Fresh off a cold wet (road conditions) windy Barry-Roubaix on a 29er (which I have ridden on my road bike with 28s), it was my first time at Rough Road to see what local gravel I could ride with my old bike (and possibly justify a new one).
Having tried warming up pre-race at Barry, just rolled up to the start cold this time. Not as much standing around though here with a mass start (600+ riders?) with USAC women, USAC Men, 100 Open, then 64 Open riders lined up roughly in that order.
The 64K (40 miles) starts off with a mix of pavement and category 1 gravel that pretty much felt like a road ride to me. Large groups were easy to be found, but by the time the 64K split comes, you want to have found some riders close to your pace.
Let go two riders I was following just before canal leg, I was gapping already and stopped to wrestle a gel out of a sticky pocket. It's possible that running 72.5/75 psi in my 28mm slicks was still too energy draining and led to the gap and additional suffering on the canal leg. Two problems that should be easily fixed.
Great event with early bird discounts on registration ($45 vs. $70) and came souvenir socks (S/M folks had a choice of compression vs. wool). Missed the coffee sponsor, but hot food included (pizza, pulled pork, subs) and Goose Island beer. Rapha had a tent (15% off), Lincoln Park Specialized was giving away bottles, and RR had a tent selling merch (incl. vintage socks $5). Missed the other vendors there as we scooted after eating and with rain coming.
Event is growing it seems, parking is still not an issue and reg pickup fast.