Tag Archives: Koppenberg

Cinco de Mayo, Koppenberg and the best teammates in the world

Amanda_Koppenberg

This needs no description, only a pull quote from the below:  “People have asked if I was disappointed with the race. My response was, “Not at all. I learned that the best part of racing is having teammates who truly care more about how the team does than themselves. This was never more apparent to me than today.”  Here’s Amanda 1.0′s story.

NOTE: Photos by Shawn Curry

Most people have the one race that they want to do well in during the season. My race this year fell on Cinco de Mayo and was the legandary Koppenberg, which is another stellar race put on by Without Limits Productions. It is a road race consisting of a 5 mile circuit of which half the lap is dirt, with a brutal 17% grade dirt, two track ‘berg’ (hill) and a fast pavement descent. The Cat 4 Naked women always have a pre-planned race strategy, but execution is always the tough part. That day the plan was for my teammateswho are either cyclo-cross racers or bad ass power houses, to get the hole shot with me and then to tow me to the finish line. I was to sit in as much as possible. Early on I started to inch up to the front and 2.0 motioned for me to sit on her wheel, no words had to be spoken as we both knew that I needed to conserve energy. Apparently, we were not the only women that morning with a plan. Two strong riders attacked from the start. I tried with the help of my teammate, Brittany Jones, to stay with them but alas I could not hold the pace and I told her to go catch them. 2.0 worked hard to catch me on the descent and then to pull me the entire downhill portion and back onto the dirt.

Two laps of the same pattern, working very hard on the dirt and hills and then being pulled half the lap by 2.0 and Amy Thompson. Third and final lap, this is it and I am sitting well in what I thought was 8th place. I am pushing with everything that I have and feel like I am going to vomit, then my front tire starts to bump around more than usual.  No way did I puncture. Within one more pedal stroke, it is completely flat. 2.0 is there within a few seconds and asks what happened. I let her know that I flatted and for her to continue going. Without a moment of hesitation, she does the unthinkable, brakes and tells me in a firm voice to take my front wheel off. I don’t even have a second to respond and she has placed her wheel on my bike, tells me to take a deep breath, pushes me to start up the hill and says, “Go get them. This is YOUR race.” The remainder of the race I push to the limits of my heart rate and come in 7th place. Brittany got 2nd place and both Emily and 2.0, among many others, did not finish due to flat tires. 2.0 did have a tube and fixed my flat but then got another one. People have asked if I was disappointed with the race. My response was, “Not at all. I learned that the best part of racing is having teammates who truly care more about how the team does than themselves. This was never more apparent to me than today.”

I am ashamed to say that I would never have thought in that high-intensity moment to give a teammate a wheel but 2.0 gave up her spot in the race for me and did so without a moment’s hesitation. My other teammates worked very hard to put me in a good position and for that I am grateful. The teamwork is more important to me than what place I ended up in, what category I race or how my fitness and training are going. This will forever be a moment that I remember and cherish but please don’t tell 2.0. She does not read my race reports and I don’t want her to know how important she is to the team.

PS – all was not lost, my placing did get me an upgrade point towards becoming a Cat 3, here I come ladies.

Challenging Mother Nature at Koppenberg

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Two days before the race I met Amanda 1.0 and Ingrid to preride the course for the Koppenberg race.  Since we are all such close friends here I will be honest with you and tell you that I was feeling pretty dang confident on that ride.  Confidence doesn’t usually happen with me on the bike but that course with the gravel and downhills and dirt was my kind of route.  That night Amanda 1.0 and I devised a plan of dominance and it seemed like nothing could stop us.

Friday I spent my work hours looking at photos of Belgian cyclist tearing up the other Koppenberg climb, practicing my very humble and yet awesome victory salute, and eating frites (Belgian for french fries).  As you can see I was in this to win this… prepared as anyone ever could be.

As soon as Amanda 1.0 and I got to where Ingrid had set up our “warm up” spot we realized the weather was totally different than what we had expected.  If it were not for Mom aka Ingrid and her crazy trunk of extra cycling gear Amanda 1.0 and I would still be jumping around in the parking lot not talking but mentally scrapping our “plan of dominance”.

On the first lap I was right where I wanted to be, well other than on a nice warm beach, and was feeling pretty good.  The wind was so strong that even being right on someone’s wheel didn’t seem to make any difference.  As we approached the famous climb I had worked my way to the lead spot.  Again this weird sense of confidence washed over me and I got the pick of the litter on the best line up the hill.  0.5 seconds later everyone else decided they wanted my line and I kind of just let them take it.  Why?  Yeah, I will be in therapy for this decision for a while.

Hill 1 was done and I was at the back of the lead pack because I handed it over real nice like but I was still with the pack.  Ok, that wasn’t really how I had imagined that going down but I was still in this to win this and thank goodness I know how to decend and corner.

Hill 2 broke my spirit.  No more confidence.  No more in this to win this blah blah blah.  My new plan was to not walk and to not quite and to find someone to help me battle the no good horrible wind.

Hill 3 nailed the coffin.  Once again I was behind the lead group and all alone.  I am not sure how wind can come at you with such anger and from all directions at every single stinking inch of a course but it was.  I used to like that course… I even talked people into racing it.  I felt so betrayed!

I finished in the middle of the pack.   It is not the place I really was shooting for but know I fought crazy wind and cold conditions with my whole heart and can’t ask for more.  Post race Amanda 1.0 and Mom aka Ingrid returned clothes to their owners and patted each other on the back for giving it our all.  The crazy thing about racing I am learning is that after every race I start getting excited for the next time I can line up to give it my all .  Until then I will just keep practicing my victory salute.

Hell hath no furry like Mother Nature’s scorn!

The Koppenberg Race Report

Race Report from Joan Orgeldinger

Koppenberg Circuit Race

5/1/11

SW 35+ 2nd place

The weather in Denver has not been exactly enjoyable for the past few weeks. Lookout Mountain Hillclimb was cancelled on Saturday due to dangerous high winds and here it was, Sunday, the weather report was claiming a high of 40 degrees F and possible chance of snow or rain…. Not exactly my idea of a great time (a partially dirt (maybe mud) course) on a road bike. But I really had hoped to get out and race this weekend, so I decided I would do the SW 35+ report since the chance of rain/snow increased around noon. (I will ask myself around noon, why I even bother checking the weather report after having grown up in Colorado.)

Off to the race: after a quick stop at the gas station, I arrived in time to register and get about 30 minute warm up on the trainer. I was thrilled to see both Rachel and Cristienne show up while I was warming up. It is so nice to have teammates to talk with when you are getting ready to go out and torture yourself. I quickly rode over to the start and and proceeded to line up with the wrong group! The woman at registration had given me the wrong number and I was lined up with the SW 4 women. But I figured it out and made my way back to my SW 35+/45+/55+ group who were waiting patiently behind me (probably wondering what the heck I was doing).

 

The first few minutes of any race are always hard but I decided that I couldn’t let them get away and shortly after we hit the dirt, I moved up to the front so that I could see what the dirt road looked like (sort of like “pre-riding”). I felt pretty good and was excited that we got to the climb so quickly. Even more exciting was that there were multiple lines to ride up on (my only previous experience was one line that you were either forced to walk or got lucky to ride single file). I got to the top of the climb and the woman to my left moved over in front of me and after looking back I realized we had a little gap. The adrenaline was pumping and I was very excited that we had a small gap in such a short period of time, but it was only a 3 lap race, so I figured we should make the best of it. In the split second that followed I made the big mistake, I overlapped the woman’s wheel in front of me – with the intent of starting to pull through. Unfortunately she came over a tad bit and clipped my front wheel. We were just regaining our speed on the flat part at the top of the hill and I couldn’t hold my wheel. I went down hard and the woman behind me fell too. It happened so quickly. I jumped up and looked back to see the other woman already standing up. I jumped on my bike and tried to straighten out the handlebars. Then I rode off quickly determined not to DNF. After a moment, I realized I had to stop and try to fix my handlebar/shifters better and I was able to slide the shifter back into it’s normal location; however, the handlebar wouldn’t budge. I jumped back on and started to chase.

I caught up with 2 women who I rode with for about ½ a lap, but we got separated on the dirt road. Try as I might I couldn’t see who was in front of me or where they were. The remainder of the race I rode alone and forced myself to push as hard in hopes of catching someone from our field but it never happened.

All in all, it ended up to be a pretty nice day (weather) with no rain or snow. Actually I don’t even think it was windy. I was sore as heck but I ended up 2nd in the SW 35+ group. I never want to crash on a road bike again but it is bike racing and you just never know.