Last Wednesday saw the final night of the Rollapaluza Winter Series. The weather might have been cold and wet in Herne Hill but the racing was no damp squib. Although Dorchie had already won the ladies title there was still lots to play for. V was there to secure 2nd spot and I was seeking to improve on my position of joint 13th. Stuart Stow also came along to get involved with the racing. Natalie was there to cheer everyone along.
Stuart was keen to get racing and he went for it in the second qualifying race of the evening. He worked hard throughout the sprint and achieved a time of 23.83 secs, which although did not place him in top 16 knockout rounds, it would have placed him as 3rd fastest qualifier at the Twickenham Awards event last November.
I waited for the rest of the TCC squad to arrive before racing. Determined to improve on my personal best time and hopeful of breaking the 22 second barrier I went all out from the start. With much encouragement from V (mainly telling me that I was losing the race, which turned out to be a fat lie) I completed the distance in a pb time of 22.00 secs and a brief moment of glory as this was the fastest time set to that point in the proceedings. I eventually qualified for the knockout rounds in 6th place. I proceeded to win my first round tie but once again came up short in the quarterfinals. I've said it before and will say it again that I need to achieve sub-22 sec times to progress further in these competitions.
So to the ladies racing. It had been agreed that V and Dorchie would each try their hardest in qualifying to secure the best possible positions, with a view to securing the 1st and 2nd spots, so as to avoid each other in the preliminary knockout rounds. Dorchie was up first to qualify. From the outset it was apparent that Dorchie had no intentions of giving way. She clearly enjoys winning as her warm up was quicker than many of the other races. The actual race was run in clinical fashion and an almost effortless performance saw Dorchie produce a record breaking time of 24.08 secs. V also produced a fantastic time of 25.34 secs and the required 2nd place.
The quarterfinals were routine wins for both Dorchie and V. In the semifinals Dorchie was to face Nancy, an unfamiliar opponent and V was to meet her nemesis Estelle Rogers. There was no stopping Dorchie reaching her 4th consecutive final which she did in another record time of 24.05 secs. As we've seen before, if there's to be any drama it normally involves V. Tonight she was not about to disappoint us. (You will recall that in round 1 V pulled a foot out of the pedal straps an had to re-run the race over 250m; in round 2 she beat one of her male friends to much delight and in round 3 she managed to wheel spin the bike off its rollers.) The race started neck and neck but Estelle had started to build a lead after 200 metres. We urged V on to kick again with 250 metres to go and again at 100 metres. Still marginally behind V pushed as hard as she could and as the finished approached there was no separating the riders. With absolute joy and delight the
lights on V's timing clock lit up indicating that she had taken the win in a pb time of 24.74 secs. The crowd became strangely hushed and we looked across at Estelle's clock. To our horror it read 24.73 and after a quick consultation by the judges the win was taken from V and awarded to Estelle. To secure 2nd place overall, V would now have to win the minor final and rely on Dorchie to win overall. Otherwise Estelle would take 2nd and push V down to 3rd in the series.
As it turned out, the minor final was much less eventful for V and she won through to take 3rd place on the night. Dorchie prepared for the final, once more against Estelle. She was clearly nervous and the memory of the slimmest of wins last time was a concern. Dorchie, however, was in fantastic form, took command of the race from the outset and never looked back to achieve a winning margin of 0.7 secs, securing the title of undisputed, undefeated champion and the faster woman in Britain. Here is a link to a video of Dorchie's race:
The official overall standings are yet to be published but we know that Dorchie is the ladies champion 40 pts followed by V in joint 2nd 28 pts. Also by my calculation, Eleanor Resheph of TCC was placed joint 9th overall 2 pts. I also believe that I progressed to joint 8th overall for the series with 6 pts.
See http://www.rollapaluza.com/?p=986 for the full race results and pictures (including me sporting the TCC cap)
The Rollapaluza National Event is being held at the Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill on the evening of Good Friday. So pop in for some roller racing after spending the day at the HH track meeting. http://www.rollapaluza.com/?page_id=274
It's been lot's of fun taking part, watching and writing up these events.
you for reading (If you got this far)