11:40 a.m. Men's 39-mile Challenge:
For the Simmons team, the strategy was simple: keep the pace steady and make sure Adam Miller is near the front on the final straightaway.
That's just what the team did and the strategy worked flawlessly. Miller, 26, of Independence, MO, sprinted to his third straight NROC victory while four of his teammates finished in the top 10.
"This was one of the best races for our team," said Miller, who clinched the NROC open elite title last week at the Saint Paul Inline Marathon.
The 39-mile Hayward Inline Challenge was the first ultramarathon for several of the Simmons skaters, including Miller and Rob Bell.
"We kept the pace steady," said Bell, 24, of Oklahoma City. "We thought the hills would be tougher. But with these 110 wheels, you go so fast down the hills that you roll half way up the other side."
On the first lap, there were about 30 skaters in the lead pack. But going up the big hill on the second lap, "the pack just blew apart," said Bont's Randy Plett.
After the hill, only 14 skaters remained in the lead pack.
Bont's Mike Anderson and Adams Inline's David Sarmiento, last year's winner, put in lots of hard pulls. And several skaters launched breakaways. But after 37 miles, the pack remained intact.
At that point, Flanders' Brent Bovitz took off on a flier and got about 50 meters ahead of the pack. He hovered there until the final half-mile straightaway where three Simmons skaters (Miller, Bell and Ryan Chrisler) attacked and caught him.
Once they did, Anderson, 41, of Bloomington, MN, took off and passed the Simmons skaters on the right.
"I started my sprint and I passed Mike with about 200 yards to go," Miller said.
Sarmiento had gone with Miller and together they sprinted for the line. "We raced it out to the end," Miller said.
Miller finished about a foot ahead of Sarmiento. Ryan Chrisler was third; Rob Bell, fourth; and Mike Anderson, fifth.
Miller described the race as "really slow .. which was good for me because I don't train for this kind of distance. It was just the hills that slowed me down."
Sarmiento, 26, of Bogota, Colombia, said it was a tough race for him. "I don't have a team so I have to always chase, which is really bad for me because I lose all my strength."
10:40 a.m. Women's 39-mile Challenge: Recovering from a cold, Bont's Debbie Rice was in no mood to skate hills today. But "hills, more hills and more hills" is what she faced on the three-lap course of today's Hayward Inline Challenge.
"It was very hard," the 40-year-old from Denham Springs, LA, said after the race.
"And Kara Peterson," she joked. "I was ready to strangle her! She attacked on every hill."
The women's race started with a field of about 20 skaters. But the hard pace and tough climbs quickly whittled down the pack.
By the second lap, there were only four women left: Rice, Peterson, Rebecca George and Marcy Turek.
"It ended up being the four of us for the rest of the race," Rice said. "Kara attacked on every hill and we would catch her every time on the downhill."
Finally, after two hours of skating, the four arrived together on the final half-mile straightaway in front of the finish line.
"Rebecca jumped first and I was sitting just behind her," Rice said. "Then I could see out of the corner of my eye that Marcy was coming up on the side. So that's when I jumped out and took off."
Rice got to the line a second ahead of George, 25 of Baxter, MN.
Peterson, 39, of St. Paul, caught Turek in the sprint to take third.
Rice's win sealed her victory in the open elite division of the National Roller Cup. She needed one point to assure her NROC victory. She got 60.
10:00 a.m. Top finishers - 39-mile Hayward Inline Challenge
9:45 a.m. Adam Miller beats David Sarmiento in the sprint to win the 2008 Hayward Inline Challenge. ... Several minutes later, Bont's Debbie Rice won the women's race. Rebecca George was second; Kara Peterson, third.
9:21 a.m. Aloe Up's Danny Frederick wins the marathon.
9:10 a.m. The pros just finished their second lap of three in the 39-mile Challenge. The men's lead pack has slimmed down to about 25, including Bont's Mike Anderson, Adams Inline's David Sarmiento and Simmons' Adam Miller.
The small women's lead pack arrived five minutes later. The four skaters were Debbie Rice, who leads NROC's open pro division, Rebecca George, who is in second place, Kara Peterson, who won the Challenge last year, and Marcy Turek.
9 a.m. (Central Time) Thong Nguyen wins the half marathon. ... In the 39-mile Challenge, Mike Anderson and Fred Scheer reportedly instigated a couple of breakaways.
7:45 a.m Start: The skaters are underway in the Hayward Inline Challenge and Hayward Inline Marathon in Wisconsin. The start for the 39-mile Challenge came first, followed a few minutes later by the start of the marathon.
Most of the top pros are skating the Challenge, which is the final event of the 2008 National Roller Cup (NROC).
The temperature at the start was a chilly 52 degrees but the sun was shining.
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