|Date||4th Saturday in March|
|Nickname(s)||Killer Gravel Road Race|
|Discipline||Cyclo-cross, Gravel Grinder|
|Editions||7 (as of 2015)|
|First winner||Michael Simonson & Mackenzie Woodring|
|Most recent||David Lombardo & Mackenzie Woodring|
Barry-Roubaix is a classic-style road/off road cycling race featuring a variety of terrain and surfaces to test cyclists of all skill levels. The course is located in Barry County, Michigan near the Gun Lake Unit of Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Most years, Barry-Roubaix consists of rolling gravel roads (80%), pavement, one mile of rough two-track, rocks, sand, mud, and possibly snow and ice, along with 2200 feet of climbing. The race features three distinct levels of competition corresponding to different race course distances. The Beginner/Intermediate riders complete a 24-mile course, the Expert riders complete a 34-mile course, and the Elite/Pro riders complete a 62-64 mile course. The name "Barry-Roubaix" was selected in a naming competition; it is a reference to the famous spring classic Paris–Roubaix one day professional cycling race held in France. Barry-Roubaix is held annually on the fourth Saturday in March. Participants use a variety of bicycle types (cyclocross, mountain, road, fat), depending on course conditions and individual preferences.
Started in 2009, Barry-Roubaix's inaugural event staging took place at the historic Long Lake Outdoor Center in Middleville, Michigan, also in Barry County, Michigan. On March 28, the 274 racers were treated to perfect conditions; cool and sunny weather prevailed.
The race was moved to Gun Lake State Park due to anticipated growth in attendance. The 2010 race was held on March 27. 673 racers faced sunny but cold conditions, as the race start temperatures were only 34 degrees with a 15 mph biting wind out of the southeast.
The 2011 edition was held on March 26, in very cold conditions. Over 1000 participants started the race, but only 896 finished; 114 racers completed the 65 mile course (male winner: Erik Box, female winner: Samantha Brode); 564 racers completed the 35 mile course (male winner: Don Cameron; female winner: Kathy Everts); and 218 racers completed the 23 mile course (male winner: Trevor Smela; female winner: Sherry Martin).
Consistent with the increase in popularity of gravel road racing (also known as 'Gravel Grinders') in the United States, the 2013 event was moved again, this time to downtown Hastings, MI. The new start/finish area was well received by the City, local residents and racers. Registration for the fifth annual Barry-Roubaix: Killer Gravel Road Race increased by almost three-fold, to 2873 registered participants. An unexpected snowstorm created unusually harsh conditions, and the race course was altered at the last minute to avoid the treacherous Sager Road two track section. Despite the course alteration, the race almost lived up its "Killer" name, as a participant collapsed on the course but was later revived by a medical team. The 2013 title sponsor was Founders Brewing.
Media coverage leading up to the 7th annual Barry-Roubaix (28 March 2015) focused on a forecast for unseasonably cold temperatures, and anticipation of a large field size and podium payouts. In both the men's and women's 62 mile Open Category races, early breakaways defined the outcome of the day. 2008 Summer Paralympics Gold medalist Mackenzie Woodring (Lowell, MI) took the 2015 Barry-Roubaix Women's Open trophy with a finish time more than five minutes faster than runner-up and 2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships Team United States Elite Women's Team Member, Crystal Anthony (Beverly, MA). This win marked Woodring's fourth Barry-Roubaix victory in seven attempts. In contrast, Men's Open Category 2015 Barry-Roubaix Champion, David Lombardo (Crystal Lake, IL), established and held an early lead for most of the 62 mile race, but finished only 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Nathaniel Beams (Fort Collins, CO).
In January 2016, 65 permanent road signs were installed in Barry County to mark the three Barry-Roubaix course routes for race participants and recreational cyclists who visit the area to train on the course year-round. The annual economic impact of the Barry-Roubaix event as grown to over US$500,000.
The 2016 Barry-Roubaix was pushed back until April 16, 2016 to avoid a conflict with Easter. The later starting date presented riders with a new and virtually unheard of challenge for this race, heat. The average temperature for the 62 mile race was 70F which was a full 41 degrees warmer than the average temperature from previous year. Dry and dusty course conditions made for a fast race which took on the character of a road race with large pelotons staying together until the finish. The top four riders all had the same finishing time (2:54:56), with Rudyard Peterson (Credit Velo-Trek, MI) winning the sprint at the line. The top nine riders came in within one second of one another. On the women's side, it was a different story with Rachel Langdon (Kentucky, US) finishing almost 7 minutes ahead of Christine Thornburg (Psimet Racing, IL) with a time of 3:08:37.
On 26 Jan 2017, the tourism and economic development impact of Barry-Roubaix was recognized as the event tied for The Destination Award, an annual award given by the Barry County, Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development.
Scheduled for March 25, 2017, the 9th edition of Barry-Roubaix is one of eight events in the Michigan Gravel Race Series, a points series that debuted in 2017.
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- "Barry County Chamber celebrates success, recognizes leaders / 1-26-17". The Hastings Banner. Hastings, Mi, USA. 26 Jan 2017. Retrieved 27 Jan 2017.
- "Michigan Gravel Race Series: Schedule". www.michigangravelraceseries.com. Michigan Gravel Race Series. 2017. Retrieved 5 Feb 2017.
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