John Day, probably because it reminds him of wrestling with offense lineman in the mud during his college football career at OSU, really enjoyed participating in a very muddy, Hilly Billy Roubaix last Saturday. Below is his story after being asked about the ride, in his own words, so it will all be true.
It was awesome, the weather was terrible. It did rain pretty hard, but it never was lightning and thunder, and reminded me of the rain I rode through at DD last year descending before the fourth aid station... As for the H. William Roubaix, I've never been on a ride like it before. I was in Morgantown the night before, so I stayed in the hotel as long as I could before race start time, 10am. Then when I got there I got soaked in the first two minutes getting my bike off the roof of the car. Then we stood around getting pre race instructions for five minutes, then there was a neutral start and more waiting, then we were off.
I told myself that wet is an absolute, so we couldn't get any more wet than we already were. There were a lot of racers, so it was crowded and intense for me, but got some good advice to let the line thin out and save a sh"t ton for the finish. I walked the second climb due to overcrowding and steepness, losing people riding away from me, then distancing myself from those behind on the descent. We hit mile 6 and I remember thinking, that's it? Then we hit this section I will never forget. Someone passed me saying don't ride through the puddles, they're actually holes and deeper than you think. Well most of them were unavoidable, and this is where Scott Young crashed out of the race.
Mud and ruts were every where, with steep drops off the left side of the road. I would see Scott at the end of the section, walking his bike, which was too bad because I was ecstatic that I had made it through and only fell three times into the mud. He told me the worst was over, and for riding conditions it pretty much was until a crazy trip up a creek, and another up a former road, now muddy and I was forced to walk. A lot of it was on pavement though, some of it flat which allowed me to get up to 20 mph at times. There were climbs that made me glad we ride the hills we do- a lot of people walking where I gutted it up past them in granny gear. But the whole time I kept thinking, this is great! It was so much fun, I appreciated my Surly so much. I had thought about riding my mountain bike, but I passed so many people spinning out on the hills that I'm glad I had gears that made me push a little more. And it's definitely a dirty ride. You know it's a good ride when you find yourself at the car wash spraying down the bike, and your arms and legs and shoes! It was a hard ride but I'm learning I'm a big fan of the metric century or thereabouts (this was 70 miles). Centuries are fun but unless I'm in tip top shape the last twenty miles get to me. I would rather come back and improve my time (6:21- would have podium'd third for Clydesdale but I entered the men's open) than do the Diabolical Double any day.