This one's for all domestiques.
I woke up at 5AM with two early events on my morning agenda: watch Paris-Roubaix and get ready for the Pacific Populaire 100km ride. In truth, I would have to be ready to roll out at 8AM, check in and meet up with the FRFuggitivi team before the 9AM start. I knew I wouldn't really be watching the race but hover around my computer screen catching glimpses while frantically making preparations for the race. Since the start of the year, my average rides are around 45km, of note one ride as high as 60km. A goal of 100km is a good target I aim to achieve.
The Hell of the North was more than I hope for, perhaps one of the best. I was focussed mainly on the final kilometres of the race as it naturally whittles down the peloton to a select few out of attrition, sheer exhaustion, crashes and just plain bad luck. The final five had the talent to take them to the famous Roubaix velodrome to decide the winner. I'm in awe of Matthew Hayman. Returning from fracturing his radius in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Back in the action last week for the GP Miguel Indurain and Vuelta a la Rioja then... Roubaix. A domestique for all of his career winning on his 15th attempt- an unexpected hero and a deserved one too.
This Backstage Pass is extra good...
After watching the exciting finish to Paris-Roubaix, I headed over, check in and lined up for the Pacific Populaire 100km ride under gloomy conditions; cool and cloudy. Very glad to wear leg/arm warmers and full gloves. It was all GO and soon I settled into my own pace shared with teammate, Matt.
At the start.
photo courtesy: Eric Fergusson
This was my second Pac Pop, the first was in 2014 my time: 4h17'. Last year's race was only for the hard riders; a cold, rainy and miserable day. I decided to DNS, not ready to ride like a Flandrien.
Guy was ready
I'm proud that our FRFuggitivi team has grown since then adding new members with 13 riding on the day. Always welcome to have that support on a long day in the saddle. Unfortunately, we're not quite 'complete' - our new kits are expected to arrive very soon. I'll have an upcoming post for the exciting launch. Until then, we are sporting our own kits...
At the midway point: time card stamped,
time for food (l to r): me, Pat, Mat, Ross & Matt.
photo courtesy: Eric Fergusson
I remember a guy on a recumbent that passed me - and he was flying. I couldn't and dare not match his speed and soon settled back to my own comfortable pace with Matt. I like the fun, grass-roots feel of the Pac Pop ride with a time card and map for every rider. Key is to make sure your time card is stamped at all 3 points along the route to make it count. At the midway point, the card was stamped food eaten and off again for the return leg.
My only time pulling this peloton with Matt
photo: Paul Whaley
Soon, groups splinter and pockets of smaller groups form mainly just to keep each other company. With the finish looming, Matt and I rode with an older rider with a 1989 Marinoni a younger 'brother' to my 1987. Also, Guy rode his Marinoni today. Pepe Marinoni would have been proud. It's a long ride and, once, having to stop for Matt. I decided to stay with him until he could work out his cramp and remember a similar situation with John in 2014. That's what team work is. We were enjoying our ride so much that we rode off the route but got back on to it for the finish. Matt and I finished together in 4hr39' for 105km - a winning Sunday it was!
All FRFuggitivi members completed the ride, Phil recorded the best time: 3hr26'.
photo: Cycling Art
FRFuggitivi at the finish.
photo: Ross Arbo