Posted by: Travis | April 25, 2011

Copperopolis and Moots


I ‘raced’ the Copperopolis Road Race on Saturday. By ‘raced’ i mean i pinned a number to my jersey and started on the 21 mile loop with a bunch of other Cat 4’s. That’s pretty much where the racing began, and also where it ended. My effort isn’t even worthy of its own race report, but i’ll do a little summary here.

Copperopolis is a legendary NorCal race. Often referred to as the Paris-Roubaix of the west coast. It starts of with a 3 mile stair-step climb, then you circumnavigate a lake on a rolling road, then a 2 minute or so short, but steep, power climb, and then a crazy descent back into the start/finish. The pavement all the way around the loop is awful. I’ve ridden a ton of crappy chip-n-seal back roads in the Texas Hill Country, but this road was unlike anything i’d ever ridden. Coming down the descent i was doing 40mph and the bike was shaking so violently that my hands went numb and i couldn’t really modulate the brakes. Having to dodge potholes and patches of gravel in that state is pretty tough.

Copperopolis is a race i’ve been meaning to do since i started racing, but i’ve never had the combination of guts (or maybe lack of common sense) and fitness to justify getting up early and making the drive out to contest the race. I’ve been climbing reasonably well lately, didn’t have anything else going on Saturday, and since i’m not sure if i’ll be around next year, i figured i’d go race it. When my rear tire exploded as i was unpacking the car after arriving, i should have known it was a sign of things to come.

We started on time and did a pretty mellow roll to the bottom of the climb. Everyone knew we had a pretty rough 60 miles ahead of us and there was no reason to push things at the beginning. The climb was a stair-step climb that would pitch up and then ease off. About half way up the climb i was hanging tough, though to be honest, we weren’t really going that hard. The guys at the front started to push the pace a bit and my legs just refused to go. For a few pitches i would get dropped on the steep pitch, and then catch back on when it flattened out. Then we hit an extended pitch and was never able to get back on. I rode the rest of the loop solo, trying to push the pace, but it’s hard to really go all out when you’re by yourself.

I finished a single 21 mile lap, then called it a day, packed up the car, and headed home, making it back in time for lunch and a nap.

I’m glad i raced it once, but i don’t really have any interest in ever racing it again.


On the bright side of things, i ordered a new bike on Friday!

There’s a company out of Steamboat Springs, CO called Moots that makes custom geometry, hand made, titanium bicycles. We sell them at the shop and it seems everyone who has one is head over heels in love with their bike and the company. They came by the shop last Thursday for a demo day with a Sprinter van loaded up with something like 20 road and mountain bikes. I spent the morning riding the top of the line RSL and CR road bikes with the Moots rep, Amy, and few other folks from the shop. I had never ridden a titanium bike before and was curious what it would be like. I had previously thought of titanium bikes as the tools of old guys who ride centuries and charity rides, and are too stuck in their ways to make the switch to carbon bikes. I expected the bikes to be noodly, not stiff at all, and heavy. What i found couldn’t have been further from the truth. The two bikes i rode were light, very stiff, yet comfortable, descended like a dream, and had the best road feel of anything i’d ever ridden. I ended up shaving 30 seconds off my best time up Old La Honda without even really trying. I got home that night and downloaded the GPS data from the ride and to my surprise, i had smashed my previous time.

That night i got the go-ahead from Rachel to order a Moots CR. Unfortunately, this isn’t a carbon bike sitting in a box on a shelf in some warehouse, so i’ll have to wait 4-6 weeks while they make it, but given that i’ve been riding my Specialized Allez for 6 years, i think i can grind out another 4-6 weeks, hard as it may be. In the mean time, i’ve been ordering parts to put on the bike, which should be trickling in over the next few weeks. I’ve never been able to fully customize the part spec on a bike like this, so it’s been really fun to design the bike exactly as i want it. I’m so excited about this! Hopefully i’ll be able to get some pictures and stuff comes in and as we build up the bike.

Alright, that’s all i’ve got time for this morning. Gotta head into work. More to come later.


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