Barry-Roubaix pre-race report

I’ve never written a pre-race report, so bear with me.

My first race of the year is this weekend, and it’s only my second non-CX race since 2012. Since we’re in the Midwest and all I decided that I’d like to do some of the classic events here. First up was the Detroit Invitational CX race (OK, not really a classic but definitely unique), and now it’s time for the Barry-Roubaix, one of the biggest and oldest gravel road races in the country. On Friday afternoon there will be a mass exodus from Chicagoland as hundreds of local racers slog through Gary, Indiana’s crappy traffic and onward to Hastings, Michigan for one of the hilliest events in the Midwest. There are a few distances to choose from, and I decided on the 36-miler because 62 might be brutal if the weather sucks. Thanks to on-site daycare for $30, even Eric is able to race (he’s doing the 24-mile with a pack for adventure race training).

I think the B-R is pretty much a CX race so I’m riding ‘Ol Reliable (aka my old Redline) with file treads on loan from someone I’ve met only once (there are a couple cool people in Glen Ellyn after all). I’d love to ride my new bike but that 1×11 gearing isn’t gonna work for me. I spent a little time cleaning ‘Ol Reliable last night and she looks as good as…a beat-up 5-year old CX bike. Pedro’s Bike Lust only goes so far…

As far as training goes…well, let’s just say I didn’t ride as much as I had planned to.  I never did hire a coach for the season, and I am still trying to figure out how people train here in the winter. Pfftt. So my “training” has been an unfocused hodgepodge of trainer rides, spin classes, some outdoor rides (mostly in Hawaii), runs, gym classes and weight lifting. When we got back from Hawaii I was actually feeling really good (gee, I wonder why?).

Unfortunately, around that same time I stopped sleeping. Until last weekend, I haven’t had a full night of sleep in a month and a half. I think this latest bout of insomnia started on our vacation and got progressively worse, to the point where I was only getting 2-4 hours/night. What I didn’t realize is what the lack of sleep would do to my training. A couple weeks ago I just hit a wall and my body has felt like a lead weight ever since. The last few nights of sleep have been restorative but the damage is already done. So my goals for the B-R have changed from podium girl to pack fodder.

I guess the change in focus is OK because two other issues have come up recently. First, I just learned this week that I have an extremely arthritic SI joint. I’ve had lower back pain for years but wrote it off as exercise-related or more recently, pregnancy-related. Eric and I ran a few weeks ago and shortly afterward I experienced a lot of pain in my…glute 🙂 Then it developed into SI and sciatic pain and I felt the only way I’d get relief is from a chiropractor. Long story short he took X-rays and saw some questionable things. After a referral it was determined that I have some arthritis and it was really inflamed, hence all the pain. This was just a few days ago and I haven’t planned a course of treatment yet. But, I was told that if I want the inflammation to go down I shouldn’t race. Yeah, yeah. And to top things off, I pulled my right calf muscle at the gym and it’s pretty sore now. Uggghhhh. Another reason to skip the race and go straight to the beer tent.

So my injuries suck, but honestly I think the weather is going to be my worst nemesis! The forecast is calling for sun and a high of 37, which means that temps will be hovering around 25 at the start. I have no idea what to wear, so I’m bringing every winter garment I own and will make a race-day decision. Maybe the freezing temps will help reduce inflammation in my back and calf?

Regardless of weather and injuries, this should be a fun event and I’m excited to check it off my Midwest bucket list. Stay tuned for a follow-up post…


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