Every other year the Velo Club de Roubaix Cyclotourisme runs a Paris-Roubaix cyclosportive. "Luckily" it was the during the summer we are living in Amsterdam. My lovely wife was kind enough to drop me off at the start in Bohain-en-Vermandois and meet me at the velodrome in Roubaix. Any of the good pictures were taken by her. All week the weather looked terrible, high 50's with a 70% chance of rain. I was getting pretty worried about muddy conditions. By some miracle the weather was absolutely perfect, with the high about 65 and a nice tailwind. Take that northern Europe! The cobbles are hard enough in the dry with dust. I'm glad I didn't have to find out how they are covered in a mud.
|Looking fresh with the NC Rando gear|
|Controls in Red, Towns in Black, Pave in Blue|
|Pave through a field. Don't remember the sector|
1) Push a big gear to get your weight off the saddle.
2) Try and keep the upper body fluid and loose.
3) Hands on the top of the bars with a grip just tighet enough so you don't fall off.
4) Ride the crown of the road, it will be least bumpy.
This is the only time I will ride Paris-Roubaix, so I tried to maximize the time on the stone. I started riding down the center of the pave. but with about 60k from the finish my hands, arms and neck hurt so much I started to bike in the gutter, if one existed. The harder the sector, the less chance of having a gutter though.
Three sectors are rated the toughest with 5 star: Tranchee d'Arenberg, Mons en Pevele, Carrefour de l'Arbre. In the race they all happen in the second half, same for us.
|So nice and smooth.|
|Slightly uphill second half|
|Slightly downhill first half|
The cumulative beat down of the pave crushes the body. Each section adds a little bit of hurt into the body. By the second 5 start sector is Mons en Pevele (150k in) just hanging onto the bar took all of my focus. Its a long sector at 3k, rough as hell and no gutter to bail into. Its been over a week and my hands are still sore. I'm pretty sure I bruised the palms of my hands. Late advice from a fellow rider: Double wrapped bars and gel gloves.
The last 5 star sector is the Carrefour de l'Arbre. This was where Hushovd crashed in 2009 and where Johan Vansummeren got away from the break in 2011. Lucky for us, only 20k to go and the ride was feeling in the bag.
This is the famous restaurant at the end of sector. It was too close to the end for me to stop in for a coffee. Maybe some other time.
The best part of the ride is being able to finish on the historic Roubaix velodrome. Abi was waiting at the track and got some great pictures as I finished.
Miss the NC crew over here. If there is any NC Randonneur who should ride this event its Jimmy Williams. It may not have enough gravel for him but should be off-road enough. Geof on the other hand, may not be able to carry enough tubes to finish without walking :) Just had 1 flat at about 20k to go during the Pave de Gruson. It seems fitting to get at least 1 flat during Paris-Roubaix. A nice Dutch family was at the end of the sector and I got to use a floor pump. Gotta love the spectators in Europe.
I finished in just over 9 hours with about 8 hours of ride time.
|In the bag|
|My coolest brevet card outside of PBP|
|Diploma, card, jersey and my own cobble|
|And I'm outta here!|
Anyone want to ride the World Championship sportive in September in Limburg?