Sunday, April 11, 2010

Barry's Roubaix

Well, I am back in port moody.  Team Sask training camp was a great success. The weather was less than Ideal but riding in the Okanagan Valley could never disappoint.  Got in some great ridding, improved my climbing some, and had some good times with the Homies from Saskatchewan.  I flew back to Vancouver on Saturday and had just enough time to do my race prep before bed.

Today we Raced Barry's Roubaix.  It is a tribute to the one and only paris roubaix, and a good tribute at that.  The race was 130km, pan flat and featuring narrow gravel/rock dikes (the imitation of cobblestones).  The race start/finnish was about 20km from my home so I decided to ride to the start.  This was an excellent decision, it gave me a chance to spin out airplane, and to come to the conclusion that despite having just competed a training camp my body was very willing to ride hard today.  That is just what I intended to do.

The race started into the gravel immediately.  There was soon a break of two riders up the road, but this is roubaix, and some aggression continued from the bunch.  Before, during, and after each stretch of gravel the pace was lifted as riders continued to attack.  With more than 70km to race I attack, followed by a rider from Garneau.  Later that lap a chase group of 4 forms behind us.  This group of four, including Olympian Zach Bell, would catch us in the next 30km.  With six in the lead group we worked well.  With 30km to race it became apparent that our group would not be caught.

With three laps to go Zach Bell put down some fire on the dikes and this put me into some trouble.  I clawed back on.  I was not going anywhere.  With 20km remaining I was focused and prepared for the upcoming gravel.  Then entering the dike one of the garneau riders crashed in front of me and I had to burn a whole book of matches in order to catch back on to the leaders.  On the last lap things really blew apart on the dikes.  2 riders attacked and I dug deep to try and follow, but I could not match.  There was now two riders in the lead with 2 more at 20 seconds and I was 100 yards behind those two. 

Off the dikes and back on the road I was able to catch the chase.  Now with 2 off the front and myself and two others chasing at 20 sec.  We were tantalizingly close.  Unfortunately the dynamic was not good in the chase.  I wanted to chase hard, the other two did not.  We finished 6 seconds back, I was out sprinted to come in 5th. 

The race went well.  It is frustrating to place fifth when you are in a position to go for it.  But, I am satisfied with my ride.  To come off a very big week of training and have this form is very good for the confidence.  My training is clearly effective.  Today I raced on nothing but base miles and Gritt.  I can now build on my foundation using speed and more Gritt.

Watch the movie True Gritt starring John Wayne.  I think you can always use more Gritt.  In True Gritt Spirit I rode two hours more after the race.  My day totaled at 205km in 6hrs of riding.   It was a good day, my first without leggings or knee warmers!  Now I am spent, tired, sore, motivated.

Training shall be based solely on feel,
while racing shall be guided by sensations and instinct.

Cuylar Conly

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