Barry Roubaix 2017

Killer Gravel Road Race. Definitely lived up to it’s name for the 9th annual running of the race.

Not sure why I allowed my new crazy friends to sway me into this. Maybe the wife guilt kicked in for saying I was buying a Mosaic for CX and gravel? Maybe it was the fine folks at Snowy Mountain Photo for offering up their spare room at the host hotel less than a mile from the start? Or the ride offer from the Thornburgs. I hate driving. Really, it was the pull of the CWEC ladies who encouraged us to get together for a fun weekend of racing. Well that was fun, or was it?

Training this year has been going okay. I actually have my highest YTD mileage ever. Yes, that included when I lived where it was sunny and 70 every day. No specific Barry training as I signed up like two weeks ago. Got the CX bike out on the trails a couple times and I made Bobby change the brake pads since they were shot from CX season. (More on this tidbit later) Still waiting for the fine folks at Sram to release the eTap hydraulic disc to the masses!

Got to Hastings, MI on Friday and did a preride to check out the beginning and end of the course. And to bask in the glory of 70 and sunny during a 6pm bike ride.

{GEAR} I knew it was going to rain so I did some last minute shopping. Vermarc Zero Aqua jersey was the best decision. Sealskin “waterproof” gloves were the worst. The “nothing new on race day” rule kind of cancelled itself out.

It wasn’t raining when the race started so I stashed my outer Search & State rain jacket in my Camelbak. I’ve taken a lot of crap for this Camelbak decision. But I knew I wouldn’t drink enough with cold frozen hands and gravel roads. I finished the entire 58oz and another 24oz bottle of calories. I also used some of those prior triathlon nerd props and had a bento box/snack pack with gu, chomps and good ole Motivator which I took at mile 30. I also wore: Assos Thermal Bibs (mens), Velocio leg warmers, Velocio overpants, Sealskin waterproof socks and booties, Smartwool base layer, balaclava, and a Giro winter cycling cap. I was fairly happy with my clothing decisions, all things considered.

pc: Snowy Mountain Photography

{RACE} I knew I’d start out too hard. The hype. The crowds. The hills. It was just a matter of time before I realized that I couldn’t sustain 195 HR the entire ride and if I didn’t get below 190 soon, it would be bad.

The rain really started to come down on the first pavement section. It was downhill and fast and very wet. That’s when I realized the gloves were not as advertised and were becoming weight bags on my hands. Fml My hands did form a warm layer of water around them for most of the day, so while they weren’t frozen, they were wet. Super thankful for eTap shifting; with the simple press of a button my gears were shifting.

Rode with Maria for most of the day. We would work together, convince one another to go ahead, and then come back together. I overshot the turn for the 36/62 split as my brakes didn’t do their job and were shot from the wet, sandy conditions. Had more time to contemplate turning back early, but forged forward. My upper body was warm dry, but I was starting to chill. The rain started again around mile 40, so I stopped to put on the jacket that I stashed. Another smart decision, as it rained for most of the rest of the ride. As for the brakes, every turn seemed to be at the bottom of a downhill. Seriously? Slow and steady, when I’d rather be bombing the downhill.

After the initial craziness, it was mostly just trying to find anyone to ride with. But no one ever seems to be going the same pace. The race ebbs and flows and so do rider energy levels. I tried to eat on the hour and I was constantly drinking. I never really had a bonk, but one low spot into a ridiculous headwind once the course turned north. More solo miles. Seeing Mor and Nathan from Snowy Mountain Photography on the course made for a definite boost in energy, thus these smiles ensued:

pc: Snowy Mountain Photography

Found a friend with 6 miles to go and we distracted ourselves by chatting about rock climbing. I was towed in the last 3 miles by a tandem.

I was sad to miss the 4 hour mark, but really just happy to finish. 65 women entered the 100k and 39ish finished. Average heart rate was 176 which I’m fairly impressed with since I was solo for so long. The internal drive was working, probably because I just wanted to stay warm and finish. Which I did, in my usual mid-pack form.

post race stares, seconds before hot showers.

Ride back to the hotel was actually the worst downpour of the day. Maria and I were wet frozen puppies. We stripped down as quickly as possibly and I’m not sure a hot shower has felt better.

We all spent the rest of the afternoon in bed being chatty girls, applying icy hot, and eating pizza delivered by Mor and Nathan. {Have I mentioned how awesome they are? Have I mentioned they are lifesavers?!} Then we had a team meeting. 8 hours later we went out for dinner and beers. There was no way I was going back to the festival for the party. Our room was where the party was at.

Maria trying to make it to dinner.

The Midwest has fucked up weather. And yes. It was epic. Strava said so:


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