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Barry Roubaix - CycleCyclocross

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Middleville, Michigan
United States
Kisscross Events
28F / -2C
Total Time = 4h 01m 12s
Overall Rank = 65/151
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

The first time I heard about the Barry-Roubaix: Killer Gravel Road Race, I was so excited I nearly pooped myself. 65 miles of dirt roads to race on -- sweet! Last Fall I bought a cyclocross bike in order to ride the hundreds of miles of dirt roads near my house, and since then I’ve wanted to do nothing but ride these gorgeous, rolling, low car routes. This was a chance to have big fun on my favorite roads with Alaina.
Event warmup:

Barry-Roubaix is billed as a very hilly, tough course, so I thought that meant hilly for southern Michigan, which would be like two hills. I paid no attention to the posted 4000+ feet of elevation change in the profile for this two loop course, or the mile of gnarly, sandy two-track in preparing for the ride. My plan was to play domestique to Alaina by pulling as much as I could as long as I could on the tough parts of the course and help her try to podium.
  • 4h 01m 12s
  • 65.5 miles
  • 16.29 mile/hr

The day was frigid. We started at 23F with 9mph winds, and by the time I finished it was all the way up to 30F with 12-17mph wind. All the racers were totally covered in balaclavas, neoprene shoe covers, lobster gloves, todos, and these were hardman riders on sick ass CX and mountain bikes.

We lined up with the ~150 other 65 mile racers (there were 23 and 35 mile options as well for 1,000 total cyclists), and the peloton absolutely rocketed off the line. As we exited the park, struggling to hang on to the back of the group, I noticed Alaina visibly not feeling well and knew it would be a very tough day.

The two track started a few miles from the start and went straight up. With sand, exposed rock, frozen puddles, and relentless undulations, this was a quad massacre. When you finally escape this section, you’re treated with a mix of short, steep climbs and long rolling hills. There is NOTHING flat at all on this course.

Alaina and I hung together as the front riders of later waves passed us by absolutely hammering up hills and down descents alike. Now I know we’re not the best cyclists or anything, but at most HIMs, we’re usually the ones passing. Here, that was quite rare. Mmm, humble pie, you are so bitter yet so full of truth.

By mile 20, Alaina was really suffering in the gut parts, so she told me to go on as she’d retire after one loop. I was feeling great considering the conditions, so I pulled out my superman cape to see what I could do with the bike training I’d put in over the winter. Confidence was very high. Much too high.

We averaged 16.3 mph over the first hour and a half, so when I ratcheted up the next hour solo to average 18.8 mph for that interval, what the hell was I expecting except pain and slamming my head into the wall? The second loop was lonely and windy. The hills crushed me. Around mile 50 I had this overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t going to finish. ONLY 50 MILES! I did a frackin Ironman last year! But this course was harder than Lake Placid, albeit much shorter. Plus I haven’t done a ride much over 3 hours at all this year. I underestimated this course and how tough it is to race on dirt. That and I couldn’t eat a lot because my hands were frozen. I went straight down to the pain cave.

Every mile crawled by on the edge of a straight razor. I ate a banana and finished my carb/gatorade mix. Nothing helped. I got re-passed by everyone I flew by when I thought I knew so much about riding. I saw stars and felt my head float away on a balloon string while ball-peen hammers pounded my quads. It was utterly excruciating.

And after a long, dark time, it was over. 4 hours and 1 minute later I crept out of a blackness I haven’t been to in a long long time. Alaina was there with a couple of Founders Centennial IPAs. And I didn’t really even want it. That’s how I knew I was in a bad bad place. I’d like to say I learned a valuable lesson here, but I bet I’ll make this mistake at least once more this season.
Post race
Warm down:

After eating a taco and heating up in the car, I took on human form again. We hung out on the beach near the bonfires, drank some IPA, and won a few raffle prizes: a Barry-Roubaix shirt, a jar of bike salve, bag of steel cut oats, and a great book mapping the dirt roads in our county. Cool!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Pacing suckage

Event comments:

Kisscross puts on one helluva great show. The events were on time, course was challenging and safe, and we got a bunch of free stuff including great beer! Can’t top that.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-03-21 12:00 AM
04:01:12 | 65.5 miles | 16.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/151
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-03-26 8:12 PM

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: Barry Roubaix

2011-03-26 8:28 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Extreme Veteran
Middleville, MI
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
Thats a great race considering the conditions.  I was considering doing this race but decided to wait to sign up.  I whimped out when I saw what the temperatures were going to be.  Anyone who can ride 65 miles in that cold and wind, my hats off to you. 
2011-03-26 9:34 PM
in reply to: #3415964

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
Wow, I am feeling kind of relieved I couldn't get babysitting to do this race.  I am pretty sure I would have cried and/or quit.  Good job finishing!
2011-03-27 5:27 AM
in reply to: #3415949

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Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
"What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger."  That tag line kept popping in my head as I read your RR.  

Sometimes your so close to your 'own world' you can't see the big picture.  You just got the cyclocross bike, what - four months ago?  You're coming off a wicked "tri" training block, and it was sub-freezing conditions.  I think you had an awesome race!!  My first off-road race I freaking separated my shoulder.  At least you came out in one-piece.  And you racked up some very valuable frequent flyer point at Club Pain Cave, that you'll surely redeem later in the season.  Which is Priceless!  It's strange how different types of racing (in this case road and off-road) don't neccesarily translate well to one another.  Which is the reason, too, only a small handful of Pro Triathletes race both road and off-road.  

Dude, only 45 mins off 1st place, in your very first off-road endurance race with limited experience, in sub-freezing conditions is a Fantastic Job.  Well Done, Ryan.          
2011-03-27 11:47 AM
in reply to: #3415949

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Rochester Hills, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

Bang. Thats serious stuff, Ryan, and you are a hard friggin athlete.

Next time you're feeling growly about the TTT day 3, or a random flat ironman, you'll have that beast in your back pocket and think to yourself "Haha, batches. This ain't all that."

Sorry Alaina got waylaid by stomacheritis.

2011-03-27 3:02 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Canton, Michigan
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
Nice job out there.  Glad to hear you guys had beer and won some prizes.  I couldn't stand the thought of leaving my cozy hotel room with a tasty sub and cold beer to head back to the cold.  I'm still not sure how you had enough in the tank to start that second loop.  I just laughed when I saw it and knew I made the right call by switching to the 35 miler.

2011-03-27 4:27 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

Well done Mr. Speedypants!  Fab race report, as always sir. 

I am so glad I chose to stick close to home and not try a mooch a cross bike to venture out for this race.  It would have eaten me alive! I froze my tukus off during a 5k in a flat wind protected neighborhood!

I am just hoping that TTT isn't a full check in to the pain cave for 3 bloody days.  Fingers (and all other body parts) crossed!  

2011-03-27 6:21 PM
in reply to: #3415949

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

That stupid one minute and short change just had to rear its ugly little head, didn't it?

Great job on some tuff schtuff!!

2011-03-28 8:55 AM
in reply to: #3415949

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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

Wow! you guys both continue to amaze me!  I'm not sure there's an amount of money that would even get me near the start line, LOL.

Great report!

2011-03-28 10:30 AM
in reply to: #3415949

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
Thanks for the inspiring comments and great perspective on my first endurance race of what will surely be a long, fun season. I'll definitely be thinking of the Club Pain Cave points on day 3 of Triple-T and of course pacing better based on course difficulty and current fitness.

Though it might not sound like it, I really did have BIG FUN up to mile 50 of the race and I'm already thinking of exacting revenge on the 65 mile course next year. Cheers!
2011-03-28 4:16 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Extreme Veteran
Denver CO
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

Bravo on gutting it out! I know it was painful and excrutiating, but come on... you like stuff like that. If everything were easy or went well all the time, you'd have lost interest already.

That's a hell of a challenge for so early in the season. Congrats on manning up.

2011-03-28 8:55 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

Good job on the CX bike race!

Long races with not-so-nice conditions are just the ticket for good memories. Heck, if it didn't hurt any, it would be just like another sprint triathlon.

The season is just getting started.

2011-03-29 4:14 AM
in reply to: #3415949

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Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix

What an unbelievable race! Great job Ryan! The course sounds like a blast, and I am sure the frigid temps made it that much "easier" ha! Since you are already planning your revenge, I think you guys should both sign up for the American Zofingen duathlon in May next year! Since your other half wants to stick to races with running, and I know how much you love trail running you will love this race! Check out the race site. ?

???I will be sure to post my race report when I survive! ?

2011-03-29 10:02 PM
in reply to: #3415949

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Barry Roubaix
Wow! Nice job Ryan! It just goes to show what an awesome athlete you are!
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