Two skaters from Team SAFE (Ryan McGee and Jim McKee) made the journey to Berlin for an incredible race. Here is Ryan's take on this exciting race.
There were just under 5,000 skaters in total at the 2016 Berlin Inline Marathon. The weather was an ideal 70 degrees. There was some wind, but it was negligible along the entirely flat course. Jim McKee and I started in the first wave with all professionals including Bart Swings, the current course record holder. The start was intense - unlike any other race - the sheer density of skaters was intimidating as frames and wheels of approximately 200 skaters clashed during the start of wave A. It was a struggle to elbow for position and avoid tripping over others during the first 500 meters, though Jim and I managed to stick together. The next 2km was incredibly fast as we sprinted across the roundabout around Berlin Victory Column in the Tiergarten and onto a straightaway averaging about 28mph. Then, suddenly, came the turns. With dual pace lines, hundreds thick, it was hard to see the course direction and curbs of the street dividers. Many skaters feel instantly, causing others to fall. Jim straddled a fallen skater, nearly missing his head, and I was threading the needle on one foot to avoid running over others. The resulting adrenaline rush gave us a boost and we began to lead one of the packs for the next couple of km. Eventually we settled into one of the larger pace lines for the next 15km - still maintaining an extremely fast pace of around 23mph with several turns around historical east Berlin landmarks. It was around halfway that Jim took a wrong step and tripped - dropping out to the right of the pace line to fortunately avoid being run over by the masses. Luckily, he was wearing plastic hand protectors and was able to recover quickly. Though, he recollected that he was sliding so fast that he was actually still sliding when he first tried to stand up! I focused on conserving as much energy as possible for the last half of the race. I kept a solid middle position in a large pace line and prepared for the final 3km of sharp turns and the final 500m sprint through the Brandenburg gate. Being comfortable with high...
2016 North Shore Inline Marathon
Another year has come and gone... Although the participation numbers have dropped huge in the Elite Veteran (45-49) division the quality of the skaters has not. The Elite Veterans started with 15 skaters and 10 of those skaters battled at the finish line. Other than Team SAFE, key skaters in the group were Dan Fredrick, Ryan Chrisler, Norm Kirby, Mike Stout to name a few.
Early morning skies were patchy and the roads were still damp from the previous nights rain. Most skaters were sticking with the softer wheels and telling each other to watch out for the painted lines. I always love how skaters look out for each other. This year Team SAFE had 6 skaters in the Elite Veteran division. SAFE pushed the tempo with group attacks and individual flyers one after another. By mile 12 safe had dropped 4 of the skaters in the division plus one SAFE skater had fallen off the pace. Now with four SAFE skaters left in a pack of ten, SAFE continued to attack attempting to take some of the powerful legs out of this group of strong sprinters. By the time the lead pack hit lemon drop hill most of the skaters seemed to be worn from the attacks and the extra attention needed to skate in the damp conditions. As we entered the tunnels Rob Motta (SAFE) had planned to attack, wanting to break away and solo to the finish line. As Motta came out of the tunnel, going from complete dry concrete to wet concrete, his left skate seemed to slide out like he had hit black ice. He was lucky to not fall but it quickly stopped his attack and all future attacks at the tunnels. All ten skaters stayed together to the off ramp heading to the final hill climb. As the skaters approached the top of the hill things began to happen quickly. Ryan Chrisler was able to win the field sprint followed by Danny Frederick and SAFE's Uel Archuletta rounding off the top three.
1st. Ryan Chrisler (Simmons)
2nd Danny Frederick (Bont USA)
3rd Uel Archuletta (Team SAFE)
4th Norm Kirby (Bont USA)
5th Rob Motta (Team SAFE)
6th Kimon Papahadjopoulos (Team SAFE)
7th Mike Stout
8th Chris Rojo (Team SAFE)
1st Brittney Schultz (Team SAFE)
8th Mark Randle (Team SAFE)
Apostle Island 2016
Once again the Apostle Island Inline Marathon has proven to be one of the if not the smoothest outdoor marathons in the United States. On top of that, it is also one of the most well organized races in the states also.
This years race weather was forecasted to be thunder and lightning with heavy rain. What we raced in was temps in the 70's, sunshine and very little wind (more like a breeze)... What an AWESOME day to race.
I am not sure what the total number of participants was this year, it did feel much smaller and if it was...what a bummer!! I know many people look at the logistics of this race (and yes it is kind of a pain to get to) but trust me, it is sooooo worth the effort to get here. Don't make this a 1 or 2 day trip, build yourself a skatecation and enjoy the island... You can thank me later.
The race started promptly at the 0830 start time. There where 18 registered open pro skaters and ten pro veteran skaters... Team SAFE planned early to make the initial jump with the open pro skaters attempting to get an early break away. Skating for Team SAFE in the pro and pro vet divisions was Ryan McGee (open pro), Rob Motta (pro vet), Chris Rojo (pro vet) and Kimon Papahadjopoulos (pro vet). All four skaters started on the left side of the course and had a few skaters in front of them on the starting line. When the race started a group of five skaters on the front right side of the course blasted the start. SAFE moved quickly on the the outside left into the first right hand corner and noticed the five already had a large jump on the field. SAFE joined the chase pack and Motta quickly attempted to get the pack to work together to chase down the lead pack of five. Papahadjopoulos took a hard pull then Motta but the rest of the skaters did not seem as agreeable to work. SAFE had to quickly move to "Plan B". Team SAFE was stuck in a pack of 14, 8 open pros and 6 pro vets. Plan B was attack, attack and then attack. With decent temperatures and a lot of humidity SAFE wanted to make sure we attacked at each water...