In its first year, the Boone-Roubaix race seems to have been a hit with the riders. The scenic route and challenging course made for a great day of racing in Boone, North Carolina.
“That first gravel climb was no joke. It was really hard and separated everyone,” said the race winner of the Pro 1/2/3 field Mark Hekman of Team Mountain Khakis.
The Pro 1/2/3 men raced for 69 miles which included eight kilometers of dirt roads and four unpaved climbs which made for an epic day in the saddle. However the climbs that dotted the Boone-Roubaix course, while challenging, were not so selective that it favored a pure climber. The rest of the course featured rolling terrain with very minimal vehicle traffic.
With four Mountain Khakis riders in the Pro 1/2/3 field the plan was to race hard and let attrition sort the contenders from the pretenders. A four rider break went up the road, unfortunately they took a wrong turn and rode for ten-miles before realizing their error. Apparently spectators along the course had directed them in the wrong direction. The chasing group of three which included Hekman, Pascal Bussieres [Team Spirit/Cannondale] and Spencer Gaddy [Team Ion-United Healthcare] did not realize the misfortune of the four riders who they thought were in front of them until the lead police car informed them that the riders they were chasing had gone off the course. Now Hekman’s group of three were leading the race and he started to plan his next move.
“There was another tough gravel climb and I thought that maybe I would be able to get away from them on that climb.”
However, Bussieres took the lead on the climb and Hekman was struggling to hold onto the Canadian’s wheel. At that point the Mountain Khakis rider went to plan “B”.
“At that point I decided I’d wait for a sprint. It was downhill with a tailwind so I left it to that.”
With the finish in sight Hekman kicked and was first across the line with Bussieres in second followed by Gaddy in third.
Next up for Hekman is the Battenkill road race which shares many similarities with Boone-Roubaix.
“I’m confident in my equipment . It’s the same style of racing, but Battenkill is twice as long so that will be testing. The form is good. We did the races in California – Redlands Classic and San Dimas stage race – and I’m coming off a block of long races. Things are looking good and we have a lot of strong guys [on the team].”
Boone-Roubaix Pro 1/2/3 Results
1 Mark Hekman Team Mtn Khakis
2 Pascal Bussieres Team Spirit/Cannondale
3 Spencer Gaddy Team Ion – United Healthcare
4 Jon Hamblen Mountain Khakis
5 Daniel Harm