Kramer Looks for Another Road Rash Win
April 20, 2012
Briana Kramer before the start of last year's Texas Road Rash.
Photo: Debbie Rice
Bont USA's Briana Kramer starts her her quest for a second straight NROC title this weekend at the Texas Road Rash in Round Rock.
Kramer, a 20-year-old inline and ice skater from Orlando, FL, won the Road Rash last year with a tuck and fly strategy. She stuck with the men's lead pack until the end, then outsprinted teammate Sophie Webb to the finish line.
Her strategy — "skating with the boys" — will be the same this year, she says.
"I’m used to chasing down guys. And honestly, I think if I can just stay with them, it will make the race a lot easier for me at the end."
At the end of the race, any women who have been able to stay with the fast-moving men's pack will likely be tiring. "And that's usually an advantage for me," Kramer says, "because I can usually keep going when the other girls get tired."
Kramer will be skating without a teammate this year. But at least two other pro women will likely try to hang with the men's pack Sunday: Asphalt Beach’s Candy Wong and Brianna Bocox, a sophomore at Burns High School in Lawndale, NC.
Kramer hasn't skated much on wheels this year, but she says her winter of training and competing in longtrack ice in Salt Lake City has left her in good shape.
Sunday's race is "probably going to shock my body. But as long as I am mentally prepared for it, I should be OK."
Kramer finished in the top 10 this year in all distances in the 2011-2012 American Cup of longtrack ice.
Her goal on ice is to someday compete in the Olympics.
Her goal on inline skates this year? "To win NROC again," she says.
She won the women's open pro NROC title last year with a perfect score (500), winning the Road Rash, Chicagoland Inline Tour, and Northshore Inline Marathon.
Topping the list of pro men in this year's Road Rash is Bont USA's Justin Stelly, who won the Northshore Inline Marathon in 2010 and was a member of the 2011 USARS World Team.
Stelly, 24, of Kaplan, LA, finished second in last year's Road Rash, behind 28-time world champion and inline superstar Joey Mantia.
Helping Stelly in the race will be Bont teammate Harry Vogel, a former world champion and fierce competitor.
The men’s race appears to lack a skater who could win on a solo breakaway, which is what Mantia did last year.
That's probably good news to Stelly, who tends to hang with the pack until the field sprint, where he relies on his fast twitch muscles and epic hawks to get to the front.
Mindful of Stelly, the Simmons team of Rob Bell and Alex Fedak will likely mount numerous attacks in the hopes of breaking away and leaving the Bont team behind before the field sprint.
Other skaters who are likely to contend for podium positions Sunday are CadoMotus' Ryan Weiderhold and Pinnacle/Synergy's Jimmy Blair, who won the race in 2007.
This is the ninth year for the Texas Road Rash, which is organized by the City of Round Rock and features a post-race barbecue and cheese grater awards.
The Road Rash starts at 4 p.m. Saturday (CDT) with elimination races and packet pickup at the Dell Diamond Parking Lot in Round Rock. Right after the races, the Bont team (Kramer, Vogel and Stelly) will condut an outdoor skate clinic.
The Road Rash marathon and half marathon start at 8 a.m. Sunday at Old Settlers Park. Skaters in the full marathon circle the park six times.
The Inline Planet will cover the Road Rash marathon with a live blog starting at 7:30 a.m. (CDT) Sunday.
Texas Road Rash web page
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