Event News:

Athens to Atlanta Spirit Lives on at Two Weekend Events

Matzger Wins the Alternate a2a; Second Group Skates Traditional Route

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

The spirit of the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate rolled through the Georgia countryside Sunday despite the cancellation of this year's official event.

Thirteen skaters participated in the so-called Alternate a2a, which was organized as a replacement for the canceled event.

They skated distances of roughly 38, 52 and 87 miles at Stone Mountain Park, east of Atlanta.

Eight-time a2a champion Eddy Matzger finished first in the 87-mile timed skate. His time on the hilly road course was 5 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds.

Meanwhile, three skaters -- David Kaplan, Don Druga and Blake Lambert (of Roadskater.net)-- stuck to the traditional 87-mile road course from Athens to Atlanta, Ga.

Lambert said he wouldn't have skated the traditional route -- he had already skated it a week earlier as a participant in the Outlaw a2a -- except that at the last minute he heard that someone was planning to skate the course alone.

He thought that would be unsafe.

Besides, he liked the idea of symbolically preserving the continuity of the a2a, which began life 24 years ago as an informal road skate, by skating the usual course on the originally scheduled date.

"I always wanted to do what we planned when we planned to do it, so nobody could say the 24th annual a2a skate never took place," said Lambert, who runs the roadskater.net web site.

The a2a was originally scheduled for Sunday (Oct. 9) but was canceled in the face of falling registration numbers.

In the late-1990s, the a2a would regularly draw more than 700 skaters. But in recent years, the numbers have fallen off. Last year's event only drew 353 skaters.

Although the future of the a2a is uncertain, one thing seems clear: The diehards are not about to give it up.

(updated on Oct. 12, 2005)

Related Reading

Go to official results of Alternate a2a

Go to story about the cancellation of the a2a

Go to Planet event news




Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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