Barry Roubaix Recap
Barry Roubaix holds the title as being the largest gravel road event in the world with over 3,500 cyclists choosing either a 22, 37, or 62-mile course through Central Michigan's sandy, rolling backcountry gravel roads. The event has a huge cash purse and a history of being a phenomenally organized event, which are factors in why it's such a well attended event. Not to mention, gravel road oriented events are exploding in the cycling world. Events like these give riders of all backgrounds and skill the ability to participate in a race format event without fearing being dropped in the first mile. The Barry Roubaix is a brilliant event that allows you to participate at your own effort and give plenty of space for the serious racers to navigate around those that are just out for fun.
Team NeighborLink riders, Andrew Hoffman and David Gable, took on the event as an opportunity to log 62-miles challenging miles as a training effort for the the LumberJack 100 MTB race in June, which is organized by the same crew that organized the Barry Roubaix. We were in the first two waves of riders and had the goal of connecting down the road as soon as we could and just ride the race at whatever pace we settled into. In reality, it's hard not to race a little bit when the pace is up there right out of the gate, which had me (Andrew) pull away from David who started two minutes behind me and create a 6 minute gap by mile 9. At mile 9, I stopped at the first road section to wait for David.
David and I reconnected and road the next 40 miles together before the unusually warm temperatures (78 in April) and the rolling hills got the best of David. Fortunately, there are volunteers at every intersections and were super helpful. Within 5-minutes, David was headed back to the start line in a pickup truck, and I was determined to finish the ride as fast as I could. So, I put in some hard efforts to see how fast I could finish, which felt great but had me pretty much out of gas with about 3 miles left to go. I road the rest of the way with cramping legs. Glad the last couple miles were mostly pavement.
Overall, it was an outstanding event and we loved every minute of it. The opportunity to be at a cycling event in rural Michigan with 3,500 other riders is a bit surreal. The volunteers and race organizers did a fantastic job, and the entire town seems to be behind the effort to make this race fantastic. As a guy that runs a volunteer organization, I know how difficult and unusual it is to have such great support by so many people. Well done town of Hastings, MI. Thanks for your efforts to create a top-notch event for us cyclists.
We're also grateful that the weather was so brilliant. The warm, sunny temps made it great. The dusty and loose gravel just made it fun.