This Saturday’s Hillsboro Roubaix is first the road race of The Pavé Liga. The point strategy and tactics are different in a road race compared to a criterium event where you can double or triple up on races (here are current PL Standings) If you haven’t already, pre-registration ends Thursday. The PL teams and number of racers registered so far for Hillsboro Roubaix:
The Course: Here is a course map. Deceptively challenging, with 750+ ft. vertical gain per lap, mostly power rollers.Volunteers do a great job at sweeping, but these are farm roads with many sections of loose gravel and pot holes. First 10 miles are fast, with some early nervousness as large fields settle into their tempo. Wind is usually the defining factor, with late-first lap breaks the move du jour. The run into town features a drawn out power climb that can cause a selection. If a sizable group comes into the finishing circuit, race tactics have to change to crit-syle.
The Finish: The finish circuit is technical, requiring patience and careful bike handling. About 2 miles, with a punchy stair step, followed by a blazing fast decent into rough roads and brick pave. The climb is steep and narrow, with a lot of position jockeying as the climbers move up. With a quick final step and tight off camber left turn, the group descends at 35+ , with the power guys retaking position. A big bump transition to the bricks is where crashes can happen, as well as the second to final corner with jagged bricks. The brick pave drag is pure power where you have to establish position into the final corner. A 300m sprint is usually determined by the last turn - most are in survival mode.
Teams to Watch: See who’s registered. H-R is a Midwest classic, so teams come from all over. Missouri / St. Louis is a big draw. Based on pre-registration, here are top team reps: xXx=19 (PL standings: 1st), Half Acre=12 (PL:19th), Wild Card=11 (PL:24th), VeloForce (Mo.)=10, Quantum Mesa=9, BFF=9. Other notables for Pave Liga: Bonkers=8 (PL:3rd), Burnham=7 (PL: 7), EGO=3 (PL:2) For Pave Liga Team Championship standings, we see the potential for some reshuffling!
The classic Hillsboro-Roubaix is Saturday, April 26th. If you aren’t pre-registered yet, click here to get registered. There are a few rooms still available at the Litchfield Holiday Inn - plus a number of other local hotels.
About the Team: The Sammy’s Bikes road team was founded in 2012 by Sammy Radi and Dustin Morici. In the past three years the program has doubled in size each year and in 2014 brought on a title sponsor EGO Power+ who combined the road and already successful triathlon program supported by Sammy’s Bikes. EGO Power + is a brand new line of lawn and garden equipment (Mower, String Trimmer, Blower, and Hedge Trimmer) all powered by an innovative 56 Volt lithium ion battery system. It’s a first of its kind power supply and simply re-defines the battery powered tool market. You can find more product details at http://www.egopowerplus.com and in stores exclusively at The Home Depot.
2014 Goals and Accomplishments: Regional and National EliteMen tCat 1 & Cat 2; Elite Men Cat 3; Elite Women; Joe Martin Stage Race; Tour of America’s Dairyland; Prairie State Cycling Series; Illinois Cup; The Pave Liga Team Championship; 2014 notable results: Sean Metz (1st Pro/1/2 Spring Super Crit); Alex Voitik (2nd Pro/1/2 Spring Super Crit); Danielle Smith (1st Women 3/4 Spring Super Crit)
Hillsboro-Roubaix is an iconic Midwest spring classic, and the second race of the Pave Liga Team Championship. Now in its 13th year, the International Christian Cycling Club (IC3) hosted road race will be on Saturday, April 26th in Hillsboro, IL. Pre-registration is open, and fields are filling up. We interviewed the race director, Todd Harris, to learn a bit more about this great race.
CBR: Give us some history and background on Hillsboro-Roubaix
Todd Harris: Rich Pierce started the race thirteen years ago, and then I got involved about eight years ago. Rich wanted to do a race similar to the Spring Classics here. He was asking around about some towns that might have some pavé or brick and somebody mentioned Hillsboro. He went up there and met with the local newspaper and they were looking for someone to do a bike race with so that they could compete with the biathlon that the other newspaper did. So they got on board with it and then it just grew from that. Now we’re starting our thirteenth year this year.
CBR: Tell us about the course
Todd: The race start/finish is located is Hillsboro, Illinois. It is about an hour outside of St. Louis (Ed: and about 3:45 from Chicago ). If you look at the course profile, it doesn’t look like a big deal at all, because you think ‘it’s in the middle of Illinois and it’s flat,” but it’s the middle of Illinois in corn country. There may not be a lot of hills, but I can guarantee you the wind is usually the biggest factor. I think in the thirteen years, we’ve had one or two group sprints - usually the race is won in a breakaway. The Pro 1/2 fields usually just gets shattered to where probably out of the 100+ riders that start, 35 to 40 finish. It just gets completely shattered due to the wind. There are two climbs when you come into town, just before you hit the pavé. When you come off of the left turn at the top of the hill, then you start to go down the hill onto the bricks. One of the coolest features is that about halfway down the hill, there’s a cross-street where the hill flattens out, and then drops off again. You can hit that thing at 30 mph, and you just launch your bike into the air and land on the bricks. The first time you do it, it’s pretty unnerving. Then you make another left hand turn and you have another half mile up a false flat before another left turn to the start/finish line. The total loop is 29 miles; it used to be 22, but we put another 7 miles onto it three years ago to spread the fields out so that they weren’t lapping each other.
CBR: Tell us about your sponsors and race volunteers
Todd: We get great town support. The Montgomery County Cancer Association is one of our big sponsors. They probably put up 70 volunteers on the course. There is basically a volunteer at each corner. Our other big sponsor is the Hub Bicycle Shop here in Webster Groves, Missouri. Hammer Nutrition and the Holiday Inn in Litchfield. For the most part, it’s a grassroots operation. None of our sponsors are cash sponsors. The Hub provides us with the pace car drivers, Hammer Nutrition provides us with product, and Holiday Inn helps us out with the officials. Our budget to break even is $15,000 so there’s a lot of expense even though we have a lot of volunteers. It is all basically generated from the riders’ entry fees.
CBR: How many riders do you get entering the race just on average?
Todd: The best year was approximately 650 riders. Typically, we’re right around 500 to 550. We’ve reduced the field size probably 4 years ago for safety concerns. Some of the backs roads in the farm country become really narrow. Especially this year, we’ll be kind of late into the year, so we will be into planting season, so there’s a good chance that we will run into a tractor or two on the course.
But like I said, the town really puts their best foot forward out there. What the racers don’t understand is that the town is so proud of themselves and the community that they go out the weekend before and pick up all of the trash along the course. They also help sweep every corner free of gravel. It’s quite an undertaking that they do for us, and we couldn’t do the race without the support for the Montgomery County Cancer Association.
CBR: What would be the best-case scenario for this year’s race in your opinion?
Todd Harris: Temperatures in the 80s and a still wind out of the south to really make the riders suffer on the backside of the course. There are a lot of stretches that are straight south into the wind, and that’s usually where things happen. The windier the better, in my eyes.
Final results for Gapers Block Crits are posted. Paul Maleki posted a few videos here.
If field sizes and average speeds are any indication, the Spring Super Crit was a great success. Despite the “I’m so damn outta shape” complaints, many racers did 2, or even 3, races. The crews from Burnham Racing and Spidermonkey Cycling do a great job - thanks! Here are a few photos.
Midway through the Gapers Block Crits. Preliminary Results are posted for Mon/Tue. Strong team showings including Bonkers, BFF, Half Acre, xXx
We must have missed the announcement, but we see the Tour de Crystal Lake is on the Intelligentsia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series schedule for Sunday, July 20th. Anxiously awaiting further venues!
Also got a little insight to the Wisconsin race calendar, including the new MOSH Criterium p/b Team Wisconsin, on May 25th. Put on by the same guys who do Whitnall Park (great race!) - here’s a link until more info comes out
As excited as we are for this weekend’s Pave Liga kickoff - we’re also looking down the calendar and see Lincoln Park Criterium - Sat, April 12, MATTS 20K TT - Sun, April 13, Race #2 of Greg Bednorski in Madison - Sun, April 13, and then SCW’s Tuesday Nights at the Autobahn - Tue, April 22
The second race of The Pave Liga is Hillsboro Roubaix. Drop us a message or comment if you’re interested in car pooling.
Finally, check out the latest News and other Features on BikeRacing411 - there’s a lot of good stuff there!
And then Sunday is the first outdoor race of the Mid America Time Trial Series (MATTS), in Maple Park, IL. The John Frasier Memorial TT is a 10 mile course, so a perfect early- season test. Registration is open until Tuesday night.
For Wisconsin, Race #1 of the Gregg Bednorski Memorial series is on Sunday in Madison - here’s the flyer.
And for down south, The Tilles Park Criterium in St. Louis is on the calendar for Sunday - here’s the flyer.