Live Blog: 2012 Skate of the Union
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June 23 and 24, 2012
Skate of the Union photos
11:20 am | Harry Vogel interview
Skate of the Union (overall)
- Harry Vogel - 1:13:06
- Justin Stelly
- Wesley Gandy
- Devin Firek
- Ryan Weiderhold
- Norm Kirby
- Herb Harbison, Jr.
- Bill Numerick
- Gary Blank
- Ted Rodriquez
- Erin Jackson - 1:19:21
- Zephanaeh Akana
- Abigail Cusac
- Christina Condon
- Trisha Kaufman
Bont USA's Harry Vogel arrived at the starting line today feeling confident despite a slight injury.
He had pulled a groin muscle during training last week and was worried that would make it difficult for him to sprint. So he had decided he would try to breakaway by himself late in the race, so no one would be around to beat him in the sprint.
For a while, the race went as planned.
"I got on the line and was super motivated," says Vogel, a former world champion from Vero Beach, Florida.
"At the start, (Justin) Stelly and I went out and pushed really hard and smashed the whole thing," he said.
The thing they smashed was the lead pack. Within two laps on the 1.1-mile road course, only three skaters were able to sustain the blistering pace: Vogel, teammate Stelly, and the top skater from the CadoMotus team, Wesley Gandy.
The race followed a pattern, Vogel said. He would usually lead the group on the uphill section of the backside. Then Stelly or Gandy would take over on the downhill.
Later in the race, Stelly and Gandy began to tire on the uphill sections, Vogel said. "The legs were starting to get fatigued."
But rather than breakaway — Vogel's original plan — he decided to stay with his teammate, he said.
By then the temperature on the racecourse was more than 80 degrees. "But there was a little bit of a breeze, so it wasn't bad," Vogel says. "Besides, I've been training in Florida."
On the final lap, Gandy tried a couple times to get away. But Stelly and Vogel wouldn't let him go.
At the end, with 200 meters to go, Gandy had a slight lead. But then Stelly initiated his lead out, and he and Vogel passed Gandy on the inside. "As soon as we went by him, he eased up, and we knew we had it," Vogel said.
Vogel won the race standing up. Stelly was second; Gandy, third.
It was the first win of the year for Vogel, who lives in Vero Beach, Florida.
"I've been training really hard," he said.
His goal this year is to return to the World Championships this year and win "some" individual medals. Later, he hopes "to figure out" the Olympic "ice thing."
10:50 am | Erin Jackson wins women's race
Bont's Erin Jackson sprints in ahead of Zaphaneah Akana with a time of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 20 seconds.
10:43 am | Harry Vogel wins
Coming around the final turn, the three leaders start sprinting. CadoMotus' Wesley Gandy is on the outside; Bont's Harry Vogel and Justin Stelly are on the inside.
Vogel and Stelly accelerate, and Gandy drops back.
Vogel wins; Stelly is second; Gandy, third.
The time is 1 hour, 13 minutes and 5 seconds.
The chase pack finished 1 minute and 21 seconds later.
Simmons' Devin Firek won the field sprint for fourth place. Next was CadoMotus' Ryan Weiderhold, Bont's Norm Kirby, Herb Harbison, Jr., and Pinnacle Racing's Bill Numerick.
10:33 am | Three to go
The three leaders are slowing down. Their last lap was 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Many of the early laps were under three minutes. But the chase pack isn't gaining much.
Finishing the 21st lap, Hoigaard's Herb Gayle of Toronto is out in front of the chase pack.
10:26 am | Five to go
Harry Vogel is the first across the line at the end of the 19th lap. It's still the same three at front: Vogel, Stelly and Gandy.
It's hard to figure how this works well for Gandy. Both Vogel and Stelly are brilliant sprinters. And together, they are tough to beat.
The leaders are now two full minutes ahead of the chase pack.
10:05 am | Ten laps to go
Not much change. It's a battle at the front between the two Bont USA skaters, Harry Vogel and Justin Stelly, and CadoMotus' Wesley Gandy.
They are trading the lead. One lap it's Vogel, the next Stelly, the next Gandy.
There are nine laps to go. And the leaders are now about a minute and a half ahead of the chase pack.
The leaders in the women's race are now Bont's Erin Jackson and Zaphaneah Akana.
9:55 am | With 14 laps to go
A three-man breakaway of Harry Vogel, Justin Stelly and Wesley Gandy has built a lead of over a half mile.
"It's unbelievable the pace these guys are setting right now," says race announcer Ross Creveling.
The chase pack crosses the line 67 seconds later. It is led by CadoMotus' Chris Springer and Ryan Weiderhold.
9:45 am | Women after three laps
Rainbo's Trisha Kaufman is at the front of the women's lead pack of four skaters. Following her are Asphalt Beach's Candy Wong, Zephaneah Akana, and Bont USA's Erin Jackson.
9:34 am | Start
They start on time, but not before Ross Creveling goes through the race instructions, including the warning to skaters "to keep track of your own laps."
The full marathon is 24 laps of the 1.1-mile road course. Creveling will keep track of the time for the leaders. But he won't be able to help the skaters who are farther back.
After the first lap, Bont USA's Harry Vogel is in front. Cado Motus' Wesley Gandy is next. Then Bont's Justin Stelly and Cado Motus' Ryan Wiederhold.
Sunday: 9:09 am | Setting
It's a beautiful morning in Chantilly, Virginia: sunny with a slight breeze. "But it's going to be hot," says event organizer Krista Schreffler. The current temperature is 76 degrees F.
The 5 and 10K races are finishing up on the road course, which is a drivers training track of the Fairfield County police.
The marathon will start in about a half an hour. Among the racers will be some of the skaters who competed in yesterday's North Carolina Skate Marathon, Schreffler says.
Saturday: 5 pm | Pro Criterium Results
The format was unusual: 45 minutes plus one lap. The first skater across the line on each lap earned two points; the second skater, one ... until the last lap when the first skater earned five points; the second skater, four; etc.
In all, the skaters completed 11 laps on the 1.5-mile Grand Prix track at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Cado Motus' Wesley Gandy finished first on a couple of laps and second on a few others. But that wasn't enough to keep up with the point totals of Bont USA's Justin Stelly and Harry Vogel, who finished first on most of the laps.
Here's the final point total (name, hometown, state, points)
- Justin Stelly, Lafayette, LA, 19
- Harry Vogel, Vero Beach, FL, 18
- Wesley Gandy, Richmond VA 6
- Herb Harbison Jr., Philadelphia, PA, 2
- Gary Blank, Purcellville, VA, 1
(Coverage of the marathon starts at 9 am Sunday EDT.)
(If you would like to be part of our coverage, post your photos, videos and reports on the Skater Network.)
Planet preview of the 2012 Skate of the Union