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Piers Barry from Thirstybear p/b Akamai finish 2nd at the “Paris-Roubaix” of California. Copperopolis 2015 35+

Piers Barry stringing out the field. Photo: Alex Chiu
Piers Barry stringing out the field. Photo: Alex Chiu

ThirstyBears: Jacob Berkman, Mortiz Steiner, Piers Barry
Conditions: Chilly morning (37 degrees on the way in!) warm mid morning. Some wind.
Road Conditions: It’s Copperopolis….

Carpooled with Moritz and Danielle who handed up bottles, and collected vests and sleeves. Not sure if anyone else got the full view of the total lunar eclipse and blood moon on the drive in–but I might have to start going to an astrologist to figure out when to race 🙂

Warmed up as always by riding from the porta-potty to the start line. We started off with 33 riders. Mikes Bikes looked strong with 7, Squadra had Chris Evans and a Art’s Cyclery had 3 with Ben Albrecht, Craig Nunes, and Matt Carinio; Pro Cyclocross rider Jason Siegle was solo. Chronos had Theobald, Zimney and Eropkin.
Specialized had Cottel, Buckley and Passmore. Not sure who everyone is yet.
And most of them look the same with helmets and glasses on.

I could tell Ben Albrecht was serious though as he had shaved both his beard and legs….

It stuck together until after the first climb. A break started to form and I jumped in it at Jacob’s smart advice (thanks Jacob!). It came back together for a few miles. Just before the dirt farmhouse section new break formed with 3 riders off the front but no Mike’s or ThirstyBear. Moritz and I both jumped in and over 3 miles dragged a Mike’s Bikes rider with us. That stuck until the big final climb when it came all back together.

On the descent I realized there was something really wrong with my front brake which kept sliding to the left with the right side dragging and heating up the front wheel. I must have pulled it back into place 50-60 times during the rest of the race. I was all back together until Chris Evans slipped off the front after the 1st time through the finish line by the parking lot. No one chased.

Pace was high enough that a few riders started to struggle. All the way through the 1st climb again it stayed fairly strung out. At the riser after the feed zone I was sitting on the front with no one wanting to come around so I just kept increasing the pace as the climb went on (mostly because Alex Chiu was taking pictures there at the time of course). Somehow this pulled out 4 guys from the pack on my wheel. It was a good enough mix with ThirstyBear, Lange twins, Ben Albrecht from Arts, Siegle, and Zimney from Chronos. No Specialized or Mikes who where chasing behind.

We caught Chris Evans up the rode and stuck together with Albrecht and I taking longer and harder pulls than the rest. He’s a great, no BS guy to be in a break with. I pushed it just hard enough up the final climb to keep our gap going without splitting the group apart.

Somewhere Zimney popped off. On the first climb again with 25km to go to the finish Jason Siegle took off and stayed away for 15km. Zeller from Lange Twins was not able (or willing) to help. Evans was worried Ben would take off and join Siegle for the win and sat in the back.

With all this break tactics in our group out front; Matt Carinio and Craig Nunes slid off of the chase group behind. They were closing in on our break continuously. At the foot of the final climb I sat back a couple spots. I knew I could climb away from anyone left in the break but I also needed enough time gap to hold off the better descenders. I waited until just after the right turn onto the steepest part and took off. I thought Ben Albrecht was behind me and climbing really well–but it was actually Matt Carinio who had bridged up at the same moment I took off. I could gap him a little bit but couldn’t get rid of him.

I pulled away from everyone but Carinio who sat on my back wheel until 200 meters to go. He pleaded fatigue from bridging up to our break. He also had a fast descending teammate (Albrect) closing down from behind and I so I really had no choice but to drag him to the line where he annihilated me in the sprint. Which also would have been the sprint result if I sat in his draft for 80 miles….
It was an awesome day of hard racing with no where to hide. Only half the field finished with Mike’s Bikes only having one rider (Bromstead) finish. Jacob and Mortiz finished 10th and 11th with solid riding and team tactics.

Looking forward to the best part of the season coming up…. Great to see all the good results from the team.

Nor Cal Spring Classic here we come! Go ThirstyBear!

Impressive 2nd place at Copperopolis 2015
Impressive 2nd place at Copperopolis 2015


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