Covered in a layer of mud, and using their water bottles to rinse their eyes and faces, some 140 cyclists braved the Barry’s Roubaix on Sunday.
European cycling’s 100-year-old Paris-Roubaix is famous for rough terrain, cobblestone streets and high winds, and inspired a film called “A Sunday in Hell.”
So, they almost wanted a tough local race, says organizer Barry Lyster, half the race’s namesake and owner of the Local Ride Bike Shop.
The local course is a 10-kilometre loop that follows Pitt Meadows dikes and gravel rural roads. The cyclists all stay in a pack, and their wheels send up an unrelenting mist of watery mud.
“They were mud head to toe, it was unbelievable.”
Some were so painted in grime that the photo finishes did not reveal numbers or even team jerseys. Recognizing faces was hopeless.
“But the racers were stoked, and road riders are pretty tough,” said Lyster. “They love it. They eat it up.”
This was his fourth annual race, and this weekend he started it with an additional Saturday time trial – bikers racing against the clock, leaving in one-minute intervals.
Lyster said he knew riders were coming from Vancouver Island and the Interior for Sunday’s race, so he came up with the additional Saturday event to make sure they had a good weekend of cycling. There were 65 riders who entered the event.
Lyster was encouraged by the participation in the event.
“You can see there’s new growth back into road racing.
In the Category 1/2 men class Greg Christian of the Garneau-Evolution team finished 12 laps of the course (120km) in a time of 2:42.23, narrowly beat Curtis Dearden of Russ Hay Accent Inns.
Leah Kirchmann of Optum won women’s Cat 1/2/3, finishing nine laps in 2:42.33.
Michael Wagner of the C4 team won Cat 3 men with a time of 2:26.49 over eight laps.
Anika Todd of Triple Shot Cycling won Cat 3/4 women with a time of 1:40.22 over six laps.
Alex Dove of Lynn Valley Bikes won the Cat 4 men with a time of 1:31.52 for six laps.
The Novice class was won by Troy Neal of Westwood Cycle for his time of 1:08.30 over four laps.
Ethan Pauly of Tripleshot Cycling won the under-17 class for finishing two laps in 35:35.
In the Pitt Polder Time Trial on Saturday, Dave Stephens of Team H&R Block was the fastest on the course overall, with a time of 14:19.40 to win Cat 1/2 men.
Megan Wolfe won Cat 1/2/3 women with a time of 16:40.14, Richard Wooles of the Cycling B.C. team won the open men in 15:03.27, and Meghan Grand of Local Ride Racing won the Open Women class in a time of 17:30.26.
“It’s a heck of a lot of work, but I’m fortunate that I’ve got good volunteers, shop staff and team riders to help pull this off,” said Lyster.
He said municipal government also gets behind the race, knowing it is a good way to expose people to the natural beauty of the area.
“Guaranteed they will be back, riding their bike, or bringing their families.”