After jumping on the rollers myself in Glasgow a few weeks ago I didn’t need anymore reminding on how difficult these few seconds could be, so it was from the bar room floor that i planned to observe the madness taking place on the stage at the Hoxton Square Bar.
The Rollapaluza crew had come from the Bristol round at the Mud Dock the previous evening but still looked fresh and ready for action. Bristol had again been a big success with yet another long distance cyling star showing up for a spin on the rigs.The man in question had come from possible the longest bike race in the world to one of the shortest and he excelled at both .Mike Hall had raced around the world and won…in doing so he broke the previous record by almost two weeks completing the 24.900 miles in 92 days averaging around 200miles a day.
Mike was no slouch on the rollers either setting a time for 500m at 22.11 quite an achievement for a proven endurance rider. Other long distance cyclists that have graced the Rollapaluza rigs are Mark Beaumont and famously James Bowthorpe who if I remember correctly rode for 24hrs in the window front of London cycling café ‘Look Mum No Hands’ on a set of Rollapaluza rigs.
The Hoxton bar was looking splendid with glitter ball and a colorful lighting display adding to the mood and with DJ Alex Briggs on the decks it was hard to imagine there was serious bike racing going on here, there was no shortage of people joining the queue, aiming to set a time that was fast enough to qualify for the knockout rounds, after all these year its great to see so many people giving it a try for the first time, also nice to see some old face’s returning to show the young whipper snappers how to spin the legs. When the cut of time arrived there were still people wanting to try again or who had just plucked up enough courage to have a go but who sadly had left it to late.
The evening was now in full swing and the new DJ for the head to heads was Rollapaluza’s Caspar, the music seemed to mirror the feeling on the stage a calm heady beginning while the riders were getting themselves set then immediately ramping up the revs per minute once the race had started , this in turn raised the general atmosphere and level of support shown to the competitors with the loudhailers becoming a popular accessory . A tweet on the night from Simon Warren said “my legs hurt in places i didn’t even know i had places” my heart went out to Jason Coleman and Ben Turner who dead heated then immediately had to race an extra 250m Ouch that must of hurt.
There were some great performances from people including the experienced Jason Humphries and of course the men’s winner Keith Henderson who did look completely shattered as captured perfectly in this picture from Jason.
In the women’s race a very enthusiastic Caroline Rennie (below left) set some fast times from the outset and in the final held off a strong challenge from Verity Applecare, there were quite a few women there in Hoxton trying the Rollers for the first time, and I’m sure they will all be back for more.
There was disappointment on the night for last years winner Rob Read the BMX rider trapped a muscle in his back while warming up so had to pull out from the event Which was a real shame. Bristol and London have now led the way for the other cities and the race is on to see who can become the National Rollapaluza Series winner in 2013.