Sunday, March 29, 2009

The traveling circus took to the gravel streets of Middleville Michigan on Saturday for the first installment of competitive outdoor excitement. I signed up for the Barry Roubaix Gravel Grinder a week ago and registered in the fixed gear category. I did it out of curiosity and ignorance. I was curious how racing in a pack would feel without coasting and to feel that special pain I have been missing all winter.

Rick Plite, Michigan’s all star promoter of kiss cross and the Lumberjack 100 put together an excruciatingly undulating course. The Elites went off in one wave then the expert/sport classes were staggered. He saved the single speeds, tandems and fixed gear riders for the final wave. The rollout had smooth gravel rollers and my 39x15 felt perfect. If only that was a preview of the next two hours. It wasn’t. The group of cycling outcasts took a hard left onto two track and the chaos ensued. Traction preventing sand pits, frame denting loose rocks, quad buster kickers and derailleur hanger bending line picking made for an interesting start to the first annual Barry Roubaix Gravel Grinder. I was on the bike, off the bike, switching positions with tandems, dual suspension mountain bikes and a roadie or two struggling in the dirt. I was praising the blue skies above for making the last minute decision to swap my speedplays for SPD mountain pedals.

The rest of the course was littered with inappropriately steep ups and high cadence downs. I worked on and off with packs of riders and stayed with the same group of 10 most of the day. Everyone was enjoying the sunny suffering and waterfront views. I was passed early on by the only other fixed gear rider and he disappeared. It wasn’t until the final few miles that I passed him at an aid station. I buried what was left of my melting rubber legs to the final paved stretch hoping for the magic to happen. He pulled me back a mile out, dropped the hammer one last time and left my wheezing and dumfounded.

I crossed the line in under 2 hours, enjoyed free zoup and founders brew, won a set of Velocity road wheels and Rick hooked me up with some 53x11 coffee and knickers. The schwag hammer struck hard making the Barry Roubaix one of my favorite events. I am adding this event to my calendar for next year and hope you do the same.

A special thanks to the 2009 Supporters of the Traveling Circus

Holly Scott Racing

Tifosi Optics

Swiftwick Socks

White Brothers

Team Active


Next up is a solo training camp south of the Mason Dixon before the Devil’s Soup Bowl Time Trial.

Love dan

1 comment:

the original big ring said...

well done Dan!

schwagg indeed!