Roll Through Wine Country
Napa, CA - June 19, 1999     T   P   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

About 200 skaters from across the region travelled to Napa for the famous Roll Through Wine Country on 6/19. The Silverado Trail winds through the scenic wine valleys on its route to Calistoga. This year's course was a few miles shorter, ending on a side road giving skaters the full road width for the final sprint. It was sunny with temperatures around 60 at the start.

This was the first time that skaters were allowed on the right side of the road with traffic in two years. However, the CHP still would not allow skaters to use the traffic lane, forcing skaters to remain on the right shoulder at all times. Since the CHP did not consider the event a race, they would only allow skaters to depart Napa in packs of 15 spaced 2 minutes apart.

There were more pro skaters than could fit in one pack. Dan Burger (Twincam), Joe Prescott (SDSE), and I (Howard) started in the second pack. This group worked together for most of the race with no breakaway attempts. Dan and I tried to push the pace when we pulled in an effort to gain time on the lead pack. Although we never caught the lead pack, we picked up most of the skaters who were dropped from that pack.

When the final turn-off was in sight, Dan's turn to pull came up. He took advantage of it by making a break. I pursued while the rest of pack was caught sleeping. After making the right turn, Dan had tired from leading me out. I successfully sprinted past him for the finish. Joe finished with our chase pack.

In the lead pack, Dane Lewis (Hyper) broke away towards the end to finish two minutes ahead of the chase pack. Helle Carlsen (Kryptonics) started with our pack and therefore finished first with an outstanding time. The other pro women started in a pack of their own but did not skate as fast.

Congratulations to new SDSE skaters Andy Pele, Brandon Thorsten, and Jake Jacobs for finishing their first Napa race. Bob Minami finished first in his class. Sandra de Bruyn was tired from touring San Francisco the previous day, including the Friday Night Roll, and took the race as a fun roll. And thanks to Leondra Baker for running car support while out recovering from an injury. SDSE had 7 competitors at this event, more than any other team.

We had the traditional post-race barbeque at the campground up the road from the finish. There, we reviewed the race and overall the event went well. Look for another Roll Through Wine Country in September.


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