Monday, January 28, 2013

Barry Roubaix is looming on the horizon...

I'm sure I mentioned several times that I am registered for the 36 mile bike Barry Roubaix race. It's on March 23rd in Hastings, MI. But I'm not sure if I mentioned that I am part of a team! I know what you're all thinking...but no, I did not sign with Team Bissell or Team Jelly Belly. Instead, I have joined the equally prestigious ranks of Team Speedy Chubs!

How did this happen? Originally, just a bunch of us we're going to race in Barry Roubaix as individuals. It was me, Joe, Dan, Geoff, and Charles. But someone mentioned that we should enter as a team. It may have been Geoff? I can't remember. And for whatever reason, that just seemed like the greatest idea ever! So I read about what was required to enter as a team for Barry Roubaix. According to the registration information, teams must consist of a minimum of five people racing the same distance. A minimum of one team member must be a female. And your team must be a recognized amateur team.

Well, there were five of us. But...we didn't have a female member. And what to do about the team? I contacted the race director to ask what it took to be considered a recognized amateur team. He replied that if our team had a website or facebook page and team jersey's, that was good enough for him! we need a team name, logo, and site. Geoff, Dan and I brainstormed some team name ideas. Geoff even mocked up a logo for one of his ideas! Then I had the thought it would be easier if we just used Joe's team he created for himself, Speedy Chubs. It had a facebook page, a blog/website, name, logo, and jersey's already! No objections from the group. No objections from Joe!

We just had one more hurdle: female team member. My wife, Kendal, didn't particularly want to do this race but probably would have if we couldn't find anyone else. Geoff's wife Mary similarly offered to do it if we couldn't find anyone else. We all reached out to everyone we knew. No bites. In desperation, I reached out the University of Michigan Cycling group. I got a couple nibbles. But then, we finally got our brave volunteer! Danielle, a grad student, told me she hadn't trained in a while but wanted to this spring. Like many of the guys, Barry Roubaix was to serve as a motivator.

And, as it turns out, Kendal had a change of heart and has registered to race with us as well! Though she has told me she reserves the right to withdraw if it's too cold, because Kendal does not run or ride or do anything very well in the cold (I think exercising and breathing in cold weather triggers some sort of asthma for her).

And thus, after a few more emails to the race director, we are a team! Our jersey's have arrived, even! Except Kendal's because she joined after we placed the order. We may just make a jersey for her using magic markers!

We had our first team trainer session this past Saturday. Though, it was actually just Dan, Danielle, and I. Joe dropped by for a sec to drop off the jersey's but didn't have time to spin with us. Charles lives semi-far away. And Geoff is with his family in Cancun. Kendal worked the previous night and was exhausted. Dan and Danielle's company was welcome though. The 1 hour trainer session went by much faster than any of my other solo trainer sessions. Hopefully we can figure out some sort of regular schedule for us to get together as a group.

We don't have a lot of training time left my plan is to focus on heavy interval training with less frequent longer, steady state efforts. I don't really know where this will get me because I know nothing about how to workout to get stronger, go faster, or lose weight. Basically, I know nothing. Which is shocking, because I've read quite a bit and even have a few books! But I have absorbed nothing! So...I just get on my bike and do whatever I feel like doing. It hasn't worked very well to this point in my cycling life so why change? (I sense a failure of logic.)

There are also some equipment decisions to be made...

After doing a bit of research about past Barry Roubaix races, I know that it is very hilly. And I know it's potentially very sandy or muddy, depending on conditions. Some years, many people find that they have to dismount and push or carry their bikes on portions. Sager Rd was the big spot last year and other years as well...I think  Shaw. It is very sandy, unless weather conditions are just right.

The general school of thought seems to be that you must run tires at least 28c wide. However, wider is better (to a point, as there is a non-trivial amount of riding on pavement). That means that most people will be on mountain and cyclocross bikes. Some people will be on fatbikes. And some people will throw caution to the wind and race their road bike.

I'll be on my Motobecane Fantom Cross Team Titanium. I have a couple different sets of wheels and tires. I have all purpose 28's and all purpose 32's. Unless it's very muddy, I won't need mud specific tires. But if it's dry, a file tread pattern would work much better. So we'll have to wait until the week of the race to make any decisions on tires. As for width...that's where I'm stumped. I feel like I should use 32's at minimum. But should I go wider? If anyone has any insight, leave a comment or message me!

Here's some footage of the more treacherous portions for last years race:

It's was well into the 50's, almost 60 degrees, last year. Plus, they'd gotten a lot of rain prior to the race. So I'm not sure if it'll be this wet and muddy for our race. We shall see. I think it'd be perfect if it was very cold prior to race day to freeze up the ground...but in the low 30's on race day. That would be just right for me!

Here's another stretch of awfulness!

Welp...I think it's time for me to hop on the trainer. Farewell!


  1. Replies
    1. Goals for our team:

      1) No one gets lost (this may be easier said than done, if history is a indicator...i'm talking to you Joe, Dan, Kendal!)

      2) Everyone finishes (Barry Roubaix is very crash prone, everyone ride defensively)

      3) Not finish last as a team(probably also hard as I think most of the teams are pretty competitive)

      Go TSC!!!!

    2. I'm totally putting the course map on my garmin this time.