This was the second year of the Barry-Roubaix race, but my first year doing it. I signed up for it a few months ago, thinking that it would be good training, but didn't put much more thought into it after that.
The race started at 10 a.m., and Scott, Toni (she was doing the 35 miler) and I arrived with time to spare. It was so cold outside that we stayed in the truck with the heat blasting.
Toni wearing her "I am going to rip your legs off smile."Even though temps outside were only in the 30's, it felt like a sauna in the truck! But don't worry, I put on more layers for the race!
Eventually it became absolutely necessary to go outside, and we joined hundreds of other racers at the start line. Yes, hundreds! When all was said and done there was close to 600 racers. Not too shabby for a race in March!
The race was 3 different lengths (25, 35, or 65 miles) and we were staged according to what race category we were doing. However, we all started at the same time. The first couple of miles were neutral, and I made sure to stay near the front. I had no clue how many women were in my class, but I knew that I was up against a few Cat 1 and 2 roadies, along with a few elite cyclocross and mountain bikers racers. It was a good mix.
The moment our escort peeled out of the way, there was a huge surge in the group. A few moments later I heard a crash and started to check around to see if I could spot Toni. I saw our friend Tara from the Farm Team on the ground and slowed down to see if she was OK. Apparently some guy rode right into her and took her out. She started to get back up but then went back down on the ground. Definitely hurt.
To tell you the truth I always wondered what I would do in a situation like this because I am uber-competitive when it comes to racing. Like you could enter me in a marathon and I would be at the start line trying to win it...and I don't even run. Anyways, once I saw that Tara was hurt I didn't even think about me or the race. The next thing I knew I was pulling my Mamasita through the weeds and backtracking to where Tara was.
I actually had a phone on me, which was a first. When we were getting ready to line up, Scott handed it to me and said that I should carry it because we were going to be on the road and in the middle of nowhere. The not so funny thing is that it's an iphone. And do you know how long it takes to turn one on? Basically an infinity! And then once the whole thing got booted up I realized that I didn't even have service. Thanks AT&T for being absolutely useless!
Eventually one of the medics arrived to help Tara and I took off to finish my race. I only had about 63 miles left, and was DFL on the course. DFL out of 600 people. Nothing challenging about that, right? The first 35 miles FLEW by, because I was catching so many people. I had no one to work with but kept a pretty consistent pace going. It wasn't until I headed out for my second lap that I realized that I was going to have to ride completely alone. Not only were all of the other 65 milers way ahead of me, but I knew that the majority would be working in groups. It was just going to be me, myself and I.
I was a little shocked when I came to the first major intersection to see the police still working traffic. It was a little embarrassing to have all traffic stopped just for me. But I started to like it by the second intersection and by the third intersection I had to fight the urge to shake my fist at the cars and yell, "that's right suckers...you have to stop for ME!"
My training race ended up feeling like a training ride, but that's ok. I had a lot of fun out there. The course was awesome with a ton of good climbs, and I couldn't have asked for a better bike then my Mamasita. The majority of racers were on cross bikes because the course was all gravel or paved road, but I would choose my Mamasita again in a second. In fact, all day people were telling me that I had a cool bike, and all day I was nodding my head in agreement. I figured there was no point in pretending to be modest :-)
I eventually caught a few people on the course, and I know a few women in my class dropped out. That's all I know about the race though. When I crossed the finish line we left almost immediately for Mexican food. It's always a necessity after a long day in the saddle.
I will definitely be back next year and recommend this race to everyone. The promoters and volunteers did a great job.
PS. I refuse to believe that it was a coincidence that I got my lucky race number!