Giro di Coppi

I have been looking forward to this race. Its been a few years since I’ve done it and I remember it being a tough, selective course, in part due to the heat which usually seems to be a factor. This year was pretty much the same. Plan was to be attentive to the usual suspects trying to get away and hopefully get in a successful break. The plan worked, but not without it inflicting substantial doses of pain.

Lap 2 – After the long climb past the start/finish I took off after a 3-man break hoping, since it had guys from various teams, I might be given a leash. I heard someone say “let him go”. Sounded good. Then I looked under my arm and saw Eric Krause from All-American chasing me down. He had a teammate in the break and didn’t want me going along. I continued to throw in some frivolous attacks, mostly to soften the field, but it came back to haunt me. Later in lap 2 I decided to attack on the short, steep pitch on the backside of the course, hoping to draw some folks out. Instead I road off solo. When I realized no one was going to bridge and I wasn’t getting much distance I sat up and waited. And waited. And waited. I slowed on the false flat before the feed zone and the pack let me cook for a small bit. Redemption for pulling a wise-ass attack that early in the race.

Start of lap 3 and this time Eric goes after the aforementioned long climb. He gets a gap and, knowing he can get away, I decide to bridge. I had one guy tag along, but he was admittedly not very helpful. It took forever to catch up to Eric and I kept hoping he’d look back to see we were coming, slow up, and form a 3-man break. Eventually he did, but not after I buried myself for some time. Near the false flat approaching the feed area again we were getting caught by the field, but also by some reinforcements who had bridged. In hindsight it makes sense why the field was closing in on us – they sensed the threat of the guys coming across – Mike Esmonde, Steven Grant, Paul Lengerman, Justin Samuel, and wildcard from Coppi – Sean. It looked like a winning break – 8 guys – most teams represented. Perhaps once the field saw this they left off the gas because the gap opened up again. However, the effort of the bridging to us and the attacking we had already done shuffled the break and we lost everyone except Justin and Sean. Back to 3.

Lap 4 and Justin is killing it. We talk and Justin and Sean confirm they are feeling good. This is both a win and loss for me. If I can hang on the break might work. However, it could easily turn into a 2 man break away. Luckily I was able to hang and they were willing to let me sit out on most pulls. I tried, but it was some pitiful stuff and I could barely come around to do my share. The legs were locking up. When we hit the steep rise on the backside my hip flexor and the inside of my thigh seized. I thought I was done. When the moto reported the time check I thought he said 15 seconds. I was ready to pull the plug. But – I asked him to repeat it and it was 1:15. As Stuart O’ says – “harden the f-up” – at least that’s what I was thinking. I hung on with Sean and Justin. Heading through the feed and towards the finish climb I put in once last pull. I knew I couldn’t contest the sprint in my condition, but figured I’d do my best to make sure I got 3rd. At the base of the climb Justin jumped with 500m to go. He got a small gap, but it seemed way too early to go. The finish really kicks up with about 250m to go and Sean had enough time to come across to Justin and then around him to take the win. I was hurting so bad going up the finish hill. The wheel van, usually behind the field but now ahead to get away from the sprint mayhem soon to come, was encouraging me to keep digging. Good thing because the pack would soon arrive – probably 20 to 30 seconds later. I crossed the line 3rd. Well earned I think. I killed myself trying to get away and it worked. Next time I think I won’t be so retarded though and I’ll wait a little longer before attacking.

It was a great race. Teams were trying to play their cards and make breaks work or shut them down if they didn’t like the odds. The way road races should be.

Not pretty, but suffering never is…

the-break.jpg

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~ by Indy on July 23, 2007.

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