Saturday, March 26, 2016

Copperopolis Road Race–Robin-2016


March 26th, 2016 – Milton, CA


2 x 21loops


Cat 4, 3rd


Trixie Bradley

This marks the 5th year Troy and I have done this road race…and 7th year Team Soares has done road racing on the Victory Velo team.  It’s always the day before Easter.  Nana Sue (Troy’s Mom) and Papa Ray always babysit for us in Discovery Bay (1 hour away)…and the next day we all go to church to celebrate Christ’s death and amazing Resurrection!

We head out on our “date” to Milton.  It’s so beautiful this time of year.  Lush green hillsides with amazing wildflowers.  We get there and find our FCA teammate, Trixie.  This is the second ride we will be doing together this year…yeah!  Her tube has a slow leak so Troy helps her change it.

Then it’s a quick warm-up before Troy starts his race.  We pray together and I see him off.  “Go Troy!”  Ten minutes and I’ll start!  Quick break and stretch. I find Trixie and we pray for our race.  There are 8 of us gals ready to roll!

Ready, set, go!  In moments we are turning left onto the “cobblestones” or should I say patchwork of filled potholes!  I know what to expect by now with the terrain.  However, you NEVER know what to expect in a road race.

Trixie and I ride close together.  I feel afraid I might make some sort of mistake and take her out so I try to give her space.  She is really comfortable riding close and I am not…something I need to work on especially if I ever have a chance of finishing the Coffee Republic men’s ride back at home!

The long hill hits and I tell Trixie to stay connected.  A girl in from Team City goes off the front and flies up the hill in a commanding fashion…so much so the rest of us seem to be afraid of redlining it more than we currently are!  I break off with 2 other girls, an Oregon gal and JL Velo gal with red hair. 

The hill continues and one of the girl says she wished she had studied the map to know this was coming.  I tell them, “almost to the top and when we hit the reserviour, we are there!”.  I also let them know that there is a hill at the end of the loop and descent of course.  That descent is a doosy with the patched potholes!

Soon, we do crest the top and see the Team City gal way off in the distance.  Soon she disappears.  The red head and I trade off leading to the cattle guards and backside of the course.  Once we turn to the backside I tell the Oregon gal to take a turn.  I feel bossy but to get through this course without help is exhausting…I spent one year alone out here.  Oregon takes a turn and after that she helps.  The whole time we barely talk…which is different from year’s past.  That’s okay, I’d rather not talk and save my energy.

We get to the big hill.  We stay together to the slight down before final section of the climb.  I’m able to pull ahead.  My descending skills are WAY better than the past but I still usually get behind on this section so I want to be in the front going down.

Here it comes!  Self, try not to brake…Lord help me!  I start descending and the Oregon girl passes me.  She doesn’t get too far ahead so I can tell she’s a bit cautious too.  It makes me slack and hit the brakes several times.  This descent actually gets easier mentally every year and though I’m braking a bit, I’m not terrified like the past.

At the bottom I slack again to get some nutrtition and I realize that the Oregon girl pulls away.  Now I got to go and catch up.  Darn!  I finish the first loop…yeah!  One more to go!  Back to potholes!

As I close the gap, a girl goes by that I don’t recognize from the start.  Who is she?  The Masters Women were the last group of girls to go 10 min after us. She seems to be too young to be a Masters woman though.  Weird!  She pulls away with ease and in my confusion I let her go.

I catch up to the Oregon gal and the red head girl catches us.  We don’t discuss the mystery girl but I’m sure we are all wondering.  We do the big climb again.  These 2 gals are strong so there is no getting away from them…work together!

Off in the distance we see the mystery girl and she seems to be merging with the Master Men 1/2/3s.  As a rider, you are only allowed to work with your own group.  So, if she indeed is staying in their pack, that is cheating…too hard to tell.  Oh well.  She might not even be part of our group anyway.

The backside we continue to trade the lead.  A couple of Master stragglers go by.  After they pull ahead some I match their pace.  I’m not drafting or too close but I am using their momentum to get us going.  I really want to finish as soon as possible and not prolong it any longer!

Just before the last hill, the 2 gals pass these two guys.  We hit the back hill and one of them passes us back.  Again, I let him pull ahead and then match his speed.  I’m able to break away from the girls.  At the final descent, the girls are nowhere in sight….Go!!  I barrel down and look back, again no girls.  It makes me slack and hit the brakes a bit.  What are you doing?!  Go!  Finally, Iet it rip and fly down. At the bottom, still no girls! 

I finish alone but strong!  Thank you Jesus!  The red head (Jess) is next and the Oregon girl (Sophia) is after her.  I congratulate them both including the Team City girl who took off in the beginning.

The mystery girl was in our race and started late!  She passed the Team City girl out in front and beat her by 10 min.  Now that’s impressive!

Soon Trixie comes and finishes with a smile.  Great job Trixie!!