The win at Koppenberg – Men’s 35+ 1,2
A big day for Boulder Orthopedics in the Men’s 35+ 1, 2 race, with 5 riders in the top 10, including 1st, 3rd, and 5th to take the field sprint. First, it was really encouraging to see Jeff Hartman join us for a warmup lap and looking good as he continues his recovery. Jeff, hope to see you at the start line soon! With 9 Boulder Orthopedics riders eager to ride hard and dish out some pain, we were ready. 44 miles and 8 climbs up the steep, rutted Koppenberg wall, plus plenty of fast dirt roads and about 1:45 of racing… this would be fun!
Slipping tires, limited lines, and the risk of getting caught behind a struggling rider on the climb, plus attacks afterwards are a guarantee in this race so from the gun Carlos and I set a solid pace in the first lead-up. We gunned it up the Koppenberg to lead the pack and I surged after to see what sort of damage we could do. With Carlos creating a gap for other teams to cover, this immediately caused a separation and Grant was quickly alongside as well as Aaron Bouplon from Rocky Mounts, two other riders, and BCV Scion’s Danny Sullivan bridging shortly after. The break rolled smoothly for a while and then Grant and I assessed the race. We had numbers, and with plenty of strong teammates, plus Bob Dahl’s big sprint in the pack, there was no reason to work harder than anyone else. Steep rutty dirt climbs are very effective at dispatching people who dislike the same and with Grant and I leading the climb just about every lap, we trimmed the group down to 4 quickly and then 3 with 2 laps to go, pushing hard where it would hurt the most on the dirt. Our odds started to look pretty good and with the team covering attacks like clockwork behind us, the gap stayed. I hoped Grant and I could gap Danny on the final climb and roll to the finish but Grant suggested I give it a go. Grant steamrolled the dirt leadup and then with Danny on the front, an attack by me prior to and then on the climb gapped Danny, but he slowly fought back by the climb on Marshall. With Grant close behind I could sit on and Danny was forced to pull towards the finish. I came around for the win and Grant crossed shortly after, with Bob taking the field sprint. All in all a good day in the dirt – Thanks also Coach Neal! (who buried himself with a big effort and finished in the top 20)… it always seems that shortly after I question whether you’re trying to kill me with sadistic intervals, the cranks roll smooth.
- Ken O’Donnell