Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Barry Roubaix

Barry Roubaix always kicks the race season off with a bang. Or is it a punch to the gut? Whatever the case, the frigid temperatures numbed us up like an anesthesiologist. Team JTree was there in force to put all those trainer hours to the test. We think it was a pretty good start to the season.

By the numbers
14 Degrees at go-time

16 Team JTree racers
1 62 miler
3 Sub 2-hour finishers (36 mile)
2 top ten finishers (in their age group)
3 Racers rolling fatties
602 Total miles ridden
15th place in the team competition
0 Injuries
1:59:34 – Average time in the team competition

Steve Poirier – 7th out of 52 (36 mile – 32-34)
2015 was my 4th time racing Barry Roubaix, and after putting in a molasses-like time in 2014, I was determined to make this my best one, shooting for a finish of two hours. I had three things working in my favor this year:
1. Great conditions
2. Strong off-season training (Thanks Chris!)
3. New Bike (Cross bike FTW!)

How it all went down
I started in wave 9, because people my age are slow (it’s true). The roll-out was fast and sooooooo cold. Once we caught up to the waves in front of us it was hard to tell who was who. I fell off the lead train about a mile in and ended up working alone for much of the race. Rolling into town near finish, it seemed like no one was going fast enough. I pushed myself past everyone in sight, and even though there wasn't a sprint finish, hitting my goal with just one second to spare. Cheers to Barry roubaix 2015!

Along the way
Feeling strong, the only thing that could stand between me and my goal were frozen water bottles! Just as I started to feel the burn, I hit the aid station. I locked eyes on a banana, swing and a miss. – There’s no dexterity wearing ski gloves!

Scott Walter – 39th out of 135 (36 mile – 40-42)
This year marked my 3rd Barry Roubaix....and slowest. 2013 I managed 1:57, 2014 was 2:04 (in peanut butter conditions) and 2015 was 2:05. Although I was battling health issues the entire off season that kept me out of the saddle a chuck of the winter, plus I had the start of a upper respiratory infection going on that day.....basically the perfect storm for a poor performance. My expectations were not sky high, but honestly given the conditions I thought I had something better in me than what I gave.....apparently not.

How it all went down
Nothing of note happened during the race other that getting harassed by buddies on competing teams as they passed me (they thought I should have been going faster). The rollout was OK....but as usual, I found myself pinned in the middle of the pack and watch my team mate Chris Molnar bounce to the outside and pull away. I wanted to ride with him, but was stuck in pack with no escape. By the time the pack broke up, Chris was out of sight. I didn't crash, which is good. About the only highlight was the last couple miles of pavement. I found new life and a couple of guys I was riding with broke away from the pack and had a nice sprint finish. Looking at Strava after the fact, my splits those last few miles were significantly faster than the past two years. So really that was only silver lining on the race itself.

Along the way
Aside from an overall feeling of being outta shape and struggling to hold a 2 hour-race pace, there was little interesting or 'amusing' about that race. Although, one thing lightened the mood a little. At roughly the 20 mile point (give or take a few miles) I rolled up on JTree teammate Jeff Poirier. Me: "Hey Jeff, how you doin'?". Jeff: "F#*K!!!" Clearly Jeff was struggling as much as I, so we worked together the remainder of the race....but his response to my question of how he was doing made me smile.

Jon Roobol – 82nd out of 163 (62 mile Killer, Men's Open Class)
This is my second year doing Barry-Roubaix and both time I've done the 62 mile "Killer" length. Last year I didn't know what to expect and the combination of the early season race and the soft road conditions had me suffering like a fool for much of the 62 miles. This year was different in every way.

The day started with me scared. The temperature was 17F when we pulled into the parking lot at the start. I changed jerseys and base layers 3 times before settling on something I hoped would keep me from freezing while I waited for the start and yet keep me from overheating in the last hour of the race as the temperature rose. I had also planned on bringing hot water to fill my water bottles with to keep them from freezing, but I had forgotten my thermos at home. I felt good about my bike, a steel mountain bike that I used for just about everything, but worried the 1x10 drivetrain might not give me the gears I would want while out on the gravel roads. My gut was churning with anxiety about the day as I stood shivering in the starting corral with the rest of wave one.

Once we were moving, I didn't have time to think about being anxious any more. The rollout was fast! I was able to settle into a large group holding a good pace and took turns pushing the pace on the front and recovering in the oh so sweet draft at the back. The pack was demolished as we went through Sanger Rd (road...Ha...what a disservice to the word), but I came out ok, just narrowly missing getting caught up in a crash. Another group swept me up several miles down the road that I worked with until a particularly steep hill several miles from the finish. My legs decided the pace going up was too much finally and they cramped up in a particularly painful synchronous fashion that left me watching the group ride away as we crested the hill. The 30 foot gap quickly turned to 50, then 80, then they were gone up the road. I was exhausted from trying to catch back up to the group and still several miles from the finish line, but I was ecstatic! The pace I had ridden thus far was faster than I had dreamed and I was on track for a great personal best. I buckled down, ate another few energy chews and settled into the hardest pace I could maintain to the finish.

I had been hoping to take a few minutes off of last year's time, I ended up taking off over 30! The conditions were perfect, my chosen jersey kept me comfortable in the changing temperatures and I never had to deal with a frozen bottle. I finished so far ahead of my anticipated time that I rolled up to the team tent at the finish line before folks were even starting to think about wandering over to the line to cheer me on as I finished. It was a great feeling surprising everyone and as we exchanged high-fives and stories from the gravel I couldn't stop grinning through my exhaustion. Already looking forward to next year, but Lumberjack is up next.

TJ Tyrrell - 58 of 91 (36 mile – Men's open Fat Bike)
This was my 3rd consecutive Barry-Roubaix and best time ever. The 2013 B-R was my first-ever bike race and furthest I have ever ridden a bike in my life. This B-R marks two years of MTB racing and I really enjoy it. This was the second time I raced on my Fat Bike and I was hoping for a finish in under 2.5 hrs. Thanks to firm and dry conditions, I achieved my goal and beat my prior time by 15 minutes.

How it all went down
I rolled out in the Fat Bike Wave 12 with a couple friends but we found it difficult to stay together and separated after a few miles. My Camelbak tube quickly froze up and I was unable to hydrate for the 1st half of the race. I thought about stopping off track and try to get it working like some other riders but finally thought to tuck my tube inside my jacket which warmed it up enough to get things flowing again after a few minutes.

I pretty much rode alone until the last few miles when I noticed another Fatty on my wheel. We worked together a couple miles, caught up to a couple more riders on fats who were all motivated to try to stay with us. The last couple miles I said c’mon let’s go! and started to break away from the other 4. I was passed by a big guy riding fat one of the last downhills but passed him as things flattened out again and stayed ahead of the group to the finish.

It was my first time on the Sager Road section that had been closed the last two years due to conditions. I really enjoyed that section but was slowed down a bit as a large group of riders had difficulty navigating the ruts and rocks. There are too many young bucks riding fat bikes now so I think I’ll be riding in my age group next year. ;)

Brandon Thielen - 16 out of 86 (36 Mile – 35-37)
Things got interesting before the race even started. I had a work event before the race and only got a few hours of sleep the night before. While staying at some sketchy motel (to remain nameless) some guy came in to my room. Apparently they give the same key to everyone and despite having the swing bar door lock set, he was still able to get in. I arrived in the morning just in time to pick up my packet (The line was SO LONG!) and 'warm up' on the rush to make it to the start.

2015 was my 2nd time racing Barry. Last year I was happy to finish the race on my tricked out MTB. This year I wasn't sure what to expect having only a few short rides in on my new Boone 5 disc.
2014 - 2:07:032015 - 1:57:04 

This year I was hoping to 
1. be able to participate in the race.  (see work event, above) 
2. exceed last years time/get close to an avg 18 mph
3. have some good Bell's beer after the race

How it all went down
The start was tame – no one seemed to get overly out of control and blast off too fast. I was hoping to hang up with Jeff and RJ but they started to drift back. The excitement of the new bike made it hard to pace myself. No self control! During the early push there were a lot of large stones flying up in my face. The group I was hoping to hang with blew away from me at right at the turn on to Sager, that was a bit of a mental setback. I had decent finish but wasn't as comfortable as I wanted to be. The last couple bends I made a mental note due to my noob comfort level with the new bike to not get too excited and do something dumb and crash. No crashes. Solid race.