Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Not my day, but... – Dairy Roubaix 2015

Mile 50: Turn left and climb one last hill back to the camp site. Or turn right and do another 58 miles. I stopped at the intersection, drank some water, and chatted to some other folks pondering this decision. Eventually I turned left, and it was the right choice, even if meant not following through with what I had planned.

My Madison buddies working the registration desk

Wonderful breakfast buffet

Dairy Roubaix is a Wisconsin spring classic, and I had heard heard many great things about it. I signed up months ago and was excited to see that the weather forecast promised excellent conditions. Somehow I was not at the top of my game, though. I arrived at Wyalusing State Park the night before the ride, after a hectic day of work and errands. I ate dinner too late (and maybe should've gone a little bit more easy on those jalapenos...) and didn't sleep well in my bunk bed.

One of the nicest stretches of the route, along the Mississippi
Once the ride started, though, all that was forgotten. The sun was out, it was warm, and the scenery was terrific. There were lots of friends from Madison riding too, in addition to a whole bunch of interesting people I got to know before, during, and after the ride. Knowing that I would have a long day with lots of climbing ahead of me, I made sure to not start out too hard. Nonetheless, I was going at a good clip, probably helped by the fact that with my 35 mm tires and the low-trail geometry of my Gunnar I had an appropriate tool for the gravel roads of western Wisconsin.

First and only rest stop, including Korbel shots
The tiny hamlet of Glen Haven at some point had two bars
At the first rest stop, after 26 miles, I snarfed down one of the sandwiches I had brought. But my stomach discomfort had started showing itself again and I had a hard time eating for the rest of the ride. The nasty, strong wind from the east didn't make things easier either. Hence my decision at mile 50.

Unfortunately the tractor was to slow to make for good drafting

Rare sighting of yours truly wearing a helment
Some general remarks about Dairy Roubaix: The organization was wonderful, the scenery stunning, the people great. The variety of bikes was great, too: Fat bikes, single speed 'cross, crabon race bikes, a beautiful lugged Holdsworth, a randonneur build and ridden by Jon Kendziera of Jonny Cycles (which apparently might make a comeback), a stainless steel travel bike by Ellis Cycles, also ridden by its builder, and many more. The elevation profile of the ride is challenging for sure, and I felt sorry for the people riding on tires less than 30mm wide. I'm pretty sure I'll be back next year, then hopefully for the full length of the course.

Nice Soulcraft
Jonny Cycles rando rig
...with Rene Herse cranks
Special thanks to the ride organizer for going to great lenghts to reunite me with my helmet and my gloves that I had left behind!

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