Rouge-Roubaiux Ride Report
from Jon Anderson
Date: 8 Feb 1999

This report is from Jon Anderson of St. Francisville

The Rouge-Roubaiux? Is it a Red Stick version of the Paris-Roubaix? Or
is it something else entirely? Well, to be honest–it’s a little of
both. Sunday, February 7, 1999 marked the First Ever Rouge-Roubaiux
Ride. I think all riders will agree this 85-miler felt like 110. The
route covered the entire spectrum of road surfaces from dirt footpaths
to wide, smooth, exteremly fast state highways.

David Alexander (Red Stick Racing) and Bob Clark (formerly of Baton
Rouge, now teaching in CA) were the driving force behind this ride. On
our normal Sunday road training rides David would frequently ask the
group, “Where does that road go? You ever been on it?” as we passed the
dirt roads and Bob lives for epic rides in the snow or any ride the took
a turn down nasty, gnarly, old bumpy road. Listening to these two
kindled an idea in the back of my head and the Rouge-Roubaiux was

Our prayers for cold and wet went unanswered. Sunday morning was warm
without a single raindrop. I don’t remember anyone even breaking out
the arm warmers. We had about 30 riders show up for the start. About
20 of them attempted the 85 miler.

Leg One: St. Francisville to Woodville: We enjoyed a smooth easy roll
out from St. Francisville toward Jackson on Highway 10. We cruised for
maybe 6 minutes and there is an explosion in the pack. This was not
your normal run-of-the-mile blow a tire type sound, it was more like the
sound of lighting an M-80 in your car with windows rolled up and letting
it blow up on the passenger seat next to you. Rick Pevey flatted out.
Now you have to consider Rick dropped quite a few braincells along with
the better part of a week planning out this ride (he’s retired and has
no life). He had 28 C tires, heavy-duty kevlar tire liners, and
puncture proof tubes. He probably spent $50 bucks to make sure his
tires were bullet proof. Obviously they were designed to roll on
bullets–they only lasted 6 minutes on smooth clear asphalt (that’s
$27.70 per mile, an 85 mile ride would cost $2354.50-ouch! That’s alot
even for Rick, “My Rain Bike Is A Vortex,” Pevey.

After 5 miles of warm up we encourterd our fist dirt road. I was a
little concerned as I rounded the corner. Up the road guys are wobbling
from side to side or completely hung up in the gravel, Mike Abshire is
fishtailing right along about 2 foot off the road in gravel that is
ankle deep, and Lynn Boland is standing on the asphalt, shaking her
head, alternating between the dirt and gravel and her
pretty-picture-perfect road frame. I’m thinking, “West-Feliciana
Hospital and Peoples Court here we come!” The gravel was pretty loose
for the first couple of miles. Further up the road a few riders rapidly
adjusted to the dirt and decided now was a good time to hammer. David
Alexander, Trent Rives, Mike Abshire, Jason Sager, Norman Nolan, and
Rusty Bernard blasted off down the road. I eased on down the road with
Rick Pevey, Steve Zeraunge, and Daniel Harris figuring, if I’m going to
get sued–I sure better enjoy myself. Within a few miles, the riders
started to settle down and relax their death grip on the bars.

The Baton Rouge Advocate was kind enough to send a photographer out to
get some pictures for the D’ Woodville Loop article that will run in
late February. She pulled her car off the road and set up to grab a few
pictures about a mile up the first dirt road. Big mistake! I found out
latter that she buried her car to the axles trying to get out. We had
to call out the re-enforcement–AAA.

The second dirt road starts off downhill and has some wicked bumps along
with loose gravel right in a corner, then it dumps out on a low water
bridge that was designed and built in the early 1800’s. Today, it is 1/2
bridge, mostly deathtrap. As I’m cruising down the hill, with my new
best friend–my brakes, I encountered about 6 water bottles strewn about
the road. Seconds latter Jason and Rusty are running back uphill to
pick up the bottles. My guess is when you hit the ruts going 30 mph;
the dang waterbottles just won’t stay in the holder’s case. I made it
the low water bridge and dismounted so I could walk across. I wanted to
test my speed play pedals in the mud, dirt and sand; they failed
miserably. As I’m nearing the other side of the bridge, this god-awful
sound blasts by me on the left, it’s Jason Sager and he is riding this
bridge! Now Jason is a mountain biker but he was on a road bike with
road tires. I was impressed, in previous trips down this road I was
convinced you could ride this bridge. I tried two times; I crashed two
times. In my book that makes it unrideable. Jason didn’t even blink as
he was accelerating across the bridge.

Just over the bridge there was a little regrouping to change three flat
tires. I sat back and noticed Tim Daigle getting ready to tackle this
bridge. He stops, reaches in his back pocket and pulls out two Winn
Dixie Shopping bags, slides one foot into each, and shuffles off across
the bridge. I was laughing my ass off! After the tires were changed
and we started of down the road and my speedplays wouldn’t clip in for 5
miles, then wouldn’t unclip for 5 more miles, I changed my tune. Next
time, I bring the shopping bags.

Eventually we cleared the first three dirt sections and headed up the
smooth fast highway to regroup at Woodville. Rosanne Simmons bypassed
one of the dirt roads and took a little shortcut with John Sanford. She
forgot to tell Rusty–ops! He backtracked about 5 miles looking for
her, before we got word to him via the wheel truck that she was with the
main group. Nothing like getting in a couple extra miles on an 85 mile

At Woodville, I think it set in that this 85 miler that was scheduled to
take 5 hours was actually going to take 5 hours. A couple riders opted
to head straight home because of other commitments. I breathed a sigh
of relief, no one had to make a trip to the hospital, our wheel truck
actually found us, and it looked like I might not get sued. After a
short refueling stop we were off on leg number 2.

This leg took Highway 24 over to Fort Adams. Highway 24 is beautifully
maintained and almost 20 miles of slight downhill. Everytime I ride it I
am amazed, because it doesn’t go anywhere. It simply ends at Fort Adams
(population of about 11). This was a new road for most of the riders
in the group and it was a fast 20 miles. Jason and Trent were pushing
the pace and we ate up the road at 28 mph. This 28-mph was into a
headwind, I would love to ride this section in a group with no wind at

At Fort Adams we turned left for the trip up to Tunica Falls that back
way. This section has a one-mile long dirt climb. There is plenty of
loose gravel, so you can’t really stand up, it’s made for big heavy guys
that climb sitting down (plenty of traction). It was breaking my heart
to see some of the smaller guys trying to stand then getting forced to
dismount because they couldn’t get traction. Trend Rives and Jason
Sager blasted up the hill, David Alexander though he could hang, but
after about 1/4 mile I think he changed his mind.

Me? I plodded on and HURT! My lungs were ready to blow and my legs
felt like lead. I was cursing Jason and Trent for pushing the pace on
the way over (placing no blame whatsoever on the guy the designed the
route). The thing that keeps me going was thinking about the New
Orleans riders. I was sure it had to hurt them more, cause I knew this
was coming. We had one minor crash climbing the hill, Tim, “Shopping
Bags On My Feet,” Daigle. He lost traction and couldn’t get unclipped a
sure-fire recipe for a dirt sandwich (…hmm, maybe those shopping bags
didn’t’ work so well after all, eh?). I’m guessing 1/2 the riders made
it up the hill without stopping and the other 1/2 had to walk part of
the hill. We regrouped at Pond Store near the Tuncia Falls trailhead
for a quick break. I truly enjoyed enlightening the group about the
first hill on the final dirt section–it was much steeper than the one
we just climbed.

The final leg brought us out the Pickneyville Road and into a roaring
headwind as we trudged toward Angola. Just a few miles shy of the
prison we turned off on Old Tuncia Road–the highlight of this ride.
This is a 4-mile dirt road cut through the heart of Tuncia Hills. This
road’s sheer drop offs and tangled underbrush make it look utterly
untamed. Visions from the movie “Deliverance” begin to dance through my
head. You know; the fellows married to their sisters with names like
Bubba and Jr. who want to make you run around in your underwear and
“squeeeel” like a pig–they live here!

The first climb is dirt, about 1/2 mile long, and it’s steep. Even us
heavy guys had to stand. Not because we want to stand to stretch out;
we have to stand to keep the pedals turning over. This climb is
navigated at “Fall Down Speed” as in if you were to go any slower you
would fall down. It becomes a little more interesting because as you
are grinding up a 2 RPM, torquing the heck out of every component on
your bike, little thoughts like, ‘Is that stem bolt really tight?” and
“God, I hope my wheel builder is not an alcoholic!” flickered through.
Then, the anaerobic agony banished all conscious thought. I’ve climbed
this hill before, but never after riding 70 tough miles beforehand.
This time I was cursing the guy that designed the route. I eventually
crested the top, but you never really get to recover because your are
assaulted by a series of smaller yet steep climbs–strategically spaces
to hurt you bad. Now keep in mind, I was simply in survival mode, I’m
pretty sure the group in front were out for blood and blasting through
the woods.

We reached the Angola road and regrouped one final time for the smooth
ride back to the start. I pulled into the store and the front group
that included David Alexander, Trent Rives, Jason Sager, Mike Abshire,
and Rusty Bernard did not look quite so fresh and chipper. Guys that’s
what happens when you attack each other after 75 miles. We regrouped
and cruised in, I believe everyone was feeling the pain, because we
maintained a very reasonable pace. Sort of that, “I better be careful,
cause I’m real close to bonking pace.” Post ride, the survivors hit
Magnolia Café to brag, eat, and drink. I can safely say this ride is
the most fun I’ve had on a bike in years.

See you next year (it will take me that long to recover). I got up this
morning and distinctly felt every muscled in my body. I found a single
spot on my forehead that doesn’t hurt.

1999 Rouge-Roubaiux Survivors:
85 miler:

David Alexander
Trent Rives
Jason Sager
Tim Daigle
Rusty Bernard
Rosanne Simmons
Guy Ross
Mike Abshire
Jon Anderson
Steve Zeraunge
Ralph Cook**

** Note: Ralph’s feat was particularly impressive because he made it on
a hybrid. So when the pace picked up on the smooth flat roads, Ralph had
to grind it out alone.

Completed the whole route except the final dirt section:
Chris Daigle
Dick Erlicher


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