Apostle Inline Marathon

To say the least, the Apostle inline marathon on Madeline Island, is the best thing that has happened to the inline race world in the last 3 years.   This race is a morning ferry ride to a beautiful island with an 8.7mile loop of brand new, perfectly smooth, asphalt.   A lot of right turns, with minor hills to deal with, it gives most skaters the opportunity to have a personal best.   The conditions on race morning were absolutely perfect….in the 60’s, minor wind, and plenty of sunshine.  It just doesn’t get much better than this.

       Team Rainbo had a turnout of 29 skaters with 20 making it to the team dinner in Ashland, Wisconsin on Friday night…..a few beers, great company, great restaurant, and an excitement in the air.  Lots of race talk, race stories, and anticipation.   This is what being on a team is all about…..this is part of why we race…these dinners bring us all closer.   I just love it………
       Race morning…..400 enthusiastic skaters warming up, enjoying the weather and ready to roll.   I was feeling pretty good.  I had my super 20mm thin AmWing wheels were just itching to get going.   This is the perfect course for these wheels, and I can’t wait to get going.   After the rough, punishing pavement last week in Brainerd, this was a dream come true.   On top of that, they announced that the 50 and older crowd would be starting separately from the other pros.   This plays into my hand perfectly, because many of the 50-55 year olds can hang on to that front group.   Having to start after them meant that they would be controlling the pace.   That would keep things within my abilities, so I was feeling that I could stay with the pack til the end.   Our race started, and away we went.   Immediately there is a 90 degree right turn into the one long climb on the course.  The front boys went pretty hard, and we immediately dropped a large part of the pack.   I was feeling pretty good, and was encouraged that I was able to stay with the front pack with out much pain.   My wheels were rolling free and fast.  
       The race was three laps, and there were numerous surges to bleed off some of the “hangers on”   By the end of the first lap, we had narrowed the front pack down to about 15 skaters.   We all stayed together, and although there were some pretty good surges, we all stayed together.   I had done a great job of being a “wheel sucker”   I never had to pull the pack at all.   There were 4-5 guys that seemed perfectly happy to take turns pulling the pack along…….that was just fine with me.  With about a 1/2 mile til the finish, I found myself in second place in the pack behind one of the favorites to win…..Jeff Terwillinger…..The pace picked up quite a bit, and I was very happy to be behind Jeff.  I had visions of sitting in his draft until the final sprint and then be in a great position to do as good, if not better, than I could hope for.   I felt strong, in control, and ready to sprint.   Then, Jeff pulled off the front, and there I was, stuck pulling the pack.   This was not my plan at all.   Jeff’s teammate Herb Gayle immediately let Jeff back in the pack.   I pulled at a pretty good pace for a short period, but there was no way that I was going to be the workhorse for the rest of the pack to just blow by me at the end of the race…..After all, I was at least 7 years older than the next oldest guy in the pack, and 10 years older than most of them.   Didn’t anyone teach them about respecting their elders?   I jumped off the front of the pack with every intention of getting back in the pace line and saving my energy for the sprint.   The problem was that the pace had now really pick up, and no one was going to let me back in the pack.    I was, as they say, “hung out to dry”.   I had to skate along side the pack with no draft….I used up a lot of energy staying towards the front.   The front 6 guys had created a gap of about 20 feet from the rest of the pack, so I was able to jump on the back just before the final 90 degree right turn into a 200 yard sprint to the line.  I had lost a lot of momentum, but was able to put my head down, sprint as hard as I could, and I passed two of the skaters in front of me.   I ended up 5th in the 50 and over pack.   No complaints at all…..time 1 hour 14 minutes 43 seconds……….
      In the final pack with me was our own John (Herb) Sherwin, who also had a great race.  He was about 3 seconds behind me, but redeemed himself completely after a tough race in Brainerd that included equipment failure, terrible roads, and no pack to skate in……..Great job Herb.
     Team Rainbo had a fantastic showing.   Steve Meisinger, Team Rainbo/Powerslide, and our own 16 year old teen phenom John Shenko, took 11th and 12th in the Pro/Open division…..These guys are tearing up the roads, and continue to get better, stronger, and more experienced.   Top skaters are noticing these guys and paying close attention.   The are becoming a force to be reckoned with. 
     The amount of Team Rainbo members who came up to me beaming with stories of their personal best times are too many to name……I want to congratulate all who were there, and let everyone else know that you MUST put this race on your schedule next year.   There is no better course anywhere in the country….Nice job everyone!………….Team Rainbo Rules!!!………..Cale

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