Tampa Rou Bay 9.23.12
Guest post by David Horst
There are plenty of other Sundays for scenic jaunts and smooth asphalt ribbons. Sunday, the 23rd of September, is for fun and pain and dirt and rivalry and pride, the Tampa Rou-Bay (Click for map and GPS instructions). I don’t want to overstate my enthusiasm for this race; summer days in San Antonio, FL are not great. If it’s not raining, it’s hot and usually muggy. The roads are not well maintained and there will be more than one beat up dually driven with the intent to harm. The hills are really just thinly covered sand dunes. Even if you just hauled your bike to the start line and sat there for a couple hours, you’d probably be pretty well tired by the end of it. It’s in this hot and uninviting spot that we cut almost 80 miles of racecourse and it’s where we are going to run it just to prove that we can.
The course opens up easy. It’s a road section with some rolling hills and a few potholes. The cool morning ride might be just will be just long enough to lull you into thinking that you made a good decision to enter the race. The first dirt section reassures you that you didn’t. It’s not picturesque; you’ll be running along the interstate on a sandpit of a road for several miles. Bikes don’t belong there and this is just the start.
Road sections will follow dirt sections and blur together. The sand will push your bike handling skills and the climbs and heat will push your fitness. There’s a mostly flat section of paved trail towards the middle that should provide a place for the pack to carry some speed, shattering the hopes of anyone struggling to catch the pack. The rare break from rough roads and looming trucks is followed by more dirt, more asphalt, some of the climbs that everyone knows and some that no one is expecting.
If you’re starting to get excited by reading this then you are just the type of thrill seeking, mildly sadistic, cyclist that shouldn’t miss this race. It doesn’t cost anything and we aren’t giving you anything for doing it. There won’t be a podium presentation but if you’re lucky enough to be with the couple of cyclists to finish first, you’ll know who won and lost.