Tag Archives: Roll for the Roses

Event Report: Roll for the Roses 10k

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.


Looking For Speed…

I have previously mentioned that this is the year of technique.  In reviewing all of the media I found from the Apostle Island Inline Marathon, I found two really interesting photos, and an pretty good video.  First, the photos (sorry, links only, photos by Ed Monroe):


The second comes from a helmet camera video shot by Pat, another advanced division skater and all around good guy.

All of this skating was toward the beginning of the race, at least, as far as I can tell from the pictures and video.  This means this is what my technique looks like in the early part of a race when my legs are still fresh. You only need to really watch the a couple minutes of the video.  First, the good things.  I have a good strong glide.  This is evident in the video and the pictures.  It looks like I have good control early on of my glide foot and I am controlling the skate well on one foot.  Second, my hips are staying pretty level.  This is where the power comes from.  At this point in the race, from the video, we were moving around 2o miles per hour.  I was able to hold that pace within reason in the draft (something I probably couldn’t do solo).  Generally, I don’t have a lot of upper body noise, so there isn’t a whole lot of movement, which is ideal.

Now the bad things.  The pictures show this pretty harshly, I am not any where near as low as I should be.  Drafting in the pace line or not, I need to bend my knees and get my but down more.  I think I was doing a better job of this later in the race, and sprinting at the finish, I looked pretty good and low, but generally, skating in the pack, I look like I am standing strait up.  I need to work on that for sure.  Ideally, I should be working on this in my shorter technique oriented skates and tempo skates.  I am getting to the point where I have good power.  In a full sprint with solid double push and arm swing, I hit 24 miles per hour on my tempo skate last week.  It is a work in progress, and I am happy to see results so quickly.  Something else I could work on based on these videos:  more under push in my double push.  The video shows I am really just carving on my glide leg.  I thin this is something I need to work on longer term to build strength in my my legs where needed.

By way of training and race schedule update, I haven’t been able to skate or train much in the last week because of life circumstances that have taken precedence.  I did spend a very short time lifting this week, and increased my power clean and rear squat lifts by 5 pounds for new personal record lifts, the power cleans at 145 lbs x4 reps and the rear squats at 185 lbs x6 reps.  I think I am also ready to increase my dead lifts, but didn’t get a chance to try because of time constraints.  New personal best wall sit to failure is up to 105 seconds.  Training, though limited, is on-going.  Roll for the Roses may be off the race calendar this year, but I have to play that one by ear.  I hope I get to make it and that it doesn’t rain.  Watch for updates.


After the uneventful cancellation of Roll for the Roses this year, I was a bit put off.  I felt like I was gearing up for a race, I tapered down, and then didn’t get to sprint.  It was frustrating.  I wanted to use that race to gauge where I was going into the Chicagoland.  I kept asking “Why am I working so hard for a 10K?” or “Why bother tapering for such a short race?” etc.  Realistically, though, I had to do it in order to really see where I was on race day going into the Chicagoland marathon.  Regardless, on this side of things, I am sort of glad the race was cancelled.  I tapered, but what I really needed was some rest.  I was pushing hard 4 or more days a week, and not being consistent with rest days.  I was frustrated by not getting to race Roll for the Roses, and was thinking I was behind on my training.  I think, to some degree, I was over doing it.  Back to back hard skates meant my legs were burning out, so the second skate wasn’t providing any benefit to my training.  I got some good advice on the Skate Log Forums, and have been reconsidering my training.  I think had I made an attempt to keep up with the lead pack at Roll for the Roses, I would have been dissatisfied with my race.  Now I have the chance to rework things going into the marathon.

Joe Friel and an interesting post regarding the importance of rest as part of a training plan.  Friel’s point is really more oriented toward his experience with aging, but in a lot of ways, I can understand where he is coming from.  In high school and college, I could go hard for hours and do hard days back to back.  In the thick of motocross in high school and college, 3+ hour rides were not out of the question, and on weekends we would occasionally go back to back on days.  Sore or not, we would get up and keep going.  Now, past 30 years old, married, with an infant, I certainly want to get out and do hard work outs every day, but it is no longer realistic.  While younger and certainly far from the athlete that Friel represents, the need for rest makes total sense.  I have incorporated the need for rest, and I already feel like I am getting more out of my hard work out days.

Training right now means hard days followed by active rest or rest days.  Hard days consist of intervals, hill skates, or long tempo skates.  Active rest days are slow skates or cycling.  Rest days are days off.  I am shooting for 3 hard days per week, and mixing in one or two active rest days, with the remainder of the days being rest days.  This week, I did an active rest on Monday (after a hard tempo skate Sunday), intervals on Tuesday, rest day on Wednesday, 22 mile tempo skate Thursday, rest day Friday, I am planning a tempo 20 miler tomorrow (Saturday), and a rest day on Sunday.  Next week will start with intervals, and see where we land moving into next weekend.  I feel good about this approach to training.  We will see how it works out for the race in two weeks.

Another programming note, I haven’t shot much video this year, but I have been playing with editing software.  I will have some reviews in the near future, including DashWare, an in-depth review of my Bont Z boots and 3PF 7050 frames, helmets, wheels, gloves, and my Garmin.  I am also hoping to put together a video edit of all of my video from 2012.  Hopefully, there will be a lot more content here in the near future.

No Race to Report…

I signed up for the Roll for the Roses 10k which was supposed to take place on June 20.  Ok, I know I am late, but but but… I have nothing but excuses.

Anyway, frustratingly, there isn’t anything to report.  We got to the race only to find out that it was cancelled.  This is abnormal for inline races because they usually run rain or shine.  However, there was a good reason.  The night before, a very large group of thunderstorms  (I have previously commented on our strange weather this year) blew through the Twin Cities, taking down trees and knocking out power.  In Roseville, it took down power lines along the racecourse for the Roll for the Roses 10k.  As a result, the race didn’t go.  I was frustrated because I had spent the prior week preparing specifically for the 10k distance, and then tapered down prior to the race.  It wasn’t a normal taper, as I still pushed the pace the first couple of days of the week prior to the race, but I took two days off, and felt good about racing, even if I was going to be racing in the rain.

So, we made the trip, only to pick up the t-shirt, which was nice actually, and then headed to Ikea and to visit family in the area.  At least the day wasn’t totally wasted.  When we got back, my father, who was visiting for the weekend, and I went out for a bike ride/skate.  Nothing blistering, but we did get caught in the rain.  All in all, I got to skate over 6 miles, and I got rained on, accomplishing just about everything I would have done if the race went forward in the rain.  Now, I am looking toward the Chicagoland in two weeks.