This past Sunday I rode the 50 mile version of the Rocheport Roubaix. Since everything went to plan and played out nicely for the day, and I didn’t stop to take any pictures, I’ll give some brief notes on the race.
-First off, UltraMax Sports puts on a great, well run, organized event. Everything went like clockwork from check-in to finish. It was chip timed and individual results were available immediately after finishing. They come highly recommended in my book.
-Last year’s race had a high of 18 degrees, this year was almost 60 and brought out a lot more riders. I had a chance to meet some new folks and several who were at their first gravel grinder, which is always good to see. I also ran across some grumpy older guys that didn’t seem to want to talk much. So I talked as much as I could and tried to show zero signs of fatigue, just to help reinforce their world view. Later I got to pass them on a climb and gave a few dings of my bell as I went by. It’s all good mental training.
-I’ve been following the Maffetone Method for several weeks now, which basically keeps all my rides under a heart rate of 142 and relatively slow. I’ll be writing more on that as it develops, but so far I’m very happy with the results. I felt strong all day and never felt like my breathing or heartrate was out of my control, even though Strava gave me an “Epic” suffer score. I ate 1 peanut butter and honey rice ball and 1 GU over the 3:45 ride and never felt hungry or low on energy. I did get a hint of a leg cramp towards the end, but ate a mustard packet that’s been in my frame bag for probably 3 years and it kept them away.
-Hills. This bad boy had somewhere around 3,500 feet of climbing over the 50 mile course with seem pretty steep sections. My main focus was to survive them. SuperKate showed up with some legs and crushed the timed hill climb to take the Queen of the Hill title. Well done!
-This race is in my backyard, so I’ve traveled most of these roads many times before. However, it also showed me a few extras that will definitely be included in future training rides. I’m super lucky to be so close to such good riding.
-I think I see something new on every gravel ride and this time it was a pig. I thought it was a dog at first and got ready for a sprint, but the nose and short legs give him away and he was far less interested in me. The good thing about not being fast is that most of the aggressive critters’ fight is already exhausted by the time I pass them. The beast looked like this…
-I found myself feeling a bit of race spirit in me which is new. I really wanted to catch up with The Darkness from Team Virtus, but never got him in my sights. I ended up about 4 minutes behind him. In the last 10 miles or so I caught up to a rider from a local team that was soft pedaling. He picked up the pace when I passed and I was hell bent on not getting caught. I lost him somewhere in the last 3 miles and was happy, even though he had probably done the long course and had cramps or something. Whatever. Lions target limping gazelles all the time.
-My favorite part of this course is the screaming descent into the finish line. I hit 40 mph on the pavement back into town and it made me feel like a spandex clad rocket closing in on its target. I’m not a light weight dude and while the physics punishes me on the climbs, it rewards me on the descents.
-The race entry fee included a free beer and bowl of soup after the ride at the local watering hole. This is a great idea as it kept people around the finish line longer. Rocheport is a pretty cool little B&B town for Katy Trail riders and winery visitors, so I’m sure they appreciated the extra business in the off season.
-I got some good training advice from a strong local rider, “Eat spinach, do the box jumps”. I’m on it.
Overall, this was a great event and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for some early season vitamin G.