Advice Sought – Paris to Roubaix

As Joe mentioned so eloquently yesterday, I am planning on doing a Roubaix-style race this Sunday.  This will be my first race in such an event (I’ve never done any kind of road racing), and would appreciate any advice, tips, or tricks my fellow racers might be able to provide.

First question… tires.  I have thrown some of these puppies on: Challenge Parigi Roubaix clinchers.  They are pretty wide, with a chevron-style tread.   But the forecast for Sunday is rain.  If it ends up being wet, should I go with my Michelin Mud 2 CX tires instead?  And what pressure should I run?

Second question… repair kit.  I was going to bring two spare tubes, a patch kit, and a pump.  What else should I bring (there will be no support vehicles or stations)?  Chain tool?  Multi-tool?  Really, if I have a major mechanical, I was thinking the only really important tool would be a cell phone to call someone to pick me up.

Apparently the group gets pretty fractured (everyone from elite to me start at the same time).  How do I make sure I don’t end up racing by myself, or in too slow of a group (I know, unlikely scenario)?

Helmet… is it lame to wear a visor in such a race?  Help me to not to look like a dork.

That’s all I can think of… any other wisdom you can impart?

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2 responses to “Advice Sought – Paris to Roubaix

  1. John,
    As far as tires go, I think it depends on the proportion of pavement to potential slick mud. If the course is more than 75 percent pavement or equivalent, id likely go with the tires you have mounted. However, this depends on just how slick and sticky the potentially slick and sticky section have the potential to be, potentially. Given what I’ve seen of those tires, and that you already have good off-road bike handling skills, my instincts say stick with the Challenge Parigi Roubaix clinchers. I would pump them up to their max, though i’m not really sure that’s good advice, but it’s what i’d do.

    I hate not finishing a race, so I’d bring everything i need to keep my bike rolling to the finish line. Remember, it’s an open race that will have elite riders, you are likely not going to win, so you are there for the experience and a good training ride. You aren’t getting either if your on the side of the road, hitching a ride.

    Its a lot easier to bridge a gap between you and the peloton if the peloton is behind you. Generally these rides start fairly slow and build momentum, with sudden surges. Try to stay in the top third of the peloton; this way if an attack breaks out, you have the choice of going with it. If it turns out you can’t stay with the group you are with, no problem, just sit up, rest, and wait to catch the chase group. If you ride in the back third, you will miss the attack group, and bridging probably won’t be an option.

    Visors on your helmet are considered totally dorky, however, visors on those metrosexual little hats roadies wear under their helmets are totally cool. Mostly though, in cyclocross-type events, it’s all cool.

    Have fun, try an early break just to say you did it. when you see the group is gaining on you, sit up and catch your breath so you have the strength to hang in the draft when they catch you.

    Good luck, have fun.

    • Thanks for the advice… especially on where to be in the peloton. As for the “don’t be a quitter” pep talk… I will do my best.

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