No one ever wants to follow Jack’s eloquently stated race reports, but here it goes: firstly, my wife is incredibly curious as to how Jack has any recollection of the pain of childbirth. Secondly, the lost 12 lbs. are not lost: I found them!
The race itself was as expected. Rough and tough due to a lack of riding over the winter months. The uphills were horrid but I pedaled through it, keeping in mind the words of Dory from Nemo “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”
My race time was 2:31, and I did not even check to see what place I was in. I was a winner for finishing, right? At one particular corner I was greeted enthusiatically with a duck call (that was a first in my racing expriences) and later got to meet and find out the identity of the mystery duck caller. Apparently he can only be a good luck charm for one person at a time and today wasn’t my day.
There was a great Team Active/WSI showing. And a big thanks to Jack for bringing the rehydration beverages for post race.
After a week of summer weather in March, the filthier the conditions, the better!
It was less than an hour’s drive with the race day nerves jangling. After parking in the middle of a swamp and a quick gear check, the biggest headache was gambling on how much to wear. The weather was undecided and of course it had look good with the new TAR/WSI Internet kit. We headed to the road to warm up and check out conditions. A short run on the first gravel section confirmed that my tire pressures were good and I was grinning from ear to ear with anticipation before we made it back to the start.
I was in the third wave and got surprised by the 25+ mph pace during the neutralized roll out. Things were a little crazy and elbows were even flying up at the front of the pack. I backed off as there was plenty of time left to get aggressive with my riding. I settled in for a two hour effort. Things were fairly routine and a lot of fun but I was getting hot on the hills. Had I worn too much? I wasn’t taking on enough fluid either and as a result calf cramps hit at 15 miles. I stripped the arm warmers, committed to my bottles and tagged on to the end of a train where I could recover for a few miles.
I felt myself coming back and chased down one of my buddies on the course who had been disappearing down the road. I was now taking my turn pulling and gaining strength. And then it happened. I hit the new sandy section. I was riding the cross bike and it was a mountain biker’s paradise. It was brutal at that late stage in the race. I found myself alongside one of my new teammates questioning whether we were technically still racing as there was no one in sight pedalling a bike and no way past the bodies in front of us without taking crazy risks. As soon as I could remount I threw myself across the bike and put on my trail riding head. It was Custeresque in nature and there were plenty of the mud and puddles I was hoping for at the outset. Finally it was over and the course was back to the B-R we know and love.
I rose out of the saddle on the final climb and found my quads in knots. Even so, hitting the pavement with about six miles to go it was time to empty the tank. I threw down the hammer and hooked up with a couple of like minded souls who were ready and willing to work plus a couple that weren’t. To their credit they did have the good grace to thank me after we’d finished. I put my head down and (yes I’m really saying this) took a trip to my hurt box.
I can never complain when I left it all on the course. Today I did that and finished with a smile and a huge buzz from the whirlwind finish. A podium was not on the cards this time, I finished 57th of 129 in my category. My measure of success was that it was nearly a full 20 minutes before I started thinking about how I could be faster next year…
I felt the race went very well for me. In my wave there were about 200 – 300 bikers all sprinting together at crazy fast speeds with water bottles and brackets falling all over the place. I was able to catch teammate Derrick and suck is wheel for about 60 seconds then he realized that 26MPH was to slow and took off like a banshee and left me in dust. After that first 5 mile sprint I settled into my groove and pedaled and pedaled. I then ran into a large group of riders in the 23 mile race right at the Shaw rd. hike, and was basically forced to walk/run with my bike up the hill and around the corner. Then back on for the descent passing many inexperienced cycle crossers trying to navigate loose sand a mud while going down. Then back on the pavement for what seemed like an eternity for the 5 mile or so sprint back to the finish line. Hooked up with teammate Neil a little bit during this sprint, but his cross bike and his engines where no match for me and he pulled away from me just before the entrance to the park. I ended up with a time of 2 hours and 12 minutes with a 16.2 MPH/AVG and took 53rd out of 92 riders in the men’s 30 – 34 36 mile race. This fell just outside of my personal goal by 4 minutes of being in the top 50% of my class.
Like Jack my father (age 60) is also my personnel motivator and is the biggest reason I do this kind of stuff. He basically schooled me pretty good in this race and finshed 22nd in the Fat Bike category with a time of 2 hours and 34 minutes. Way to go Dad!
The hills in the Barry Roubaix are like child birth, the skies were overcast but not raining and the day before, rain came down in buckets so all of the sand was nearly hard packed.
The gravel road route this year was a mile longer and included a devious little tract of sandy madness along Shaw Lake road. David had a chance to pre-ride it and updated us with the appropriate expectations…it was hard. It was also quite frustrating because riders would just get off of their bikes without trying to ride it and caused big back ups. But that is racing.
Well in advance of reaching Shaw Lake road though, was the beginning that went off without a hitch for Jim Gallagher and me. We rode around a crash at the mouth of the park that looked nasty, but then you never stop to see those or you get to be part of them! Jim and I were going to work together, but we lost each other in the beginning, and I never saw him again. I suspect we could have trimmed 5 minutes off of our times if we worked together as we both suffered by ourselves for the 36 miles.
The hills were hard, but this winter’s training and our recent training rides in the hills in Atlanta paid big dividends. That plus having my dad at the aid stations to cheer me on made it a new personal best with 10 minutes cut off of last years shorter race. (My dad is my good luck charm).
It was great to see a bunch of Team Active WSI jerseys at the race. Thanks to Charles for bringing the team tent and setting it up for us to hang around before and after the race. My final time was 2 hours and 18 minutes and, like I said, a new personal best for me. I finished 57 out of 119 , Men 44 to 49 years old.
Training works! (Losing 12 pounds did not hurt either….) Gonna do both even more.
Great to see everyone at the first big race of the year. GO TAR-WSI!