Long Beach Marathon
Long Beach, CA - Oct. 10, 2004     T   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

SDSE was represented by myself (Carl Yee), Luis Illanes, Gregg Hedlund, Bob Minami, and Cindy Matsuda (who is making a nice comeback, and planning on racing at Tucson as well.) First the Pro and Pro-Masters Men started, followed a few minutes later by Pro and Pro-Masters Women, and finally "Open" which included everybody else. No Advanced or Fitness categories this year. All the SDSE skaters started in the "Open" wave.

The start was brisk but not brutally fast. When we settled into pacelines I ended up fairly near the front and stayed in the second through sixth position almost the entire time. I forced myself to be a "wheel sucker" the whole time which is not a good strategy for making friends and winning admirers but is not a bad idea in a race. I think it makes sense to pull if you're in a breakaway group, but not if you're in the main field. However there were two really strong male skaters who seemed to be competing for the Joe Prescott self-sacrifice award, and pulled almost the entire race. We were all happy to let them do the work, as it felt like a headwind most of the time.

The course had many sharp turns and jumped onto a bikepath a couple times, but it the front it seemed safe enough since it was mostly flat. The turns were well marked with pylons, and Howard Yeh was directing us from his mountain bike on one potentially confusing section. The main hazard was the recreational cyclists who we began passing almost immediately and continued to pass for the entire race. I felt bad for the cyclists who just wanted to enjoy a leisurely ride but had skaters and officials on a motorcycle yelling at them to yield. Our pack also passed the Pro Women's pack and a fair number of Pro Men who had been dropped. There seemed to be enough room though.

There weren't any serious breakaway attempts until maybe 3 miles from the end when a guy in Orange (Steve Dawson) took off. He was chased down and eventually caught by Curtis McGee of Arizona Dust Devils. The rest of us decided to let them go, but one of the guys who had been pulling all day (red/silver jersey which said something like "Flanders") single-handedly pulled the entire lead pack back to Steve and Curtis! Amazing!

With maybe 1/4 mile to go Curtis took off again, and a moment later we all began sprinting. Curtis won uncontested, and I passed Steve and took second overall in Open by a decent margin. Gregg Hedlund sprinted well, hawked the line, but ended up taking fourth overall, one hundredth of a second behind Steve Dawson and just ahead of Larry Griese from the Arizona Predators. The Pro Women's winner also finished with us.

On the website tonight the results were a little messed up because they placed skaters based on time crossing the finish line minus time crossing the starting line. This tends to favor skaters who start near the back. The Pro race was placed based on time crossing the finish line minus time the gun went off. Since this was not a time trial, the latter method is more fair, and hopefully the results will be adjusted.

At 10:15 awards were presented. I won Men 35-39, Greg took second in Men 40-44, Luis placed second in Men 65-69, Cyndi placed 9th in Women 35-39, and Bob Minami did well I'm sure, but did not get a time because I, AJ, Rodney, and even the race announcer Heather were all unable to find him at the starting line to give him his timing chip!

This was a fun race, ad it was nice to see Bob & Susan, Howard, AJ, Glenn, and Rodney there supporting us. I hope they took some good pictures!


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