Rouge Roubaix is a race I’ve wanted to do since they day I knew of its existence. I have had this penciled on my calendar for about five years now. In the past I have always either been at school in Durango, CO or life just got in the way. Finally, in 2010 I made it happen. Zach Spinhirne-Martin, Shannon and I made the trip down together. About an hour from our destination we needed some fuel and scored gold. Rather than Taco Bell (see my post from Monroe, LA) our trusty Garmin sent us in the direction of a local mom & pop Italian restaurant in the heart of historic downtown Natchez, Mississippi. We ended up spending almost two hours at dinner enjoying Chianti and calamari, a far cry from the expected “4th meal” at the bell. It was fun soaking up the local culture and taking a moment to sit back and relax.
After an early morning Quality Inn breakfast we were fueled up on waffles and oats. Thanks to the ladies working there that managed to feed 100+ cyclists at 6:15am in a room built for 15 people. Once we lined up to start I noticed that Kris and myself were two of about five people on carbon wheels. It was my first time to ride the new Easton EC90 Aero wheels. After seeing my carbon wheel choice a guy on the start line said “have you ever ridden this race before”, nope. I believed in my wheels and knew they would hold me tight over 20 miles of dirt + rocks + sand + gravel + railroad ties, 100 miles total.
I have a MTB background and knew I would have to use these skills on the dirt. After the first section of dirt I came out clean with Kris French in the front group that went from 100+ riders down to about 30. Over the next 25 miles on the pavement out group swelled back up to about 50 while guys dug deep to catch back on. I later found out that Zach flatted in that section and was not able to catch back on after a very slow wheel change. About 60 miles into the race I had to piss like there was no tomorrow. I attempted to go on the fly on three separate occasions. No dice. I even asked Mike Olheiser the reining master world champion and US champion to “Use your rainbow card and call a nature break”. He responded immediately with a quick chuckle and then, “I’ve pissed twice already you just need a bigger dick”. It was hilarious.
So, at mile 60 on the very steep dirt climb everyone dismounted, crashed or a combination of both. That was it, my time to pee. I stood there as the race rode ran by me. The flow lasted a good 40 seconds but felt like 10 minutes. Once back on my bike I rode like hell to get back to the front group where I was. I passed about 20 guys be never made contact with the front again. My race was not over, but a top 10 sure was.
I rode in the remaining 40 miles with two other guys and finished feeling pretty darn strong. In hindsight I should have soiled my sexy new Capo chamois and gone with the flow (get it). Kris stayed strong up there by himself and pulled 30 guys for the last 20 miles. He then managed 2nd in the field sprint, good enough for 14th place. I was out there to help Kris, and luckily did so perfectly until my bladder got its panties in a wad. Sorry Kris, this week’s training will be spent avoiding public indecency violations while I work on my on the bike relief efforts. Also, as for our wheels- zero flats and the rims are as true as they started. Same holds true for the Vittoria tires. I also wanted to give a huge thanks to Shannon for driving and working the feed zones for six hours.