Off to the races!

Well, I got my first road race in 4 years done 2 weekends ago at the Mead Roubaix.  For those of you unfamiliar with a roubaix style course it is not only pavement but dirt and gravel roads.  This race happened to be 68 miles in total and 20 miles of that was Gravel.  Let me clarify that a bit more.  It was gravel, hard packed dirt and the worst of all was sand that was 2+inches deep.  The race started and we have several miles before we reached the first of 3 dirt sections.  This was the longest section each lap and was the smoothest and fastest (minus the the headwind) it wasn’t more than 150meters onto the dirt and the first crash happened near the front of the field taking down 5 guys right in front of me and thankfully there was enough room that I was able to steer clear and catch up to the guys who had already created a gap.  The cross winds played their toll and those who were not able too find shelter suffered.  The race turned south and the tailwind kept the group compact.  Because of a recommendation from another racer in the morning wave I moved to the very front in this stretch for the next section of dirt.  It was a great tip because when we hit that stretch I was second wheel and the 2+ inches of sand had clearly played havoc on the fields.  There were police cars already on scene from groups that went off in front of us and broken and battered bodies laying in the ditch.  A deep section of sand grabbed my front wheel and put me into the left lane and almost onto the hood of the cop car that was sitting there.  Through the descent and up the sandy climb and a field of 65+ was now a break of 10 riders. A couple miles of pavement and we were on the final dirt stretch.  This was two shorter steeper climbs with what looked more like a cyclocross sand pit to me than a road race and we reached the top with four of us together and nearly 50miles to go still.  We turned back north after the start/finish line and within miles it was 3 of us. The final 2 laps we continued to push and pass the shattered remains of many of the fields that headed out before us.  On the final lap one of our 3 men was struggling and in the second dirt section we dropped him and then there were two.  I worked as little as possible and tried to conserve as much as possible.  A valuable lesson was learned in the final 1000 meters and that is be sure that you pay very close attention to what the finish looks like.  I attacked thinking I had 400 meters to the finish and it turned out there was a orange fencing up at the turn prior to the finish and I went with closer to 750 meters.  OOPS!  So giving it my all and realizing that the distance was nearly double what I expected the other rider caught my wheel with 200 meters to go and then went around me and I was unable to muster up any additional strength.  Second place on the day and a big lesson learned.  Either way it was fun and a great challenge. Final lap and hurting a little   Blog taken from Scalybirdlegs

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