation than a small moment for a deep breath. He pounded up the final few hundred meters of the climb like an enraged bull and connected with me just at the top.

textbook.
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Nary a word was spoken as we put our heads down and began the long rotations to make the move stick. Behind, the surviving dozen smartly rejoined forces and began the Disco-led chase.

the race was on.
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As the miles rolled underneath and the wind beat down upon us with fatigue, desperation and discouragment ~ each of us had our silent mantras to find more strength ... "just get him to the hill with a gap. just get him there."

meaning, i was riding for him ... and he was riding for me.

and that's the secret behind our team. right there, in a nutshell ... all pretty-like and wrapped in a bow.
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18 comments:

trac said...

girls glisten. boys sweat.

dr-nitro said...

It is hard to get you guys straight. So, it was Dan up with road with you on the last lap. I saw the dist champ shorts, but did not recognize him from the Orosi weekend (getting old). Well, that is the excuse I'll use for not following him when he bridged to you. Always looking for excuses.

That, and the SRAM god took out HK on the second lap, leaving me to do what I apparently love to do, chase. Yummy.

Jack said...

Bravo! I've been waiting all weekend for the skinny on Copper. Well done! Sort of like Boonen at Flanders, well not really... you went in as a favorite, with all the pressure, and kicked them in the teeth while they smiled. Great racing!

Anonymous said...

The ending of that geezer race report seems rather incomplete, but very sweet and touching. So why did da'devil slip so far back?

and where was the VinoVertibrate?

Jason Walker said...

Olaf, nice work. And so starts my preparation to fight it out with you folks, at least when the skiing stops being good. I think there's another 2 ft coming. Looking forward to racing with you.

Jason

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

VinoVertebrate (that's excellent, you bugger) had tossed a derailleur into his spokes on the opening climb. Hutchy was out o' the race and will just be firing cannons at the upcoming races in frustration over it. poor bastard.

Taz and i separated on the climb as post-surgery reality told Dan to back off and roll it into the finish.

i came across the line and a brief few afterwards Safeway's Chris Wire stomped the small pack field sprint for 2nd, CVC's BigBosch 3rd, Disco's Angermann 4th, and Fanelli 5th.

hard frickin' bike race. thank the buddha we only have to do 3 laps. i prefer 3 laps fast to 5 laps of epic.

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

walker!

get your ass away from that white stuff and come play bicycle with us.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

That is awesome. Got the tinglys in the office, all hot for the weekend.

banks said...

Congrats to you and the other bagboys. I'm having more fun geezer racing this year than ever before. The teams... the tactics... we've got ourselves something special here.

Two snaps up on that photo of you at the end. You need to bust that move on a pair of roller skates next weekend. It's sure to make all the girls swoon.

vanderpig said...

if i was a broad, i'd have your kid!

bootz said...

... not sure how it happened, but Double-L managed to pick up his $35 and t-shirt before the results were even posted. We were standing right there. He simply stated to the girl handing out prizes that he won the Pro/1/2 and then waited her to do something about it. He did take a t-shirt. Incognito my arse.

marscat said...

Congrats...and that was a fun report.

Velo Bella said...

cutie patootie!

Ippoc Amic said...

makes me feel like I was there, but without all the pain...cute pic too...

meh-wee-uhn said...

That's a great picture. It's halfway between the rhythmic pointing to the ceiling disco style and chorus line kick up.

And you're wearing your helmet. Safety first!

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

it's dangerous work ... being this gey.

nosajpalnud said...

awesome RR and congrats - missed some big fun and pain

Anonymous said...

... not sure how it happened, but Double-L managed to pick up his $35 and t-shirt before the results were even posted. We were standing right there. He simply stated to the girl handing out prizes that he won the Pro/1/2 and then waited her to do something about it. He did take a t-shirt. Incognito my arse.

Levi-just coming off another cycle preparing for his next jaunt to Europe. I'm sure we'll see him at Wente. Bitch. Once doped always dopey. Where is USADA when you need them?