An early end at Rouge Roubaix
Turns out there's one thing you'll need that you can't pack.
I’d packed everything I thought I’d need: nutrition, water bottles I could throw away at a feed zone, clothes to cover a 40 degree range of starting temperatures, spare tubes, full finger gloves. Turns out just before heading to the start I discover I packed two right gloves. Summer gloves would have to do. But I should have seen it as the omen it turned out to be.
Rouge Roubaix is an unforgiving, undiluted, 105-mile race with 20 miles of gravel roads — or roads so bad they might as well be gravel. I was with the lead masters’ group when we hit the first gravel section — really muddy — about 28 miles in. On the first climb a guy put his front wheel into my rear derailleur, pushing it into my spokes, ending my day. I’d brought everything but the one thing you can’t pack — luck. Good luck, that is.