xXx Racers (Age group, Overall): John Burchmore (29/159, 115th), Wilfred Loche (42/204, 180th), Anne-Marie Oswald (6/17,420th), Joe Ponio (150/159, 688th), Ann Wiringa (13/21, 624th). Total Racers: 754 Five xXx racers brrrrraved the Barry Roubaix 62-mile Killer course this year. Temperatures hovered around freezing with bursts of snow and wind for the duration of the race. The road/gravel conditions were reasonably dry. There were potholes but a smooth line was usually available if you could get to it. The dreaded Sager Road sector was fairly solid with just a few squishy muddy sections and of course, sand. The course itself was shortened to 58 miles to provide a safer finish point for the 62 milers. This meant an uphill finish, no pretty finish banner, and few spectators for those last triumphant (or miserable) pedal strokes. Those that crossed the line with me asked “Is that it?” “Are we done?” It was a bit anti-climatic. But honestly, at that point I could not fathom 4 more miles. I barely had enough left in the tank to get from the finish line to the car.
Quotes from the racers:
Anne-Marie: “Sometimes you get to pick your line and sometimes you don’t.” This was my first time riding the Barry Roubaix, and it was the biggest event I have done. Going in, I was a bit worried about riding in a pack over the rougher gravel sections. My cyclocross skills definitely came in handy as I barely avoided being taken down by other crashing riders. I also dodged more water bottles than I could count and I had to ride/jump numerous pot-holes. Anne-Marie: “Death by 100 small climbs.” Being from Pittsburgh, PA, I did not take the 4000 ft of elevation seriously enough. No one climb is especially difficult. The steepest ones top out at about 10% grade and are fairly short. However, there are lots of them and they are coming at you constantly. Strategically, if you are a good climber, you can use this to your advantage (and I did). But 40 miles into the event, even a 4-5% grade is Killer, not to mention that last climb to the finish. Tire choice is a thing: Ann Wiringa: Did this on fairly chunky 43s... partly because I'm doing a 125 mile race with a bunch of climbing in Iceland in a few months and will ride something at least that big/knobby, if not more. Figure I should pay my dues and get used to rolling the long hilly miles on them in prep. It was an epic slog. I'm not sure I've ever worked so hard to go so slow. Definitely would have preferred something slick and significantly skinnier. At least it means there will be a big PR in store next time I race on something more course-appropriate! Wilfred Loche: Skinny 33 mm on dry sand => not easy Anne-Marie: I rode 35 mm Schwalbe G-One Allrounds with tubes (45 PSI). I thought these were pretty smooth, offering a good mix of speed on the compact gravel and traction on Sager. I was a bit slower on the road but that may have also been the wind and fatigue.
Joe Ponio: With this being my first bout at Barry Roubaix, I rode 40mm Maxxis Ravagers out of pure caution not knowing what I was getting myself into; 38 psi rear, 34 psi front. With everything being wet, the sandy roads were nicely packed and I was severely overtired. They were a plus on Sager road, but I felt they were overkill on the rest of the course. Next year, I’ll go with 35’s with much fewer knobbies, namely Continental Terra Speeds. Attack of the Cramps: Anne-Marie: I felt great until about Mile 50. Then my left leg cramped up to the point of having to get off the bike and walk. While I was able to get back on the bike, my leg cramped on every climb until the finish. It was faster to walk up the hills than deal with the cramps at the top. There was nothing I could do but watch as people passed me and my sub 4- hour time slipped away. At least one mistake I made was that I didn’t drink enough water and electrolytes because it was so cold. Joe Ponio: Knowing how brutal this race is, I went in with an excellent nutrition plan and had timers set on my Wahoo for food and drink. I also had a time goal of 3 hours and 30 minutes. I started at the front of the race and hung onto the front group for the first hour and a half or so. I was feeling super good, until I wasn't. Guess who didn't stick to their nutrition plan? Me. Around mile 20 my legs locked up into the most painful cramps I've ever experienced. My body was telling me to get in the SAG van at every pedal stroke. I soft pedaled the remaining miles, I just had to finish. I blame this on not sticking to my nutrition plan, mostly the Skratch Labs drink mix in my bottles. With it being cold, I just wasn’t thirsty enough to drink a bottle every 45 minutes as I had planned. xXx Racers always stand out in the crowd: Wilfred Loche: Wearing the team kit is important to spot us in all the black/grey jackets. Anne-Marie: No one knows me, but I heard a lot of “Triple X, Hey Chicago!” Ann Wiringa: Somehow I managed to miss everyone yesterday except whoever that was I yelled hi to when they were pulled off on the side of the road. A few people asked me if I was Anne-Marie and were very confused when I said no, Ann. Hope you all had a fun race! Joe Ponio: @Ann Wiringa, that was me stretching out some cramps! Thanks for saying hi, helped perk me up a bit Last Words… Joe Ponio: Is it weird that regardless of how fatigued I am, I want to do it again?