On 08 June 2020 at 09:06 | updated on 22 July 2020 at 07:54

Germany's Felix Rijhnen takes on the world record for the hour in inline skating

Germany's Felix Rijhnen takes on the world record for the hour in inline skating

The hour record is one of the legendary formats of cycling. Its equivalent in inline skating is much less well known but is just as much of a dream for skaters. On July 5, 2020, Felix Rijhnen, a member of the international Powerslide Matter team, will set off on the track at the Geisingen Arena to establish an official measure of the hour...

By  Alexandre CHARTIER

Interview a few days before the event

Hi Felix, how did you come up with the idea of trying for the world record for the hour on roller skates?

Felix Rijhnen - training in Gross-GerauWe had this idea in mind for several years with Matthias Knoll (GER) and Scott Arlidge (NZL). We met regularly and said that it would be interesting to set up an event to beat this hour record. Everyone had their own idea of where and when to do it.

I've always been a bit scared by this type of organisation, all the implementation, logistics and training it requires. Plus, it's not the best preparation for a classic season. There are always events like the World Championships or the Berlin inline marathon, which requires specific preparation and it didn't necessarily fit. The current situation with the Coronavirus was finally a good opportunity, due to the cancellation of the traditional races. We soon knew that it would not be a normal season.

And what was the trigger?

My motivation was dropping. As an elite athlete, you need goals. After one or two weeks, I needed to set new goals. The idea came back. I called, Powerslide, Arena Geisingen, World Skate and DRIV. Everyone I contacted was already super motivated! They liked the idea.

This event is perfect for the current health situation: you're alone on the track, without a teammate, without suction...

I thought, "Okay, I'm a professional athlete, I build my season around that."

You rely on a lot of players...

Yes, I want to do it with a live broadcast with as many people as possible to follow the event. But the more technology you put in, the more expensive it is to organize. With all the partners, we want to do it professionally. That's why my federation has been very helpful. The project leaders created a working group with judges, people in charge of the livestream, social networks, the general organisation, and Sabine Urhig from Arena Geisingen. We set up meetings. Without the federation this would not have been possible. They are also in contact with the World Skate.

Are we moving towards a process for the homologation of hour records?

The international federation is going to set an official record. So far, there hasn't really been an official record. Some people say that Frank Fiers' (Belgium) record is. For me, it is the Italian skater who achieved it in 2005. But it really depends on who you ask. There are no rules. It's my idea to put everything down in writing and that World Skate validates a set of rules, for me of course but also for the skaters who will want to try to beat the record in the future. Pascal Briand made some technical proposals in this sense. With clear rules, it gives the possibility to make other attempts, as in cycling. This will be able to show how fast we can go in roller skating, as in other sports. As we are on our own on the track, the 125 mm should be allowed for this type of attempt.

Entraînement de Felix Rijhnen à Geisingen

How did you choose the infrastructure of the Geisingen Arena? Usually, records are set on longer tracks...

The 200m track format isn't the fastest. The Italian skater achieved an average of 38.6 km/h on a track one kilometre long. My goal is to make an official record, under the aegis of World Skate. I think the right concept is to use a 200m Vesmaco track, like in the World Championship. Vesmaco is very famous. The Italian company makes the fastest surfaces for skating. Worlds are only held on this type of track. When I told them about the project, they were really enthusiastic. They provided me with equipment to help me make this event as professional as possible on a live level. Only records on these tracks could be official. It's still being validated by the technical commission. The chances are high that it can be done.

Pascal has been working on it. It was funny because when Pascal joined Powerslide, he already had the record in mind. When we swapped, 4 or 5 years ago, we already agreed that it would be top, it's close to his heart. He regretted not being able to try it himself, not having had the opportunity. Scott also had this objective, like Pascal, he was not far from trying it once or twice. I figured it was now or never, the timing was perfect.

Pascal has a big network in the world, he's very useful for communication. He put me in touch with Vesmaco, the company sponsoring the event, with a high quality livestream. They created the surface for the runway in Geisingen.

How and where do you train?

On my Gross Gerau track, I can't keep up the pace for more than 5 km. If the track isn't the right one, it's impossible to break the record. Yes, I've done some tests. There's more than a second per lap, even if the conditions are good. I prefer indoor conditions; there's no wind. Even though the track in Geisingen wasn't open, Sabine Urhig made it accessible for me. I was able to test it and tell myself that I was in good shape.

Do you have any special preparation for this record?

Yes, for the last two months Scott has been doing a special program with the goal in mind. I'm in the last four weeks. I've been preparing for three months. I have two more Geisingen-specific sessions before the attempt.

Felix Rijhnen - Training in GeisingenThe training is not much different from what I usually do. I do a little less sprints and short intervals than in a classic season. I don't have a big variation in speed.

"It's not the most important thing to be fast, you have to be consistent."

I've been doing a little bit more long outings on bikes and skates. My split runs are longer. Now I'm more in preparation for a marathon like Berlin, but without the sprints. 95% of the training is solo! It's related to the confinement rules of course, it's not allowed to skate in groups in Germany. It's good for the preparation anyway. I'm used to this kind of training, I often skate alone or in a small group. The bad things of the Coronavirus finally brought some positive points.

Tell us about the partners of this event...

Powerslide is by my side of course. They provide me with the material to prepare me. Normally, I don't skate with new wheels. A normal sponsor wouldn't have provided new material. They had no objection to let me try out new equipment. I'm thinking about the size of the frames I'm going to use, the wheels. I had to burn a few sets of wheels to train and go fast! It was an opportunity to do some speed tests. It only works with good wheels. I am happy to have them by my side.

The biggest sponsor is my national federation, the DRIV. They were very nice. When I explained to them what I wanted to do, they understood my motivation. This kind of challenge is very important at the moment.

Will there be other events in parallel to your attempt?

Yes, I won't be the only one to attempt the hour record, Mareike Thum (Germany) will do it too. We have also planned to set up record attempts especially for sprinters: First there will be the 100m attempt (on the track), then Mareike's world record attempt of the hour, then some flying laps, and then my attempt.

There will be a lot of hygiene rules with only one skater on the track at a time. We still have strict rules in Germany. The Arena Geisingen has prepared the race very well. We respect all the constraints set by the local governments. We will be seven athletes who will have the chance to participate. We won't take any risks. That's also why the Arena has been so helpful.

What kind of skates are you going to use?

It's not finalized yet; I still have 2 more test sessions in Geisingen. The things I test at home don't necessarily have the same results in Geisingen where the speed is much higher. What is certain is the combination I will use: a BioRacer with a special aerodynamic design has been made especially for me, with my own design, with the sponsors of the event.

I am 99% sure about the wheels: 125 mm with the wide profile, the blue profile. I will mount them on standard 13.0 or 13.2 inch Triple X frame. I've been testing for several months, but it's different on track. 0.2 inches may seem a small difference, but I want to compare everything to be sure. There is a chance that I am skating on a custom made shoe specially made by Sergio McCargo. He's planning a very light boot for me, the same as for Bart Swings. In Argentina, the containment and shipping of goods is very strict. I hope to receive them this week. I know from Bart that this boot is 20% lighter than the previous ones. If I can have something similar, it will save a lot of weight, I have big feet!

For the bearings, I opt for a standard model Wicked HCR. The top of the range of the brand.

And what about the physique? Are you surrounded?

In parallel, I've been working with a nutritionist for a few years now, but we have a particular strategy for the hour record. What we eat and drink before the event is decisive. We test a strategy by carrying a small bottle during the hour. We are also working on heat management. In July, the temperature is likely to be high. "Hot means fast, but it's also harder on the body. I still have to do some tests on this. The last time I was in Geisingen, it was 25°C outside and over 30°C inside. I'm not too sensitive to heat, but at the Arena it canbe difficult. There are not a lot of ventilation. I'm confident that I'll find the right solution.

Where will we be able to see the event?

We have two options. On a personal note, I have a preference for a live Youtube event. If I look at my followers, they're from South America, Asia. Youtube seems to me the best platform to follow the event. It should be on there; we will confirm as soon as possible and share the link on social networks.

Thanks Felix and all the best for your record!

Entraînement de Felix Rijhnen à Gross-Gerau (Allemagne)


Released  on 08 June 2020 - Read 3184 times

By :
Fondateur et webmaster de rollerenligne.com. Alexandre est un passionné de roller en général et sous tous ses aspects : histoire, économie, sociologie, évolution technologique... Ne le branchez pas sur ces sujets sans avoir une aspirine à portée de main !

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Translated by :
Laethisia Schimek est une patineuse professionnelle de l'équipe Powerslide. Elle est spécialisée dans le sprint et plus particulièrement sur 100 m où elle a été médaillée à l'occasion des championnats du Monde. Laethisia est en charge des traductions anglaises et allemande de REL !

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