About 25 people showed up for the first running of the Tampa Rou-Bay Gentleman’s Race/Ride yesterday in San Antonio. The ground rules were few: the course is open to traffic, the first 38 miles are neutral, don’t be a dick, these rules aren’t written in stone, so use your best judgment. The weather was as good as it could be, not too hot, not too humid, no rain, low winds. We had the Velo Champ crew and Allison Tiberius providing us with bottles along the course, they would prove to be a vital part of the proceedings. I’d guess there were more road bikes than CX bikes, and while Chris Slack and Scotty Graham went as far as CX bikes with knobbies, most of the CX bikes had wider road slicks on them. Personally, I went with my road bike with 23’s with my CX pedals, so I could walk/run any dirt I couldn’t ride.
After the usual pre-ride dicking about, we rolled out at 9.06 or so. The first road section was uneventful. The first dirt section (~2mi) came at 9 miles in, and the field split by the end of it. The leaders didn’t press their advantage, and there was a general regrouping at about mile 13.5.
The turn onto Bayhead road at mile 14.5 was the beginning of the end for the a lot of people, as several riders began to press the pace. The speed on the climbs on Bayhead was higher than a lot of people were willing to go so early in the ride, and the pack was thinned significantly by mile 18. Kelby Roberts, Dave Horst, Scotty, Bob Croslin, and Chris were among the perpetrators of the Bayhead Massacre, while Taylor Norton completed a huge bridge to join the leaders just as Bayhead came to an end. So, it was actually more like 14.5 miles of neutral, rather than 38, but whatever.
A longish climb at mile 20 seperated me from the lead group for the rest of the day, so much of the rest of my report was gathered after the fact, so feel free to add your recollections in the comments. The next dirt section (~4mi) began at the top of the climb, and this one was trickier than the first. There was a lot more loose sand to get sideways in, and judging by all the fishtails, many of the riders in the lead pack were not having the best luck selecting lines. Mike Weimar and Shaun Drees came to grief and nearly took each other down, but recovered and pressed on, a tantalizing 20 seconds up the road from me. A 20 seconds that refused to fall, and indeed increased until he was a brightly colored dot in the distance. Weimar was clearly on a great day, as he rode quite strongly all day.
I collected Michael Davis around this point, and we proceded on together. We came across Tim Hessenger and Bob on the side of the road, fixing Tim’s flat. We would see them again, later. Michael and I were surprised by the pace that the front group had been setting so early in the adventure- we were shelled and feeling kind of shattered at mile 25, after all. We pressed on, chasing Weimar and Shaun on the flats and watching them ride away further on the climbs. Mile 29 to 38 was all up and down on pavement. Michael told me to leave him behind if I wanted to go faster, so I accellerated on Ice Cream Hill and kept it up on the downhill run into the SR50 intersection/rest stop 1.
Weimar and Shaun were leaving the stop as I came up to it, and we had a green light across 50, so I sprinted to catch up to them and beat the light. I still had to chase a bit to get on the wheels, and of course as soon as the road pointed up again I was falling off the back, but I managed to stay within 10 seconds or so of them almost all the way to Croom Road. There was a short, uneventful dirt section (~1mi) between mile 42-43, as well.
Croom road started at about 45 miles in, and it was simply brutal. It was dirt, it was very rough in a few sections, and it was hilly. Bob and Tim finally caught me on the first dirt climb on Croom, and Bob nicely pushed me up the hill, but then he and Tim were gone. They picked up Weimar, dropped Shaun, who began falling apart, and Bob, Tim, and Weimar continued to bridge back to the leaders. I guess Marty flatted at some point in here, and he and Scotty chased for about 12 miles somewhere in front of me to catch back on to the leaders right around the same time as Bob, Tim, and Weimer.
The best I can figure is the lead group at the end of Croom Road rest stop consisted of Marty, Kelby, Scotty, Taylor, Horst, Jason Guillen, Chris Slack, Bob, Tim, and Weimar. Slack took a wrong turn and missed the entrance to the Withlacoochee trail, and had to chase hard as Tim and Bob worked the front of the race over down the smooth, wide trail.
For me, I was less than 10 seconds behind Shaun, and I stopped and exchanged my three empty bottles for three full bottles of ice water with Jordan from Velo Champ, and got back after chasing Shaun. I finally caught him. His legs were cramping, and he wasn’t happy. We picked up Clinton, who was waiting at the final rest stop with Allison, and was also not in a good way.
Shaun’s legs were locking up on him on the uphills, he was in agony, so we weren’t setting any speed records anyway. Then my Garmin freaked out and told me to take a right turn into a bunch of bushes a mile from Trilby Road. Shaun and I went to the Trilby convenience store while Clinton argued with his Garmin. Shaun was no longer having fun, so I decided we would take the most direct route back to the ball field as we could, skipping the last dirt section and cutting 4 miles or so out of the route. I don’t feel too terrible about missing it.
The last dirt section, after the rolling hills on the Trilby road, contained an insanely steep, insanely loose climb, that forced most riders on road tires to walk. Chris Slack, riding knobbies, and knowing he couldn’t do much against the roadies on road, attacked as hard as he could, got a huge gap, and soloed in for the Victory. Tim and Marty came in together to complete the podium, in a stunning display of OLD MAN POWER.
Here’s some post race quotes, from the book of Faces.
Taylor: Personally, favorite Part of the day is halfway up the big dirt hill after the rollers at mile 65: Jason dismounts and says “I’m done”. But then he passes me two miles later.
Jason: My hamstrings were cramping in the steep hills with only a 46t chainring…. Will definitely run a cable so I can use my front derailleur next time. After I walked up that hill it stretched my hamstrings out a little and was able to pedal again, so away I went again, lol.
Bob: Tim and Marty rolled in together behind Chris and I rolled in a minute or so behind them. Just so everyone knows, Tim Hessinger got a flat in the first [second] dirt section and I stopped with him and then we clawed our way back to the group and finished in front of all of you jerks. 20 miles of chasing and we never gave up.
Horst: It’s worth noting that I wasn’t in that picture because I was at racetrack shaking and taking small sips of water and gatorade. I’m incredibly impressed by the guys that flatted and bridged back up. I was also really upset that Jason wasn’t serious about quitting. He took a break then road past me with a couple miles to go.
Kelby: Horst wore out that granny gear. Best line of the day, me and scotty and horst crawling up college hill. I say ‘Im DYING’ and Scotty replys, Do it in front of me! (meaningless draft at 6mph)
Possibly the funniest sight all day was Taylor stopping on the side of the road with a few miles to go to lie down and take a nap with this Donkey.