Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spring Breaking

Sorry for the lack of recent posts... we've been up here visiting family in NorCal for this second week of Spring Break and basically procrastinating a lot of stuff (taxes, pulling weeds and planting spring gardens, real paying work, training, blogging, ...that kind of stuff). Plus, limited internet access.

Oh yeah, and I still have some Ojai pics to post ...later.

One of the Bestest Road Climbs Around has to be Mt. Hamilton east of San Jose. I had a couple hours earlier this week so I went over there and rode up. What a treat--clean air above Silicon Valley, lush vegetation, wildlife, smooth pavement, and MINIMAL TRAFFIC!

These two guys (gals?) eyed me riding by near the top. Then, on the way down, I scared them off the road after coming around a corner.

Lots of other animals too quick for pictures... wild turkeys, hawks, a couple of Jethros on Harleys...

Lick Observatory at the top, and the view back down the mountain (Silicon Valley is somewhere down beneath all that haze).

Such an enjoyable climb! I want to ride up there every day. Hey, there's houses for sale down near the bottom!! Here's one ...3.5 acres, pool, views, 3,600 sq. ft...

Too bad they're asking $2Million!

Kicking Around SF for an Afternoon with the kids was a hoot. Ridin' BART and the Munis. Lots of walking: Pier 39 to Ghirardelli Square to Lombard St to North Beach to Chinatown to the Financial District to AT&T Park.

Did I mention Ghirardelli??

(yeah, and the next day we went to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield ...oy)

But back to SF, the main reason we were there was to see the Giants play. I've kicked the pro-sports addiction, but we still love to go to Major League baseball games. We dropped 150 bones to sit ~20 rows up from first base and loved every minute of it.

In keeping with the diet of this particular trip, I had the pictured dinner at the ballpark. Yum, yum. Those are Gilroy Garlic fries by the way...

Guess how much this little dinner cost...

$21 !!! Dinner at the ballpark--worth every penny!

Here's Barry up to bat, and after a quick swat of the ball off the wall in right-center, he was on second. Where's USADA?

Copperopolis was today. I was flip-flopping on which race to do all the way up to arriving in Milton. Hmmmm, the aforementioned dietary habits this week, along with generally poor training recently--Mt. Ham ride excepted--scared me away from the 100+ mile p/1/2 race. Too bad as Levi ended up doing it. Hey MarkZen: you gotta give me advance warning about things like that... I could have been racing with Levi for what, a half mile or so!?! But the 45+ started at around 11:00 and it wouldn't be nice to make Gina wait around that long. Which left the 35+ race, sure to be a tough one. To tell the truth, I was eagerly anticipating this race since it would be an opportunity to put faces with some of the interesting blogs I read. For whatever reason, there's a pretty big community of NorCal masters bike racers who also blog. Fun stuff.

Anyway, 70 starters for this 3-lap 65 mile race, including all the strong NorCal teams--AMD Masters, Spine, Safeway, and CVC among others. Within a minute of starting, I remembered why the roads of Copperopolis are legendary for their bumpiness. I recalled that the last time I raced here was in the early 90's when Steve Larsen soloed for nearly the entire 100 miles and I went to the emergency room on Monday with severely strained ligaments in both wrists. There are no roads in SB that I can compare to these.

First lap was basically uneventful, well, other than somebody rubbing my rear wheel on the climb and then hitting the deck. Pretty sure I didn't cause that. Oh yeah, and shortly thereafter, I went off into the dirt to avoid somebody else's crash on the climb. And these things happened toward the front. God help those guys in the back! I gave a couple little digs on the hills just to see if anything might happen, but nada...

On lap two, we were down to ~20-30 guys and I suffered over the top of the big climb and lost some confidence. Then on the wind-swept back side, a strong break escaped with Hernando, Mike Hutchinson, and Kevin Metcalfe (good to see him back out there). So now about half the remaining group was made of Safeway, Spine, and AMD riders, so quite a burden fell on the rest of us. Chris Phipps (aka Pizza Man from fame) and Nick Theobald (Cal Giant Strawberries) did a lot of work but the gap slowly grew.

[add/edit: it wasn't Hutchinson out there w/ OV and Metcalfe, it was a Morgan Stanley guy ...oops, I guess this blog is about as accurate as the SB NewsPress! That is to say, I used second-hand info ...someone yelled that OV was up the road with Hutch so I reported that as gospel!]

The trio was out of sight by the start of the third and final lap, and things were looking bleak. These three are among the strongest masters in the country and they were pulling away. But then we got word that Metcalfe was dropped! Oh yeah!! Now surely Hutch and Hernando will be brought back by this powerful AMD machine (ha-ha, I'm typing this on a brand new AMD machine!). Over the top of the big climb and we were ~15 guys, of whom five were AMD! No slouches either--Jeff Angermann, Marco Hellman, Craig Roemer, and of course Metcalfe. So here is where yours truly made a tactical error. I figured it was a no-brainer that the AMD guys would just TTT at the front and take care of business. So, I didn't help much at all. Most of us didn't. Again though, Nick and Pizza Man worked. Kudos to them for racing.

Well, the AMD guys didn't get it done, and Hernando had a gap going into the final short climb before the descent to the finish. Hutchinson had a mechanical somewhere around this time and was out of the race, so we were a pack of ~15-20 guys chasing one. On that last climb, Pizza went to the front and drilled it ...for about 10 seconds. He then apologized for not having the gas, and dropped back. Next Mark Sasser punched it, I scooted up to him and we had a gap. Over the top it was us two plus Hellman (?) who inexplicably wouldn't pull. I politely inquired as to why, but I couldn't understand his response. No biggie. We mostly came back together for the hairball final bumpy, twisty descent, but some really good riding by Metcalfe shed all but 8-10 of us. Now it gets interesting because Hernando was in view just ahead with 1 km to go. His teammate Chris Wire (a UCSB alumni) punched it from fairly far out and we all scrambled after him but the line came up too quickly. We nearly caught Herndando ...but not quite. Dang, a few more and/or better pulls and we would have been sprinting for the win! Congrats Mike--your racing is very gutsy and impressive, and you've got the superior team from what I've seen.

The official results from the race site...

By the way, Levi won the p/1/2 race.


dr-nitro said...

I remember he 91 cop edition. I was off the front with a group of 3 after getting away on lap 2 when Larsen blew by on the 4th lap. Did not even say hi. My back seized up on lap 4 after he went by, and I barely made it back to the car. I remember leaning up against Corndog's car, not still in serious pain, not being able to lift my leg over the bike for the pain. Yet, I came back for more this year.

Good ride Marco. I thought about letting the alphabet boys (EMC on lap 2) do work and sit back, but my thick head won't let me do it. And, I paid the price when Sasser attacked. I had one speed left, and it was not the speed of the group going over the last bump. Good stuff nontheless.

dr-nitro said...

Hutch was out on the first climb of the first lap. Lost a couple of spokes, I think in one of the spills on lap 1. The guy with Olaf and Metcalfe was a Morgan Stanely guy.

Marco Fanelli said...

Ha! Thanks for clarifying yesterday's race info Nick! Good thing I never promise "accurate" reporting on this blog. Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing a Morgan Stanley jersey up there... who was it?

Re the early 90's Copperopolis race... I sure thought I remember Larsen soloing for nearly the entire race. Could that have been a different year?? Ah well, you'll see soon enough ...memory starts to go when getting far into your 40s!

Anonymous said...

Man what a bike race!!!!

Good times.

For CVC I had Bosch at my service the whole day. Giving me a wheel in the crosswinds. Taking me up front for the climbs bla bla bla.

He took care of me very well and didn't expect to make it more than once or twice up the big climb.

Once we got up the 3rd time and he was on we had to change tactics and go for him instead........unless I could get free on the last kicker before the down hill.

That almost worked.

I still wondering a bit as to why AMD just didn't burn off a guy or two to pull OV back but it is what it is.

A great race all around.

Nice to get to place a face with the blog also, good times.


Anonymous said...

just looked at those results.

WOW, what a loaded top 15!

Great racing.


dr-nitro said...

I think we are talking about the same edition of copper in 91. I was in a group of three that was off for most of the race, so maybe the pack forgot we were there. Larsen certainly soloed through. And as I said, my back went out, so I don't know what happened to the remnants of the field. Anyway, that is what I know of 91, but I suppose that Larsen could have done it again another year.

MS, the AMD guys were not firing uber strong after Wire got of with Olaf. One of the guys popped with me, Anderson (from the results Marco posted). He was the one that seemed to be putting in the hardest pulls, and paid the biggest price. Roemer worked hard to get the one Spine guy who slipped off by cutting the cones after the finish going into the 3rd lap. That cooked him. The other guys were not working smooth. Plus the bagboy was jamming up the chase. I started nudging him out at the end, but was not impressed by the style.

MF, I guess that the Stanely guy could have been the one I rolled in with. Looking at the results, I'd guess Troy Berry.

Henri said...

hey Marco, you better call me the next time your up here for a hamy ride. was the MS rider troyboy?
you guys are so hard , I hope ya saw today RdV, talk about throttle!!! oh ya.....................

Marco Fanelli said...

MS- good to race with you. Hopefully we'll do it again before too long.

Nick- I would trust your memory more than mine re Copperopolis 16 years ago!

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

good times out in the foothills.

... is it cross season yet?

Marco Fanelli said...

HK- You bet, let's ride up there on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, k? You have to promise not to drop me though...

OV- Cross season?!? No way bud, you've got another 10-15 road wins left in you this year. But not Nevada City, ok?