I pimped the living heck out of the Barry Roubaix race this year. Now that it’s over, perhaps a few comments and perspectives are in order.
One of the reasons I like the BR is that I think it’s a race for anyone. This is not to say that it’s easy. The course — any of them, 24, 36 or 62 miles — is challenging. And — hey! — it’s a race, not a charity ride or a leisurely bike ride through the countryside. Still, if you’re willing to give it a shot, the race is yours for the taking.
In the weeks and days leading up to the race, I became increasingly nervous as a result of the weather, in no small part because I planned to race my tandem with my friend Megan, a ferocious athlete with a disposition that I thought might pair well with mine. Megan has two young kids and a full season of racing planned. I did not want to be the guy that crashed the bike and ruined her summer, so I whined a lot. Megan, nicely, suggested that I shut my yap and prepare myself for, at the worst, an adventure. It didn’t occur to me until much later how much faith she put in my ability to pilot the bike.
We had an exceptional day. The course was very frozen, super-fast on the dirt and super-spooky on the icy parts. While we saw a lot of crashing, we participated in none. Megan says that she closed her eyes and kept pedaling when she got nervous. We yelled at the people we knew and tried to thank all of the volunteers. Again, it was great.
This race was my brother’s first. He had a couple of issues, the most interesting of which was that his brakes froze while partially engaged. He was more than a little frustrated and sent me a text when he finished, “The most dreadful thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Later that evening after some time, some pizza and maybe a beer or two he said, “I’m glad I did that.” I LOVE the fact that he and his wife both took a swing at this thing and finished strong. Very excellent. Proud? Yes. Also.
Degrees of Separation: a friend went to see (as in spectate) the race and was asked to ferry an injured racer to the hospital. Sure enough, the injured dude was a customer and Shop Friend. I wish him a speedy recovery from his broken elbow.
As part of sponsoring the race, we agreed to give away two pair of Scott mountain bike shoes. Our Scott rep Brad was instrumental in this regard and drove up from Louisville to check out the scene and give the race a go. I was quite envious of the tires he chose — 700×40 semi-slicks — and am actively looking for something similar. Regardless, Brad is a Secret Stud and had so much fun that he rode the 62 mile course instead of the 36. Then drove back home to Louisville.
Ryan had a great race, though he used his typical tactics: Always Be Pulling. Ah, youth! Megan and I passed him on the pavement doing about 30 and told him to fall in behind us and rest. This seemed to make him mad, so he passed us back and was gone, not to be seen until after the finish.
I contend that it’s one thing (and a big one) to nail your pride to the wall and sign up for a race, another to do the darn thing and yet one more to bask in the glow afterward. If there’s one thing that Rick Plite (BR’s promoter) does well, it’s provide a good environment for basking. Many were the smiles and stories in the beer tent after the race. Some fell. Some fell hard. Some were kissed by fortune. Some had to work harder than expected. All were just happy as heck to have cooked their lungs and legs and done the deal and to have friends with which to share their stories. It was beautiful. And then Brad told me that he locked the keys in the van.
Adventure? Sign us up.