Paris-Roubaix is called the Queen of Classics and rightfully so. This one-day race in northern France can make a rider’s career and just as easily end it. Greenville, South Carolina’s own George Hincapie has chased victory at this race, coming seductively close to winning and also feeling the sting of a missed opportunity. What makes this race an “epic” event is the conditions of the course – cobblestones, dirt roads and horrendous weather conditions. To win Paris-Roubaix you need to be the strongest and also the luckiest.
Around the U.S. promoters have organized their own version of the Hell of the North. From upstate New York’s Battenkill race to Michigan’s Barry-Roubaix all offer a version of this classic. For us in the Carolinas we have our own version, Boone-Roubiax. The promoters have two different loop variations depending on category, but no matter which category you enter this race looks to be epic! While there are no cobbles, expect hard packed dirt roads that will test not only yourself but your machine as well. The pro men 1/2/3 category will be contesting the Grand Parcours – two full laps which includes eight kilometers of dirt roads and four unpaved climbs which according to the Boone-Roubaix website are brutal. Racing in this category comes with a warning from the organizer, “Be prepared to contemplate quitting cycling.” There are lesser demanding loops, so from beginner to pro, they have you covered.
The beautiful weather we are having is going to continue into the weekend so at least there won’t be mud to contend with. However, bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a spare inner-tube or two just in case. Sticking a “lucky rabbit’s foot” in your back jersey pocket couldn’t hurt either.
To put you in the mood for Saturday – the classic cycling documentary “Hell of the North”