Cody Kaiser was the lone US junior in Roubaix. © Bart Hazen

Cody Kaiser was the lone US Junior in Roubaix. © Bart Hazen

U.S. Junior national champion Cody Kaiser (Cal Giant) continued his ramp-up for Worlds by lining up for one of the most popular cyclocross event of the year: the Roubaix World Cup.

by Cody Kaiser

Paris-Roubaix is the craziest race all year. Sure, the Tour de France is a month long race, but nothing can match the grueling course of Paris-Roubaix. The only thing that can come close is the Roubaix World Cup.

Cruising up to the velodrome for the first time was a huge excitement. Rolling over the little hill to get there and seeing this concrete oval with “Roubaix” painted on it and the French flags flying was amazing. The pre-ride was even more intense, the mud is unlike anything I have seen before – a good four inches of peanut butter-barriers that are as high as my knees, a stair run-up where the steps were so big it felt like I needed to use my hand to pull myself up to the next, and two gnarly descents that were super-slick. Then, to top everything off, the lap finished by racing around THE Roubaix Velodrome.

Cody Kaiser finished on the lead lap in Roubaix. © Bart Hazen

Cody Kaiser finished on the lead lap in Roubaix. © Bart Hazen

The race was a struggle right from the gun. I had a fourth row start. I decided to take what looked to be a muddy short cut through the inside of the track, only to find out that I lost about 10 spots by doing that, as I exited the track in second to last. Then to make things worse, going into the pit there was a crash blocking the whole course. Finally, I broke through the mangled pile of bikes and people and gained those 10 spots back. From there it was all about catching up, how may guys could I pick off. The legs felt okay, but not top form, and there were a few mechanical things that needed to be worked out, so it ended up being a good first race to get out of the way.

I ended up finishing 37th, so I had made up a good chunk of spots. It was a good race to get under me and another step towards Worlds. Next we’ll move onto Hoogerheide for the World Cup this weekend and hopefully I’ll have a much better race. Until then…

Thanks for reading.

The sun came out for the men's race but the course was very wet. by Joe Sales

Roubaix provided a mix of mud, concrete and sun. © Joe Sales

Make sure you don’t miss CXM’s coverage of the Elite and U23/Junior events as well as reflections on the race by Amy Dombroski and Helen Wyman.