2017 Rocheport Roubaix – Digging Holes

I had high hopes for the Roubaix this year. Last year’s effort left me feeling confident and strong for the season ahead. My goal for this year was to match or exceed last years performance and give me a good indicator with where I was in training this year.

I woke up race morning feeling less than motivated. I just didn’t have that fire in my belly to get after it, which was red flag #1. I loaded up the bike and headed over to the race start in Rocheport.

I picked up my race number and said some hellos before heading back to my car to get race ready. That’s when I realized I had forgotten both my beet juice and heart rate monitor. Strike 2. The heart rate monitor oversight admittedly made me more mad at myself than it should have. The whole purpose of the race for me was to compare it to last years effort, and now 50% of that info wasn’t going to get captured.

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No heart rate data for me

So I lined up for the race start with a bit of a sour attitude, but still determined to ride myself into the ground. Which I did. In the first 7 miles of the 50 mile course. Strike 3.

The rest of the ride was pretty much just survival mode. It was hard, slow slog kind of day for me. A “why the hell am I spending my time training for a sport I’ll never excel at” kind of slog. Mentally I was in a pretty tough spot.

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Happy-ish on the outside

The highlight of the ride was the free Kalamazoo Stout I got at the finish.

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Ultimately the ride by the numbers was a pretty average effort for me, but going into it with high expectations hit pretty hard. I spent the next couple days really questioning what I wanted to get out of the sport and figuring out what I needed to do to get my head right. I suppose that’s all just part of the game.

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So a couple nights later I headed out for my planned 1 hour recovery ride. Just keep the heart rate low and cruise to keep the legs loose. I felt great. 2 hours later I came back feeling good and having averaged a strong speed at a lower heart rate. I appears the Roubaix suffering helped my legs much more than my mind.

What worked:

  1. Free beer at the finish.
  2. The race t-shirt fits me pretty good.

What didn’t:

  1. Forgetting to bring what I needed and letting it affect my attitude. Feel the problem, assess what you can do about it, move forward.
  2. Dressing too warm for the weather. A 35 degree night ride is colder than a 35 degree day ride.  If you’re comfortable just standing around, you have too many layers on for the ride.
  3. Going out too fast. I punched a hole in the bottom of my boat the first few miles of the race and spent the rest of my energy bailing water.
  4. Spending all my training time on my fat bike. I had to dust off my gravel bike the night before the race having not ridden it in 4 months. It felt twitchy and narrow compared to what I was used to and I had to stop to make adjustments.
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