(April 28, 2012) BOULDER, Colo. - Every year for the last 7 or 8 years the Colorado version of the European Koppenberg race has been held on the outskirts of Boulder where a quiet farm road turns to dirt and then suddenly kicks up into a short 17% grade. The climb may not rival the true Koppenberg, but nonetheless, many racers look forward to testing their strength and skills as they tackle this 5.5 mile loop that is almost 50% gravel.
In past years, the climb has been in various conditions including severely rutted and dry, severely rutted and wet, too muddy to race, and this year, no ruts, fairly smooth, and dry. Although the climb may have been much more tame than in past years, it can still make or break the race for many riders.
As the road crests the climb, it takes a right hand turn and gradually descends on dirt back to Marshall Road pavement. If you get dropped on the short hill, good luck getting back on, as riding solo with a strong crosswind is a tall order. Just ask Robin Eckmann, riding in the Pro Men class, who chased the lead group for quite a few laps, as they dangled just out of reach.
The Men’s Pro field hit the hill the first lap as a group, with a Juwi Solar rider, followede by a Bontrager Livestrong rider putting in a little extra effort and gaining a small gap by the top of the hill. But the wind and the nature of the course prevented any breakaways from succeeding. Eventually a group of ten or fifteen riders did get away, with riders with Juwi Solar, and Horizon Organic doing most of the work on the front.
In the end, Jesse Goodrich of Juwi Solar took the win over Russell Stevenson (unattached), followed by Kit recca (Horizon Organic/Panache), Dean Hass (Specialized), Ian Holt (Juwi Solar), and the ever-present Colby Pearce (Horizon Organic/Panache) finishing in 6th.
In the Women’s Pro race, once again, the course and the wind kept any breakaways from occurring as the ladies made their way around the circuit. Jennifer Triplett (Pro Design p/b Porsche Bike Source) took the top step on the podium with Heather Fischer (Natural Grocers) in second and Kate Powlison (Panache Cyclewear) took third. As always, Margell Abel (Natural Grocers), and Catherine Johnson (Panache Cyclewear) were in the mix, with Johnson putting in an impressive effort to get back on after an early race mishap.
For full results see: ColoradoCycling.org