It's a great feeling.......(Giro di Coppi)

It's a great feeling to plan something and execute that plan and to see it work.
I only did three road races last year(poolesville, RFK, Giro di Coppi) and this year it will be just the Giro di Coppi. As part of the DCMTB team we are a Mountain bike team that races cross and road races as well. For our Priority Calendar we only had two races RFK crit(citybikes sponsors it) and the Giro di Coppi. The Giro di Coppi is the only hilly race in the MABRA series that I know of. I did it last year and you see how that turned out here.
This year I thought about it, and I knew what I wanted to do. The issue was I had to make sure we had some DCMTB racers there to execute a plan. I raced the CAT 5 race again since I don't race enough to really move up. I knew Matt was going to be there, and there was some openings cause of some team members who couldn't do the race with the date change(was to be in July). I got Rudi who leads the Tuesday Dupont ride, to be a guest "DCMTB" member. I hope I can rope him into racing with our team, since I do allot of training with him already.
The race starts out and we are doing a pretty mellow pace and Matty went to the front for a bit, doing nothing crazy just letting legs get going. Rudi was on the front a little bit, I was trying to get him not to be at the front and to save his energy. Some how Rudi and I were at the front for the Old Baltimore Rd. Climb and we rode that pretty strong, I dug a little more then I wanted to. So we kept on riding and I made sure after that not to go to the front, and Matty and Rudi stayed in the top 1/3 of the field as well. The original Idea I had was that our whole team would attack in unison on the climb. The Idea being if it is one person they will let him die out there, but if it is 3 people from the same team you know the move is serious and that they are going to work together. I had attacked last year and no one came with me so this year I wanted for our team to make the race, and not just sit around reacting to moves. This summer I had gotten a good tip from Chris on my team, he said that you have to attack on the hill(the finishing hill) before the climb. I then started to see how this would work out Rudi would go first and launch us on the finishing hill, cause these are his bread and butter climbs that I knew he would do well. I was then then to take over on the down hill.
So we get to lap 2 of 3, and I saw that Matty was staying near my wheel, and I told Rudi to get to the outside and to launch after the 2000meter to go sign. So Rudi did a good job he was at the head of the group which wasn't ideal but it was 2-3 across so that was helpful. Rudi Jumped and I was right on him, I thought Matty was with me but I didn't have time to look behind. As we were about 2/3 ways up that, rudi started to get separation from me, so I said,"Let me come to you", giving him encouragement in saying keep it steady. So we get to the top and I take over and take the turn hard and start gunning it down the downhill. Previously when we did this people did not do the downhill at full speed. So I was flying down that around 50mph, and Matty came out of my wheel we were both just flying. I then was in front on the climb and then it got steeper so we were spread across the road. I looked to see if Rudi was able to hang on which he was. So we kept going and I think Matty saw two guys coming(Andrew Chamberlin, Brian Dietz), so once the two other riders showed up there were 5 of use doing really fast pulls. We all encouraged one another. We took the turn on Comus and when I looked back I could see people trying to chase. Once we got through the next turn we got a time gap from the Motor official that we had 35 seconds. That lead went down to 20 seconds then back up again. I was starting to loose it, and not being able to pull through and take my pulls(no acting here). Rudi has really good reserves but he needed to get his heart rate down so he was in a spot of bother at the beginning but got better once we were pace lining. On Old Baltimore Rd. I was starting to loose ground, but was only a couple of bike lengths behind. On the next road before the final turn I was still further back, but still had the lead group in sight.
Once on the finally road I was more concerned about the peleton coming behind me and going right pass me. I went into mountain bike survival mode, where I put in effort where I could. I also had a severe calf cramp that I was trying to not think about. I looked behind me a couple of times, and I still didn't see anyone coming. So I kept motoring to the finish and got myself a respectable 5th place I think like 35 seconds infront of the group. What I didn't know was that the lead group that was up the road from me had built a lead of a minute on the peleton. Rudi finished in 4th but could of maybe done better if his cassette cog didn't crack and fall off leaving him only his top cogs so he had to grind out those last couple of miles. Matty got 3rd and said that with him training for the SM100 he had no top end speed at the end so when the last hill came Brian Dietz from All American just kicked up an knotch and got some distance. With the guy from Andrew Chamberlin getting second.
Final thoughts:

  • You can still be in a CAT 5 race and use team tactics, and not just sit on waiting for the finish
  • Was great to plan a "move" and have it succeed with us off the front for the final 13 miles.
  • Found out one of the All American Teamates destroyed himself on the downhill so that Brian Dietz could make it to the break, good show of teamwork and it paid off.
  • Brian and Andrew who came across to the break were what we needed, they had the extra speed and with 5 people it is easier to do the pulls.
  • Glad that Rudi came and he was happy and seemed to have a good time.
  • Maybe next year I won't cramp :-)


G Note said...

Hey Darren,

Enjoy reading the blog--can you see about hitting the return button after typing a few sentences, this whole block of text thing is a bit difficult to read.
G Note

joel said...

G, it's consistent with the way Biggs talks though.

I had to scroll down to the bottom as well, couldn't read.

no cramps!