Oro Valley, AZ - Nov. 4, 2001
The marathon course is three laps of an 8.7-mile loop. From the
start/finish line, skaters proceeded up a long, gradual hill for the first
three miles. The second half of the course lost that altitude through one
good downhill, a gradual descent along a main highway, and then a short,
but sweet, screamer downhill. Then there was another uphill to the
Pavement was mostly smooth, but with a particularly rough section at the
top of the hill. However, none of this was anywhere as rough as the
previous years' course in Sahuarita. The beautiful Santa Clara mountains,
which form the northern border of the Tucson suburbs, were predominantly
visible from the entire area.
Skaters were weeded out early as the lead pack maintained a steady, but
not too fast, pace up the long hill from the beginning. On the first lap
a couple different skaters attempted to break away from the pack, only to
find the pack zooming past them on the downhills. So from then on, the
pack stuck together with many speed changes, but few breakaway attempts.
The final sprint started past a long bridge at the foot of a moderate
uphill climb visible from a long distance. In the end, Harry Howlett, was
the men's champion, followed closely by Aaron Warr and Steven Outen. From
SDSE, I finished a little bit after this pack as well as Carl Yee. Other
men representing SDSE were Brandon Thorsten, Joe Prescott, Rodney Friedman,
and Bob Minami.
The women's race was a shootout of Arizona skaters. The top three kept
close together in a pack including other men for most of the race. In
the end, Nikki Diamantopolous (Salomon) successfully outsprinted Penny
Wright (Predator) at the line. Right behind Penny for third place was
Michelle Lindsey, a new skater who joined the Predators last year.
Congratulations to Alice Eads (SDSE), who placed second in her age class.
We have seen the Cactus Classic marathon develop into a bigger and
better race since its start five years ago. The Tucson In-Line Sk8 Club
attracts excellent support from police, sponsors, and local citizens.
This is a great race run from a grass-roots club, and we thank Diane
Coonce for organizing the event annually.