Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Barry — Roubaix: The Sound of Sunshine
It is hard to write a brief synopsis of our trip to MI for the Barry-Roubaix because it was a lot of fun packed into just a few days. What I can tell you is that it was an amazing adventure somewhat haphazardly planned. We signed up last December during cyclocross season upon the suggestion of our friend/teammate Dan. Since I am a native Michigonian we jumped at the chance to race in my native state. Our plan was to stay with Dan and his bro Charlie. That plan was foiled by the realization that they had two cats in the household. So we went for plan B which was staying with Jeni in her super MTB Rogue Racing cruiser camper van. We were also able to bring our crazy dog, Kona since Jeni is a dog friendly person.
After a super busy week at work for James & myself were worried about getting our stuff together. I hate running around all crazy before a race since I like to use that energy ON the bike. We managed to get our stuff together (somehow)and headed out late Thursday night. We spent the night in a fancy Wal-Mart parking lot in Indiana. This was good because it allowed us to head into MI fairly early. Since it was still raining when we rolled into town the consensus was that it was an excellent opportunity to visit Bells Brewery. We got some pretty serious stares from the locals when we rolled in at 11:30 am to order some flights. This was the first stop on our unplanned brewery tour. Anyhow, the trip to Bells was cool and while we could have stopped there we ended up with a four brewery tour. Okay...so back to bike racing.
Our friday pre-ride was fun, it can't get much better than one long arse cyclocrossey race. Lots of gravel roads, deep sandpits, pavement, all riding along beautiful lake views and cow pastures. All friday evening it rained packing the sand down tight which with the unseasonably nice weather made for a great race.
Something like 1,500 racers showed up for the 62, 45, & 25 distances. The neutral roll-out was nothing of the sort since my computer maxed out at 30ish MPH! Ouch, after standing around for the race to start that HURT! James planned to pace me and keep me rolling in my poor early season fitness. Our plan worked well with only one hitch which was a bad wreck in the first few miles which layed a racer out in the ditch. I told James to ride back since he had a phone but thankfully the racer was okay. The rest of the race was a bit of a blur, I just pushed the pace as high as I could to avoid cramping. I made it through with only a few twinges of cramps at the end. We ended up finishing with a 16.6 mph average, 3:45 for time, I was 10th overall and for once I didn't care where I had finished; I was just simply happy to be there. We were also happy for our friend Jeni for shaving a hour off of her time from last year.
Our trip ended with an after-race tour of Founders (where we got to see teammate Dan and his brothers and share a Michigan beer) followed closely with a trip to Brewery Vivant and topping it all off with a visit to New Holland Brewing. Somewhere in that time we also rode our bikes along lake MI and soaked in the epic views and warm sunshine. It is a trip that warmed the soul and we will certainly remember this adventure for many years to come.