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Skate of the Union 2007

skart's picture

Skate of the Union half marathon was my second outdoor race of the season. The race was held at a police driving training course and had one of the best surfaces I have ever skated on. It was such a smooth blacktop that my green Matters felt just a little bit too soft for it.

Anyway, with a little more racing experience under my belt, I have arrived to the track with enough time to warm up (and do some course recon) and get some pre-race food in. The field was not large but there were several people that looked dangerous. I managed to get myself in the first row at the start line, so I felt hopeful about getting a good start. I was wrong :-) I was waaay too slow off the start line and found myself behind a guy on hockey skates that I had to jump around just to find another skater blocking my way... After a little hassle I fairly rudely wedged myself into a small pace line (sorry, Brian! :-) ) thanking my indoor experience for not being afraid of getting into small spaces... :) I found myself behind a big guy who looked very strong. He was on a pair of older Powerslides but I've got an impression that he was fast enough to take a long and nice pull. Wrong again I was :-) Next time I looked over his shoulder there was a 30 feet gap from the guy in front of me and the next guy ahead of us. To make the matters worse, at that moment, I was boxed in by another skater on the right so I had to wait until we passed him to jump ahead of the pace line and start chasing... I found myself 5th with 3 leaders from Skater Quest team skating maybe 200 feet ahead of the 4th place, who was 150 feet ahead of me...

...after chasing for a lap I was getting closer to the 4th place but the three leaders were slowly skating away. I did not quite close on the 4th place when I've heard somebody catching me from behind and saying something along the lines that he needed to catch his breath and he'd take a pull. He also said that there was another pace line chasing us 15 feet behind. Actually, it was great news! :-) I was hoping to get a group together to have a chance at chasing the leaders down. We passed the 4th place with no problem and started working together....

... and there we were – a group of five trying to lift up the pace to have a chance at the podium but it was not meant to be. The rest of the race went fairly mundane with everybody pulling a little such that we were taking pulls almost on the same stretch on every lap. Based on how others looked, I assessed that I had to fight for the 4th with two other guys from Skater Quest since other two seemed weaker. Well, actually, one guy had a loose frame so it was more of a tough break for him... However, when we came out of the last turn I started sprinting waaaay too early just to find myself trailing behind both Skater Quest competitors and being passed by a guy who seemed fairly weak in the pace line. The way he zoomed by me made me think that he was likely conserving a lot of energy by taking shorter pulls just to have a chance at the finish line. Smart skating if he did, anyway, and a good lesson for me. Therefore, I got 7th overall which was not a bad result. I was also 1st in my age group which was quite nice :-)

A couple of lessons for me - a) I need to get off the start quicker and b) timing of a final sprint is VERY important.


roadskater's picture

Nice Skate of the Union Report Skart

Thanks for the great report from Chantilly, Skart. You did much better than I did there last time on a wet weekend, ha. But I had fun and finished.

I'm glad they've put this event back on track...a very smooth track. Skater's Quest is doing lots for skating up there in DC, indeed. Rumors are they might join us at the tour, but this was just loose talk. Hope so!

I really hated to miss SkateDC but I got to see my family much more than I would have had I been able to go to SkateDC weekend. How was the rest of the skating over the weekend? Thanks again for the report. Hopefully skatey-mark will chime in here too.

I'll chime in a bit here on

I'll chime in a bit here on the SkateDC weeekend! :)

 Bryan and I left for DC  on Friday morning after much hassel and confusion and got there just in the nick of time to join the evening skate. That skate ended up being just over 12 miles or so and wasn't that challenging. The area we skated through was very pretty as the sun went down over the water. Saturday, Bryan and I totally wussed on the 7am half marathon. Neither of us race anyway. Instead, we opted for the 10am skate from the White House. I personally had a blast during this skate. Overall, we did 16 miles and toured some lovely scenic areas. The first bridge we crossed over left a lot to be desired though. :) After we stopped to cruise through a cute little flea/farmer's market where we finally met Mark, his lady, and a few others, I and few others managed to get seperated from the pack when we took off again. None of us knew where we were going and a sweeper was no where to be found. Luckily, I have a good sense of direction and got us back to the White House, even before the others showed! 

That was prety much all I could handle for the weekend. I've been skating over a year, but haven't been skating seriously but for about a month. My poor legs and feet were screaming after the Saturday morning skate. I'm still having issue with my right foot. Tried to skate yesterday and it was just a total flop. :( Bryan skated the late skate on Saturday, as well as one on Sunday morning. He can tell you all about them if he'll join in the discussion. I was cuddling with my heating pad. 

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The weather held nicely and we didn't see a drop of rain until Saturday evening right before the party at Stoneys. The DC road skaters did such a great job organizing everything and making sure everybody had a good time. I can't wait for next year!
roadskater's picture

Thanks for Reminding Us of Early Days

Thanks, Jenn, for a great reminder of the first few times I showed up at these events, not knowing what to expect or how to hang on sometimes (for me).

I remember heading through U Penn at Philly and through brick streets now and then when not so sure I could make it through. And hilly Philly wow I remember burning up a brake on those K2 Flight 76s!

And yes, the SkateDC group is great, including the Skater's Quest group, too. DC is great so many ways, especially for incredible free things to do (that we've paid for with our taxes). Boy I hate to have missed getting to hang out with the regulars and meet the new faces. Soon!

roadskater's picture

Getting Hyper Or Matters of Skate

Skart, I note you mentioned Matter wheels. Can you tell us more about these? What color is important of course, and I note they were green. Can you compare with Hyper wheels and what you like about either or both? What durometer are these green Matter wheels?

Also, I'm interested in the frame and wheel size you were using, and anything else you have to say about your kit and what you thought about how it performed for you in the race.

skart's picture

Matter Wheels

Hey, Roadskater!

I am on the 4x100 Schankel Amadeus frame. The frame is very stiff and is very well made. Unfortunately, I have not tried any other 100mm wheel besides green Matter road wheels with this setup. Green is the softest wheel being manufactured by Matter and is about 84A durometer. I find it to be working really well for me on fair to rough roads. However, being a bigger guy (~195lbs), I find that the wheel tends to be a touch too soft on smooth pavement. I am debating about trying the new, natural color wheel for better conditions. I will keep you posted.

P.S. Being $11 a wheel these wheels are a bargain given other brands on the market today.

Hi! We hope that you all

Hi! We hope that you all can join us at Skate of the Union again! The date is Sunday, June 15th. Learn more and register here: www.skateoftheunion.org. We look forward to seeing you on skates soon, Krista

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