The first weekend of May saw all four members of RapidRacing, including our latest addition, Bard Higgins, start their 2013 road racing season. Rob kicked off first, with an 11th place finish in the CafeVelo Time Trial on Saturday.
Sunday brought the local classic Koppenberg Circuit Race, with 1/3 of the course on dirt, including the short, steep climb known as the Koppenberg. Bard entered the SM5 category and managed to fight his way to 15th place at the end. Carl was in the 45+/4's, riding comfortably to a 9th place result, while Kristal topped out the weekend's results with 8th place in the SW3's.
We were all perfectly happy with those results, given where we are in the year. Next up, at least a couple of us will be racing another Colorado classic in the Morgul-Bismarck road race May 19th.
Here's Bard's report from his first ever road race!:
The Koppenberg loop only got thrown into our lunch rides a few weeks back. I'd heard a lot about it, but never ventured over there. After a couple different days taking laps out there, and realizing this was coming up on the calendar, it seemed like a great place to jump into road racing!
Looking at my times on the course, and comparing that to the 2012 results, I figured a top 20 finish was a reasonable goal. My anticipation made for an unnecessarily stressful week. I rode the course with Boups the Tuesday prior. He provided some helpful course intel, but Colorado's spring time weather only made it more stressful, with our third April snowstorm in as many weeks dumping several inches on the course on Wednesday. Thankfully the freak weather pulled a 180, and by Friday afternoon, when we took one last spin on the loop, things were almost 100% dry.
I arrived about 6:45a on Sunday to grab my numbers and try to figure out how to warm up for something like this. I managed to keep my nerves in check pretty well, until about 7:50, when I rolled up to the start. Our group was second in the wave, and not really knowing how this game is played, I just followed the rest of the guys with the blue numbers on their jersey. That seemed to work, and I ended up in the second row on the start. The race started at 8:06a, and before I knew it we were off the pavement, onto the dirt, dust flying and the big hill coming up quickly.
I found myself at the back of the lead group as we approached the hill for the first time. There was a group of four who attacked at the top, so by the time I crested we were now the first chase. We traded spots for a bit on the dirt. Once we hit the pavement, our group of six or seven managed to put together a bit of a paceline. The lead group was only a few seconds ahead, and I thought if we could keep this effort together, we could catch up before the first lap was over.
I was wrong. When I pulled into the lead of the pace line, no one else came around. I did most of the pulling on the pavement, and was spent when we made the first turn onto the Marshall climb. The rest of the group came around, and it took all I had to hang on to the last wheel. I crossed the line in 10th place on lap 1. There was one more rider behind me, then the next group over 10 seconds back. I hung with that chase until the final approach to the hill. I’d definitely over cooked myself on the first lap, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish anywhere near race pace if I didn’t recover a bit. I got dropped on the hill, and latched on to the next group that came by.
I worked with that group for the rest of the day. Coming up the Marshall climb for the third and final time, I was in 16th place, last wheel in a group of four. We crested the hill, and no one moved. I figured I had nothing to lose, and went for it. On the final descent, I opened up a decent gap, but as I moved into the final straight, I realized I’d made the move too early. Two riders with much stronger finishing sprints than I could muster picked me off in the last 100 yards, leaving me in 15th place.
All in all I was very happy with the day. Riding in a big group proved easy, even on the sandy, rocky, washboarded roads. It was simply a question of fitness. If I’d been in just a bit better shape, I think I could have hung onto that first chase, and competed for a top 10 spot.
Thanks to everyone who towed me around the course at lunch during the weeks leading up to the race…I couldn’t have survived race #1 without their help!
In other news, new 2013 bikes are starting to arrive, so we'll be posting detailed reviews of those in the coming weeks!