My favorite bike races in Northern California are definitely in the spring time. The week after Copperopolis was another favorite race of mine, Wente Raod Race.
It is less of a crotch killer than Copperopolis, but the wind and rollers definitely make for an exciting day. I like this race because it is a little bit different each year I do it. At Copperopolis, in the women's race, the tactics are a bit predictable with a selection coming really early in the race, and it becomes a race of attirition and guts. This race, with the exposed sections of road and wind factor, is a lot more dynamic, with things blowing apart and coming together. I think it is a bunch of fun race and requires thinking on the fly.
This year there were some great climbers in the race with the likes of Katie Hall (UHC) and Miranda Griffiths (Vanderkitten). Marley Smith (Folsom Bikes) is always super strong on this course. A selection was made the second time up the climb, and shortly after Joanna Dahl (Metromint) got away. After a bit of organization, our group smoothly worked to bring her back over the next lap. I was waiting for the final time up the climb to make my move. I was confident if I was coming in fairly fresh, I could stick with the climbers at the base and sprint at the top. Which is what happened. The pace at the bottom of the climb was hard, but not blistering. I opened up my sprint probably 250m out, which was probably a bit early for an uphill sprint, but I felt great and kept accelerating.
Thanks Valley Spokesmen for putting on such a fun race with such cool prizes! I am so happy to win such a classic Northern California race!
Thanks Alex Chiu, Katie Truong, and Michael Hernandez for the photos!