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This year’s Cheesehead Roubaix route will be slightly different than in years past. The new start/finish in Newburg will give us ample parking—we nearly ran out of spaces last year at Goeden County Park. The route is still a metric century with 8 unpaved sectors that total more than 9 miles of dirt and gravel. In 2011 most riders detoured around the treacherous descent of Lovers Lane near Boltonville. On this year’s ride, we’ll travel in a clockwise direction and that sector will be a climb. Good luck!
As it is currently routed, Cheesehead Roubaix doesn’t qualify as a true “gravel grinder” by the standards set at Gravel Grinder News. It’s not an all-gravel or even mostly-gravel event. I could redraw the route to utilize some unpaved sectors more than once, but for me it’s more important to have a course that feels like it’s going somewhere. It’s a ride, not a criterium. In this part of Wisconsin, it’s remarkable that we still have any unpaved roads. But I’m glad that we do and that other people also enjoy riding on them.
By setting the date for April 29 I have once again ensured that I won’t be participating in the BALLS Ride, a two-day adventure in south-central Wisconsin that covers most of the unpaved recreation trails in that area. But BALLS already has reached its 50-rider limit. It will be fine without me, and perhaps Cheesehead Roubaix can pick up some of the riders who wanted to do a little gravel grinding but didn’t register in time.
Also, I selected April 29 because on the previous weekend—April 21, to be exact—I might be tempted to try the inaugural Dairy Roubaix in Dodgeville. That’s starting to get some attention and might be a fun event. And there’s a new Facebook group called the Wisconsin Gravel Syndicate, which is dedicated to gravel road rides and races. There’s also a new blog called Wisconsin Gravel Grinders, which is proposing a free, unsanctioned race on the Wild Goose State Trail. Looks like all of my fellow nutjobs are starting to organize and collaborate! It will be interesting to see how many new events come out of these initiatives.
So, three months from today: Cheesehead Roubaix. It probably won't be very warm. It probably will be very windy. And the ride itself is supposed to be hard. But if you give it a try, I know you'll love it.