Over the course of the frigid off-season, the crew at riderichmond.net (http://riderichmond.wordpress.com/) imported a foreign delicacy to our shores: the Goldsprints race. From December to February, this Swiss-invented indoor roller race has become a popular event taking place at local bars: Mojo’s, Sprout, and Strange Matter. Usually, after the race, something along the lines of a dance party occurs – to appropriately complete the celebration of life’s return everyone anticipates in the coming spring.
Goldsprints was invented by Adrien Weber, who owns the TurbinenBrau Brewery in Zurich, Switzerland, and named for one of their beers, the “Gold-Sprint.” It first debuted at the 1999 Cycling Messenger World Championships, which took place in Zurich. The race features two riders on stationary track-bikes, where the fork is bolted into a metal frame. The back wheel is mounted on rollers, that are attached to sensors that measure each riders RPM’s, real-time speed, and position relative to one another in the race. The output is typically projected for an audience, making Goldsprints a perfect social event, and some Goldsprint systems can produce two, and three dimensional visualizations for enhanced verisimilitude. It’s popularity is on the rise, with little Goldsprint races popping up all over cities in America. Riderichmond.net has hosting Goldsprints during the winter months, as a promotional vehicle, as well as to raise money to obtain non-profit organizational status.
Each time the event has been greeted with enthusiasm and vigor by all attendants. The most recent race, held at the Strange Matter barcade and venue, played to a capacity crowd – by midnight the bouncers had to turn people away. Representatives from many of Richmond’s most notorious cycling clubs competing for sweet glory over five hundred meters at the quickest sprint possible; the audience screaming for their favorite racer like an insatiable pack of blood-hungry drunks. The grand prize of a Mission Workshop roll-top messenger bag was awarded on the raffle, and won by a man who didn’t race, and whose name has been lost to the sands of time. However, the past races have included victories by: Graham, and Matt (VCU Cycling), for the men’s category; and Dagga (Cutthroats), Julie (VCU Cycling), and Gabby (Skull Bong Rules Earth!) taking home the gold for the ladies. So far, the bikes used in the races and the events themselves have been sponsored by Cultur, a Richmond trick-track bike company. Other sponsors include: Mission Workshop, Bunny-Hop Bikes, and Carytown Bikes, all providing prize support.
Even with the promise of the coming spring, and a bigger bike event schedule than, perhaps, there has been before, more Goldsprints races are in the works. But…one thing is for sure, the truly dedicated, truly spirited will return for one last sprint.