2017 was the 2nd year for the HTFU Roubaix gravel race. HTFU stands for Harden the F— Up, a name that suits it well: like many gravel events, it’s HARD. It takes place in the scenic Sam Houston National Forest.
HTFU Roubaix is a gravel race put on by Bryan Voytilla & the crew at Kolo Promotions. And, even better: a portion of each entry fee benefits the Sam Houston Trails Coalition with $950 donated because of HTFU Roubaix.
HTFU features a beautifully scenic 36 mile loop, which translates into 3 distance options: 36 miles; 72 miles & 108 miles. HTFU offers a mix of gravel & pavement. Since the venue is somewhat remote, participants either camped on-site in the Overflow Campground area or stayed in New Waverly or Huntsville.
As I did in 2016, I raced in the 72 mile (2 lap) Women’s Open event on my Niner BSB9 RDO bike. HTFU female participation in my event was up in 2016 vs 2017, which was GREAT to see. The 2 lap event had a mass start together of 73 men & women.
Very quickly into my race, I knew I was in trouble: I had been sick & hadn’t fully recovered when I toed the start line at HTFU. So, as they say, when things don’t go as planned, just turn your race into a training ride…which is exactly what I did.
After 4 1/2 hours on the bike, I was very happy to see the finish line. HTFU 2017 wasn’t a great race for me with an 8th place finish in my field. But, thanks to some good luck & a through pre-race service by Tri-City Bicycles, I didn’t have any mechanicals, I didn’t crash & I had zero flats. And despite not feeling great on the bike, HTFU gave me both a mental as well as a physical challenge…AND I also had fun, too.