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Rock 'N' Roller Grand Final.

If you weren't at Planet X last night for the final round of the Rock 'N' Roller series then you've missed out on a truly great night of racing, celebration and the handover of our Viner Mitus 0.6 and RT-90 road race frames to our new sponsored teams.

While Sharrow Cycling and Racing Club and Workshop Wheelers were warming up for the grand final of the Rock 'N' Roller on the top floor of Planet X's Sheffield Showroom while downstairs team riders from Planet X Team Cystic Fibrosis were collecting their brand new SRAM Force 22 equipped Viner Mitus 0.6 race bikes. Planet X have teamed up with Team Cystic Fibrosis to create a bike range and clothing line that will help TCF to promote their racing and fundraising activities. Viner is one of the pre-eminent Italian cycling brands, with a rich racing heritage that stretches back decades and they provided the amazing, lightweight carbon fiber framesets that we hope will take Team Cystic Fibrosis to new heights. In keeping with the Italian frame theme, the TCF bikes have been kitted out with wheels from Italian manufacturer Campagnolo and dressed for success in finishing kit from Italian accessory masters Selcof.

Eight team riders have so far signed up to put the pedal to the road this season aboard the new TCF bikes, aiming to garner some race success and participate in sponsored events that will help put thousands of pounds towards further, much needed research for Cystic Fibrosis via the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Team Cystic Fibrosis also competes off-road with a strong presence in cyclocross as well as hosting their own annual mass participation sportive events such as the 65 Roses Holme Moss Classic. The 65 Roses is open to any rider who is willing to put themselves against some of Yorkshire's toughest hills and most beautiful scenery and will be taking place again this year. If Yorkshire's hardest ascents don't sound like your cup of tea then you can get involved earlier in the season with the Inaugural 65 Roses Spring Classic and start the sportive season off with this truly worthwhile event. Entries are open now, limited to 300 places. Get signed up and get some sponsorship forms filled out for this truly noble cause. EDiT: The 65 Roses Spring classic is now full but registrations for the 65 Roses Sportive will open in early March.

If you want to show your appreciation for the great work done by the TCF guys and gals in other ways then you can always pop into the Planet X Sheffield Showroom and snap yourself up some of Team Cystic Fibrosis cycling kit. We have limited stocks of their full team kit which includes a brilliant long sleeve jersey, gilet, short sleeve race top and bib-shorts from our favourite Italian clothing manufacturer. These garments are packed with high-performance technical fabrics and design features that make them the perfect complement to the TCF race bikes. Pop in today and show your solidarity.

The new Planet X - Carnac race team were also present during the event to collect their newly commissioned RT-90 race bikes and team kit. Planet X have stepped back into the ring this year to sponsor a new race team that will be flying the colours for Planet X bikes, accessory brands Carnac and Selcof, as well as High5 Sports Nutrition. Planet X - Carnac team riders collected their new RT-90 team bikes, team kit and a bumper pack of High5 Sports Nutrition products that will keep them fed, hydrated and powered for peak performance throughout the upcoming race season. Para-cyclist Craig Preece and Lou Collins were first out of the blocks to collect their new bikes and race kit. Lou slipped into a pair of the new Planet X Team Carbon road shoes to finish off the Fluoro kit ensemble. The eagle eyed of you might notice she's managing to pull off a pair of size 43's in style- no need to worry we've got a full range of sizes due to land later this month.

At the same time as the team bike handoffs we were also running the first of our monthly 'staff sales', where Planet X staff get the chance to snap up bargains from our ex-demo and R&D fleet. Showroom, warehouse and office staff were all opening their wallets to snap up some lightly used post-Christmas bargains and new Team Cystic Fibrosis cycling kit, after all you can never have too many bikes, right? There was a party atmosphere in the air with beer and music flowing all night. Thanks must go to Erdinger who graciously sponsored the evening with 200 bottles of their, isotonic, alcohol-free Weissbier which ensured everyone rode/drove home safely and woke up with crystal clear heads.

You can't have a party without a good spread of food and legendary Sheffield fishmongers (and events caterers) Manns prepared and supplied the food for the night. Team riders from both sponsored teams, staff and of course riders from Sharrow and Worksop tucked into the amazing spread of cold cuts, smoked meats, spiced chicken, artisan breads and appetisers that had been laid on for the night.

With the team bike handoffs complete by 7pm we got down to the serious business of sorting out the men from the boys (and girl) with the final of the Planet X Rock 'N' Roller. Over the past 3 months, ten teams representing the cream of South Yorkshire's cycling talent have battled it out on the rollers to prove who the best racers over 500m and 1000m were. The heats have seen some surprising upsets with more powerful riders trounced by younger, faster riders. Reputations have crumbled and new ones made as these two teams sprinted their way to the grand final. Check out the time-lapse video from last week's semi-final for a taste of the action.

Worksop Wheelers went head to head against Sharrow Cycling and Racing in the grand final of the Planet X Rock 'N' Roller roller racing championship. Both teams had previously bested other opponents, setting solid 500m and 1000m times and they were ready to do battle. Sharrow turned with a limited team of only 6 riders, a strategy that may have worked in their favour and saw Worksop riders pitted against themselves in one draw for each of the 500m and 1000m distances. 

Riders attended to the needs of their teammates throughout the event, strapping them into the roller-rig before they unleashed all hell for 20-40 seconds of frenetic action. Strategy came to the fore with riders holding back and matching each other pedal stroke for pedal stroke for the first 1/2 of each heat and then dropping the hammer to sprint for the line. There was even talk of new carbon bikes being bought if Worksop junior Evelyn could beat her father in the 1000m, but sadly he crushed her hopes of a new bike turning the audience distinctly partisan in the process - he dismounted to a hail of well-humoured booing from the assembled audience.

After all the heats were tallied up and the results for 500m and 1000m legs added, the winners were ready to be announced. With the distinct advantage of (one very good) youth on their side, Sharrow R&C pedalled their way ahead to a convincing victory. Young rider Jack set best times at the final event in both the 500m,  19.55 seconds and 1000m, 42.14 seconds. He also holds the best 2000m time which was set in the decider of the 2nd round. The winners were toasted with Bavaria's finest alcohol-free white beer from event sponsors Erdinger and took home the inaugural Planet X Rock 'N' Roller trophy.

If you think that you and your bike club would like to get involved in this year's Rock 'N' Roller racing series then get in touch with Craig at the Sheffield showroom and add your name to the list. We'd like to give a big thanks to everyone who helped with the events, with all the clubs who participated, Graeme Symington from Sheffield Cycle Bost who acted as compère for each heat and of course Erdinger who stepped up to the plate to sponsor the grand final and our race team bike handovers.

We'll see you all again later this year.

Words by Simon Clark

12 February 2015

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