Roland Rabien

Cyclist a cog in Island’s race scene

Island cycling's race season starts Sunday with two mountain, cross country races

Name a bike race on the Island this year and Saanich’s Roland Rabien will probably be in it.

The 34-year-old amateur cyclist plans to enter 40 to 50 events in the upcoming race season, mostly on the Island but also on the mainland and in Washington.

The Victoria Cycling League season kicks off on Sunday (March 11) with the Caleb Pike Road race. Coincidentally, mountain biking’s Island Cup Series also kicks off on Sunday, with the Pro City Racing cross-country race at Hartland Park.

Rabien will race the latter, though the majority of his season will be in the Victoria Cycling League.

It’s not uncommon for cyclists such as Rabien, who started with mountain biking, to compete in a variety of disciplines: road, cyclo cross, cross-country mountain biking, time trial and track (velodrome).

There are few, however, who are as heavily involved with organizing the Island’s race scene.

“I started lending a hand where I could and it slowly grew to the state it’s at now,” Rabien said.

A computer programmer by day, Rabien is lending his time to nearly a dozen races in 2012.

His work ranges from director of the Pro City Racing Cyclocross Race at Western Speedway (part of the Cross on the Rock series) on Nov. 20, to helping out with four Pro City-held races in the Victoria Cycling League’s 2012 race schedule (the Observatory Hill Climb, as well as three in Metchosin). Add Jumpship, the Tour de Victoria, the Sidney Time Trials and ongoing support for local cycling websites to the list of things that keep Rabien spinning.

“Honestly, there was no conscious decision to start volunteering. I just couldn’t say no.”

He’s the same way with his training regimen. Rabien throws himself into as many local races as possible, which meant 50 in total last year.

“The plan was to race myself fit. It worked, so I’ll do it again.”

A lot of cyclists who race alongside Rabien might not notice a significant, but subtle variation to his bike. There’s no left brake lever. Instead, both the front and back brakes run through the right lever. Likewise, both gear levers are rigged on the right side of his handlebars.

Rabien first took up mountain biking at UVic as a 19-year-old. It was his first serious foray into sports since he was 14, when a roofing accident nearly took his left arm.

He can close his left fist, but that’s about it.

“I have limited functional grip. I can’t put too much weight on it, but it’s not that big a deal for road racing,” Rabien said.

Clearly it’s not.

In 2010 Rabien rode to silver at the para-cycling nationals in Quebec. And in 2011 he was first in the Bastion Square Grand Prix’s Category 4.

Where he does have to compensate “a little more” is the ups and downs of cross country and the constant dismounts of cyclo-cross – though he races in the expert class of the Island mountain biking series and almost has enough points to move up to for Cat. 3 road racing.

Just Posted

Saanich residents face higher sewer, water and garbage rates

Council is set to ratify an increase of 10.52 per cent for sewer

Saanich Police board chair supports department in case over fired officer, but key questions remain

Case involves former Saanich constable who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

Strong winds leave BC Ferries’ passengers at Swartz Bay terminal

As 3 p.m. sailing for Vancouver boards, some travellers waited upwards of five hours

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read