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Athens to Atlanta Road Skate - 2008
Starykowicz, Charbonneau win a2a

By Planet staff
Oct. 5, 2008

Finish Line Video:

Men's Finish: (video: Birgit Holme)

Women's Finish (video: Birgit Holme)

2:30 p.m. Starykowicz's Victory

The men's field was loaded with strong veterans, among them Bont's Mike Anderson and Luis Carlos Mejia and Twincam's Eddy Matzger.

And then there were the young bucks, among them Team Rainbo's Peter Starykowicz and Canariam's Luis Moreno, both hoping for their first a2a victories.

They hung together for much of the race, tucked inside or pulling a lead pack of about 12 skaters.

They chased assorted breakaways for 60 miles, but the pack stuck together until, with about 25 miles to go, Starykowicz attacked and Matzger counterattacked.

Together, they took a slight lead.

"I said, 'Let's go,' and we got a little gap," said Starykowicz, a 22-year-old former cross-country runner from Long Grove, Ill.

Mejia, who posted the best time at this year's St. Paul Inline Marathon, caught them a few miles later, as did fellow Colombian Luis Moreno.

Together, they formed a new lead pack of four skaters that arrived together at Piedmont Park, site of the finish line.

Going fast around a tight turn about a half mile from the finish line, Moreno "slid right out," Starykowicz said. "I was right behind him, and I almost went down, too."

That left three skaters — Matzger, Mejia and Starykowicz — to battle for the win.

"My legs were cramping up bad, but I felt real strong," Starykowicz said. "Then, 300 meters from the finish, we spread out and looked at each other, waiting for someone to go.

"Mejia went first and I got right behind him. I sprinted hard and just caught him at the line."

Matzger got pinched behind Mejia approaching the narrow finish line and had to settle for third.


2:05 p.m. Hanging Around

It wasn't all hard skating in the lead pack today.

Somewhere around Mile 60, the leaders had to take a breather to regroup.

"They didn't know which way to go, so they just stood around for a while," says Bruce Belden of Tucker, GA.

That worked out well for Belden, who, along with Randy Bowman, had dropped off the pace a few miles earlier. The pack's unscheduled stop allowed Belden and Bowman to catch up, at which point Belden, who has skated a2a 15 times, led the pack in the right direction.

The pack rewarded him by dropping him, again, a few miles later.

Nonetheless, he finished 9th overall.


1:42 p.m. Charbonneau: 'This year was different'

In last year's a2a, Martine Charbonneau was able to hang with the men's lead pack for more than two hours, which helped her set a new course record (4:41:40)

But "this year was different," the 30-year-old Canadian said. "I was dropped after an hour. I think the big wheels" — she was on 110s — "were too heavy for me on the hills."

She skated alone for the next 15 miles before hooking onto a chase pack.

She stayed with the pack, which included two women, Rebecca George and Marcy Turek, for the rest of the race.

When the pack arrived at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Charbonneau was unsure how much further there was to go before the finish line. But urged on by a spectator (Dan Burger), she started sprinting.

She took a short lead but George, 25, of Baxter, MN, fought back and passed her.

Finally, going up the final hill, Charbonneau caught and passed George and rolled across the finish line with a one-second lead.


1:30 p.m. Starykowicz: 'This really feels good!'

Team Rainbo's Peter Starykowicz has shown in the past that he can handle long distances, for instance last year when he skated two back-to-back full marathons at the Metrodome, both in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Today, he took it a step further, beating legendary skaters Eddy Matzger and Luis Carlos Mejia in the 87-mile Athens Atlanta Road Skate to prove himself one of America's top ultra-distance skaters.

"I came here to win," the lanky 22-year-old said after the race. "So this really feels good."


Top Finishers:


  1. Peter Starykowicz
  2. Luis Carlos Mejia
  3. Eddy Matzger
  4. Luis Moreno
  5. Thomas Detwiler


  1. Martine Charbonneau
  2. Rebecca George (O'Hearn)
  3. Marcy Turek

1 p.m. Charbonneau Again

For the second year in a row, Canada's Martine Charbonneau won the women's a2a. She finished in a mixed pack of men and women.

Rebecca George, 25, was second; Marcy Turek, 37, was third.

Charbonneau, 30, finished in 4 hours and 53 minutes. Last year, she won the race in a time of 4:41:40.


12:50 p.m. Starykowicz Wins:

Team Rainbo's Peter Starykowicz beat Bont's Luis Carlos Mejia and Twincam's Eddy Matzger in the sprint to win the 87-mile Athens to Atlanta Road Skate.

It was only the second a2a for the 22-year-old from Long Grove, IL. Last year, he finished fifth.

The winning time was 4 hours and 32 minutes, two minutes slower than last year's time of 4:30:51 and well behind the course record of 4:19:24.

Finishing fourth was Empire Speed's Luis Mejia. He arrived at the finish line in Atlanta's Piedmont Park about a minute behind the three leaders.


11:30 a.m. Skater update: The race drew a modest field of about 170 skaters, including some newcomers, among them Bont North America's Mike Anderson, Team Rainbo's Peter Starykowicz and Rebecca George, who registered under her new married name of Rebecca O'Hearn.

Last year's winner, Aaron Arndt of Canada is not skating today. He has not raced since breaking his leg in the World Inline Cup in Weinfelden, Switzerland, in June.

Italy's Mauro Guenci, winner in 2006, is also missing from today's field, though he raced last week in the New York 100K, where he finished out of the top three.


9:50 a.m. Dacula: Randy Bowman is the first skater to reach the town of Dacula, 38 miles from the start of the 2008 Athens to Atlanta Road Skate.

A pack of nine skaters is 30 to 40 meters behind Bowman with Bont's Mike Anderson in the lead.

Also in the chase pack is:

  • Luis Carlos Mejia (Bont)
  • Eddy Matzger (Twincam, eight-time a2a winner)
  • Dan Burger (Twincam)
  • Dennis Humphrey (Team Safe)
  • Peter Starykowicz (Team Rainbo)
  • three unidentified skaters

The skaters have been on the road for two hours. They have 49 miles left to go before they reach the finish line in Atlanta, where it is currently sunny and 63 degrees.

(report from Dacula by Renee Coffman)









Copyright © 2008 by Inline Planet


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