Team SAFE Racing had a great day of racing at the North Shore Inline Marathon. The morning temps were cold, the sky was foggy and lightly clouded and the ground was wet. Before our race started people were being warned we would be getting rained on during the race and they were right.
SAFE had four skaters in the very small division of Elite Veterans 40 - 49 division. With only 11 skaters in the division SAFE was looking strong. SAFE knew they had two skaters they needed to keep an eye on... Daniel Frederick (Bont) and Ryan Chrisler (Simmons) last years champion. Also in our dividion was a skater I am not familiar with, I was informed he was the indoor national champion and I currently can't recall his name.
As the race began I (Rob Motta) took the initial lead for the first 1 1/2 miles, not a blistering pace as I think we were all feeling out the wet pavement. For the next few miles the pace was decent with no real attacks. SAFE skaters Jens Johansson and Uel Archuletta were working hard making a few strong attacks to keep the field honest and keeping people wondering when a real breakaway attempt was going to happen.
Around mile 8 as we headed into a long hill, I was positioned at the back of the pack, still 11 skaters strong. I hit one of the many tar snakes in the road and almost fell. After I caught my balance I pulled out of the draft as if I was a little nervous and then headed wide of the group and attacked up the hill. Both Jens and Uel were at the front of the pack and just sat in at the lead holding an easy pace. By the top of the hill I had approximately 100 yards on the pack and just kept skating away. It should be noted this breakaway was not intended but I just decided to go with it. I managed to stay away until mile 16 when I knew I was going to get caught by the group. Daniel and Ryan worked together and pulled Jens, Uel, Brent and Bryan Oswald with them. They finally caught me in mile 17 nearing mile 18 were I slipped back into the pack.
This group stuck together all the way through the tunnels until the exit to the off ramp....
Just a few days before the race I checked the weather for Apostle Island, Friday, Saturday and Sunday was rain, rain and more rain!! If you have ever been to this race you know the weather can change in an instant... As stated by Paul Sargenti "I wish I could get paid to be right only 50% of the time"! This statement came after a day of racing in perfect weather conditions. We could not have asked for a better day.... Thank you to all the skaters for bringing the sunshine.
The day before the race Team SAFE volunteered to sweep the race course. This also gave SAFE a chance to talk with the race director about moving the finish line further from the sharp right hand turn to the finish. I am pleased to say the advice was taken and the start finish line was moved around 100 yards up the road. This now gives skaters a chance to finish with a sprint to the finish line.
This year felt like the participation numbers dropped. In the first wave, Pro Mens division and Elite to age 49 there were only about 23 skaters. This was ok, because it was still a great race. At the start of the race Elias Hendrickson led into the first corner and pulled through the first hill. He was followed by Steve Meisinger. The pace was steady but not fast. Team SAFE had four skaters in the front pack, Rob Motta, Rainer Arnold (Germany), Uel Archuletta and Brent Leaman. Rainer Arnold and Rob Motta stayed towards the front of the pack and exchanged a few small attacks as the group of 23 was knocked down quickly to around 12. After about a quarter way on the first lap Rainer Arnold mounted an attack and was followed by Rob Motta, the two pulled a large gap on the rest of the open pros skaters and stayed away for an entire lap. Steve Meisinger (Team Rainbow) along with help from Elias Hendrickson (Adam's Inline) pulled the chase group back up to the breakaway. Meisinger immediatley mounted a counter attack. Arnold attempted to chase him down but was unable to close the gap. Meisinger was pulling away from the chase group quickly. The chase group now with around 11 skaters was not working well together. The only people that did strong hard pulls were Arnold, Motta, Hendrickson, Matt Kitzis...
By: Kimon Papahadjopoulos
Silver Strand Half Marathon 2016
My recollections as I wait for my flight...took the Ferry back with Ryan and Carly. Always end a race with a Ferry ride, and best start it by skating from the Hotel to the line.
Very exiting and challenging race today. Weather was a perfect 65 degrees with little wind. Pretty sunrise with a few clouds. Seemed like a big field at the start, and I started on the front line to the far left with Jens, Chris, Ryan and Rob.
It started off fast enough but not crazy, until the first right a minute or so in. Strong acceleration on the short downhill as I had been warned, and the extra breaths I took in anticipation seemed like a good investment. Then attacks by Team Simmons and Wes Gandy, with Ryan, Chris and Jens Bridging at times, or Gandy or Team Simmons (Fedak, Chrissler, Bell, Kirby) covering each other.
I was around 20 skaters back. Lots of attacks, but it was taking some time to get my motor going, and so I was more than happy to follow and be conservative. Though there were some questionable skaters in front of me, there were also some strong skaters like Kirby, so it didn't seem too risky.
It became clear quickly that the opposing fire power was enough that attacks by me would be dangerous and likely futile, so conserving energy and picking your spots seemed to me be a good bet.
Chicken Anderson ticked a skate and fell alone right behind me. Steady boys... Rob, who was getting over being sick and with half a lung was hanging tough up there. Peggy was still around I think as we...