Redlands Classic
Redlands, CA - March 17, 2001     T   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

The Redlands Classic race returned this year as the first stop of the 2001 PIRS. The annual cycling event is so large it shuts down the heart of this small, southern California town. In prior years the skate races were part of NPC.

As with all PIRS events, each stop consisted of a criterium race and a sprint race. The criterium took place around 8:00am on Saturday 3/17 for the masters and around 1:00pm for everybody else. Men and women raced separately. The sprints for world-class competitors were held on Sunday 3/18.

An advanced category was added to the criteriums at the persistent request of local skaters. Unfortunately, advanced attendance was poor, but not bad considering the very late notice. Only one female registered for the advanced masters race. In total around twenty skaters the advanced criteriums that day.

Skaters followed the short course through the streets of Redlands. The start/finish line was on a slight descent followed by a somewhat rough, gentle uphill before returning. Skaters proceeded counter-clockwise on the course. It was sunny and beautiful for the afternoon races with a high temperature of 74 degrees.

Advanced and world-class competitors raced together in the 16-minute plus 2 lap criterium. In the women's race, Julie Glass (Verducci) and Theresa Cliff (Hyper) broke away from the pack in the first lap. Cheryl Matula attempted to chase, but ended up stuck in the void between the lead skaters and the chase pack. Surprisingly, the gaps between the female competitors only widened throughout the course of the race.

The battle for first place came down to the end as Julie and Theresa sprinted together down the final straightaway with Julie coming in just in front of Theresa at the line. Cheryl finished by herself well ahead of the chase pack that had given up. Betsy Atwater finished first for the advanced women, followed by Arica Armitage in second, and Sarah Irick for third.

In the men's race, the lead pack kept the pace high, but stuck together for most of the race. Towards the end of the timed portion, Chad Hedrick (Verducci) and Chad Burdzilauskas (Hyper) broke away. They maintained their gap which led to another suspenseful sprint at the finish line. Burdzilauskas managed to edge out Hedrick for the win. Dane Lewis (Hyper) finished at the head of the chase pack for third. For the advanced men, Carter Holland finished first, followed by my second-place finish, and Paul Lomangino (Sonic) for third.

Although skater participation was less than ideal, this was a fun race. Many spectators lined the streets and there was plenty of media coverage. It was USARS' first attempt at entertaining the advanced skaters and they showed a lot of potential. Jay Ingram at USARS should be thanked for responding to the requests of local skaters. We look forward to the other PIRS events in California later this year.


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