Giro di Coppi: Get ya head right.

19 Jul

I went too early.

This thought entered my head with about 200 meters to go in the race, as the first two riders came by me on the left shortly after the DC Velo guy in front of me came to a near halt.

What was the tactical plan here again?

To be honest, I’d sort of meant it as a leadout.  I was shocked to be up near the front with 1k to go, delighted with the idea that I might somehow have a role to play after going way, way into the red to catch back on after a break attempt halfway through the lap.  Saw Jason sitting pretty, saw a hole opening in the front row, then closing as the aforementioned DC Velo guy jumped with a little over 500m to go, and before I knew it I’d motioned to Jason to follow (if he saw, he was smart enough to ignore me) and I was through and on the wheel.

We were going, we were launching; I glanced back under my arm and saw daylight.

Ugh, Jason didn’t get through.


Holy $#&*, we’ve got a gap.

I hit it as hard as I could, thought for a second as DC Velo started to fade and I tried to jump again to come off his wheel that I had a shot at holding the field off, that maybe I’d caught them napping by going so early.

Then the finish hill really started at 200m to go, and I was suddenly pedaling on legs of wet concrete.  Two came by.  Then another, then four, then before I knew it I was slogging through a crowd to the line — or more accurately, they were slogging past me, because I was hardly moving.

Another anonymous pack finish, though Jason shrewdly waited much later, timed his jump and took a strong second place.  Some comfort in a teammate’s success.

Jason makes his move while I've already become a bit of blue & white road furniture on the left. Image courtesy Jay Westcott,

Started to feel a bit better on the cooldown ride back to the school, realizing that as we’d been approaching the turn on to Barnesville Rd for the last four miles of the race, I’d been almost certain I was cooked and off the back.  I went in a two-up move halfway through the last 12-mile lap, following a (much more impressive) move by teammate Jordan and two others.  Unfortunately, my breakaway partner was unattached, so every other team in the race had reason to see us come back.  We still drove it, me hoping someone else would come across as much for the firepower as for the tactical help.

We had the fleeting pleasure of a lead big enough for the moto ref to move between us and the field, but it was short-lived.  And then the real suffering started, as I tried to recover up one of the tougher rolling sections of the course.  Spat out the back, clinging to other wheels as they came by.  We closed to 25m behind the field, but the gap went out again.  Then 20m, but again popped off as the pack accelerated down a roller.  The whole time, going what felt like just as hard as when I’d been off the front, even though I knew I was thrashing and flailing and generally not getting much power to the pedals at all.  Finally, got to 10m back, and I was able to make one last surge to get back in the field.

So yeah, I was a bit giddy to have moved up on the penultimate climb, to be advancing position again.  Seeing the front of the race once more was so unexpected that any sense went out the window.  “Jump on the wheel going way too soon on an uphill sprint notorious for eviscerating the early attacker?  Yeah, I can do that.”

So.  The engine is revved, the legs were well better than I expected.  But next time?

Get ya head right, son.

Update:  Apparently I missed another key detail; that after Jordan came back there was still one more rider left out front.  Oops.  Would have been helpful to bridge up to him, since he won the race in 2010.  Ah, not like I could have gone any harder in that move as it was.


One Response to “Giro di Coppi: Get ya head right.”


  1. Autos, Bikes & Boats, Oh My! « Here 2 Play - July 20, 2011

    […] a firsthand perspective on the race, check out blogs from Jason Hall, a second place finisher, and Brad Evans, who took a last minute gamble during his […]

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