Ya like how I did that little play on words? 'Zen' and now instead of 'then' and now? HAH!!!! I kill me sometimes!
Anyways, back before this internet thingie became such a big fucking deal, we used to have to find other ways to entertain ourselves on cold winter nights. One of the things we used to do were indoor roller races. John and Joyce Reischutz, proprietors of Pedal Power in Acton, MA had a system in the early '90s with a pair of Kreitler unloaded rollers hooked up to a PC running a program called Roller Fusion by Simutech. The graphics were strikingly similar to the 'horse race' graphic that Computrainer still uses today.
It was simple, two riders head to head, a flying start 1K matched sprint. the fastest rider wins. The winners were typically just under 30 seconds. I was usually in the 35 second range, and I think I remember my PR being about 32 seconds. Roller racing didn't do much for your cycling ability other than to help you smooth out your pedal stroke. Sure, you'd just about blow your lungs out from the cardiovascular effort, but this didn't seem to translate very well toward the road season.
Still, it was something to do, and was actually quite a lot of fun. The roller races were the first time I ever used a heart rate monitor, and I wasn't the only one shocked to see my HR hitting 212, at the age of 30.
In the winter of '93, when I was president of the Northeast Bike Club, I had heard from other bike shops in new england doing the same thing. I decide to put on a real roller racing competition.
It was a brutally cold day and the gym at the Y wasn't heated. Riders were warming up in their jackets and sweat pants. We actually had a pretty good turnout, if I remember correctly, of about 25 people.
A couple views of riders warming up. That's Jeff Heyne in the brown jacket.
One of the heats. That would be John Rowles in the pink hat, with George Vakerlis standing next to him. George is one of the people responsible for getting me into racing.
Same heat. I don't know the rider in the skinsuit, but standing next to him in the grey hat is Phil Schultz, who used to hang around with Dick Ring a lot, smoked cigars a lot, and ran the weekly sprints on Fort Devens before the base closed. The rider behind him with the BRC shorts is Joe Cady, and the big guy to his right is Scott Critz.
We did the heats in 4-up events, with the top two going to the next round. Every 3rd place rider was put into a separate heat, so that the last heat of the next round was all 3rd place riders.
The race was won by Ray Schultz, no relation to Phil. Ray was on the 1980 olympic track cycling team, which ended up not competing in moscow. I was pretty convinced Ray would win, since he was always at the Pedal Power events and I knew what he could do. He simply paced the fastest rider -I think it was Bill Black - until he had about 100 meters left, then kicked on the afterburners and spun up to over 200 RPM, and I think I remember his speed hitting 69 KPH - remember these were unloaded rollers. I don't know who was third, but I know Tom Stevens was 4th, since he crashed.
At the bike shop events, Ray used to regularly hit 25 seconds. He would be warming up on his rollers, bunny hop off the rollers, ride over to the competition rollers, bunny hop onto the rollers, win the race, then bunny hop back over to his rollers. Not only was Ray incredibly talented, but he was also incredibly nice. Always had sage words of advice and encouragement, never insulting, arrogant, or rude.
I don't know where Ray is these days, but I hope he's well.