SugarCRM Women's Cycling Team

SugarCRM Women's Cycling Team
Photos Copyright Garrett Lau

Kim Fong 9th in NorCals hardest Classic, Copperopolis.

Race report by Kim Fong:
First off, how cool is it that Paris-Roubaix and the NCNCA version of the pro-epic, also known as Copperopolis, were on the same weekend? Coincidence or astute planning? The race is hosted by Velo Promo, so take from that what you will.
The Women’s 1/2 field was relatively small, about 15 gals. Lots of locals (three Touchstone, Vanderkitten, Dolce, Alto Velo, Metrominties) and a pro (Rachel Heal from Colavita). We were to do 64 miles in three laps. Each lap started out with a relatively smooth tailwind section into a 10-15 minute climb, followed by several rolling miles and a sharp left turn onto some steeper rollers and a decent headwind; then a shorter and steeper 4-5 minute climb followed by a steep descent to a few more rollers and back to the start/finish area. I'd never raced the course before, but supposedly the pavement was rough and the race favored the “hard man.” I’m not sure what that means, but I was prepared for the worst. Having seen the Copperopolis course and the Leesville Gap course, however, I would have to say that Leesville poses more of a danger to a racer's wheels. The roads of Copperopolis, while not as rough, slowly but surely wear you down.
The race started with a long tailwind section leading up to the feed zone and then the first climb. The pavement wasn't too bad in the first half of the course, and nothing bothered me much until the last lap. The climb strung things out a bit, but we basically crested the first major climb all together. I was feeling pretty good up the climb, and stayed in the top third of the field in case anyone decided to attack. No one did until the road flattened out. There were a few attacks from Touchstone, but nothing stuck. Then, a few kilometers before the second climb, a woman from 3rd Pillar attacked, got a small gap, and was soon joined by a Touchstone and Vanderkitten. The field was content to let them sit out about 50 meters, and I was just sitting watching Colavita to see if/when she'd bridge. Eventually, the Colavita rider did bridge, and though I was prepared, I wasn't able to hold her wheel as we hit the second climb and drifted back. The rest of the field shattered, and a Hopkins Honda woman and I chased the four or five leaders down the descent. We were joined by a few other women and kept the leaders in sight through most of the second lap. But by the second time past the finish, our chase had lost motivation.
By the end of the second lap, I realized I'd only had one bottle of water and a few gels, so I choked down a bar and half a bottle of drink mix, trying not to get too distracted by the pavement that seemed to have gotten worse over the course of the previous laps. But the damage was already done. The third time up the major climb, I was still spinning fine, confident that if it came down to a sprint, I could win out of our chase group or at least put up a good fight. But as we crested the rollers and started to paceline in the middle of the third lap, I found that I couldn't get out of the saddle because the small muscles just above my knee cap would seize up. I pushed through for a few more miles until the sharp left turn, but finally let a gap open that I couldn't close. I duked it out along with the wind and rollers until the finish, had fun trying to hold onto my handlebars down the descent, and rolled into the finish for 9th. Not a stellar performance, but I’m pretty sure I know where big improvement in my race strategy can be made (more convenient fuel sources!!!), so the race wasn’t a total loss. The course and the weather were beautiful, the weekend itself was fun, and I learned a bit more about myself and racing. Definitely a course I’d love to race again. Thanks for reading!