*Want to know what Richmond Worlds was like? Find out what Feedback Sports founder/owner, Doug Hudson thought of it. Plus, what he thought of those cobbles on Libby Hill.
As soon as I heard about the 2015 Road World Championships I knew I’d be going. It was the first Road Worlds in the USA in 29 years and it just so happened to be in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. My parents and sister still live in Richmond, so there was that. Plus several national teams (including the Swiss and Belgian) would be using Feedback Sports gear. It was the perfect weekend trip combining family, the sport I love and our company.
I arrived on Friday afternoon and stopped by the Swiss team hotel. Jonathan Fazan (IAM Cycling’s technical director) and crew were busy prepping bikes for the weekend. The piles of super high-end equipment were impressive. Our Sprint stands were in use and all was well on the mechanic-front.
Next, I decided to do the “Conquer the Cobbles” ride in which the course was open from 7-9pm. It was drizzling and my only option was my sister’s 54cm bike (I ride a 58cm), but I decided to go for it. It turned out to be such a great experience. I lined up with the first group to ride three laps of the course. The pace was as fast as you wanted to go and I teamed up with some strong riders. The descents were a bit sketchy due to the rain, but nobody around me went down. The brick surface of Monument Avenue was bumpy enough to notice, but much smoother than the later cobble sections.
Speaking of those sections…
The first time up Libby Hill on the 23rd St cobbles was much harder and rougher than I expected. My MTB skills came into play as the group charged up the steep climbs. The jarring was enough to rotate my headlight straight down within five seconds. The 23rd street section had a 17% grade and was where Peter Sagan made his (now famous) attack on Sunday. The final climb up Governor’s Hill was a tough lead into the long straight finish stretch. After 3 laps and 30 miles, I was beat. Strava said 430 feet of elevation gain per lap, but it felt like more. Riding the course gave me some perspective into what competitors were going through. My 3 laps were meager compared to the other races…the men’s elite did 16 laps!
Saturday we watched the elite women’s race from the UCI VIP lounge area close to the finish line. IAM Cycling had graciously provided my sister and I a pass to this prime viewing area. It was cool to be watching the race a few feet from Bryan Cookson, the UCI president especially as a British woman won the Elite race. I know he was excited about the win for his home country.
On Sunday, I coaxed my parents to attempt to view the race at Libby Hill. We found a surprisingly good parking spot and walked through Richmond’s oldest neighborhood of Church Hill. My grandmother lived in this area in the early 1900’s and much earlier than that (1775) it was the site of Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech. It was exhilarating to see the peloton mashing up the Libby Hill cobbles in such a historic area. As Dave Towle pumped up the crowd with his announcements, we watched 4 laps, including one through the chaotic feed zone at the top of Libby.
My sister and I then headed back to the UCI lounge to watch the rest of the race. The finish could not have been more exciting with Peter Sagan taking the win after his attack on the 23rd Street hill cobbles. The crowd was electrified. And of course this was amazing for Feedback Sports too, since we are a sponsor of Peter Sagan’s World Tour team Tinkoff/Saxo.
From the city’s welcoming nature to the races and athletes themselves, Richmond delivered an exceptional event all around. Not to mention I got to enjoy my Mom’s home cooking, too–which is also exceptional.