Phoenix, AZ - March 6, 1999
This placed the racers in a loop around the parking lot of the Mayo
Clinic. We traveled around in a counter-clockwise direction passing
through several minor intersections. Upon completing 360 degrees around
the clinic there was an easy right turn out on the driveway toward the
street. Right turn onto the street, then wide open to the U-turn. The
U-turn was simple but tight. Several people had trouble with excessive
speed into it.
After the U-turn it was full speed back toward the finish with a sharp
right turn 100 feet from the finish.
WARM UP: The course was short so most, if not all, racers warmed up by
doing the whole course. This was great fun because the pavement was
excellent. There was only one pebble on the road, which Howard just had
to run into! He landed on his knee and got a good helping of road rash.
It was the first time in all my skating with him that he fell!! First
aid crew wrapped him all up and he was ready to race.
THE RACE: The race started out fast. This was good for setting up for
the first right turn, there was no big mob fighting for the best line
into it. The pace picked up toward the next right turn. I was several
places back when at this point Howard's bandage started to unwind. It
was streaming 3 feet behind him. He wrapped it back up but I lost at
least 1 place from laughing.
The right turn was no problem (I practiced it 5 times in warm up). I
was still several places back from first so I started to inch my way
up. It was not easy since the pace was not letting up any. I think I
was floating around 5th place when we entered onto the street. There
was a slight head wind which discouraged people from pulling.
After a short distance, Howard took off. Everybody started after him
but he had successfully gapped the pack. The pack started working on
catching up to Howard. The traditional pack rotation put me in front
quickly where I then started with a hard pull. After burning a little
energy I started to gradually slow down.
I slowed to a very comfortable pace and was losing ground to Howard.
I was a little suprised that nobody passed me. When I decided to pull
behind and get in the pack, I had to shake hard to get Aaron off my
tail. Howard was just a speck in the distance by now and seemed to have
it "made-in-the-shade" before we had even reached the U-turn.
At the U-turn I had the pleasure of watching Howard heading back the
other way. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the pack had other
feelings about it and they took off like who-knows-what after him. I
got gapped from the chase pack and had to work hard to catch up, but I
did. Howard was getting tired and his knee was not the best so we were
gaining on him steadily.
The pack had the kill in their sights and I had to work at it to get
in the lead again. Once there, I held them back just so we weren't
gaining too fast, I felt that if I went too slow then they would not
hesitate to pass me.
When the final sprint for the finish did happen, Howard was secure in
the win but I got stomped on and was last in the pack. There was a
fierce battle for second but I only caught a glimpse of it as I rounded
the last corner. I did, however, get 2nd in my age group. Pamela, who
was racing on unfamiliar frames, had a little trouble on the U-turn but
still finished 3rd in her age.