It is my transition period. What that means is that since the end of my Cyclocross season until about January fifteenth, I am just riding to have fun and if I feel like it. The mind and the body needs some time off. I have been racing and training very steadily since January of last year, and three to four weeks of end of season recovery are in order.
However, that still did not stop me from coming out and racing the annual Bill Bauer Memorial Exhibition Roller Races at Brands Cycle. These are held once a year over at Brands Cycle. This year, Friday, January fourth was the date. I have not been on the rollers all that much since the end of Track season back in September. So, a week before the event, I got on the rollers with my track bike, and then road bike, to do some high cadence workouts, 130+ rpm. I needed to get the feeling back, especially at such a high cadence.
I arrived at the shop about forty five minutes before the event was supposed to start. This gave me ample time to get my rollers setup in my designated spot (same place as last year,) get kitted up, signed in, have my rollout check performed, and then finally on the rollers for a nice warm up.
For the rollout, each bike could not have a roll out greater than 303 inches. What that means is that you put the bike down and see how far it go with one pedal revolution. That distance can not be more than 303 inches.
For me, with my fixed gear track bike, the prefered bike to race rollers with opposed to a regular road bike with multiple gears, this came down to a 51t chainring and a 14t cog, with my tires set at 120psi. According to the guy checking rollouts, I was spot on. I know other riders approached their rollout in different manners with different gear and tire choices.
Here is a detailed explanation from the event on how they were going to loosely create all the brackets:
All riders will ride a Qualifying Time Trial and are seeded based on their time in the Qualifying TT.
Pairings will be Matched in 1/4 Finals as follows. Riders advance by winning their match race.
1 Round 1 - 1st vs 8th 2 Round 2 - 2nd vs 7th 3 Round 3 - 3rd vs 6th 4 Round 4 - 4th vs 5th
Pairings will be Matched in the Semi Finals as follows. Riders advance by winning their match race:
5 Winner Round 1 vs Winner Round 4 6 Winner Round 2 vs Winner Round 3
Pairings will be Matched in the Finals as follows. Riders awarded 1st thru 4th as follows:
9 Loser race 7 vs Loser race 8 - Winner awarded 7th - Loser 8th 10 Winner race 7 vs Winner race 8 - Winner awarded 5th - Loser 6th 11 Loser race 7 vs Loser race 8. - Winner is awarded 3rd - Loser 4th 12 Winner race 5 vs winner race 6. - Winner is awarded 1st - Loser 2nd
Pairings will be Matched in Finals as follows. Riders advance by winning their match race:
13 Class Winner w/fastest Time vs Class Winner w/ slowest time 14 Class Winner w/2nd fastest time vs Class Winner w/2nd slowest time
15 Loser Race 13 vs Loser Race 14 for 3rd and 4th 16 Winner Race 13 vs Winner Race 14 for 1st and 2nd
A big clock dial in front of us turns as we spin the drums on the rollers. We were to race a six clock dial lap race. Thus, for the time trial and races that followed we needed to spin as fast as possible for about forty five seconds on average. My plan was to gradually build up the speed and with three laps to go I would open the taps up, and pour it all out.
Getting these rollers to spin is not that hard, and once they spin, it is almost as if they are riding you. My plan was thwarted by a skipping feeling I was getting from the chain. This distraction, and worry, had me not push as hard as I would have. Coupled with my trepidation from last year, I ended up with the worst time trial time of all.
Finished with my time trial, while the officials were creating the pairs, separating the four Juniors out from the adults, I tried to figure out my problem. My chain tension was spot on. I had a missing chainring bolt due to one snapping while gearing up for the event. My friend Paul had an extra one, so I put that back in. Next I applied more lube to the chain.
Due to my poor time trial, I was called up first. The good news is that due to the fact we had an uneven number of racers, I got to compete against the next slowest guy, Matt Campbell in a run off race. I knew his rollout was a bit short of the 303 inches, so I had a good chance of beating him.
I started out by ramping up my pace in the first two laps. Matt was ahead of me, and I could hear people cheering me on to catch him. However, I knew he would not last. Fact of the matter, with about three to go, I dropped the hammer and I passed him. With two laps to go I just buried myself.
My bike computer tells me I hit a max of 187 RPMs on the pedals. When the official called the race, Matt and I were so involved and out of it, that we practically kept going for a quarter of another lap.
I had to peel myself off the bike and fall off the rollers. Even though racing times do not really go over fifty seconds, the shear intensity of those seconds in an anaerobic state can make you feel wrecked when you are done.
Now the rest of the bracketed racing could start. I had less the five minutes before being called back up to go against Mark. Mark is a New York State Track Champion. I believe he is a Category 1 or 2 in Track. I am still a Category 4, having just moved up this past summer. Mark also won this event in the two years prior. I knew I had almost zero chance of winning. Because of that, I decided I would just focus on my race, and not pay attention to what he was doing.
We got started, and right away they had to stop the race. The rubber band that connects the roller drums on my set of rollers had snapped. Thus I had to wait a few minutes while they fixed the issue. In the meantime I had to recenter myself since my nerves were once again acting up.
Back up on the rollers, take two was about to begin. Starting off Mark got a jump on me. I followed my plan of ramping up. Each time I closed the gap on Mark, he pushed a tiny bit more to open the gap again. With two to go, I was trying to spin as fast as I could. I hit a max spin rate of about 177 RPM. My legs were still tired from the previous race. But no matter how hard I tried to push, I did not win, so my evening was now over.
Coming off the rollers, I was shaking a lot, I had to get back on my rollers and ride it off for a bit in order to return to normal. The other races progressed to a much heated final battle between Mark and Edwin Sanchez. Edwin is a very strong Cat 1 mountain biker who was competing at a disadvantage with a road bike. Regardles, Edwin gave Mark a run for his money. I think Mark had to actually sweat in order to beat Edwin by a tenth of a second.
With the evening winding down, my participant and spectator friends and I went to the diner next door to pig out. It is a bit hard to eat the event provided pizza while trying to compete on rollers. Having regained my confidence on the big ancient rollers, I hope to do better next year. So, in summary I managed to hit my goals: no crash, and get to do an extra race. With the TT, I raced three times, to the two from the prior year. Progress.