Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Barry-Roubaix race report

I can't say enough good things about the Barry-Roubaix. Not only is it one of the biggest races in Michigan, it's one of the biggest gravel road races in the country. The course is great and the after-party is even greater. This year did not disappoint in any area!

Heading into the race I was really excited to race, but also incredibly nervous. Have you ever heard the saying, "you are only as good as your last race?" I'm not sure where I heard that saying first, but personally I think it's a HORRIBLE saying-and I refuse to believe that it's true. However, in the two weeks leading up to Barry-Roubaix I had a lot of little mental demons that I constantly had to fight off. At least once a day I found myself worrying that I was going to feel just as bad as I did at Birkie. For the most part I was able push those worries away. But still...

On race day Scott and I loaded up the car and headed down to Hastings. I was racing in the 36-mile fat bike division which meant I was starting in Wave 9.  After almost 2-weeks off the bike I was much, much more rested then I had been. I could tell because my heart rate was higher just sitting in the car then it had been at any point during the Birkie race. I took it as a good sign.
pre-race selfie ;-)
We were able to take advantage of VIP parking this year with our 1UP USA rack this year. Seriously...I love everything about 1UP USA. I love that the racks are made right in Wisconsin, I love the quality and most importantly, I love how easy they are to use.  The VIP parking was just an added bonus :-)

After registering I warmed up, wished Scott good-luck and rode up and down the street a few times. My legs felt light and I felt fresh and I silently thanked my coach a million times in my head for making me take so many rest days.

I lined up way earlier then I probably needed too...but it was a good opportunity to catch up with a lot of people that I hadn't seen all winter. Temps were in the mid-30's and I was so happy that I wouldn't have to worry about my hydrapak freezing. After such a harsh winter being able to stay hydrated is a novelty :-)

Then it was moment of truth time...Wave 9 was off. The first couple of minutes were on pavement and our speed was pretty civilized. Once we hit the dirt our group started to break apart, especially after the first couple of hills. I always forget how many hills are on the course. There aren't any long, sustained climbs....just a lot of short, power hills with flat sections in between. You basically have to be on the gas the entire time.

I was so happy with how I felt (and really relieved). I definitely need to work on my threshold, but I felt pretty good on the hills. Truthfully the hardest part for me was trying to keep up on the downhills and paved sections. I was racing with a few other fat bike friends and they would put the hammer down whenever we hit a flat section. I still had my 28t ring on the front of my fat bike and I couldn't spin fast enough. I guess it was good practice for racing my SS :-)

It felt so good to be racing again that I'm pretty sure that I had a smile on for most of the race. At one point I saw a tandem pulled over to the side of the road. The guy was bent down and proposing!!! I was so excited I screamed out loud as I went by. Truthfully I'm also surprised that I noticed it since I am one of the most unobservant people that I know when I'm in the "race zone." Of course, the next day Scott had to hear about how I wish he would have proposed on a tandem...haha. Poor Scott!

I really love the Barry-Roubaix course but I was really happy to see the finish line. All those hills on a fat bike...my legs were burning and I was tired. I REALLY need to work on my endurance over the next month.
photo: Jack Kunnen
I was the 1st female fatty across the line and 11th overall out of the guys. It was so much fun and the after-party was great too. Barry-Roubaix will be on my schedule every year!
Our bikes post race
I'm planning on spending almost all of April at home to get some really good training in and do a few local races. That being said...it would be really great if it would warm up around here. It was snowing again today. This morning I woke up to the radio warning about occasional white-out conditions. Instant grumpiness ensued!

After an entire winter of blogging about how awesome snow is, I feel slightly ridiculous saying this, but please......MAKE IT STOP!!! I was ready for spring a month ago!


RC said...

Sooo, we all want to know. How are those neat new Sarma rims?? and who built up the wheels? What hubs are you using?? Yes, some of us are anal........

Danielle Musto said...

I LOVE my Sarma rims! Ted Bentley from the Grand Rapids Bicycle Co. (ada location) built them up and they are laced to Salsa hubs. He's actually built up a few sets now and has been very impressed with them.

The Padre said...

Unreal!! How cool would it be 2 ride w/someone you love & have a race where you could propose & finish on a tandem together. AWESOME & you were a witness!!! Oh, & congrats on the finish. 2 Cheers 2 Barry-Roubaix