Report: 2005 St. Gallen One-Eleven
Louis Beaudoin Recounts His Experience in the 2005 St. Gallen Ultra-Marathon
(Editors note: Louis Beaudoin of Berkeley, Calif., is quickly emerging as one of the top ultra-distance skaters in the United States. Last year, he finished sixth in the prestigious Athens to Atlanta Road Skate. This year, he was hoping to do better and was bitterly disappointed when the 87-mile ultra-marathon was canceled. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old electrical engineer still had something to look forward to: the St. Gallen One-Eleven in Switzerland. The 111-kilometer (68.97-mile) race, part of the Mini Swiss Inline Cup, is the top European ultra-distance road race. Last year, it attracted a field of 1600, including many of the world's top long-distance and marathon skaters. On Sunday, Louis Beaudoin lined up for the 2005 edition of the St. Gallen One-Eleven. Despite a hard fall and unfamiliarity with the course, he finished 22nd in the race. He is already planning his return next year. ... Here's his report:)
By Louis Beaudoin
My race weekend started with some problems, I missed my overnight train from Prague to St. Gallen, and had to spend an extra night in Prague. So, on Saturday, instead of exploring St. Gallen and skating the course up to the finish line, I spent the day on a train, alternating between reading my travel books, and sleeping.
I had just enough time once arriving in St. Gallen to check into my hotel, lace up my skates, and hurry over to the Olma center to pick up my number.
I was in such a hurry, I didn't notice the ominous clouds. But by the time I reached the Olma center, it started pouring. The half-hour warm-up I had planned to do would be impossible, so I picked up my free spaghetti dinner and waited out the storm.
While eating, we watched a very well-produced video from the 2004 Inline One-Eleven race. Kim Perkins (Louis' coach) was in the video in a number of places, including being interviewed with a microphone during the race. I commented about the quality of the video to Rene, who is in charge of finances for the race. He said they might not be able to afford production of the video this year. They were expecting a few hundred more skaters to register the day before the race, but because of the uncertain weather, a lot of people were not showing up. (Despite this, they still had camera crews on motorcycles through the race.)
After waiting out the storm for an hour and a half, I could see it was not going to let up, so I decided to walk back to the hotel. I was not prepared for rain. I was wearing skate cloths and my skates and had brought no shoes. To avoid rusty bearings on
race day, I walked home barefoot. Luckily it was a summer rain. When I got back to the hotel ten minutes later, I was soaked but still warm.
The Inline One-Eleven race coincides with a festival in St. Gallen. There was live music playing all over downtown until 2 a.m. ... right outside my window.
Even with earplugs it was quite loud, but I managed to sleep soundly though the night, and through both of my alarms. I woke up on my own about 20 minutes late but was able to get out to the course with about 15 minutes to warm up.
Though it had rained until late at night, the streets were dry in the morning, and though cloudy, I hoped the rain would hold until after the race.
The start line was packed with the pros spilled out in a huge crowd in front of the start banner. I didn't understand what they were saying in German but right at 7 a.m., I heard numbers being counted down and then a gun went off and we started.
The downhill ride leaving town was intense. Even skating downhill, I was hitting peak heart rates from dealing with the packs and from adrenaline from the high speeds and obstacles.
There were at least four to five packs formed across the road, mixed with both women and men and people attacking between the packs. Every 30 seconds or so, we would pass a short median for a crosswalk in the center of the road, which would be deadly if anyone hit it. I didn't have my GPS, but speeds were definitely in the 30s.
I've never been in a race with so much pack activity. I had to get comfortable jumping from pack to pack quickly in order to stay toward the front.
There were quite a few kicked skates, and at one point I was leaning on the guy next to me before he let me into his pack.
Kim warned me about a fast downhill about 20 minutes into the race, comparable to A2A's Silver Hill. The hill can be taken at speed without braking but is intimidating because the road is curvy and you can't see the bottom. The hill is surrounded by trees and had not dried yet from the night's rain.
We hit top speed quickly, and I'm glad I didn't have my GPS with me, because I would have been terrified to see how fast we were going.
The pack broke up almost immediately, and skaters were weaving from side to side, some trying to find the best line, others braking, and others skating out of control. I tried to find a line that kept people away from me, and reached the bottom of the hill before I realized how insane that was.
At an hour into the race and with at least 50 skaters in the main pack, we turned off the main road onto the small single-car wide roads we would spend most of the race on.
1. Iten Nicolas, Fila Mentos Team 3:19.05.95
2. Loy Tristan, Inline St.Gallen Speed 3:19.12,71
3. Christen Marc, Bont International, 3:19.21.46
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