Racing News > 2006 Texas Road Rash

Cheryl Ezzell Returns to Win Texas Road Rash
Adam Miller repeats as winner of men's race
Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Five years after giving up racing, Hall of Famer Cheryl Ezzell laced up her speed skates today and won the Texas Road Rash inline marathon.

"It felt great," the 27-year-old mother of two said after today's race. "I skate mainly just for fitness now. But I got out here, tried to do my best and had fun."

In the men's race, Simmons Racing's Adam Miller was the winner for the second year in a row. His time on the six-lap road course at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock was 1 hour, 25 minutes and 28 seconds, ten minutes slower than his winning time last year. His average speed today was 19.8 mph.

Down to the Wire

The early goings of the race were punctuated by frequent attacks by members of the Team Texas speed skating team out of nearby Austin, said Randy Bowman, who finished fourth in the pro division.

Later, Miller, 23, and his teammate Ryan Chrisler took charge. They attacked a couple times but could not sustain the lead.

Finally, the race came down to a field sprint made up of about 10 pro and pro master skaters.

Miller finished three seconds ahead of Chrisler. Next came Jarrod Fischer, a 17-year-old member of last year's Junior World Team, and Andrew Zak, a 44-year-old pro master from Las Vegas.

Tough to Come Back

Ezzell, who competed under her married name (Matula), said the marathon proved a challenge for her after her years away from racing.

"It was tough," she said. "About the third lap, I wanted to quit!"

In the early laps, she was in the same pack as the second-place finisher, Natalia Solis, a member of Mexico's national team.

But eventually, she left Solis behind and finished a minute before her. "I didn't see her after the third lap," Ezzell said.

Ezzell was one of the top women U.S. speed skaters in the 1990s, winning 12 world championships. But she quit racing in 2001 to get married and have a family.

Today, she lives in Halletsville, Texas, with her two sons and works full-time as a hospice manager. She also attends classes two nights a week to become an assistant physical therapist.

"Lately," she drawls, "I've been skating just for a couple of months — just once a week, mainly just for fitness."

She said she hoped to compete in other Texas events but doubted she would be able to find the time to travel out of state.

"It feels good to get out here and try something like that again," she said.

Push from Powerslide

"I talk to Julie and Doug Glass [of Powerslide] regularly. And Julie sent me a Powerslide uniform and some wheels. So I came out here and skated."

Watching her old friend Chad Hedrick in the recent Winter Games was also an inspiration.

"The whole Olympic deal got me really pumped up," she said. "And I am hoping that all this talk of inline ... you know, Chad, Joey Cheek, Apolo Ohno, they are all inliners ... will boost the sport.

"I would just love to see the sport get into the Olympics one day or even for it just to grow again like it was in the 1990s. It died down, but it seems to be growing again."

Related reading

• Go to list of the top finishers (race results).

• Go to more Racing News.

• Go to the Beginner's Guide to Outdoor Racing

posted on March 26, 2006

Related reading

• Go to more Racing News.

• Go to list of the top finishers (race results).

Go to the Beginner's Guide to Outdoor Racing


Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson

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