Duluth Race Report – Team Rainbo Wins Both A/B Team Championships!

As I headed to the start of the race, I wondered if having done the 24 hour marathon in Montreal the week before would help me or hurt me.  After all, my legs were toast all week leading up to Northshore Inline Marathon in Duluth.  I wasn’t able to have a good skate until Thursday.  I pretty much did not do anything all week……Talk about tapering!  I was a bit concerned that I might not have recovered enough.

I have come to realize, that the only way to really get a lot faster is by doing intervals.  You can get stronger just skating long distances, and you can increase the distance that you can skate, but you won’t get faster without interval training.  A big part of every race is answering the surges of a pack, and of course, sprinting for the finish (think interval)… that is where doing intervals can give you a real edge.  I decided that Montreal was really a series of long intervals…. all out effort for a shorter than usual distance.  I truly believe that it helped my Duluth marathon a lot.

As usual, the race started out extremely fast. I was pretty sure that Terry Holm was going to be my biggest challenger with Larry Griffen and John Garret (new veteran) always there and a danger as well I knew that I had to keep an eye on both of them.   Alan Marcossan, one of the best grand veterans in skating was not at the event. (Shucks!)  We had a nice tail wind to help us, so the ability to really skate fast and be comfortable at those high speeds was critical to staying with the pack.

There were some surges at times, but for the most part, it was a steady….fast….pace. During the slowdowns, there developed multiple pace lines as the back of the pack rode up on the front.  Lots of trying to find a place in line continued to be the most challenging part of the race.    It was a very tactical race….It was all about staying near the front for when the inevitable rush began.  If you were in the back of the pack, you would not be able to make up the distance as the pace was really fast.  We had a big surge up the hill to get on the highway that strung things out quite a bit.

The better hill climbers got the best spots for the fast skate along the expressway.  I was hanging in the front 10 -12 skaters for this stretch…..Other skaters tried to come up the sides and get in the pack, but no one was really letting anyone in the line.   We were flying pretty good when we came to the off ramp ….I stepped out of the line and began to clap my clap skates as hard as I could to be one of the first guys at the top.  I did NOT want to get in that inevitable scramble that happens on the hill…..it always causes a slowdown as guys spread out and clog the hill.

Terry Holm was following me up the hill, but struggled to keep up when we kept going hard around the corner.   While those other 20 guys were bumping in to each other trying to get up the ramp, about 10 of us mad e the turn clean and hauled ass.  We got a good separation on the rest of the group and just went as hard as we could from then on.   At this point, I was about the last guy on the front group.  As we came into the last turn, I was really feeling strong (I think Montreal had something to do with this) so I tried to make a move to cut the corner and pass a couple of guys in front of me who were going a little too wide for my taste.  I hammered as hard as I could get these old legs to go and began my move.

I passed one guy and I had a lot of momentum going.  I had a couple of more guys in my sights when Bobby Piedre and I clipped skates in the turn..  We both went up on 1 leg and looked like we were doing some kind of bizarre, ritual, Indian war dance.  My ankle was wobbling, we were swerving all over the place, and I for sure thought we was going down.  Somehow, or other, I was able to get on one edge, and my other leg came down and hit the ground.  My knee was about an inch from the ground, but I was able to push up and keep on going. Bobby was able to stay up as well.

I had lost a lot of momentum at this point, and now it was all about getting back some speed and holding my position….I was afraid that Terry was going to fly by me at this point, because I did not know exactly how far behind he was.  Luckily I was able to get some speed going again….I got by Bobby Piedre, and I passed a couple of other guys and ended up 8th overall, and I was able to defend my Grand Veterans title.  YEE HA!……….I can’t wait til next year!

Team Rainbo had a great race – a quick rundown of some of our Team Rainbo members who deserve a little special mention:

Marcy Turek – first place women’s elite masters (her time beat the elite pro women)
Cale Carvell – first place men’s elite grand veteran (who cares?)
Margo Carvell – first place age group open division (Best looking woman in Duluth)
Gary Blank – first place age group (also first place OVERALL in advanced division)
Steve Meisinger – first place age group (also second place OVERALL in advanced division)
Other top ten finishers:
Kyle Brady – second place age group (He is really getting fast…lookout guys)
John Silker – second place age group (This guy never gets tired)
Jan Kopis – third place bald guys division
Bob Ryan – fourth place age group (on his way to Athens to Atlanta)
Liz Nelson – sixth place age group (a fixture on the podium)
Herman Boehm – sixth place age group (Older than dirt!)
Jana Herzogova – sixth place age group (first year racer…look out next year)
Andrew Lupersolsk – ninth place age group (BIG improvement this year)
Tania Mcarthy – tenth place age group (First time doing the full…way to go)
Michael Mcarthy – fourth place age group 1/2 marathon (nice job…xkate more!)
Griffin Raccuglia – ninth place age group 1/2 marathon (the Griffinator)

All these people made the podium and deserve our congratulations and Hip, Hip, Hoorays.

Now the even bigger news.  In the Team championships Team Rainbo won both the A/B advanced team championships and the age group 1-9 team championships.  This was the cumulative times of the top 5 team members that included at least 1 person from each gender.  Our A/B team winners in order of finish were:  Gary Blank, Steve Meissinger, Kyle Brady, John Silker, Margo Carvell.

Our 1-9 team top 5 finishers were Andrew Lupersolsly, Jan Kopis, Brandon Walsh, Sue Starykowicz and Liz Nelson.  This is the first time that we, or anyone,  have won both categories in the same year.  Way to go Team Rainbo!  Everyone who came to the race was super AND for sure we were the best looking team there…………and we all know how important that is!

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