Roubaix World Cup

Posted: 19 January 2009 in Uncategorized
So we left Tielt-Winge fairly early in order to get down to Roubaix (2 hr Drive) in the afternoon and have first dibs on the course.  We rode the course and got to check out the pretty wicked and legendary Roubaix Track (where the Paris-Roubaix ends in) and it was actually in some pretty rough shape.  Nothing anyone at home would want to ride a track race on, seriously.  Now imagine tearing down the side of it on the bank going as fast as you can with 23 lbs in your treaded tires that are 32mm wide and there’s 60 guys around you!  It was a pretty fun race I do have to say!!!! 
 
The course Started and finished on the track and on the opposite side of the finish, we headed out onto a gravel section that went around the track for a bit before dropping into a fairly muddy/gravelly section that was rolly a bit and then up a grass hill before zigzagging around on the grassy knoll i’m going to call it.  It then proceeded to drop down (on a bit of a cambre) to the ground level on a VERY sweet and DEEP muddy hill (which was rideable the day before, but during the race EVERYONE ran that one).  It then went up a set of MASSIVE stairs, they were so large that I had to take 2 steps on one stair before lifting one leg up to the next and then repeating it but basically as slow as a human body can attempt to climb a set of stairs (this became super challenging to do it at race pace too!)  then onto the grass again before dropping down the sketchiest decent that i’ve EVER imagined in a cross race. It was cool and don’t get me wrong I was able to ride it in the race (one of about 5 who actually thought they’d risk the opportunity to show the crowd their skills).  Everyone was cheering and hopeing that you’d ride it but if you didn’t they were pretty upset!  then it went through a bit of a mud slog before emptying out onto the road for a ways.  Then you dropped into the mud section that was so greasy it was hard to stay upright and then through the pits.  The course then ran, after another short road section into some long drag stretches in the field before doing some short up and down along a cambre (which were pretty challenging and everyone was running in the race because it was so muddy!)  Then you went through a sand pit before emptying out onto a running track that proceeded to become a swamp (aside from a 20cm section on the inside) before getting to a set of the highest double barriers ever.  I actually needed to do the Bart Wellens style traunt for those ones or my bike would actually hit them every time.  Then it went through another sand bit before the pits and then emptied back out onto the track!  (It’s a long explanation but the course was pretty much the most trickey and technically challenging World Cup that i’ve ever done and I wanted to describe it as best possible!)
 
Roubaix World Cup:
 
So I actually figured that there would be a lot of guys from slow to fast racing this one, but no, they were basically all fast.  Or at least all had more UCI points than I did.  I was pretty much the 2nd last call up and was easily on the last row of guys (probably 7th or 8th).  The gun rang and I immediately jumped to the high line on the track in order to keep out of the chaos on the bottom.  I put in a bit of a push on the track and actually managed to pass a whole lot of people who were starting to get worried on the bottom.  The first lap was some pretty intense chaos and at one point Parbo (danish Dude) picked up his bike over his head and started to squeeze his way through the crowd of racers.  I managed to stay roughly out of trouble and upright on the first lap and my first bit push to pass guys didn’t start until I hit up the second decent (the crazy sketchy one) where I decided to grab my balls and hope for the best.  I rode it pretty fast and there was a super nice rut that had formed which was easily rideable if you knew what you were doing and I would say that I passed 3 guys who were running the hill at the time, and another one right after turning the corner as he was getting back on his bike. (that was the Japanese National Champ by the way)  I ended up doing pretty well and riding with a few guys who would typically get a bit of a gap on the flat drags but i’d be able to make it up in the technical sections and then seal the deal on the decent!  I rode the decent every lap until one time a dude who was running it in front of me tripped up at the bottom and bailed which meant that I went right into him on my bike.  I decided that it probably wasn’t the best to keep riding it as guys were starting to run in the rut that we were riding making the rut at the bottom swerve and it wasn’t that much fun (so I actually had to run it for the last couple laps) I managed to hold off the inevitable until their second last lap.  Which was pretty good concidering the VERY short laps and mud bog terrain! 
 
Oh ya, the first 3 laps I was riding near Jeremy Powers (who looked like he wasn’t having a good day) and managed to pass him on the first decent after he stepped in the mud and his shoe popped off.  Literally, his shoe came right off his foot!  When I passed he was actually trying to pry it out of the ground!
 
And I managed to get my best ever World Cup finish (I think) with a 44th place in the Elite mens!  But that’s all for now!
 
Schooler signing off!  Next race:  Milan World Cup!
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