Corporate Challenge
Phoenix, AZ - March 6, 1999     T   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

COURSE: Smooth pavement over all without any suprises. The first turn was a 90 degree turn to the right. This was no problem since there was plenty of room to set up for it. There was then a short sprint section, slightly down hill, which took you to the next turn which was also a right turn. This was the only tricky part of the course (other than the U-turn). During practice I noticed a little slippage in this turn which added to an already tight right.

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.


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