Roubaix: What a race!
The morning started with coffee at Doug Dale's house. Brendan and I sipped on french press as Doug busied himself with his typical pre-race tasks: Locating a function bike, finding wheels, straightening handlebars, wrenching on brakes, derailleurs, seat posts etc. Eventually, his rinky-dink rig was race-ready and we piled into the Wild Rockies diesel and headed to Frenchtown.
To be honest, I was less than excited to race. The forecast called for rain and snow. Inauspicious clouds clung to the surrounding mountains, threatening to purge their icy innards upon us. I groaned frequently, bitched to anyone who would listen, and spent most of my warm-up wishing I was still in bed. I waisted as much time as I could secretly hoping to miss my start and was finally convinced chamois-up. Once upon my carbon steed the inevitable anxiety of race day set in. Soon enough, the gun (or horn/bell, I can't remember) sounded and we were off.
I had seeded myself in about dead last, hoping to avoid any sort of tangle up before the first gravel hill. Within the first 30 seconds of racing, the heavens opened up, discharging sheets of biting hail onto our group. I closed my eyes and dropped of the back, I couldn't see and my face felt like a pin cushion. The hail subsided and soon enough we had hit the first gravel hill. Someone went down in front of me, but I had time to shimmy up the ditch and hop back on the road. At that point, I caught a glimpse of Doug and Bryce up ahead and decide to go on the offensive. I upped my cadience and was soon out in front with Doug on my wheel. Near the top of the hill, a gap had formed and we decided to try and keep it. Carl (from MT velo) bridged up and the three of us took off into the distance.
My mood was improving with every pedal stroke as the gap was growing and the clouds were dispersing. Doug and I worked well together, taking smooth turns at the front. The big guy was riding really well. Unfortunately, at the end of the first loop, I flatted. I wasn't terribly surprised, but extremely disappointed. I was really starting to have fun. John and Myke, pulled up in the wheel car and threw me a spare. Soon enough, I was TTing back up to Doug and Carl who had backed off the pace to wait for me. We joined back up and finished out the second loop. Doug (trying to finish his first Roubaix) double flatted on the final gravel hill, wrapping up his day. Carl and I rode on. I decided to make the rest of the race a TT. I attacked and a gap formed. Just like clockwork I flatted again and pulled to the side of the road. Carl zoomed by leaving me to curse and shake my angry fists in the air. The wheel car saved me again, throwing my their last spare.
I was minute or so down. Perfect. I love to TT from behind. I remounted my trusty bike and started hammering. With about 5k to go, I caught Carl, sat momentarily in his draft and shake-and-baked around him Ricky Bobby style. I ended up in first and received my first up-grade points on the long road to becoming a cat 3.
Looking back, I had a great time. The race was awesome and I want to thank Bob and Tamara for putting together such a memorable event.
Thanks for listening,