My obligations changed in 2017. It was time to experience the biggest inline skate race in North America.
Hang near the front. Finish safely. This was a training skate for A2A 3 weeks away.
Duane sadly canceled the trip due to wrist surgery.
Coming from Texas September weather, high 50’s F felt cold. 20 mph wind Friday made the discomfort hard to ignore.
I started to fantasizing 22+ mph average speed. The sun was behind thick cloud.
“So this was how Chad set the record on 80mm wheels.”
_2 Harbor start
I was surrounded by Rainbo and Bont skinsuits.
I was relieved the Boom wheels gripped the wet surface. No one went out fast; everyone wanted to be near but not at the front. Repeatedly, pace line split and merged. I took hints from Rainbo guys as they changed lanes. A few guys tried to get away; they got reeled in real quick.
I noticed my left leg's inability to push effectively. I adjust under-push to compensate.
I saw a bug at corner of right eye; I tried wiping it off the lens before realizing I wasn’t wearing glasses. Larry Griffin passes me in a pack of 4 as I pushed the bug into my eye.
I knew I should’ve followed Larry but was preoccupied with bug moving under eyelid. The moment passed. I tried to be content with current position. The uncoordinated pace group shape-shifted like a sardine ball. There were 20 to 50 skates in front of me at any given time.
I couldn’t complaint. I moved at 20 mph not facing the wind. I focused on staying up right.
A gap formed at mile 6. I covered it but couldn’t close the next gap after wasting legs for couple minutes. I hid behind long-legged Gary who caught me, watching the advanced lead pack staying in sight.
First crash in lead pack happened at mile 7. The guy looked stunned sitting on the ground. 2 miles later another racer went down the same way. I was spooked. I went to the front so I could see the road.
Everyone settled 30 minutes into the race. I haven’t skated this fast for this long since Texas Flyer days. I was determined to enjoy the day and stop thinking about the 40 skaters who got away. “Just stay safe.”
No one wanted to push the pace at half way point. Speed dropped. Soon our pack was down to 10 or so. The only girl actually apologized for skipping pulls. We let her stay.
_Lemon Drop Hill
The pace was barely a line by the time we came to the big hill. One guy attacked; I followed; we failed.
_They shut down Highway 35 for the race
The pack wasted energy not staying in line on the empty freeway. The surface near the tunnels were slippery. I backed off and lost my position before the exit ramp.
_shutting it down
The ramp out of the freeway was my final chance to improve position. My legs were surprisingly dead.
A volunteered shouted “slow down.” I had little to gain by going against her advice. I let others go around me at the final 90-degree turn.
I was elated to finish safely and check NSIM off my bucket list.
GPS Garmin Forerunner 630XT
Distance: 26.4 mi
Speed: 19.0 mph
Distance: 26.2 mi
Speed: 18.9 mph
Place: (36/711 finishers) in advanced group
61F; 7 mph NE wind
Hang out with Harwell and Oswald over pizza, bar food, beer, and Jenga.