Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hilly Billy Roubaix - Post Mortem

Ok, I didn't finish. Let's just get that out there.
At just over the 50 mile mark my head was starting to swim and my breath was really shallow.  As I came down a hill I realized I had a rear puncture so by the time I got to the course marshal (now walking) at the corner she was shouting at me "Aren't you supposed to be on your bike?" She said it with a laugh so I know she meant well.  I sat at that corner for 20 minutes debating what to do and finally realized that sanity dictated I should resign for this year.

My nerves subsided by the time my daughter and I were prepping my aid-station drop-bags. Each bag had two bottles of water, a peanut butter sandwich and a spare tube.

It was a rolling start with a field of just over 300. 

That's me above, almost dead centre, in the orange.
I was one of the last in the start group. The plan was to pace myself, let others burn out, and eventually pass them.  However, I knew by mile 5 that this was no longer a race as far as I was concerned. This event had become simply a question of survival.

I did cramp a lot but managed to get through it every time.  I drank plenty of water and ate at every opportunity. My legs felt good, my conditioning felt good but the heat (oh, the heat) defeated me in the end.  I think I was very, very close to heatstroke.  In one of the post-race interviews a competitor said her Garmin read 104 degrees.

Although I'm smiling in this after photo my head didn't feel right until about half way through dinner.

I left it all on that course in West Virginia/Pennsylvania so I have no regrets. And I will be back. June 21, 2014.

Lots of fun. Great camaraderie and conversations abounded.  Interesting aid-stations, if not actually useful (M&M peanuts, pretzels, trail-mix, Famous Amos cookies) and I even got a mention on the local news coverage (well I was one of the three Canadians in the race).

A couple of additional observations:
  • West Virginia back-roads use much larger diameter gravel that we do in Canada. Those chunks were basically golf ball sized.
  • The smaller the home the larger the flag.
  • Not Obama fans in those parts. I wouldn't normally wade into the political but they made their opinions very clear.
  • 35c tires aren't quite wide enough for this ride. I am looking at some 42c Schwalbe's for next year.


  1. Sorry to hear about the DNF. I know what you mean about the heat, and the older I get the tougher it is for me. I've begun my summer pre-dawn starts and sunset rides.

    Based on your observations, I think you're ready to ride in Texas. Come one down!

    1. Yes, its the second DNF in my life, but it is what it is.
      And I would love to come south sometime. Perhaps on that ride you organize. It's in the fall, correct?

  2. Heat is something that's often difficult to prepare for. No shame in knowing when to pack it in. Remember: DNF > DNS

  3. I'm so thankful for my wife's support. Didn't feel good about the DNF but she and my daughter kept telling me how proud they were. Wipe's the "shame" clean away when you have love like that!

  4. Hats off to you for giving it a shot.