Wednesday night was the penultimate round of the Rollapaluza Winter Series; and what a night it was. We saw the crowning of a champion, the smashing of personal best times and all in the gaze of Mark Cavendish who had joined the audience.
You might have gathered, from Mr Peck's earlier message that Dorchie picked up her third straight win which, although yet to be acknowledged by the Rollapaluza Team, means she is the Women's London Rollapaluza Champion 2009/10. Read on to find out more about this achievement and of the trials and tribulations of V and Darren.
The Rollapaluza roadshow came to the home of track cycling, the Half Moon Pub, in the shadow of Herne Hill velodrome for round 3 of the winter series. A fantastic staged venue that generated an electric atmosphere, fuelling some tremendous times.
Dorchie was first up for qualifying and breezed through to the knockout stage with the 2nd best time of 25.21. V was next and qualified with a time of 25.71 in 3rd spot. This result would prove to be telling in the later rounds. Estelle Rogers showed great form, qualifying 1st @ 25.19.
The quarter-finals round went to form with Dorchie and V cruising through. It then became apparent that, due to V's qualifying position, she and Dorchie would be drawn together in the semi-finals and thus ending the possibility of another all TCCfinal. Once again, with torn loyalties, we lined up for the start. V was determined to make a quick start, knowing how strong Dorchie is in the final stages. This determination, however, proved to be V's undoing. As the race commenced, V rose in the saddle for maximum effort. This forward shift in weight, however, caused the back wheel to skew sideways on the roller and valuable momentum was lost. Dorchie took advantage of the 50 metres concession and never looked back for a place in her 3rd successive final. Estelle Rogers cruised through the other half of the draw and would go head to head with Dorchie.
V rode well in the 3rd/4th place ride-off and secured 3rd place overall with a convincing win over Anna Glowinski.
So to the final. A win for Dorchie meant the series victory; for Estelle a chance to get back into contention. These two riders had met on previous occasions and had produced some thrilling races. So with great anticipation we prepared for the final. The race started and it was neck and neck for the first 100 metres. Estelle pushed hard and started to open a gap. At the half way point Dorchie was 20 metres behind and was urged on to close the gap. Dorchie was clearly giving everything she had but Estelle was equal to the task the gap remained. Now we've seen before that Dorchie's strength is in the final 100 metres before but was she really able to rein back such a deficit in the final few seconds? The gap did indeed close bit by bit and at the line there was no separation and all eyes turned to the timing clocks. Estelle had finished in a time of 24.67 but Dorchie rose as the victor with a time of 24.66 (pb and probable women's record), just 0.01 (1/100th) of a second the difference. A truly momentous race.
The men's racing was just as exciting with the record time over 500 metres being broken on numerous occasions; unfortunately never by me but I did achieve two personal best times. I qualified in 10th place with 22.42 and was up against the 8th place finisher in the first knockout round. I am known to have a quick start and I was anxious to maintained this effort throughout. I was successful and went through to the quarter-finals with a time of 22.07 (pb) and a half second advantage over my opponent. In the quarter-final round I came up against Keith Henderson, who is best known for having won the Nocturne folding bike competition on two occasions. I knew Keith was fast, having posted a sub 22-time in the earlier rounds. I went for the quick start and then focused on Keith's leg speed in an attempt to match his cadence. Although close my time of 22.05 (pb) was no match to his 21.43. I have to break into the 21's to go further in these competitions.
Keith made to the final and achieved a great time of 21.08 but was outclassed by the awesome Mike Stovold, the clear favourite who had consistently posted record times throughout the evening, with the time of 20.73.
The official overall standings are yet to be published and will follow.
The 4th and final round is to be held on Wednesday, 24th February 2010 at Bicycle Magic, Whitechapel, London E1 5NF. See the Rollapaluza Website for more details and full race results.