|Western Hemisphere Marathon|
Culver City, CA - Dec. 12, 1999
Andy Pele (SDSE) attempted to control the pace frequently, leading part
of the first lap, then myself, taking my turn on part of the second.
Cooperation from most of the skaters as we passed the danger spots, was the
rule of the day. Now halfway, I settled into the pack as we then proceeded
west into the first of two loops around the wetlands, beside the ocean.
Heading into the wind, there were plenty of changes as leaders frequently
pulled over to save themselves for the finishing sprint. Naturally, the
yo-yoing of the pace line made some nervous and changes were much more
frequent now. The leader teams, such as (Predator), (BSI), (Mile Hi) all
looked strong and ready for the sprint.
Up the long, slight hill on the last lap towards the finish, the lead
pack soon sprinted. A large chicane-type turn before the finish had persons
yelling "left" at the same time as "Right". Some were able to capitolize on
the confusion, some were not, as the sprint finished with Mike Miller, Nat
Holt leading with a few others that I can't remember. Myself and Andy were
soon after, safely finishing closely behind. Congrats to an excellent group
of skaters, like Bill Noyes, Bob Miniabi (SDSE), Scott Swaney, Larry Griese
(Predator), Nat Holt and Steve Blair (BSI), all winning their age groups.
After having rained on the event the past two years, this year's
Western Hemisphere Marathon on Dec. 12, 1999 enjoyed a bright sunny
start. Around 400 skaters, more than double the previous years'
attendance, took the 6:30 start delayed to past 7:00. Temperatures
warmed from the upper 40s to the upper 50s that morning.
The course followed some of the same streets as in the past. This
time the race traversed two loops around Culver City followed by
two loops closer to the coast before the return for the finish.
It was almost totally flat with smooth pavement, except for a few
rougher sections. Pro/Pro Masters Men, Pro/Pro Masters Women, and
Advanced/Fitness/Recreational skaters were started one minute apart.
No gender cross-drafting was allowed for Pro skaters.
The Pro Men's field was large. Chad Hedrick (Verducci) took off
early, taking Stan Bunn and a Swiss skater with him. Surprisingly,
they quickly disappeared from sight for the rest of the race. Chad
ended up with the win, followed by the Swiss skater and Stan.
Back in our chase pack 7 minutes behind, no major breakaways were
attempted. In fact, there was a lot of speeding up and slowing down.
So it came down to the final sprint. A pack of 15 of us finished at
once, which required extensive video replay to sort out. I was
somewhere in the middle of that exciting finish.
Julie Glass (Verducci) won the women's race, which also came down
to the final sprint among five competitors. She was followed closely
behind by Heather Gunnin (Hyper), Kim Butler, and Peggy Girgenti.
Sandra de Bruyn, Alice Eads, Bob and Susan Hirsch, Bob Minami, Andy
Pele, Joe Prescott, Jay Smith, and Brandon Thorsten were all there
from SDSE, but I can't remember where everybody finished. However,
I am sure it was a lot faster than in previous years without the
rain. What a difference that makes.
This race concludes the 1999 race season. Congratulations to all
for a great year, both to your individual development and to SDSE.
Enjoy your holidays. The first races of the 2000 season will start
at the end of January.