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Why would you drag a tire during a rollerski race?

Fri, Nov  10, 2017 - By Mike Muha

So why would you drag a tire during a rollerski race?

Race Director Andy Liebner told participants in the Grand Rapids 10k Rollerski Race on Sunday, November 5 that dragging a tire "reduces roller ski wheel speed advantages and increases safety of use on the bike path". I can think of some alternative reasons:

  • Promotes ankle lean and good technique
  • Increases strength
  • Looks cool!

Racers attached a tire (or half tire) via a bungee cord attached to their drink belt. Time bonuses were given based on weight of tire: the heavier the tire, the better the time bonus. Time bonuses were calculated as ((Tire Weight / .25) * (30 seconds)) / 60 seconds. Liebner provided the tires and bungee cords.

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 11

Half tires used for the race. Full tires have too much resistance. (All photos: Thierry Werderits)

Starting at 30 second intervals, racers skied a 10k course through Millennial Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan under wet conditions. Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team's Steve Smigiel Jr finished with both the fastest time (40:16) and fastest time adjusted for tire weight (24:46). Eric Parot and Ricardo Lung were second and third overall with close times of 26:43 and 26:46.

Grand Rapids Rollerski Race Results

PlaceNameTire WeightBonus TimeStart TimeFinish TimeTotal TimeAdjusted Time
1 Steve Smigiel Jr 7.75 15:30 2:30 42:46 40:16 24:46
2 Eric Parot 9 18:00 3:00 47:43 44:43 26:43
3 Ricardo Lung 10 20:00 3:30 50:16 46:46 26:46
4 Greg Worsnop* 7.5 20:00 4:30 51:47 47:17 27:17
5 Don Camp* 9.25 23:30 1:00 53:37 52:37 29:07
6 Jim Beebe 6.5 13:00 4:00 46:30 42:30 29:30
7 Skip Schott 5.5 11:00 2:00 47:42 45:42 34:42
8 Chris Anderson 9 18:00 1:30 59:31 58:01 40:01
9 Dan Nolan 0 0 5:30 46:13 40:43 40:43
10 Steve Smigiel Sr 6.25 12:30 0 53:14 53:14 40:44
11 Spencer Ruffner 7.5 15:00 :30 60:33 60:03 45:03
12 Peter Johnson 6.25 12:30 5:00 67:42 62:42 49:12

*Received an extra 5:00 bonus for having completed the Iceman mountain bike race the day before.

Below are reduced versions of the original photos. Download original full-size photos by Thierry Werderits (Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team).

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 1

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 2

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 3

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 4

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 5

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 6

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 7

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 8

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 9

Grand Rapids roller ski race, pulling a tire 10