Road Apple Roubaix

road apple mug

The official launch of the 2015 cycling season has come with the first edition of the Road Apple Roubaix and it was quite a day indeed. The day started not on the course as it normally would but rather from the time I left the garage at home as the weather would play a huge part in the days events. The normal 40 minute drive from the house to the course quickly became at least an hour drive if not more as the snow began to fall at a quicker rate than the plow trucks could clear the roads. With the drive being a mixture of white knuckle moments and a few “hold my drink and watch this” episodes I managed to drift my way to Swine Creek Reservation in Middlefield, Ohio where the inaugural Road Apple Roubaix was set to start.

 

at the start of road apple

As the snow continued to fall I got checked into the event and found my choice of bringing a fat bike instead of my normal gravel bike was a smart one. The day before I went back and forth between my Raleigh Willard and the fat bike as I really wanted to break the Willard in at this event but I decided to let the weather make the decision for me and as it turned out it was the right choice for sure. It wasn’t that the course wasn’t able to be ridden on a CX/MTB/Gravel bike but rather the day seemed tailor made for a fat bike with the snow continuing to build up on an already rutted course. As I witnessed many other riders rolling their skinny tires through the snow and dabbing every couple of feet at the start I managed to power away on my single speed (well dingle speed) switching from line to line across the road at will.

 

on the road at road apple

 

The ride continued on there were many challenges along the way ranging from the arctic weather that kept reminding us that it’s still winter here in Northeast Ohio to the snow ruts in the road which tugged the bike around the road making sure we as the riders paid close attention to what was going down. There was even one point while going downhill trying to stay on a 5″ track left by a truck where I was passed by an Amish buggy going full tilt. As the buggy struggled to stay straight I took the opportunity to pick up a quick draft from this quickly moving square block on wheels. My smirk quickly transformed into complete concentration as I was barely in control as we careened down the road. I managed to stay up however my free ride was off in another direction leaving me to face the wind once again.

 

As we made another turn on to what was supposedly a gravel road (too much snow to tell for sure) we saw the passing pizza delivery guy and knowing that pizza was waiting for us back at the lodge the pedals seemed to turn a little easier for a moment or two but that was to quickly change. As we tore our way through another section I could feel the tires sink in a little bit more than normal so I was sure we were on the final gravel stretch. With each passing pedal stroke I became more and more happy that I choose to do the 20 mile route instead of the 40 mile route as energy seemed to be leaving my body at bonk at any moment rate. Then through the woods we saw welcoming sight of the final climb knowing our days efforts were nearly done. As welcoming as knowing that we were nearly done was the challenge was yet over as we…okay I…struggled to come to grips with my 35lbs+ bike and a rather steep singlespeed gearing for the day. I was left with the idea of trying to hammer the old girl over the ridge or getting off to warm up my toes with a quick little walk before the summit. After a quick 10 yard walk…and a slight flattening of the hill…I was able to orchestrate a seamless cx remount onto my steed to crest the hill and creep into the finishing straight back to the lodge where food and some of the best tasting beer awaited us.

 

As much as Mother Nature challenged us throughout the day the event was a blast and though not officially a race, it was a great way to kick off the 2015 season. I’m very much hoping the event is put on again next year as they did an amazing job! Now to plan on getting out there when there’s a little less snow to actually ride some gravel roads.

 

Until next time…

 

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