Monday, March 30, 2015

Roo Baby

It has been a while since I mentioned Cheesehead Roubaix, but with less than 4 weeks to go the ride is increasingly on my mind. Several friends have ridden the route already this year and their reports have been encouraging. The unpaved roads that give the ride its character are drying out and firming up ahead of schedule. Prior to today I had seen only bits and pieces of the route, and only the final unpaved sector.

My wife’s sister and brother-in-law were in town for the last couple of days and, as I told them more than once, it’s a shame that they missed the great weather we had earlier this month. Glen has ridden here with me before and we hoped to share a couple of long rides during this visit. But yesterday was rotten: rain and high winds kept us inside. Glen did a solid trainer workout in my home gym, an unusual but productive experience for a guy who is used to rollers when stuck indoors. Today, then, was our only chance to ride outside. We grabbed that chance enthusiastically.

Glen wanted to see the Cheesehead Roubaix route, but with only 3 hours at our disposal we knew we couldn’t complete it. What we ended up with was a scaled-down but still satisfying version of the ride. After an 11-mile ride from my house, we jumped into the route at Lovers Lane near Boltonville, the signature feature of Cheesehead Roubaix. It did not disappoint: it was every bit the ugly mess of a road that people both desire and dread. On the full route, Lovers Lane appears at Mile 8.5. We then stayed faithful to the route until Mile 20.9 when we took a shortcut through Fredonia to ensure our timely return to West Bend. We rejoined the full route at Mile 47.3 and kept to it until Mile 58.8, so Glen got to experience not only the first unpaved sector but also the last. Blue Goose and St. Augustine were a little wet and dotted with potholes, as expected.

Thanks to Jeff Wren for the use of his cyclocross bike. None of my bikes would have been a good fit for Glen. I used my cyclocross bike today rather than my BMC, which currently is equipped with 700x23 tires that probably would have failed me on Lovers Lane. I was able to ride the entire mile without putting a foot down, but I didn’t set any speed records! If conditions are wet on April 26, I may opt for the cyclocross bike again.

If you’re a Facebook user, then please let me know if you plan to attend Cheesehead Roubaix. Go to this page to sign up. As always, the ride is free but it’s good to know how many people will want snacks and drinks at the mid-ride Belgianwerkx rest stop.

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