Race on the Base 10k
Los Alamitos, CA - Feb. 26, 2005     T   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

Saturday, February 26th the "Race on the Base" 10K took place under grey but dry conditions. This was the second year that inline skating was included. The race is held on runways on a military training base which means there are plenty of "volunteers" in camouflage directing traffic and keeping things organized. Another advantage of racing on a base is that there are no roads to close, which means that races don't have to end early in the morning to let normal traffic resume. The inline race began at 8:50 am, so it was feasible to drive up the morning of the race.

The pavement was better than most races, and there were no intersections or curbs to worry about. There was practically infinite width in most parts, and even the finish chute was much longer and wider than at most races. Last year the finish was a little narrow so it was great to see the improvement this year.

There was plenty of room for warm up, and it was possible to skate the course itself as a warm-up, which I did. The race started on time, with the front row the usual mix of top skaters and fearless little kids. The start pace was moderate so the lead group had maybe 30 people. One lady said to her friend something like "here's my big chance" and sprinted her way to the front of the race, raised her arms over her head, and cheered herself for temporarily leading! It was great to see people not taking racing too seriously.

As we made a turn into the wind the pace began to pick up and the size of the pack slowly dimished. It seemed apparent that the real race would between the top two women, Peggy Girgenti (sp?) and Jenny Armstrong. The men's race did not have the same clear rivalry from my perspective. Early on Peggy was fairly aggressive, always jumping on when one of the men made a move and taking her share of pulls. Jenny always kept Peggy close and was also skating strong.

Many times someone would break from the pack, and then either drift back or be chased down. The chases were short, and always led by a single individual, not the pack working together. Scott Swaney, Johnathan Settuer, and Mike Chevedden were some of the people who made short breaks. I didn't attempt any myself, but did lead the chase a couple times.

At about the 4 mile mark, Scott Swaney pulled away, but we let him go. He stayed within striking distance for awhile, but eventually took a commanding lead. I made an effort to bridge up to him, and was closing the gap, but then lost my rhythm going wide around a puddle on a corner, while the pack behind me took the turn tight, through the water. I'd pretty much used up what energy I had, so just hung on for the next mile.

Scott won in 18:53 or so, and the rest of the men and leading women sprinted about 10 seconds behind him. Peggy outsprinted Jenny, unlike their sprint at Redondo. I didn't have much in my legs, & was able to pass a 13-year old kid, but not the 53 year old man to my right. Here are the top 12 results. What I find truly remarkable is that men, women, boys, girls, old young, big, and small can all compete head to head in this sport. I've never seen anything like it in other sports.

The awards ceremony was fun since there was a big stage and a good announcer. I got an age group plaque (1st, Men 36-45). The announcer kept thanking the inline skaters for coming, and asked us to bring more people next year. The race was safe, well run, fun, and reasonably priced. So I hope everyone reading this will plan on entering next year.

-Carl Yee

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