Napa Valley Inline Marathon
Calistoga, CA - June 20, 2004     T   P   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

This year's Napa Valley Inline Marathon was held on Sunday, June 20, 2004. Formerly the Roll Through Wine Country, the event started in Calistoga again and proceeded south-bound on the scenic Silverado Trail. Around 150 skaters from across the country lined up for the full and half marathons. The weather was perfect: overcast with no wind and temperatures around 60 degrees for the 7:15am start.

This race has come a long way in its 11-year history. D Miles of CORA, the event's organizer, now has the support of the Napa Valley board, local residents, and the CHP.

This year's course started and ended at the Silver Rose winery near Calistoga. 13.1 miles of the Silverdo Trail was to be completely closed for the event. Unfortunately, a new member of the county board almost derailed the race. To compromise, D offered to close only half of the originally proposed (and approved) closure, making the marathon two laps instead of one. This was immediately approved with that new member casting the lone dissenting vote.

The race started out fast. The 6.6-mile section that we skated was also the hilliest section of the Silverado Trail. One of the downhills was long and slightly winding, although not excessively fast. The first time down it the lead skater thought we weren't coasting fast enough and initiated a full pack sprint downhill. The place slowed down after the first U-turn.

The marathon came down to a battle of two teams: Team Safe and Salt Creek Mortgage. Team Safe had more people who kept going on breaks: Dan Christman, Dana Eads, Brian Talley, and Scott Wolf. Salt Creek Mortgage only had Troy Atwell and Phil Mullin, who kept covering, but were strong enough to hold their own. There were a few other independent skaters in the group, myself included.

The lead men's pack was unusually sporty. After each U-turn everybody slowed down to re-group. A few skaters fell over a large pothole on both laps and the other skaters practically stopped to allow them to catch back up. Unfortunately, Chris Adams dropped out after his fall on the first lap.

It became apparent that the group was going to stay together until the final sprint. Brian Talley broke ahead of the pack, but not at a super-fast fly-by pace. Phil Mullin covered just in case. The rest of the group sat behind expecting a the pack sprint to swallow them up.

It never happened. The group just continued along at an easy pace almost all the way to the finish. Brian Talley successfully held off Phil Mullin for the win. In the late and short pack sprint, Dan Christman finished third, followed by Scott Wolf and Troy Atwell. I finished seventh.

Among the women, the top was a battle between defending champion Kimberly Perkins and Jenni Armstrong. Kimberly usually skates with the lead men's pack and did so in this race. Unfortunately, a few miles into the race Kimberly had an equipment problem which forced her to stop temporarily in order to fix it. Jenni passed Kimberly at that time. Starting up again, Kimberly was now skating alone and was unable to bridge the gap between her and Jenni. Jenni crossed the finish line uncontested for the victory.

Congratulations to SDSE skaters who participated in the Napa Valley Inline Marathon: Leondra Baker and Anjanette Comer finished first and third in their age categories, respectively. Carl and Tara Yee and Joe Prescott finished respectably as well as our newest member, Greg Hernandez-Rodriguez. Brandon Thorsten was out due to an injury, but he and Carole Christianson were present for support and to take photos.

D Miles has worked hard over the years to keep the Napa Valley Inline Marathon going. He now has the support of practically everybody in the area, so expect this event to grow into a major race. Check out the front page of the Napa Valley Register the day after the race on the CORA website at Fun was had by all.


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