Pro Racer Q&A – Boulder Roubaix catches up with Alex Howes

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By Brook Watts — Racers of all types, from weekend warriors to seasoned pros, are prepping for The Boulder Roubaix Road Race powered by Wholesome, one of the earliest Paris-Roubaix “tribute” races. This year’s event is scheduled April 6 on a challenging 18.7-mile circuit with 60% dirt roads located north of the cycling mecca of Boulder, Colorado.

With about a month to go before race day we caught up with US pro rider Alex Howes to get his insights into the 2024 edition. Howes is renowned for his vast knowledge of all disciplines of cycling as well as a sharp wit.  He’ll be joining the 1,000+ riders who race The Boulder Roubaix.

Photo courtesy Alex Howes

Raised in the Denver area, Alex is no stranger to racing Boulder Roubaix beginning in his earliest years as a young amateur racer. Howes is a multi-time US National Champion, a veteran of many international races and, as his career has advanced, has become a fan of racing events that offer new challenges or a bit of perverse fun. In recent years that has included many gravel events and most recently the 2,750-mile Tour Divide stretching for Alberta, Canada to New Mexico along the continental divide, ending at the Mexican border.

Photo courtesy Alex Howes
First time you raced Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: I think I was 11 years old when I first “raced” Boulder Roubaix. It was my first race that wasn’t around a city block and I was instantly hooked. 

Best memory of Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: Seeing [Race Directors] Chris and Barb Grealish is always a treat. 

Worst memory of Boulder Roubaix?

Howes:  At the last edition of Boulder Roubaix, we had the unfortunate opportunity of chasing Riley Sheehan most of the day. At one point we nearly caught him before he hit the after burners again and left us in the dust. After the race we learned that at the point we nearly made contact, he had crashed with this fellow breakaway companion. It was a hard pill to swallow learning that the only time we made any progress on closing the gap was while he was sitting on the side of the road. Glad to know he’s got some faster people chasing him now in the World Tour. 

Your idea of the “perfect” Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: A nice day out where the ECG lines are tight and sharp. Maybe some casual road rash with no hospital trips required. Youthful swearing in the parking lot after and the lightness that comes from knowing you “did a thing” 

Best pre-race meal for Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: Five raw eggs and a steak. Or maybe some oatmeal. 

Best post-race drink for Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: Something light, something fresh, something that says cerveza on the side.

Favorite weather conditions for Boulder Roubaix?

Howes: Healthy drizzle and a stiff wind. 

Complete this sentence:  “If I were not racing Boulder Roubaix, I would be……?”

Howes: Six feet under ground 

Is The Boulder Roubaix a Road Race or a Gravel Race, or who cares?

Howes: It was a gravel race before gravel racing existed. I’d say it’s comfortably grandfathered into the “who cares” category. 

There’s still time to take part in Boulder Roubaix. Beginners and first timer’s races start at 8:00 am with other categories throughout the day. For the full schedule and registration see boulderroubaix.com.

And don’t worry if you’re a newcomer, there’s a deal for first time USAC Members that can be used to get $61 discount on Adult Race memberships.  Use Coupon Code “INTROMEMB24.”

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