Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rocky mountain roubaix 2013

Just did my first ever official race, the Rocky Mountain Roubaix (My actual first race was a couple weeks ago but it wasn't sanctioned or categorized or anything). Being Montana, "road race" does not mean fully paved, and there were a couple sections of dirt on this one. For us cat 5s it was 31 miles where we went out, did a loop, and then came back, with about 8mi on dirt. The higher categories had to do extra loops for either 40, 50, or 60mi. It was a very cool course with not too much climbing, good scenery, and finished with a climb just north of Frenchtown.

We had about 15 guys in cat 5, and things did not get off to a very good start. 2.5 miles in we had a two person crash that I don't even know how happened. There were 3 guys on the university team at the front and I was a couple spots back from there, when all of the sudden one of the U guys goes down into the ditch and another guy goes right over the top of him, right next to me. They both got up, no damage, nothing hurt, and we slowed down a bit to let them catch up. The U guy did have to ride the rest of the race with a really crooked saddle though. Then we turned up the first little climb and the road turned to dirt. After the "race" I did a couple weeks ago that was all sorts of dirt, rocks, and loose gravel I wasn't phased at all but everyone else seemed to slow up. I was not there for an easy Sunday ride and also didn't want a big group at the finish so I headed to the front and picked up the pace. Then at mile 7.5 my GPS fell the bike and I kind of sat up and said "shit, I just lost my gps," the UM dude behind me (not the guy that crashed) yells "we're in a break keep going!" I looked back to see 4-5 guys and a gap to the field, and pushed a little harder until we took a left and headed back downhill onto pavement. At that point I eased up a bit hoping one of the other guys would take over, but they all stuck behind me and a few people caught up before we hit the bottom and turned back up onto ninemile road.

From there we had 8-9 and just after we turned onto ninemile road the UM guy tried to make a break for it at about mile 12 on a small hill. I felt like it was a little early and didn't want to expend the energy sprinting up the hill to go with. I did pick up the pace over the crest and reeled him back in within a mile or two. At that point I was kind of getting sick of doing all the work, but felt fine, and slowed down a bit. I let myself slip toward the back of our group but then we hit the dirt again and climbed up to the highest point of the race. People kept falling off as the leaders charged up the rollers and I just made sure to stay with them. By the time we hit the descent back to pavement there were only three: me, a really young guy, and that university rider from before.

It was about 5 miles with a tailwind back into town and we worked together to stay ahead of everyone else, although with the strong tailwind leading and drafting felt pretty similar. The finish was at the top of a 1k climb that went up about 200ft. All three of us turned the corner up the hill and into the wind at basically the same time- younger guy was a bit back, me and the U rider were next to each other. I turned up the hill, got into the little ring, and the U rider pulled into my draft which was probably pretty nice. About halfway up the first steep section I heard him going for it and he pulled even with my back wheel so I had to stand up too. I put a little space on him and sat back down. I had checked out the course the day before and knew that where it leveled off for a little I could probably get back into the big ring and hammer to the finish, but I didn't know exactly where the line was going to be and wanted to conserve as much energy as possible before then. Plus I was a little worried about making that shift under load at a slow cadence. I glanced back to find I was comfortably ahead at that point so I just dropped a couple of gears and kept pedaling. Then I came around the last corner, saw a 10m marker,  looked up, and the line was right there. Such a great feeling to roll across that line first and with all three of us going into the last stretch it actually seemed a little anti-climactic.

I got some prizes. The winners of the masters categories got beer, and they were announced before us, so I was pretty disappointed to not get a 12 pack when I went up there.

Did get some bread, flowers, a fat tire jersey, and some drink mix, and had a full growler of summer honey waiting in the fridge:

And here's the podium:

photo by Tom Robinson via

And also I drove up the course and found the garmin later. Looking forward to the Eden road race in Great Falls next weekend.