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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #1 
Barry-Roubaix is one of the largest gravel races out there.
Who has raced it? Any advice. Discuss.
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thesoiledchamois

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Reply with quote  #2 
Weather: It's Michigan in March. It might be be 50˚, but it will probably be 20˚ or below. Last year the course was snow packed, icy and rutted with LOTS of crashes.  The year before it was damp, fast, hard pack dirt and the year before that it was sunny, hard packed and about 12˚. Be prepared for anything. if you are traveling from out of state, bring every bit of cycling clothing you have and don't decide until you head to the start line. Expect the worst, hope for the best. Etc., etc.,

Terrain: The "Gravel" in Michigan is more hard packed dirt road and sand than gravel. There are a couple of two-track bits that are hard(er) on a CX bike but other than that it's pretty fast. Unless there is snow and ice like last year, then you're on your own.

Climbing: Ummm.. there are are few climbs and it's not flat, but it is by no means too difficult. Compared to the Hilly Billy, the BR in nothing. Most of the race I did in my 42t. Few of the climbs are middle ringers. Most geared CX bikes would do just fine.

Bike: Most use CX bikes. I have used my MTB every time. Last year was the best for a mountain bike given the amount of snow and ice on the roads. Still the super fast guys are racing CX bikes. I am not one of those guys and I am just as slow on my hard tail as I am on my CX bike.

Vibe: Rick Plite is a swell guy and is a top class promoter and the BR shows it. Everything about it is top notch. The Pro class draws a lot of elite mountain, cross and cx racers but the bulk of the race is a bunch of folks looking to ride after a long Michigan winter and drink Founders brew at the finish. No, it's not a "free" race, but it is great race and I have never thought twice about handing over cash to race.




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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for sharing. That's some good info. Anyone out there ride it or thinking of riding it?
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gravelconspiracy

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Reply with quote  #4 
3500 people over 35 miles? holy nuts! Thats a lot of people and a very short race.
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John Despres

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Reply with quote  #5 
I rode it for the first time this past March. It was my first foray into gravel and I was trounced, finishing just above the middle of my division. I've since logged hundreds & hundreds of miles on gravel and will be racing in the upcoming Lowell 50.

The Barry-Roubaix hosts courses of varying lengths and I opted for the 36 mile course. I crashed, walked, stopped to cheer other faster racers and really had a great time. I'll be racing this coming spring as well, but in earnest this time. No walking, no cheering, no crashing, well, hopefully.
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thesoiledchamois

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Reply with quote  #6 
Yeah, to reiterate what John said, there a few lengths. 24/36/62. I recommend the 62, especially since it is now one big loop and not two loops like it was in the early days of the race. BTW, this year's race is March 22nd, 2014. Registration opens on December 1. Hoping for a snow and ice free race in 2014! 

I also recommend checking out the Waldorf Brewpub in Hastings after the race. 

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993rs

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Reply with quote  #7 
Fun race. Similiar vibe as the Iceman. It will probably out grow Iceman in the next two years.
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Crotalus

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've raced the 36 miler the past two years and plan on doing it again in 2014. End the season with The Iceman Cometh, start it at Barry-Roubaix. It's a great race and even better now with the start in Downtown Hastings!



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jackdz

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Reply with quote  #9 
I've raced it twice, 2011 and 2012. I didn't race it this year as I was recovering from surgery. In 2011, the temp high for the day was 12 degrees F. It was brutal but I finished 4th in the 50+ 25 mile race. In 2012, it was 55 degrees F and fantastically wet. I had my seat post snap off after 4 miles, stopped and found the seat in the ditch, remounted it and finished 5th in the 50+ 25 mile race. I plan on being there in 2014, racing the 62 mile event. It has reached woodstock status as a race and has moved venues since I have done it. Because of all the commotion, I look for hotels that are about 30-40 minutes from the race. The hardest part of the race for me is all the foot traffic on Sager Rd.....
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Crotalus

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Reply with quote  #10 
Sager Rd shouldn't be as much of a problem now that it's later in the race. We didn't use it in 2013 due to ice and snow on the run-up sections. 
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Gravel Guy

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Reply with quote  #11 
I raced it last year and thought it was a great race.  The snow made for some slick riding but it was fun.
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Jon Marshall

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Reply with quote  #12 
Not to sound too negative about BR, but I have raced it the past 3 years, every spring I always looked forward to it, gave me motivation over the winter to put in the miles, have ridden the course around 25-30 times for training, but 2013 may have been my last year due to the many, many people that are now attending it. I guess I don't like big races.  So if you don't like races with thousands of people I would recommend not going to this race.  I preferred the smaller venue.  But that's just me, hundreds of other people showed up and had a great time. The promoter, Rick Plite is a great guy though.  He does a lot for cycling in SW Michigan.

Jon
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Crotalus

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Reply with quote  #13 
Five weeks from the Barry-Roubaix and I've only ridden outside once since early December. Been the suckiest winter we've had in a long time, if it hasn't been sub-zero it's been snowing. The 36 miler is going to feel like a 64 miler. 

Anybody else feel this way?
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mtb_frk

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Reply with quote  #14 
Yes very much so. This past weekend I got out for a huge 10 mile ride. It was my first ride outside since Christmas. It was maybe 15 degrees which is a warm day for this winter. If it rains this week, the roads are going to be a icy disaster.
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Rich S

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Reply with quote  #15 
Is the forecast high for this year's Barry really 71 degrees!!??! I won't know how to dress for a Barry that warm! 

I do think I will bring a bandanna in case I need to cover my face. It might get dusty out there. 
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anemic

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Reply with quote  #16 
It was dusty like a Saudi Arabian sandstorm. I wore a cotton buff,; raised over my mouth for the major dust, slipped it down otherwise. And hot; 75. But still an awesome event.

Jeff Jacobi raced 22 miles on a pink scooter and raised over $7,000 for a local cancer support center, Gilda's Club. 

Frankie Andreu once again was awards mc. 

I love it. 
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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #17 
22 miles on a scooter?!
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