Posted by: Liz Cobb
Harsh headwinds and large fields were the order of the day at the Hillsboro Roubaix. These factors along with the strict enforcement of the “yellow-line rule” made this race challenging for the Team Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse riders who choose to brave several hours in the car to participate. None to say the experience was not worth the trip; it certainly was. The promoters have the organizational aspect of the race down cold after ten-plus years of hosting Hillsboro, the citizens in the surrounding area are very friendly, and the weather was delightful ending up sunny in the mid 60 degree range. Though, as Aaron Piling astutely pointed out, riding for three hours with the fierce head/cross wind constantly changing directions could cause one to question whether or not the conditions were ideal.
Additionally, the enforcement of the center line rule along with the large numbers of racers, made it difficult if not impossible to improve position or bridge gaps if one did not start out in the front of their respective races. Moving around other cyclists on the left, as many of us train to do, was risky as it lead to possible relegation or disqualification depending on how the referee felt. So, in effort to escape the yo-yo effect that is inevitable at the back of large groups, I employed some of my cyclocross skills and rode through the gravel shoulder to join the other engines driving my field. Aaron, Ryan Preske and Tom Saccone all expressed the frustration of seeing the break move away from the packs they were in and felt better positioning at the start could have changed the order of the day.
However, credit must be given where it is due. There were over 100 racers in the Cat3 field; many called it quits after only one of two laps, 29 miles. All of our Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse men completed what became a grueling 58 miles, Aaron and Ryan both in the top half among the finishers and Tom in the top half overall, proving that satisfaction should be found in seeing difficult tasks to completion. After all, we don’t race our bicycles because it’s easy; it is the challenge that is its own reward!
I came over the finish line with a forth place result. It came down to a sprint with four other women after a crash behind us finally forced a break on the final climb before the cobbles. I did not gas myself on the climb. Rather I ran out of steam trying to keep with the group on the cobbles, actually blowing by the other women as I was catching them after the descent on the other side of the hill. I finished .74 seconds behind the winner (knowledge of this thanks to the timing chips). I am happy with this result, but hungry for my own “W”.
My ultimate goal however, is that Team Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse continues our positive momentum throughout the season. Also, congratulations to all of our riders who participated in other area events, as successes where had all around both on the Little 500 track and in IUCC/USAC events!