Thursday night race series that runs throughout the summer at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook
Hillsboro-Roubaix: Classic of the Midwest
The ICA has reached out to a few folks for some intel on this “Classic of the Midwest”. We have some race previews from last year’s Cat 4 men’s winner, Jostein Alvestand (EMC2 / Elmhurst Masters), and the guy who gives the cat 5s in Illinois hope they can turn pro, Mike Sherer (Optum Pro cycling p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies). Also be sure and check out the Hillsboro-Roubaix website for tips on gearing, route maps and other neccessities.
But first I asked race director Rich Pierce to tell me about Hillsboro Roubaix from his perspective and its relation to the Montgomery County Cancer Association.
"Hard to believe we're in our 11th year for the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race! It's morphed over the years from a local event, to one that draws in racers from throughout the Midwest and beyond. In particular it's become a must-do race for serious masters racers, and we fill our 40-49 and 50+ men's fields at 75 racers during the pre-registration phase. The growth of the race has required a little more sophistication, with the addition of chip timing, moto refs, and online pre-registration to make things go more smoothly on race day. The partnership between the International Christian Cycling Club which promotes the race, the local church where we host the race, MCCA which is the local cancer society, and local public servants is still clicking and making this race possible, while still keeping a small-town, grassroots feeling.
The Montgomery County Cancer Association (MCCA) is a local, grass-roots cancer association that provides hands-on, personal services to Montgomery County residents with cancer. On any given day, MCCA may drive someone to their chemo or radiation treatments, pick up groceries for someone with cancer who is not well enough to drive, and help another person who is having trouble making expenses. The Hillsboro-Roubaix road race has been a community-oriented event from the beginning, and local support and involvement is second to none. When racers make their way around the course, and see the many volunteers and course marshals, they can be sure that these are folks whose friends and families have been touched by cancer, and appreciate the sponsorship this race brings."
In other words, a great road race, with a solid backing from the community, which in turn gives back to the community. Nice.
Now to the race previews. A few things you will hear a over and over again: Cobbles, Wind, Hills, and DON’T MESS WITH THE CENTER LINE RULE!
From Jostein Alvested -
"The eleventh annual Hillsboro Road Race is this Saturday. A race that is special in many ways. Here are a few tips about the course, if you have not been there before. If you have, you will probably nod knowingly to these special features:
Narrow roads. The race are mostly on secondary roads around farms and fields. Centerline rule is strictly enforced , and an important safety measure. sections of the course have fields passing each other in opposite directions! expect room for max two abreast most of the time. This is important to think about for your placement in the field. Moving up is not easy, so don't get stuck in the back as the leaders fly off in the distance! The wind can open up gaps fast as riders loose their draft.
Bricks. The town of Hillsboro has streets paved with ordinary red brick. It rattles you, and can put your bike handling skills to the test as you come full speed downhill into the cobble section. Stay loose, but have a solid grip on the handlebars! This is not a place to try to advance your position. Give room for riders around you- there are a few seams and potholes to navigate. Stay alert and safe! The downtown brick section is also how the race finishes. Try to avoid being in a huge group coming into the bricks that last time!
Hills. It is not called Flatsboro for a reason. You have a long hill going out of town, and a two-step hill coming back into town. But don't discount the many smaller rolling hills in between. This is a long race that can wear you out in a different way than racing in flatter areas of Illinois. The twisty descents, narrow roads and loose gravel in some turns makes the field dynamics different.
Finally, expect your field of riders to be half or more from Missouri or Iowa. Riders that you know nothing about, so that just makes your choices of how to race to win even harder! Just keep in mind, if they are local, they probably ride hills well! Plan accordingly, and best of luck!"
"Hillsboro Roubaix, the one day classic of the Midwest. When I think of Hillsboro Roubaix I think about wind, rough pavement, strict yellow line rules, and eager spring legs. Every year it seems like Hillsboro is where you come to show off how hard you have trained that winter. It is the first hard race in the Midwest.
In every category riders come in eager to prove to their fellow racers who is the best. Fields always seem to be full in every category so pre-registration is always a good idea for this event. Weather has not been an issue for this event for the past couple years but poor conditions could make this race quit difficult.
The large loops of the rolling course provide many places for riders to attack and get away. Riders will encounter hills, wind, gravel, and bricks throughout the loop. With large fields it can be quite difficult to move throughout the pack, especially due to the strict yellow line rule. This race is not predictable in the least. Expect early breakaways, late race moves, and field sprints.
Roads are can be rough but there is no reason to bust out any specific equipment for this race. To all riders that are participating this year in Hillsboro Roubaix, have a fun and safe race."
Thank-you Mike, Jostein and especially race director Rich for all of the tips! And good luck to everyone (myself included) who is taking on the Illinois Cobbles this Saturday!
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The South Chicago Wheelmen