Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ryan Rages at Rouge Roubaix!

Ryan Saylor was the sole representative from Lindner Capital at Rouge Roubaix and has compiled this report:

2008 Rouge Roubaix

"Mike Niemi and I made our way up to the 10th edition of Rouge Roubaix Road Race this past weekend in St. Francisville, Louisiana. This classic road race covers 100 miles in one big loop and traverses greatly varying road conditions from smooth-as-glass, fresh pavement to horrible, pothole ridden roads plus three fairly long sections of dirt/gravel roads. The “A” race (pro/1/2/3) started at 8am with well over 100 riders. Temperatures at the start were a finger-freezing 37 degrees, but were expected to reach the low 60s by the end of the race causing many quandaries for the racers when deciding what to wear.

With a long race ahead and near freezing temperatures, the race started expectedly slow. Soon after the start, Mike’s young Metro Volkswagen squad (directed by former Florida racer Nathan Rogut) took control of the race and sent three riders to the front to set tempo early in the race. While their pace was far from fast, it was just fast enough to keep almost everyone content with just sitting the slipstream. However, some impatient racers couldn’t sit still and would intermittently attack only to get reeled back in by the steady effort of Metro Volkswagen. Eventually, a Hotel San Jose rider attacked and a Metro Volkswagen rider was sent up to him. I saw this as an opportunity since the most well represented team i n the race, Metro Volkswagen, was now in a break so I jumped across making the break three strong. It quickly became evident that the break was going nowhere because the Metro Volkswagen kid wasn’t pulling. Despite this, we quickly gained a minute gap on the field. I was satisfied working in our destined-to-fail break because I hoped to make it to the first dirt section without trying to compete with 125 guys going ballistic trying to be the first to the dirt and my plan worked. We were caught a few miles into the first dirt section and I elbowed my way into the front of the hard charging pack. The group hammered through the first 8 or so mile long dirt section only to hit the pavement again all together. For the nex t 25 miles or so (all smooth pavement), Metro Volkswagen again went to the front and set tempo while the rest of the field lazily sat on. However, the second dirt section started with a mile long climb and the selection seemed to form with 12 or so riders slipping off the front (including myself) and managed to get out of sight of the field. Unfortunately, lack of cohesion made the gap short lived and we were caught a few miles later when back on paved road. The group stayed together again until the third and final dirt section about 75 miles into the race. This section also started with a steep, leg-breaking gravel climb which finally fractured the field into several smaller groups. While one guy slipped away solo, I found myself in a group of 10 who tried suc cessfully to fend off the next group for the remaining 25 miles. Amazingly, the solo guy held his lead until the finish (I didn’t even know he was off until after the race was over). I managed 4th place in my group for 5th overall.

This was a great race and I would recommend it to any of you who are up for a little adventure."

- Ryan Saylor