Hilly Billy Roubaix Recap
The Hilly Billy Roubaix race report.
Damn this one had everything, and was damn fun. It also hurt bad. REAL FREAKING BAD! For those not familiar with the HBR, it's a 70 mile road race, I mean a 70 mile mountain bike race, I mean 70 mile 'cross race... Eph it, it's just a 70 mile race on gravel, dirt, pavement, and every other surface you can imagine. How you choose to roll those 70 miles in your call. JR from ABRA said it was going to be stupid hard. While SOME of the stupidity was smartened up by some recent grating of the gravel roads, making little more rideable, it was still stupid hard at times, AND stupid hot!
Some folks rode cross bikes, some used road bikes with fatter tires, and some used full on mountain bikes. Due to my lack of a 'cross bike I used the TiEM set up with an eBayed Bontrager rigid fork and some fat 700 x 38 Kenda Kwick Trax tires set up tubeless. I must say it was the best tool for the job of the Hilly Billy. I was able to keep up with the cross bikes well enough at times, and on the chunky gravel downhills I was able to let the nuggets hang out a bit whilst the skinnier tired folks picked their lines carefully down the hills. But the bike can only do some much, and then I have to do SOMETHING.
For the first 40 miles, I was gold. Hydrating, eating, taking in Perpetuem (for the last time ever, I swear!! God it sucks) and keeping a solid pace that had me thinking of last year's 101 (the one where I went out hard, climbed like a beast and then cracked like granny's hip). So I tried to slow down.
At Aid #2 I was feeling pretty darn OK, I took on some more water, tuned down the Heed (it was the pink watermelon/strawberry stuff that actually tastes more like Strawberry Shortcake's fecal matter, no can do on that nasty ass stuff), and ate some pretzels and M&Ms. A mile or so down the road I started taking in water from my CamelBak. Uggggg, "why does this taste like I just fellatiated a balloon animal???" Alright, so the water tasted like rubbery animal parts. DRINK IT!! It's eighty-god-knows-what degrees, you're sweating out whole chunks of salt, DRINK!
Aid #3 was at mile 58 or so. I knew if I made it there I could maybe get a Coke (there wasn't), new water, and maybe sit in the shade and cool down. I tried, I did... Then I could feel it creeping in. The cramps, the nausea, the taste. Yep, dehydration and stomach issues were setting in FAST!!!
Oh yes! Aid #3 I made it! Got there and they had some nice iced water that I drank and poured over my head. They also had a small patch of shade that I sat in for about 3 minutes. Then I just wanted it done. How hard could the remaining 11 miles be?? Mmmm, hard enough. There would be a few more climbs, a kick in the nuts West Virginia road that I swear to God would be a "trail" (complete with 10 year olds on quads) in any other state, some walking do to upper leg cramps, and a LOT of soft pedaling to stave off more cramps. Oh yeah, there was the always fun dry heaving, with a twist of stomach muscle cramp that made me think I just herniated myself! LOL! It sucked. It was the best! I finished in a bit over 6 hours. I have no idea where I placed and really don't care.
Note salt stains on the back. Eeesh.
I think there is less salt in Ramen noodles!
I think there is less salt in Ramen noodles!
The race was epic and fun. Damn fun (except for the dehydration, AGAIN!) and lousy performance part, but I'm used to that. The best part of the race was just not knowing how to describe it. Its bi-polar freakishness is what made it great. Roadies using CamelBaks and mountain pedals, mountain bikers with skinny tires, riding on smooth pavement one moment, gravel the next, and mud bogged "roads" two seconds later. It was like racing parts of the Paris-Roubaix, Mohican 100, Montepaschi Strade Bianche, and Wilderness 101 roads all wrapped into one cool ass race. I was happy to have raced it, and to have had XXC Magazine be a part of it.
I thank JR for a great race, that was super well marked and fun to have been part of. In my opinion this event will get big someday. It might take a move in the calendar, or something, but once the word get out beyond the 70+ folks that raced this weekend, it will be big.
Well that's it. I am on hiatus from racing for a bit. Time to focus more on XXC and other cycling things I want to do and do a hell of a lot better than race. I'll talk more on that later in the week, but for now I will just enjoy finishing one deceptively tough "road" race.
*All photos were taken by Ben Stephens from pghracing.org. Thanks Ben!