This year the Barry Roubaix was moved out 1 month into April from March. While originally apprehensive about this move, my skin, body and psyche welcomed the 73 degree sunny weather for the race start. Much of the overheard pre race chatter while we staged for our waves made fond reference to how cold it was the previous year and how welcome the sun and warmth were. It was a bluebird day and the roads were promised to packed and dusty.
I went into the Barry Roubaix fresh off of a successful winter maintenance training program with the athlete factory. I dropped roughly 20+ pounds and my strength increased dramatically. My only goal was to have fun and beat last year’s time. I went a little further and mentally prepared myself by removing all expectations of finishing first or placing at all and focused on riding well and feeling good.
Pre race travel day involved BBQ and potato salad, avocado and a chicken lettuce salad thing and 4 beers and a bunch of water.
Day of, I staged near the front of my wave and made sure I used the restroom 3 times before we started. I previously warmed up with 7 miles of riding and spinning with the team.
As our wave was called up, I was nervous and trying to keep my breathing in check. When we finally took off I tried to stay near the pack, but not with them, using the road section to spin my legs into a faster cadence. I waited to make any move until we hit the gravel.
Once on gravel, I made it my only goal to move up and past people, jumping from train to train, making sure I was not over taxing my legs in the process. I rode the entire race by feel.
Every hill I tackled I tried to stay in the saddle and keep pace with the train I was on, or use it as an opportunity to pass people. By mile 16 I started to notice my age group had thinned out.
Road sections were for catching the next group ahead and taking multiple drinks from one of my two water bottles. I brought three gels and kept them in the elastic of my bibs on my left leg. I consumed one every 30 minutes.
Sagar road brought the collapse of most peoples efficiency and pace. Due to the chaos that sandy sections bring nervous riders I was forced to dismount and run, using it as another opportunity to pass people. I made sure I was in a climbing gear for when I remounted.
By the time I reached the half way mark, I realized that I would be able to complete my race in under 2 hours and used that to Stoke my final miles. I attacked all the hills and tried to pass everyone I approached.
The final road into town I increased my speed and again attacked on all the hills. I had a few others hanging on at this point and was unable to shake them. We battled for the finish line the whole way in.
It is hard to know where you stand in your race while riding/racing the Barry Roubaix. You leave with an age group and eventually you all mix together, all ages and groups. You fight them all to the finish line only to realize they started two minutes before or after you in a different wave. The person who finished in front of you might not even be in your age group or distance at all. It keeps you on edge a bit.
In the end, I lost top 10 by 1 second at the finish line. I finished 169th overall, and 11th in my age group. Time of 1:55.59 seconds, beating last year’s completion time by 14 minutes.