Recap: Simmons' Adam Miller and Bont's Debbie Rice won today's Chicagoland Inline Marathon, strengthening their leads in the National Roller Cup.
After a sluggish start, the tempo picked up on the first lap with strong breakaways by Bont's Jono Gorman and Matt Walther. But no skater was able to stay away for long and by the start of the second lap, a large lead pack of about 40 skaters had formed.
Tucked into the pack were the top women: Canadian Sarah Hopkins, Luigino's Peggy Girgenti and Bont's Debbie Rice and Jilleanne Rookard.
The lead pack thinned out during the final four laps but still contained 30 skaters when it rounded the final turn and headed for the finish line.
Miller caught Adams Inline's David Sarmiento in the sprint to claim the victory; Rice slingshotted across the finish line after riding a strong lead out from her teammate.
In all, 338 skaters laced up for the second annual Chicagoland Inline Marathon, nearly three times more than last year, when 120 skated.
11:20 a.m. Women's race: Women's winner Debbie Rice said she spent much of the race tucked in behind her Bont teammate Jilleanne Rookard.
"She tried to stay in a safe position near the front of the pack," said Rice, 40, of Denham Springs, LA. "So I kept moving up with her and having her protect me. Finally, at the end, she led me out, and I went around her."
It was Rice's third win of the marathon season. In her other two victories, she finished two and three minutes behind the top men.
Today she was only six seconds behind.
Nonetheless, she said the race felt easier than the others. "We were all bunched up so you were in the draft all the time," she said.
"What it came down to was positioning ... making sure you were far enough ahead in the pack that you didn't get left behind when it took off."
Sarah Hopkins passed Rookard in the sprint to take second. Rookard was third.
Luigino's Petty Girgenti finished fourth. Former NROC leader Rebecca George finished fifth among the women, four minutes behind the leaders.
10:44 a.m. Men's race: With few breakaways and none that lasted long, the race came down to the final sprint on a long, gradual uphill.
About 300 meters from the finish line, David Sarmiento took the lead. Adam Miller followed behind him and together they got a small gap on the pack.
Two hundred meters from the finish line, Miller went around Sarmiento. In the final meters, Bont's Jono Gorman caught Sarmiento to claim second place. Sarmiento was third.
Miller says his strategy in the race was to stay with Sarmiento, who he expected to be strong after spending part of the summer competing in the the World Inline Cup.
"I stayed behind David the whole race," he said.
Miller said the race was the fastest he has competed in so far this year. "It was not so much top-end speed. It was more of a steady pace all the time."
Gorman, 20, of Roswell, GA, said the race was very physical, "with lots of elbowing, lots of jockeying for position."
Sarmiento, 26, of Bogota, Colombia, said Gorman surprised him in the sprint. "I started to sprint and then (Adam Miller) passed me and he got a little gap, and then I thought I was second and (Gorman) passed me.
Sarmiento won the inaugural Chicagoland Inline Marathon last year.
9:52 a.m. Top Finishers
9:52 a.m. A review by the official timer gives Adams Inline's David Sarmiento third place.
9:30 a.m. The finish: Simmons' Adam Miller, 26, of Independence, MO, wins in a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes and 19 seconds.
Some confusion about who took second, third and fourth place. The unofficial results list Bont's Jono Gorman as second; Luigino's Tony Muse as third; and Luigino's BJ Steketee as fourth. But Adams Inline's David Sarmiento appeared to finish second or third and was missing from the unofficial results.
Bont's Debbie Rice takes the lead out from teammate Jilleanne Rookard to win the women's race and remain in first place in the National Roller Cup. She finishes 13th place overall, only six seconds behind Adam Miller.
9:14 a.m. One lap to go! Little change on the fourth lap. Simmons' Rob Bell, who won the Badger Games Inline Marathon earlier this month, was at or near the lead. Teammate Adam Miller was nearby.
That said, all the major teams were in strong position at the start of the fifth and final lap. Skaters for Luigino, Adams Inline and Rainbo were all at or near the lead. The top women held their position midway in the lead pack.
8:58 a.m. Pyro Apparel's Randy Bowman takes the lead and the pack starts to thin out. NROC leader Adam Miller (Simmons) sits in third. The top women, including Debbie Rice and Peggy Girgenti (Luigino), sit in the lead pack of about 30 skaters. Hyper's Jim Larson lags far behind the lead pack but nearly catches it after the first two long straightaways. Another skater at or near the lead is B.J. Steketee (Luigino). One lap to go.
8:48 a.m. Simmon's Rob Bell takes a pull at the front of the lead pack midway through the third lap.
8:40 a.m. The big lead pack stays together through the second lap, arriving at the end of the loop in a long, tightly packed line.
NROC women's leader Debbie Rice (Bont) is tucked into the pack along with Jilleanne Rookard.
An ambulance pulls onto the racecourse to attend to a girl with a broken arm.
8:30 a.m. At the end of the first lap, Matt Walther sits at the head of a large lead pack of about 40 skaters. Right behind him is Jono Gorman. Four laps to go.
8:20 a.m. First breakaway: Jono Gorman takes off on a slight uphill. Hernan Diaz goes with him. They're going about 27 mph. But the pack quickly swallows them up. On the next long straightaway, Bont's Matt Walther takes off and gets a nice lead.
8:12 a.m. And they're off. Slow start with Bont's Jono Gorman going to the front. Gorman holds the lead going up the first hill. Then Simmons Craig Garcia takes over on the first long straightaway.
The lead pack goes into the turnaround fast and two skaters, including one from Luigino, go down in the grass but quickly stand up and jump back into the pack.
7:30 a.m. A beautiful day for racing. Sunny skies with a few dabs of clouds, about 70 degrees.
A strong field today, including most of the top skaters in the National Roller Cup. Among the top men: Tony Muse, Adam Miller (NROC leader), Rob Bell, Jono Gorman, Brian Kubota, Norm Kirby, David Sarmiento, Hernan Diaz and Craig Garcia.
Among the top women: Debbie Rice (NROC leader), Jilleanne Rookard, Peggy Girgenti, Kara Peterson.
Copyright © 2008 by Inline Planet