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Old September 19th, 2012, 01:56 AM   #41
Dieselgeek
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After reading your reviews of this race, and now having Duluth behind me, I can't wait to try this race for the first time.
Where to stay??
Bayfield Inn is an option, otherwise you are mostly limited to bed and breakfasts. It is a great race, and a great event, you will enjoy it!
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Old September 19th, 2012, 05:05 PM   #42
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we stayed at the Winfield, we had a nice room and an amazing view of the lake. It was also really close to the ferry dock. We'll probably stay there again next year!
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Old June 13th, 2013, 04:34 PM   #43
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Almost GO TIME for this year's Apostle! Who's going to be there? What are your goals/hopes/predictions? Anybody trying out new wheels or gear this year?
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Old June 13th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #44
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This will be my first time at this race. Looking forward to it after hearing raves about how nice the course is.

I'm getting a little concerned about the weather forecast though, because I suck at skating in the rain. Hopefully the rain will hold off till later in the day. Worst case would be for the race to start dry and then rain partway through (I do have rain wheels, but I'd hate to use them unless it actually rains because the roll isn't nearly as good on dry surfaces).
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Old June 13th, 2013, 11:14 PM   #45
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I will be attending, this will be my second time at the race. My goal is simply to beat last years time. I have matter juice or road wars, I'm thinking of using the road wars again. The weather forecast keeps changing, and I don't have rain wheels, so not an option for me. Hopefully the weather is the same as last year... Great weather for the race, then starts raining after returning to the mainland. Best of luck to everyone, and lets hope for dry weather!

On Edit... what is a better wheel for a possible rain marathon? Road Wars or Juice F2's?
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Old June 15th, 2013, 03:46 AM   #46
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well, here it is 9:45pm nite before.... what will it be typhoons or G13s???
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Old June 16th, 2013, 10:33 PM   #47
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A big congrats to Rob Bell for making it two in a row!

After looking through the results, I see a lot of other Skateloggers did very well too. Good job everybody!

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Old June 17th, 2013, 12:02 AM   #48
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So... JeffK & Dieselgeek... how'd the race go for you?

I'm so very pleased the course was dry. I'm both happy and at the same time very disappointed with my results. I skate the mens rec/fit division. At the starting line I was unsure of my legs and as a result I did not make the effort to be in the lead pack as they jumped away. Instead I just skated my pace and felt out my legs. I was alone for the most part in between the lead pack and the second pack for the first 3 miles. When I knew I wouldn't blow up my legs early I went after the leaders... all on my own. I just couldn't catch them skating alone. I burned a lot of engergy early on trying. Eventually the second pack caught me and I fell in with them. At the end of the race... about 4 miles from finish I knew I had way too much 'gas in the tank' to just coast along in the pack... and if I went in front to pull a faster pace the pack wouldn''t stay with me. So at 3 miles left I just hopped out of line and took off on my own again. At the finish I had 15 seconds on the second pack. However, if I had made the effort right at the starting line I'm certain I would have finished 7 minutes faster.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #49
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So... JeffK & Dieselgeek... how'd the race go for you?
I had a good race. I lost the lead pack about halfway through the first lap which was disappointing. Was in a small pack for the next half-lap or so, then got caught by the second large pack. Did my best to stay up towards the front of that pack for the rest of the race. Lots of passing/surges on the last lap, but I managed to stay in good position for final sprint. Ended up finishing in 1:13:44, 5th in Pro Veteran (40-49).

The course lived up to expectations, and was thankfully dry except for a few damp spots on the first lap. I'll definitely be returning for this event in the future.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #50
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that first lap was fast. I think we came in right around 22 minutes (1:06 pace). The paceline was strung out pretty long, and it looked like the type of race where if a skater in the middle of the pack started to get dropped, there is a good chance all the skaters behind that person would be in trouble because the pace was fast enough that it would be tough to close gaps. There's also a lot more of the accordion/rubber band effect in the back where you have to change speeds a lot more than you do up front. Staying in good position near the front of the pack was important until about a mile into the 3rd lap when the lead group only had about 12 guys...then it wasn't too bad being at the back.

Alex and I tried to wear down the field with some attacks on the first lap, but the pack was keeping the pace high enough that it would be nearly impossible to stay away solo. Even if the two of us were able to get away alone it would have been really tough to stay away. Paul Dyrud was probably skating the strongest, and him and Bill kept the pace going most of the second and third lap. David S and Hernan D are both good sprinters and conserved their energy the entire race, so I got behind them going into the sprint. Ron M launched the first attack going into the sprint. I followed David and Hernan up the right side, but John Shenko had a pretty good jump on us and hit the turn first. David hit the turn second and I hit it third...not really where I wanted to be with less than 100M to go.

i saw John's line going into the turn and new he would be coming out wide. David tried going around John on the outside, but Johns wide line cost David a lot of speed. I stayed outside going in and hit a late apex of the turn so that I could carry speed but come out on the inside. I'd definitely say there was some luck involved, but that line worked out pretty great for me and it gave me a wide open lane to sprint to the finish line.

I've finished 2nd place by a wheel twice in the past 3 years while leading into the finish line, and I didn't want to take a chance, so I threw out a little hawk (I have hardly any flexibility these days) just to make sure nobody on my left or right blindspot was going to steal the win today. I was really excited about the finish, because I don't see myself as much of a sprinter, so any time I finish well in a field of fast guys like we had here, I feel like my weakness is finally starting to get a bit stronger...or luck is just on my side a bit more
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Old June 17th, 2013, 09:33 PM   #51
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Apostle is hands down, in my opinion, the best course and maybe the best race in the country. It's hard to say "best race" because so much of that depends on the competion...and, in that regard, it's tough to beat Duluth. The only thing I don't understand about Apostle is the "finish." In some ways, it makes the race a lot more exciting. That last 90-degree turn is so technical that you really have to prepare and position yourself well in advance. In other ways though, I think the finish creates too much uncertainty and even danger. I heard from a couple specators that the pro/advance group hit the final turn at 28+ mph. There is so little room for error and that's a lot of speed for a pack of skaters to carry into a short finishing area. It probably wouldn't change much, in terms of results, but I really wish they would figure out a better spot for the finish. If the pavement would have been wet, that last turn would have led to a lot of falls...and even worse, if skaters start falling in that spot, most likely, they are on a direct collision course into a pack of specatators. I just think it's dangerous and unncessary.

In terms of the race, it was a lot of fun. I actually didn't think the pace was that fast. I think part of the reason (I felt that way) is because the pace stayed pretty consistent (thanks to Paul). It's much easier to skate at 23 or 24 mph (for five or six miles), then to skate at 27 for a 1/2 mile, back down to 21 and 22, and then back up to 27 and 28. I think we were cruising along at 23 or 24 for seven or eight miles, if not more.

In terms of myself, I left the race full of regrets. Of all the races in the country, I feel like Apostle is one of the courses that best suit my ability. There is a lot of opportunity for attacks and breakaways. Chicago is a tough course to get away on, and Duluth is just too fast to do anything else besides try to hang out. But, Apostle and Minnesota 1/2 seem like courses where a small group of skaters could get away. But, the races never seem to end up like that (unless you have World Class guys like Joey or Justin). Most of the pro group is pretty even, with the exception of sprinting. So, it's really hard for one or two guys to be that much stronger than everyone else. I just personally felt that I had too much energy left after the race, which is never a good feeling if you finished in the back of the pack. At the very least, I wish I would have worked to a point of bonking versus playing it safe and conserving energy.

The top group of guys (Rob, Paul, John, Hernan) deserve a lot of credit because it's not an easy finish, even for sprinters. You really have to be extremely precise with your tactics going into the last 1/2 mile or so.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #52
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Rob's opening comments were my exact experience. I didn't come into this race in great shape, what with winter lasting into May up here, but I thought I had a chance to hang with the lead pack for a while. No such luck. I started back too far, tried to bridge up over the first mile or so, but once we were up and over the first hill (about a mile in) the pace jumped up to near 30 mph on a downhill and I wasn't going to be doing any overtaking. The huge pro pack splintered and "accordion-ed" in the back and, by mile 3, I knew it was time to cut my losses and let up a bit. I pulled up and hooked up with 4 other guys and we worked together for a whole lap until we got passed by the 50+ wave. Two guys went to catch them and the rest of us blew up to varying degrees. I skated alone for about half a lap and then got caught by the back of the pro/advanced pack (my ego was super relieved to see it wasn't the rec/fitness pack). I finished out the race with them and finished "towards the front" of that little sprint at 1:23.

I learned a lot here - as I tend to when I don't race well. They are as follow:

As a guy who had a hard time breaking the 1:30 barrier for a long time, these 1:2X times still look kind of OK to me. But as a guy who's started to be able to keep pace with the fast guys, I'm a little offended by it too and no amount of "spring came late" takes it away. I've got a bit more fire under my butt now and I'm excited to thrash myself until Saint Paul comes around.

When I run into rmafori at the end of a race, ask him how he skated and he nonchalantly answers, "oh, ok", I need to stop believing him and just tell him great race. Great job man.

This was my first race on my new Pinnacle boots. They're really starting to feel like part of my feet. My toes still go to sleep and I have a smidge of pain in my ankles, but the break-in is just about done. They fit "effortlessly". I don't think I could make them rub on my heels even if I tried. I just feel confident and precise on them - great boots.

This was also my first race on some Bont Black Ops Hardcores. I was really ready to be impressed with them but they didn't jump out as being spectacular wheels. I've been a big fan of my first edition Black Ops prototypes as cheap, good performing, long lasting wheels. Some people don't like the "sort-of-mushy" feel they have compared to something like Road War X-Firms or G13s. Personally, I find them to feel "lively" under-foot and I enjoy it over the feel of Road Wars. All that said, the Hardcores seemed to have lost a bit of that liveliness. On my feet they don't give the feel of excelling at anything (response or roll) like other wheels do. I don't think they actually give anything up, but they don't have a "feel" to them that makes them immediately stand out to me. And, one final note, even with the solid hub, these wheels don't give anything up in the way of comfort. They don't have that "clattery" feeling that an un-banded race wheels have.

Actually, one last final wheel note. I did some hard accelerations before the race, while the course was still wet, and I didn't feel a bit of slip. I'm not saying they're rain wheels, but they felt pretty good to me.

Great job skateloggers, it was great to see so many familiar names all throughout the results.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 11:09 PM   #53
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There's also a lot more of the accordion/rubber band effect in the back where you have to change speeds a lot more than you do up front. Staying in good position near the front of the pack was important until about a mile into the 3rd lap when the lead group only had about 12 guys...then it wasn't too bad being at the back.
That accordion is what did me in. I stayed with you guys in the lead pack for the first 14 miles or so, but I let myself get caught in the never ending rubber band game and I couldn't keep it up. I was right behind Ron for a couple miles on the second lap, and when he made a move up the paceline I missed my chance to follow. Once I got dropped, I had to skate alone for close to 10 miles before Andy and his chase pack caught up in the last few minutes. I couldn't believe how long it took. That sort of punishment definitely helps you learn your lesson though!

My biggest learnings from this race are all tactical/strategic things. It is very eye-opening to realize how vital decision making is in these races. An entire race can be made or broken by one split second decision. I was far more aggressive moving up in the pace lines than I ever was before, and it helped a lot, but I was still too conservative when it comes down to it.

I think part of that stems from the fact that I feel like 'the new guy' who has no business skating in the lead pack. But I guess the only way to get over that is to keep pounding away until I finish with them!

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Old June 18th, 2013, 02:17 AM   #54
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...I think part of that stems from the fact that I feel like 'the new guy' who has no business skating in the lead pack. But I guess the only way to get over that is to keep pounding away until I finish with them!
Definitely keep pounding, Chris. Great race to you.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 03:23 AM   #55
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The only thing I don't understand about Apostle is the "finish." In some ways, it makes the race a lot more exciting. That last 90-degree turn is so technical that you really have to prepare and position yourself well in advance. In other ways though, I think the finish creates too much uncertainty and even danger. I heard from a couple specators that the pro/advance group hit the final turn at 28+ mph. There is so little room for error and that's a lot of speed for a pack of skaters to carry into a short finishing area. It probably wouldn't change much, in terms of results, but I really wish they would figure out a better spot for the finish. If the pavement would have been wet, that last turn would have led to a lot of falls...and even worse, if skaters start falling in that spot, most likely, they are on a direct collision course into a pack of specatators. I just think it's dangerous and unncessary.
I didn't see the leaders come in so I don't know how hairy things got; but I don't really see it being any more dangerous than the finish at NSIM. Granted it's a right turn instead of left, but it's not at the bottom of a hill like at NSIM. I agree wet roads would complicate things, but that's true for any course that doesn't have a long straightaway to the finish.

I guess I can see how sprint specialists would prefer a straightaway finish, but IMHO that would be a little less exciting. Of course I'll admit my own bias, I'm not a strong sprinter and probably benefited from the finish being where it was. When our pack was approaching town and folks started trying to move up on the left to get into position for the finish, I took off as hard as I could on the inside a good 1/4 mile before the turn and managed to get there first. But I probably wouldn't have been able to hold onto that lead if not for the turn and the incline towards the finish line.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 03:30 AM   #56
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This was also my first race on some Bont Black Ops Hardcores. I was really ready to be impressed with them but they didn't jump out as being spectacular wheels. I've been a big fan of my first edition Black Ops prototypes as cheap, good performing, long lasting wheels. Some people don't like the "sort-of-mushy" feel they have compared to something like Road War X-Firms or G13s. Personally, I find them to feel "lively" under-foot and I enjoy it over the feel of Road Wars. All that said, the Hardcores seemed to have lost a bit of that liveliness. On my feet they don't give the feel of excelling at anything (response or roll) like other wheels do. I don't think they actually give anything up, but they don't have a "feel" to them that makes them immediately stand out to me. And, one final note, even with the solid hub, these wheels don't give anything up in the way of comfort. They don't have that "clattery" feeling that an un-banded race wheels have.
I tried some of the Black Ops Hardcores a little while back and didn't care for them at all. To me they lacked rebound and also made for a pretty harsh ride. Part of it could be that 88a is just too hard for a heavier guy like me, but I think it may also be the solid hubs. My preferred wheels over the last year have been the Mayhems, Road War Turbos (those two feel pretty much the same to me) as well as the G13's. I was wearing F1 G13's for Saturday's race and felt they were a good match for that course (for me).
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Old June 18th, 2013, 01:31 PM   #57
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I saw John's line going into the turn and new he would be coming out wide. David tried going around John on the outside, but Johns wide line cost David a lot of speed. I stayed outside going in and hit a late apex of the turn so that I could carry speed but come out on the inside. I'd definitely say there was some luck involved, but that line worked out pretty great for me and it gave me a wide open lane to sprint to the finish line.
This is exciting stuff! Thanks so much for posting it Rob.

While I have no illusions about ever skating at anywhere close to these performance levels myself... I really wonder if I need to move out of rec/fit. At every turn, my pace line (if you could call it that), would become a chineese fire drill with skaters scattering every which way. Some entering tight and blowing wide thru traffic. Some going wide and picking a great line but getting caught in traffic. Always a big hodge-podge. Once, the guy I was tailing had picked a very good overall line but instead of riding the line thru he stood up and started BRAKING at the worst possible moment! Holy Cow! I almost had to push him out of my way. And then... every time, on the other side of the turn we'd piss around for a while as we sorted out and fell back into line. What a waste of momentum!
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Old June 18th, 2013, 02:10 PM   #58
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This is exciting stuff! Thanks so much for posting it Rob.

While I have no illusions about ever skating at anywhere close to these performance levels myself... I really wonder if I need to move out of rec/fit....
As frustrating as it is getting dropped by the pro pack, I think it's worth moving up. I've been lingering around the boundary of being able to be near the front of the rec/fit pack, and getting owned by the pros for (way) too long now, but I've kept skating in the higher division. I just don't progress unless I skate with people better than me. If you're coming up for the Saint Paul half, I'd recommend giving the pro pack a try. It's a good sized field and, with the hills, the pack tends to stick together better than a lot of other races, making it feasible for the not-so-fast skaters to hang on. It's a little intimidating, but a great deal of fun.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 05:27 PM   #59
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As frustrating as it is getting dropped by the pro pack, I think it's worth moving up. I've been lingering around the boundary of being able to be near the front of the rec/fit pack, and getting owned by the pros for (way) too long now, but I've kept skating in the higher division. I just don't progress unless I skate with people better than me. If you're coming up for the Saint Paul half, I'd recommend giving the pro pack a try. It's a good sized field and, with the hills, the pack tends to stick together better than a lot of other races, making it feasible for the not-so-fast skaters to hang on. It's a little intimidating, but a great deal of fun.
Dale, I skated with the front pack of the advanced group at the MN half last year. The lead finishers crossed the line around the 40 minute mark. They dropped me at mile 9. I know the pro group finished around 35 minutes. We didn't have this scattering problem at the front of the advanced division. Would that be an option for someone in bjvirks situation?
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Old June 18th, 2013, 06:39 PM   #60
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I think you have to decide what your goals are and what would be the most fun.

If you like skating at one steady speed, if you like skating the whole event with some friends you traveled with, you want to set a personal best time by yourself, you aren't comfortable drafting and never really care to become comfortable drafting, or you just show up because you know it will be a closed course and safe event, I think the rec/fitness event is the best.

If you want to see how you compare against the top guys your age, you want to learn how to draft effectively, you want to get faster, you want your form to look more like a speed skater, you don't mind other people dictating the speed in which you are going, and you don't mind being griped at, I think signing up for pro masters, pro vet, etc would be best.

If you want to see how you stack up against (depending on the event) the top guys in your region, the country, or the world, you want to take your level of fitness to the highest level, you want to learn the technique of the best skaters, you want to learn how to draft like the best skaters, and you aren't afraid of getting dropped, the pro open is probably the way to go.

I wouldn't say any one is better than the other. They are all very different races and cater to different personality types.
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