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Sea Otter 2008
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Tara Llanes:
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Got Pink?
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Pedros
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Coming alive
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Sea Otter
Grand Theft Velo
In the Heart and Mind
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It's All About the Wheels
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Sea Otter: Super D
What is Sea Otter?



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Which Holiday Treat
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Marilyn Price:
Making Trips for Kids




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2006 CX Nationals Sidelines
2006 CX Nationals Day 2
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Warmth Recaptured
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Interbike '06
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24 Hours of Willamette
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Pedros Fest '06
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Interbike '05/ Las Vegas
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Death Valley:
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And the Winner is...
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BTC Daily 2004
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Brooklyn Brewery the site of the Kissena Cycling Club Roller Race, The hard road race to nowhere.

Per usual, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. Yesterday evening we got a message from J.P. that there was an event at the Brooklyn Brewery. We ran into J.P. at the Cyclocross Nats and found out that he hailed from Metro New York and that he raced with the Kissena Cycling Club, to make a short story shorter, we hustled to cover the event, a Roller Bicycle Race.

What a pant load of fun! There in the increasingly gentrified post industrial, neo-yuppie neighborhood of Williamsburg Brooklyn, in the midst of industrial row, 16 or so officially seeded competitive riders showed up to compete for bragging rights and huge prize money in a race that went, literally, nowhere!

Home trainer contest, A crowd gathers at the Brooklyn Brewery for a sport witha fun history, roller racing

Hunh? You ask. Well let me explain. This was a roller race, a form of bicycle racing dating back to the early 1900's, which has typically been held in emporiums dedicated to the god Bacchus (pubs to you and me). Riders got up on track bikes (single speed, generally fixed gear bikes, used in track races or velodromes) which they rode on wooden rollers. Rollers which were in turn connected to a clock like affair with different colored arrows corresponding to the color of the roller assembly for each rider. The clock is calibrated in terms of meters and each arrow rotates in a reflection of the speed with which a rider gets his roller to turn. The races are courses of 500 or 1,000 meters. The elimination rounds being shorter and the subsequent rounds going the full kilometer.
Bicycle roller racing does not cover a loat of ground but it does provide a heck of a lot of fun

Easy right? Not a chance! I actually watched, having arrived early, as one of the riders I know to be an accomplished roadie attempted to merely remain upright on a roller. He didn't! Now these guys not only remain upright, but they actually complete 500 meter sprints in 17.2 seconds from a standing start no less. Ok the 17.2 is the current record for this feat but one of the riders there tonight finished in 17.5. I heard estimates of pedal cadences in the range of 180 rpm. Not too shabby I'd say, but remember that this is in effect done while standing still.



The rollers are only about 20 inches or so wide, with a two inch silver strip indicating the sweet spot (center) of the roller. Ten inches or so to either side and you crash! Now try doing this while laying it all on the line in terms of effort and pedal cadence.
The strain of the sprint competition is evident on the faces of the Roller Racing cycilists.

The evening began with the elimination heats of four riders going against each other and the top two advancing to the next round. There is a second chance round for those eliminated, where the winner of that rounds gets to move forward. But, for the most part it's winner moves up. When the eliminations started the attendance was relatively sparse, but by the time the finals went off, the brewery was packed!

The calm before the storm as the roller race winner, Gui Nelessen readies his track bike for the competition

There were clearly favored, top seeded, competitors, but for the most part this was a very tightly spaced field of riders. The top seeded rider actually had an incident that left him playing catch up in one of the second chance rounds, which he did successfully. But the ultimate laurels went to another respected but surprise winner, Aaron Wolfe.

The crowd was comprised of pretty much anybody who is anybody in Metro New York Racing. There was John Campo the director of the Kissena Velodrome, Andrew LaCorte, Gui Nelessen and Aaron Wolfe top seeded competitors, and David Perry of Bike Works NYC who also provided the rollers. This particular set up being from 1950 and only recently remanufactured with new bearings. The sport as I say has a long legacy, but this competition was in effect a new beginning directly tied to the past. Far from being a re-enactment or re-creation of the original races, it was more a continuation of the tradition.

The Brooklyn Brewery is intimately tied to cycling and the bike culture, they also make great beer!

This was a night of good clean fun and comeraderie. The competitors and judges were all friends and treated each other with respect and friendship, but the competition was serious and intense. They were out there to win, but, much like brothers fighting over a prized possession, there was respect and above all friendship. Everybody was accessible and everybody participated on some level or another, it was a crowd simply having fun together.

And what lavish prize could be expected for such an event? Fourth through Second won five dollars and the huge top prize of ten bucks went to the winner. But everybody had a great time and the cheers and screams of encouragement still ring in my ears as I write this.

I strongly suggest that you make it out for the next one. It's truly a rip and the Brooklyn Beer ain't bad either!

Brooklyn Brewery the site of the Kissena Cycling Club Roller Race, The hard road race to nowhere.

Per usual, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. Yesterday evening we got a message from J.P. that there was an event at the Brooklyn Brewery. We ran into J.P. at the Cyclocross Nats and found out that he hailed from Metro New York and that he raced with the Kissena Cycling Club, to make a short story shorter, we hustled to cover the event, a Roller Bicycle Race.

What a pant load of fun! There in the increasingly gentrified post industrial, neo-yuppie neighborhood of Williamsburg Brooklyn, in the midst of industrial row, 16 or so officially seeded competitive riders showed up to compete for bragging rights and huge prize money in a race that went, literally, nowhere!

Home trainer contest, A crowd gathers at the Brooklyn Brewery for a sport witha fun history, roller racing

Hunh? You ask. Well let me explain. This was a roller race, a form of bicycle racing dating back to the early 1900's, which has typically been held in emporiums dedicated to the god Bacchus (pubs to you and me). Riders got up on track bikes (single speed, generally fixed gear bikes, used in track races or velodromes) which they rode on wooden rollers. Rollers which were in turn connected to a clock like affair with different colored arrows corresponding to the color of the roller assembly for each rider. The clock is calibrated in terms of meters and each arrow rotates in a reflection of the speed with which a rider gets his roller to turn. The races are courses of 500 or 1,000 meters. The elimination rounds being shorter and the subsequent rounds going the full kilometer.
Bicycle roller racing does not cover a loat of ground but it does provide a heck of a lot of fun

Easy right? Not a chance! I actually watched, having arrived early, as one of the riders I know to be an accomplished roadie attempted to merely remain upright on a roller. He didn't! Now these guys not only remain upright, but they actually complete 500 meter sprints in 17.2 seconds from a standing start no less. Ok the 17.2 is the current record for this feat but one of the riders there tonight finished in 17.5. I heard estimates of pedal cadences in the range of 180 rpm. Not too shabby I'd say, but remember that this is in effect done while standing still.



The rollers are only about 20 inches or so wide, with a two inch silver strip indicating the sweet spot (center) of the roller. Ten inches or so to either side and you crash! Now try doing this while laying it all on the line in terms of effort and pedal cadence.
The strain of the sprint competition is evident on the faces of the Roller Racing cycilists.

The evening began with the elimination heats of four riders going against each other and the top two advancing to the next round. There is a second chance round for those eliminated, where the winner of that rounds gets to move forward. But, for the most part it's winner moves up. When the eliminations started the attendance was relatively sparse, but by the time the finals went off, the brewery was packed!

The calm before the storm as the roller race winner, Gui Nelessen readies his track bike for the competition

There were clearly favored, top seeded, competitors, but for the most part this was a very tightly spaced field of riders. The top seeded rider actually had an incident that left him playing catch up in one of the second chance rounds, which he did successfully. But the ultimate laurels went to another respected but surprise winner, Aaron Wolfe.

The crowd was comprised of pretty much anybody who is anybody in Metro New York Racing. There was John Campo the director of the Kissena Velodrome, Andrew LaCorte, Gui Nelessen and Aaron Wolfe top seeded competitors, and David Perry of Bike Works NYC who also provided the rollers. This particular set up being from 1950 and only recently remanufactured with new bearings. The sport as I say has a long legacy, but this competition was in effect a new beginning directly tied to the past. Far from being a re-enactment or re-creation of the original races, it was more a continuation of the tradition.

The Brooklyn Brewery is intimately tied to cycling and the bike culture, they also make great beer!

This was a night of good clean fun and comeraderie. The competitors and judges were all friends and treated each other with respect and friendship, but the competition was serious and intense. They were out there to win, but, much like brothers fighting over a prized possession, there was respect and above all friendship. Everybody was accessible and everybody participated on some level or another, it was a crowd simply having fun together.

And what lavish prize could be expected for such an event? Fourth through Second won five dollars and the huge top prize of ten bucks went to the winner. But everybody had a great time and the cheers and screams of encouragement still ring in my ears as I write this.

I strongly suggest that you make it out for the next one. It's truly a rip and the Brooklyn Beer ain't bad either!

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