|El Tour de Phoenix 25mi
Mesa, AZ - April 3, 2004
This year's event was threatened by rain. There were numerous
showers the day before and in the early morning hours the day of
the race. Luckily, most of the showers had moved on and the course
had mostly dried off by the start. It was partly sunny and around
60 degrees as less than 30 skaters lined up at 7:00am.
The race began at a steady pace. The first five miles was slightly
rough over rolling hills, but with a good elevation gain. Jeff
Neal and I, the only two competitors at the faster pace, gradually
pulled away from the rest of the skaters. Then, a few miles later,
Jeff gradually pulled away from me as he continued his challenging
Entering the suburbs of Mesa, skaters made a right turn on
McDowell. For five miles the road gradually descended. Since many
of the skaters decided to keep their good race bearings on rather
than switching to rain bearings, this next section was very fast.
I attempted to narrow the gap between Jeff Neal and I, but it
never seemed to narrow nor lengthen. Jeff and the pace motorcycle
were always within my sights until the last five miles as the
course turned through the city streets.
At that point I spontaneously decided to do the add-on mileage
option with this race. I ignored a policeman's direction and
missed a turn. I estimated I skated an additional three miles. The
error brought down my finishing position from second to eighth.
Regardless, El Tour de Phoenix was a great event and it turned out
to be a very beautiful day in Phoenix. Unfortunately, due to the
low turnout, it is unlikely the organizers will host the skaters
again. Although the event doesn't cater well to recreational
skaters, many local speedskaters were still absent. It's a shame
to have lost this great event when there are already few outdoor
events to go around. Thanks to Nikki Diamantopolous-Baruch for
organizing the inline race, giving us the opportunity to skate
this event for two years.