Race Report by Shawn Lortie
Dombroski and Wells both battle hard for victory.
Copper Mountain, Colo. -With a new venue on tap for the 2010 season, the folks at Sol Events and RAAM Racing laid out a rugged new course at the main base area of the Copper Mountain Ski Resort. With the venue being closer to the Front Range than the Steamboat CX the day before, racer numbers were up a bit, making for some great racing in all classes.
The start/finish line was located on the brick pavers at the base area where the promoters had set up an impressive announcers stand on par with some of the bigger CX races of the season. Metal barricades forced riders into a few swoopy turns on the pavers that lead to a sharp, gravelly right-hander leading into a long straight. From there, a short run up on a set of stairs led to a good sized gravel pit and then into a barrier at the bottom of a steep run up.
Although a few of the Pro Men were bunny hopping the barrier and riding the run up, most were forced to dismount. At the top of the run up, riders were greeted with a 15-yard section of rocky, off camber, where remounting was definitely tricky. From there the rocky road continued out to the back side of the course for a jaunt through some folding turns across more rugged terrain, and then back up to the start/finish. Although there were quite a few gripes about the rocky course, it made for really tough racing and great battles within each category.
Michael Friedberg, racing in the Men’s Pro 1,2 class had this to say; “The course was rough! It was super rocky and was a full season’s worth of bike abuse. There were a lot of flats and torn tubulars.” Indeed there were, as many racers were forced to run to the pits for their spare wheels from points all over the course.
In the Men’s Pro field, a small pile up in the first turn relegated Jake Wells, a race favorite for sure, to the back of the pack. The snafu let the rest of the Hudz/Subaru team of Jonathan Baker, Matt Pacocha, and Chuck Coyle, along with Boulder Cycle Sport rider Allen Krughoff , gain a small gap on the pack. Eventually Coyle lost contact with this group as the battle between the top three pushed the pace.
And a battle it was, as flats, mechanicals, and crashes had the lead changing more than a few times. Eventually Wells was able to work his way back to the front of the race and luck was on his side as Pacocha and Baker, leading the race, got tangled up at the bottom of the barrier run up and went down hard. Wells and Krughoff, chasing close behind, were able to sneak by and get away as Baker and Pacocha got untangled.
Behind this group of lead riders, another great battle raged on, as Michael Robson (Moots), a top gun who usually races in the 35+ Open class, came from dead last at the start to battle with Coyle. These two went at it lap after lap, both riding smooth races as the guys up in front suffered through their mishaps. In the end, Krughoff flatted with a lap to go, letting Wells get away for the win. The top three spots were Wells, Krughoff, Pacocha, with Robson putting in an excellent effort to beat Coyle for 4th place.
The women’s Pro race was no less dramatic, with Nicole Duke (Hudz/Subaru), Amy Dombroski (unattached), and Lisa Strong (Hudz/Subaru) keeping the racing tight throughout. Early on, Dombroski went down while bunny hopping the barrier, allowing Duke to gain a fairly sizeable gap. Dombroski had a couple more spills, which left her chasing hard for the rest of the race, as Lisa Strong nipped at her heels. With a few laps to go, Duke flatted on the backside of the course, which left her with a substantial run back to the pits. Dombroski took the opportunity, and the top spot on the podium. Dombroski had this to say after the race; “ This is never how you want to win a race, but Nicole and I both had our struggles and battles on the day, and in the end someone needs to cross the line in first.”
Although many racers complained about the roughness of the course, it was a well-run affair. The folks at Sol Events have plenty of room to work with at the ski area, and are planning lots of racing for the future.