Harbor Foot Pursuit 15k
San Pedro, CA - July 23, 2005     T   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

The second annual Harbor Foot Pursuit took place in San Pedro on Saturday, July 23, 2005. The 15k inline skate race preceded the 5 and 10k runs. The event benefitted the LAPD, so there was no shortage of police protection. It was a comfortably cool morning with temperatures in the upper 50s, light winds, clear and sunny. All events were lightly attended with around 40 skaters for the 7:45am start.

The skate course was two laps of an out-and-back route, starting and ending at Point Fermin Park. Most of it was along W. Paseo Del Mar, a scenic road running along the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. At the far end, the course proceeded through a residential neighborhood. The U-turn at both ends were wide, visibly marked, and not a problem. The only other turn on the course was in and out of the residential neighborhood. The pavement was mostly smooth. Total elevation change was less than ten feet. An excellent racing course.

The start was nice and uneventful, due to light attendance and the wide road. Quickly, the lead pack consisting of around ten skaters formed, pulling away from the rest of the field. Each person took their turn pulling before dropping off to the back of the pack. About a mile into the course, the LAPD had set up a "Your Speed Is" sign, which read 17mph when we passed it. At the far-end, the pack stayed together in good sportsmanship around the U-turn.

On the way back, it was obvious that some of the skaters in the lead pack did not want to pull. As the lead skater attempted to pull off, the pack simply fanned out. Towards the end of the first lap, I decided to test the pack by going on a flyer. Sergio Dantes was the only one who gave chase. Upon seeing this, I picked up the pace until he found himself stuck in the hole. The chase pack sped up and caught him quickly, but did not attempt to pass him with the upcoming U-turn.

I powered through the U-turn and kept the pace high. Eventually I found my gap quite substantial that I was able to rest. I went on the flyer as a test of the pack and did not expect to hold the gap the entire race. I had fun with the "Your Speed Is" sign again, and then settled down and kept a careful eye on the chase pack.

At one point the main pack surged in an attempt to catch. Somewhat rested, I picked up the pace to prolong the flyer. Carl Yee (SDSE) found his way to the front of the pack to block and slow them down. At that point I decided to make the effort to stay away the rest of the race.

The chase pack was able to see me for most of the route. They could gauge the distance of the gap at the far-end U-turn. However, I gambled that the skaters in the main pack wouldn't be organized enough to give chase and powered all the way. With less than a mile to go, I was pretty certain of my victory and I eased through the finish line.

For the chase pack, it came down to the final sprint. Peggy Girgenti (Bont) outsprinted them all to be the first place woman. Following Peggy was Jonathan Seutter, third, and Neal Lucey (LA Speed), fourth place overall. Carl finished eighth place overall. Also in attendance from SDSE were Brandon Thorsten, Michael Leventhal, and Carole Christianson for support.

Overall the LAPD Harbor Foot Pursuit was a very nice race. Its small size is due to it being a new event and its light promotion. The event is very promising and could use better support from the skating community. The course, being scenic and completely flat, is excellent for beginners and seasoned racers. Thanks to Audrey Winthrop for coordinating the skate race.

Hope to see more skaters at the starting line next year. Even LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did the 5k run. If you weren't there, you missed out!


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