April 18, 2021
Date: Sunday April 18, 2021 Location: District of Coree, Australian Capital Territory Temp: 14 C Wind Direction: NNW 4.2 km/h Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5145816740
The Uriarra Roobaix is “one of the more interesting races of the Canberra Cycling calendar where in the place of cobbles we introduce dust, ruts and loose sand.” Of course, a reference to the classic (currently postponed) race in France
The night before I asked to be moved from E Grade to D and decided to make a go of a proper race. I was feeling pretty rested and fueled up. The route is a bit strange. Each lap consists of two ‘out and back’ loops, one on a flat, straight road and the other on a very bumpy gravel road. My grade would need to do 3 laps, roughly 50k. This was also my second proper bike race. I had a bit of experience riding by myself during triathlons but my main goal today was to get some practice sticking to other riders. Hanging in the bunch, or on a wheel.
Road: Not much to see here. Easy pace. Everyone is together chatting. About 8 or 9 riders in my grade.
Gravel: Almost immediately a few guys on the front attacked. For me I knew I had to take it easy on first gravel lap since I had no idea what to expect. It was a fine, white, dusty, sandy gravel with a few tennis ball sized rocks thrown in for goood measure. At the turnaround I latched onto a rider who was going like a demon on the way back.
Road: A leading group forms.. Myself, G and S, who we found powering down the road by himself.
Gravel: S leads, but G & I can stay on his wheel. He cuts a perfect line through the dust and rocks, leaping over potholes.
Road: We’re all still together. I take a little long pulling out my skittles and I’m nearly dropped. A few kms’s later, just after the turn around, G attacks hard and drops both S & I. It’s a little unexpected but there’s nothing I can do about it, there’s no way I can catch him.
Gravel: G & S disappear up the road, getting about a minute ahead of me. The gravel is even harder when you are ploughing through it by yourself. There’s a few sections where I almost lose control and my grip is getting a bit slack.
I got third! Very happy with that. Sometimes it’s all about the little things you did right. I’m happy I put my dirt tires on, happy I asked to be moved up a grade. Happy I didn’t crash, didn’t lose any water bottles. Happy to pull a bit for my group, and very happy I signed up, it was a lot of fun.