Another Dam Race
Parker, AZ - Feb. 28, 1999     T   S
San Diego Street Elite

Another Dam Race is the southwest's largest bicycle race, with a total cash purse of more than $25,000. The 30-minute inline criterium race was added this year. Unfortunately, turnout was dismal for a variety of reasons: Only a few skaters from Phoenix attended; All of the world-class pro skaters were in Las Vegas for a USARS meet; Many southern Cal skaters were stuck in the tropical storm that hit Tahiti after the Moorea Blue Marathon.

The race was held 2/28 on the paved campground road of La Paz County Park, right on the Colorado River 8 miles north of the Parker Dam. The 1 1/4 mile loop course was relatively flat and smooth with 8 turns. The weather was wonderful -- sunny and temps around 70 that morning. A head wind blew along the back side, but made for a fast tail wind along the final stretch across the start/finish line.

Dana Eads (SDSE) forced the race to a fast start. Lead changes occurred frequently since nobody really wanted to pull. I took off as we crossed the start/finish line the first time and the officials announced a premium lap. Since the pack had slowed way down, I quickly and easily formed a sizeable gap. I held the gap the whole lap to claim the prem as Dana controlled the pack back.

Exhausted, I eventually dropped back into the pack. A few laps later the officials announced another prem lap. This time Tim Wright, who really wanted the prem, beat out Dana and Stan Bunn.

At this point the race was starting to play out as skaters started to tire out. Stan made a break half-way into the next lap. Dana initially gave chase, but decided to wait for Aaron Johnson (Hyper). Unfortunately, Aaron later dropped and Dana had to pursue Stan on his own. Stan tired significantly in head wind on the back stretch of the last lap, but was able to maintain his lead over Dana across the finish.

I finished 5th and Andy Pele (SDSE), who slipped in turn 3 midway through the race, finished 9th. Katie Ellis (13) of Phoenix was the only women's skater, walking away with a cash prize and a huge trophy. This race had a nice $500 total cash purse. Thanks to Alice who came along on the trip to do video photography and for support.

As with all USCF-sanctioned bicycle races, this event was well-organized and run. Despite the lack of attendance, the promoters plan to expand the inline next year to a multi-day stage event with an increased cash purse. They openly welcome suggestions if you have any. If you missed the race this year, you missed out. Don't miss it next year!


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