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Hans Gouwens takes the win at Coppertown!

Max and I drove to the town of Copperopolis this morning to meet our team guys Jan, Alex, and Eric for some solid racing in the 35+123 and 45+123.
Copperopolis, the New Wine Country without all the Napa fanfare 😉 About 62F and a good breeze, which became a solid “breeze” later in the day.
The plan was to just use the 35+ race (some 40 racers) as a warm up for the old 45+ muscles to wake up.  I guess Alex didn’t feel sooo old and really got into the action early into the 75 minute race.  He was in every single break for the first two of five laps, but unfortunately we were unable to represent a 5 man break that went clear with 10 miles to go.  Soon, single guys tried to bridge up and I found myself in a chase group with Andres Gil and Scott Fonseca.  We fell short by 5 seconds to catch the front of the race.  Probably got 10th or 12th or somewhere close.
Next up was the 45+ 123 race and since there were various teams with some depth (Safeway, Davis, Wells Fargo, SJBC, Christian Cycling), we decided to race this one from the back seat – follow what’s promising and make it worth while.
Chris Courtney showed some great form at Warnerville, so I decided to bridge up to his solo attack at the end of the first lap.  We lasted the whole second lap, but got caught by the collective movement of the other 40 guys in the race.  I kind of felt like my day was done and took it easy for a while, while Max, Alex, Eric, and Jan made sure we had somebody up the road at all times – great jobs guys to keep it together.
In the meantime, Safeway was happy to keep it together to save their big guns for the finale, especially for champ Gregg Betonte.  Unfortunately, our sprinting power Jan had a flat and dropped out of the race which really got me motivated to go with anything at the front with one and a half lap to go.
Alex gave me the perfect set up to ride away from the group with two Davis Bike Club guys and a Christian Cycling dude.  I’m sure the big guns didn’t think much of it since we still had more than 5 miles to go.  I must have encouraged those guys in the break numerous times as if they were delivering their first born.  One of the Davis folks was suffering like a dog, while the others were taking shorter and shorter pulls.  I knew the Christian dude was the stronger of the bunch and after he took a pull with about 800 meters to go it was time to attack like a mad man!  He couldn’t get on my wheel as I drilled it toward the last two 90 degrees turns for the finish.  I raised both my hands for the victory for what may have been a celebration of friends, team mates, and those who have made this team so awesome!

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