The Accidental Racer

About a week ago I discovered that I would be participating in the Paris-Roubaix Randonee ride this June 12th. It was a classic Neil moment. I had thought I was going to Munich, Germany to see the start of the Tour and also to check out Specialized’s new SL Roubaix bike. Sure I thought, “That’s strange. Unveiling their Roubaix bike in Munich.” But what the hell do I know? Specialized can unveil their new bike wherever they want. As I started to get details of the trip I started to get suspicious, like why was the marketing guy surprised that I was going to the Roubaix launch in Munich? “That’s a lot of traveling” he told me. I was a little perplexed by his statement because it isn’t like I haven’t traveled to Europe before, but whatever. Then it hit me, there were two separate trips: one to Roubaix, France for the SL Roubaix bike and a separate trip to Munich, Germany to see the start of the Tour and participate in another bike launch. So that would mean I go to France for five days, come home for about a week, then turn right around and go to Munich for another five days. Tim (ROAD Art Director) said that they were two separate trips, but I told them that I was sure it was one big mega trip. Luckily, Tim stepped up and he is going to Munich to check out the launch as well as the insanity that is the Tour. I still might get over to the “Big Show” later in July…Now I’m trying to train like hell to get ready for the Hell of the North.

A randonee ride is a European mix of a “fun ride” that we have here in the States and a race. The closest comparison is the Tucson Classic which isn’t an official race, but times and placings are scored. Apparently this randonee is a 120 mile ride over many of the cobble sections of its namesake. I know I can do 120 miles, but the cobbles are what chills my blood. I have two goals, in no particular order: to finish and not die. As a result of this last minute Euro racing development I’ve been trying to put in some longer miles. I’ve been riding with the local Sunday morning chain-gang to get in the distance and saddle time. Riding with these guys is as caveman as you can possible be in the modern 21st century. We swear, lie and tell stories for the full four hours of riding. Before you know it we’re back home again. To keep some speed in my legs I’ve been participating in my local Tuesday night crit at El Dorado Park and racing on the weekends. I’ll let you know how the training is going and try to post updates.

My view from the back seat of the ref’s car (2004 Paris-Roubaix, Arenburg Forest)