Yeah, I would definitely recommend something wide for Roubaix. And so it might be a good chance to test it out at Flanders.
I’m also doing the 177 again. I’ve never done the 212 or whatever it is because of the logistics, earlier start, and the first part is literally just mileage. If at any point you don’t feel your fitness is up to it, you get sick the week before, or anything else happens you can downsize to the 177 or 135 at packet pickup for free.
The longest version just adds flat miles. The 177 adds the Muur de Gerhardbergen (I know it’s spelled wrong), the 135 (or whatever) hits everyhting by the Muur. And the 85 puts you straight in to the most famous climbs and leaves out a bunch of the flat cobbled sections and some of the climbs to the east.
The long route and 177 both ride out from an intersection and the 135 keeps going. So you have a bail out in the middle if you have a bad day but can still get to the other climbs, you’ll just miss the Muur.
Things to be prepared for, when you do the 2 longer routes, you will end up backed up on the famous climbs; the Koppenburg, Paterburg, and probably the Kwaremont. The Koppenburg is the thinnest and so often times has a long standing queue where they send forward about 10 people at a time. If you do the shorter routes you can get to them early enough before they set that up.
Be prepared to be over dressed. Worst part for me is dressing for the cold and rain and having to hve that stuff with me still when it’s 55 and sunny at a different part of the day. The weather is unpredictable and changes a lot. The pros are always in and out of their gillets and jackets but they have support. So I drive up with a lot of different options and make a choice the morning of or night before.
It’s a ton of fun. There are a lot of TR users who ride it every year. At some point you’ll think “Why the hell did I sign up for this??” But it’s all good fun. It’s not a race so don’t forget to take it in and stop for some pictures occassionally.