|Long Beach Marathon
Long Beach, CA - Oct. 10, 2004
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!
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