This weekend marks the seventh annual Barry-Roubaix Gravel Race. Holding a titular mix between Paris Roubaix and Barry County in Michigan, this early Spring race sports some of the largest fields and payouts in the name of gravel.
Despite the temperatures projected to have a high of just above freezing, Barry-Roubaix is expected to host over 3,000 riders, and with a payout of $28,000 in cash and prizes, it has attracted the attention of big cyclocross names such as 2015 World’s team member Crystal Anthony. While the course is separated into three options: 62 miles, 36 miles and 24 mile races, all riders can expect untamed gravel roads with potholes, puddles and ice.
The video above, posted on YouTube by Jake Biernacki, offers a course preview 10 miles into the course with last week’s conditions.
All forms of bicycles allowed, including fat tire bicycles, but cyclocross rigs are far and away the popular choice with many Elite riders, including Mackenzie Woodring’s Foundry Auger.
Local Michigan racer Mike Simonson took the first annual race in 2009, and ever since, no one in the Men’s Open Race has been able to capture two wins, with Justin Lindine getting the win in 2013 and Steven Broglio taking the title in 2014. This year brings the inclusion of Cody Kaiser, who should look to make his presence felt at the front of the field.
The Women’s Open Race, on the other hand, saw Mackenzie Woodring on the top step of the podium in three of the last six years. With a narrow loss during a sprint finish in 2014, it should be interesting to see if the former pro road racer will attempt to attack before the finish, although the presence of Crystal Anthony in this year’s field may change the participants’ tactics considerably.
As the race is unsanctioned, the Open has a massive start with riders from both categories, and the combination of fields often plays a big role in the races.
Stay tuned this weekend for interviews, bike tech and all the gravel action on cxmagazine.com.
For more information on Barry-Roubaix: barry-roubaix.com.