Last weekend was the 5th annual Barry-Roubaix, the Killer Gravel Road Race.  From it’s first year, where a few hundred people started the race in the middle of a dirt road, has grown into a few thousand people starting in the middle of downtown Hastings, MI.  We have been going to this race for years, loving all the ups and downs, and rocks and stones that go with it.  Now affiliated with the American Ultra Cross Series, the race has begun to draw national attention.  2012 Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Series winner, Justin Lindine (Redline / NBX) made the trek from New Salem, Massachusetts for the race.  After a quick, but apparently not long enough, spin on the course Friday before the race, he took a wrong turn.  After recovering from a 1/2 mile detour, Justin attacked the lead group, and rode in for the win, 13 seconds up on Mike Anderson (Bissell-Abg-Giant). The main field finished another 7-1/2 minutes back.

What got you excited enough about Western Michigan in March to check out Barry-Roubaix?

Justin: I had heard from a bunch of people who had done it, or been around for it, that it was a pretty rad event and would be fun.  Plus, I’m always up for a little dirt road racing.  I also, maybe, thought it was not quite as far away as it was… oh well.  I’m super glad to have made the trip though, it was an awesome event.

Have you done any gravel races before?  What do you think of them?

Justin: I’ve done the Tour of the Battenkill pretty much every year since it’s start.  I love gravel roads, and dirt roads, and two track.  When I go out and train, it’s on my cross bike and I just love flying down all these quiet back roads.  They just make you want to hammer all the time, so this was pretty much right up my alley.

Did you set your bike up differently for the gravel race than a CX race?

Justin: Not really.  I ride my Redline Conquest all season long, so I’m pretty used to it and it makes for a killer dirt-road race bike.  Short of bolting on some bottle cages I didn’t really change a thing.  I was a little nervous about running tubulars since there isn’t any sort of neutral support, but the Challenge Griffo XS file treads were the perfect tire and I had no problems.  Couldn’t have had a better setup.

According to friends we had in the front group, we heard your initial attacks were very characteristic of your Honey Badger nickname.   When you attacked did you taste the blood of the recently decapitated racers you left in your wake?

Justin: Ha- I mean, I guess when I attack I don’t ever try to do it half-done if you know what I mean.  And I’m not really afraid to roll a long solo break and chance it, which is what I started to do about 15 miles into the race.  But then I missed a turn and went about 1/2 a mile the wrong way.  So after that I chased my way back to the front and at that point, there might have been some “taste of blood” going on.  I didn’t really hang out in the group long.

Tell us about how you got the “Honey Badger” nickname?

Justin: There’s probably a few layers to this answer.  Tom Parsons made this video of race highlight from a cross race that parodied the now infamous “honey badger” YouTube video… so that is sort of the genesis of it.  But before that some people called me “Wolverine Lindine” for my racing style.  Apparently I resemble small angry members of the weasel family… hmm.  Anyhow, honey badger stuck and I kind of like it.

How was the EuroCrossCamp?  We followed some of the juniors from the Midwest at the camp.  What kind of experience was that for you and your cyclo-cross racing?

Justin: EuroCrossCamp is such a great program and is a pretty invaluable tool for improving at cyclo-cross.  For me this was my second time at the camp and it was really great to get to go over and “re-do” the experience with all the knowledge I had gained from the last time.  Each time now, I feel like I have reached some kind of new level in my racing when I come back from camp so I think for me personally it has been instrumental.  It was interesting this go-around to be the “old guy” of camp too.  It made me really want to step up my game to be a good example.

You were part of the best placed American team at last years 2012 Cape Epic. How great was it to race your mountain bike for a week straight?  Describe a stage race for mtn bikes.

Justin: Cape Epic was an amazing trip, but super hard.  The field over there and the conditions are just brutal, but like EuroCrossCamp, it’s one of those experiences that makes you better and gives you perspective down the road.  Mountain bike stage racing in general is a format I really like.  The stages are long and hard, but not quite as demoralizing as some of the 100 milers can be.  The focus is on consistency and recovery and that makes things pretty interesting.  You can’t really afford to have a bad day if you want to be in the overall.  On the other side though, who doesn’t want to basically have a big adult summer camp where they ride their mountain bike every day for a week?  So the vibe is really communal and fun.  You kill it all day racing and then hang out at camp with everyone who just had the same awesome day… it’s pretty cool.

What are your goals for the upcoming season?

Justin: Well, cross is the long term focus… but that being said, I generally try pretty hard to do as well as possible in every event I go to, so I have some mountain bike races I want to do well at like Transylvania Epic stage race, some Pro XCT races, Nationals.  But basically I guess “win” would be the appropriate answer.  And come into cross season flying.

And last, just because classics season starts next week: Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix?

Justin: Wow, tough question.  I think probably Flanders because of the punchy climbs combined with the cobbles, but I’ve always dreamed about Paris-Roubaix.  I guess that’s why all those classics guys race both right?

Watch for Justin’s race reports on, keep an eye out for his monthly column soon to be starting on, and like him on Facebook!

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