Roll for the Roses is a local event in Roseville, Minnesota, that is basically a 5k and 10k run event with a 10k skate event tacked on to the start, probably because there are so many inline skaters in the Twin Cities. Total, there were 57 skaters signed up for the 10k, with more than half of them in the Pro division. There are two divisions, Pro and Recreation. Pretty much everyone in the pro group is skating on low cut speed boots. The start is a group start, so everyone in the event starts together. It is legitimately an event less so than a race as this kind of event should attract a lot more recreational skaters. For the speed skaters in the bunch, though, this event is pretty much a sprint. A 10k is a warm up for skaters that usually race 42k.
This year, there was actually a race. The weather was hotter, in the mid to upper 70s, and it was humid. It has been raining a lot, and the forecast called for more thunderstorms, but thankfully, they ended up holding off until later in the afternoon. We didn’t get any rain during the day in Rochester, and it didn’t start to rain until later in the evening. The humidity could have been worse, though.
It is a fun local race that is worth the drive from Rochester. I am glad we have a local short course race. I think that we need a lot more of these all over the country. Since this race is in the Twin Cities, all of the really fast guys come out to race. I was hoping to jump in with the lead pack and hold on as long as possible. However, I made it to the event late because of some road construction and started probably 30 seconds behind the last skaters. As I was skating toward the finish line, the gun went off for the start of the race, and the main pack went flying by me as I was skating the other direction. I made it to the start line, turned around, and sprinted to catch up. I bombed from the start through the rec group and caught the the chase pack that had fallen off of the leaders within the first mile. The main pack was too fast, and we weren’t able to catch them.
The course is a road course that has blocked off sections of local roadways that starts near the Roseville Skating Center and finishes in the oval. The road wasn’t in the best shape, and part of the course went through some subdivisions with road work, that resulted in loose stone on the roadway. It almost took out one skater in the group I was racing with. There is also a good number of tar snakes and hills. On the whole, though, the roads aren’t rough, or they didn’t feel very rough. I raced on my World Record Wheel Truths, 110mm wheels at 87a hardness. These are the same wheels I raced the Apostle Island Inline Marathon on earlier in June. The hills proved to be a challenge as there are a couple of big ones. We almost caught one of the guys that fell off of the main pack, but the hills proved to be the great equalizer. The final couple of turns include a 90 degree left hand turn and a narrow downhill right hand turn that leads onto the main level of the Roseville Oval. The oval surface is amazingly smooth, and once on that surface, I was able to put the hammer down for a 300m sprint to the finish around the corners and along the back straight away.
I was hoping to have video, but in the rush of trying to get to the start line, I must not have set up my Contour properly as it didn’t record. Hopefully next year. Chris Lomen of SkateLove did get helmet camera video of the lead pack, though. Official results can be found here, and Inline Skate Minneapolis has a good write up of the event, also. I finished 24th out of 30 in the pro group, and 26th overall out of 57, in 23:02. Not bad considering I started all the way at the back. Average pace wasn’t great, 16.2 mph. It was a gun start, so when the horn went, I started with a good 30 seconds to make up.
I learned a lot during this event. First, I need to skate more hills. Second, I haven’t been working out hard enough during my training skates because I woke up sore this morning. Third, technique is king, and I need to get a lot lower while skating. I talked to Chris Lomen after the race and he and I discussed how best to go about this as I train for the Chicagoland in a couple of weeks.