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Notes from the 2008 NorthShore Inline Marathon

By Robert Burnson

(Talk about the 2008 NorthShore)

Sept. 12, 2008

4 p.m. Friday

Expo Fevor!

The DECC is filling up with skaters ...

Mike Powell, marketing manager for K2 Skates, is here. He's talking about K2's new eco-friendly skates: the Maya and the Etu. "We wanted to make a mid-level skate of renewable materials," Powell says.

The uppers are made of PET-recycleable water bottles. The frames are made of "nine layers of bamboo," he says. "And after a year and a half of testing, we found that the bamboo sucks up vibration and is almost as rigid as our aluminum frames."

Chuck CarlbergChuck Carlberg, the director of the NorthShore, is here. He told us the story of the first NorthShore. (This year's is the 13th.)

"The first NorthShore started with me and this guy sitting in my living room and talking," he says.

The guy was George Hovland.

"He is the guy who came up with the concept," Chuck said. "He came to me because I had done ski events before. We decided we'd get 20 of our friends together and skate the Grandma's Marathon course. We decided we'd do it early in the morning without permits. ... It would be a renegade thing. And we'd make a T-shirt and belong to this exclusive club of 20 guys who did it. ... But once we started working on it, it turned out to be more involved than we thought. So we put it off for a year and started organizing, and when we did it the next year, we had 1235 skaters."

Steve Larios, owner of Asphalt Beach, is here. Next week, he starts renovations on his new store in Nashville.

"Did I mention 4800-square-feet?" he says. "It's big. It's like two houses. All skates. No skateboards."

Where is it?

"It's in the Five Points district of Nashville. It's like the hippest location in Nashville. ... I've got a 100-foot skating oval in the middle of the store."


Here's the address: 961 Woodland St.

If you're in the area, check it out!

Team Simmons' Alex Fedak is here. He said he was thinking about skating the open division but decided to stick with masters (35-44). Alex is 43.

"If you skate open, you are with the best of the best, which is fun. With masters, it's more of a cat-and-mouse game. ... You have to pick one or the other — pick your poison basically."

Mark Randle from Fresno is here. He and a few other Fresno skaters have linked up with a Fresno cycling club. "Instead of reinventing the wheel, we were able to hook up with an already-established cycling team, Vaypor Racing."

Ron Rice is here. He's got bad news. His daughter Debbie Rice can't make it this year. She's contending with Hurricane Ike in Houston. "She's watching over her mom right now," Ron says. "They're in the northern end of Houston in a hotel. They are going to ride it out there."

karlindabogueRollerblade Kalinda Bogue is here. Kalinda is the company's new director of marketing (as of Jan. 1). I asked for her to talk about the outlook for inline :

"I think it's an exciting time for inline skating," she says. "The idea of finding an alternative way to get around without getting in your car is become a part of the cultural conversation. People are thinking, 'Hey, how can I find another way to get around.' And we are a part of that. ... Rollerblade in 2009 has a line of products that is ready for that."

Team Aloe Up's Herb Gayle is here. Herb, who lives in Toronto, is always here. He hardly ever misses an event. (We need more skaters like Herb!) "One year I went overboard ... I did 38 races," he says. "But now my son's in university so I've cut back."

Las Vegas's Andy Zak is here and healthy ... although he still can't skate with his hands behind his back. He's hoping he doesn't get arrested and placed in handcuffs. "That would kill me," he said.

Tucson skater Robert Murders just came by with his wife, Ni. He's a retired Air Force meteorologist. Here's his forecast for tomorrow: "There are two different systems that are headed toward Minnesota that are going to increase the chances of rain. But tomorrow morning still looks pretty good."

Bill Fuhrmann, the head of the Minnesota Inline Skaters Club, just stopped by. I asked him about the future of the RollerDome, which is the winter skating grounds for Minneapolis inline skaters. It's held on the concourse of the Metrodome, which is supposed to be torn down at some point. "it will hang around for a few years yet ... It just depends on when they decide to tear it down."


Sept. 11, 2008

8 p.m. Thursday

All's Ready in the DECC

After a day of dragging around airports and squeezing into airplane seats, I arrived in muggy Minneapolis in the mid-afternoon.

Adam Bradley of Adams Inline picked me up at the airport and we drove up Highway 35 in his truck, towing a trailer full of rain wheels (and other stuff).

Rain fell on the way but stopped as we arrived in Duluth. Northshore board member Rick Abrahamson said it had rained much of the day and that that was a good thing because it meant it would be dry this weekend for the race.

That would be nice.

One thing for sure ... I think ... it will be warmer than last year when the temperature at race time was just below freezing.

We found a few skaters at the DECC (Duluth Entertainment Convention Center), where the expo starts tomorrow at noon.

Bont's Roger Olson was there. He and his wife, Virginia, drove out from Southern California and are staying out across the bridge in their camper.

Pinnacle Racing's Jimmy Blair and Dan Hyde were setting up their booth.

So was Baxter Inline's Terry Holm, who was kind enough to show me the latest version of his saddle-bag-style Ultimate Skate Bag.

Dawna Carlberg, assistant director, was working hard on last-minute details; her sister-in-law had what seemed like an endless job: inflating 300 red balloons.

(Talk about the 2008 NorthShore)









Copyright 2008 by Inline Planet


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