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A2A 52-mile 2010: Race with Friends Johnny Chen's Athens to Atlanta 2010 Report

johnnyChen's picture

I planned to skip 2010 A2A to focus on Texas Time Trial.  The cycling training went down the toilet because of work.  I did the minimum preparation to skate A2A.  It’d be another nice skate with friends.  I would go hard for 38 miles then stroll to Atlanta like 2009.

I checked the confirmed list and didn’t find the right group to skate with.  I was unlikely to have the speed to hang with the chase group for 38 miles.  I saw John Charbonneau and Monique on the 52-mile roster and decided to skate with them.

We rode the airport shuttle to Athens with last year’s winner Marcy.  She was fit and confident.  She had 2.5 jobs and trained on skates and bike.   Some people are good with time management.

Casey and I had an early dinner at a very busy Mellow Mushroom on a UGA game night amongst young people passionate about their football team.

Phil rode the morning bus from Atlanta.  A2A was a last minute decision.  He announced he was going the full distance.

_Party Bus
As I step onto the bus to 52-mile start, skaters commented on my stumbling crossing the street. 
“Your luggage was going faster than you.”
“Are you using it for the race?  If not, can I borrow it?”
“It might be safer if you just ride on it.”

Nancy remembered everyone’s name and cracked jokes.  Joe shared story of a girl racing under influence; he described her speed of approaching nakedness.  We debated pros and cons of LSD vs. DNF.

Team Pines’ Vanessa seemed to have trouble concentrating in that atmosphere.  She looked serious.  She had 110mm wheels and 3 bananas.

_Injured Asphalt Beach/K2 skater
John Charbonneau and I shared many miles in past few A2A.  He sat out NYC 100k the week prior because of a knee issue and was advised to skip A2A.  He decided to skate the shorter and flatter course. 

I was a little surprised when John set the pace at the race started.  “Aren’t you supposed to go easy?” 
I followed him.  “Might as well draw out the competition before merging with the 87 mile-course.” 

Vanessa and her teammate Dani bridged.  They often pushed the pace climbing.  4 of us worked well together.

We passed Skatey Mark’s 87-miler pack.  Mark wore a weird smile that resembled grimace.  Another Montreal 24-hour medalist Luke jumped off his 87-mile pack to join us 52-milers.

_Wrong turn
All 5 of us missed a turn sign.  John immediately sensed the error and brought us back on track.  My off-course record remained 100% for this distance.

_Silver Hill (42.1 mph)
Team Pines skated strong turning into Silver Hill Road and chose not to skate down with us.
"They're so gonna kick my rear on the next climb...."

The 3-man train wasn’t as fast as hoped; the wind was blowing incorrectly.  The long downhill gave us a big lead over the 2 Pines.  Serves them right for having single-digit combined body fat.

I fully expected the quads to cramp up on the climb after Silver Hill for the 4th year; they miraculous stayed strong.  “This is the best day!”

The anticipated Pine attack never materialized.  I could see Vanessa and Dani in distance.  I kept the pace civil hoping for more 87-milers to join the pack.  Team Pines never bridged.

We picked up Naomi and Brian Oswald.  We lost them before last set of little climbs. 

_Decision
8 miles to go.  No other 52-milers in sight.  Barring mechanical and crash, John and I had the race in the bag.  I ran through the tactics required to maximize my chance to win the sprint finish.  Last few miles contained hairy elements including unpredictable traffic.  I had vivid image of Chuck crashing inside of Piedmont Park in 2008.  I also remember watching Bob Ryan went to first base with a tree in 2009.

“Do I really need to risk injury for a solo win during my running season?” 
“How would I feel to share a win with a friend?”
“How would I feel to win an event without a trophy?”
These were no-brainers.

_52-mile finish
John and I agreed to tie.  The road was smoother and windier than expected.  3 of us skated cooperatively to the finish without incidence--almost.  John crashed with 2 feet to go.  He log rolled across the finish line.  The hand-holding rule lacked specifics; we insisted it was a tie. 

Luke got another sub-6-hour finish.

After Eddy and unwheeled volunteers peeled us off the pavement, John received a bag of ice; I got a Candy cookie--the perfect ending to a short and wonderful skate season.

Marcy was all smiles at the line I thought she won again.

Vanessa and Dani bonked shortly after Silver Hill.  They regrouped and came in half hour later to claim 1st and 3rd places.

I had a chance to spend time with Renee under a tree under a blue sky.  She had such good attitude about the upcoming spine surgery.

_38-mile race
Casey took a spill trying to pick up water bottle off road side.  The road rash was minor, but he lost his pack and had to stay in no man's land ‘til Luke’s group picked him up. 

Dan Butler, 2009 3rd place finisher, had a bad start.  He skated solo for a long way but never bridged to lead groups.

Bob Clare and Candy stayed with the lead pack and took 38-mile titles.

_The main event
Eddy dominated the full-distance race.
Karen beat Jessica (2nd) and Marcy (3rd).

_Another decision
Phil’s day didn’t go as hoped. 

He skated 71 miles and was mostly alone after mile 38.  Traffic got hairy.  He was a family man on a business trip.  With sufficient gas in the tank to finish the race, he pulled the plug and had dinner with coworkers.

_End of season
Casey and I went to Mellow Mushroom again with Atlanta Greg, famed Naomi, and London skaters.

Eddy showed up in skin suit at the pizza joint, ordered to-go pizza, bought everyone hummus, and took off.

I asked 2nd time participant Richard about his favorite aspect of A2A.
"The People"

My hamstring cramped Sunday night.  Funny considering hamstring wasn’t a primary muscle used.  The blister wasn't a surprise; I didn't put in the mileage for the feet and Simmons to form reasonable hill-relationship for 2010. 

Sunday morning.  Casey and I took a midtown walking tour after a satisfying breakfast.  We got kicked out of Georgia Tech football field before DNF on completing the Coke block and reaching CNN headquarter.  Exercise wasn't a priority at that moment.


The 52-mile trophy came down to a coin toss.  I won!


#'s
distance/speed (official): 52 miles/15.9 mph
max speed: 42.1 mph
total ascent: 4487 ft
total descent: 4625 ft
off course:     1 time
avg/max HR:     162/176 bpm
traffic stop: a few minutes
liquid: 1 liter water + 20 oz Cytomax
food: 580 calories: Gu Chomps, 4 Gu gels, 6 sport legs


Location

a2a
United States

Comments

MikeB's picture

love your A2A stuff

Reading your A2A exploits is a total joy Johnny.

Thanks!

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