Friday, November 04, 2005
92 Skaters Online
Empire Skate Series #1
   Orchard Beach Bronx, NY
   Saturday, April 12, 2003

For the first time in a long time, the weather didn't want to cooperate for the inaugural Empire road race at Orchard Park, NY. The four letter word for the day was RAIN -- with a capital R. The winds had calmed down a bit in time for the race to begin, but the rain and clouds brought some cool temperatures which barely edged into the 40 degree range. After a slight delay to see if the rain would clear in time for the Pro Elite skaters, both Pro Men and Pro Women were called to the line in the cold and wet for the start of the race. Both groups would be on the race course together with some good sized puddles along the way for them to navigate.

As the Pro Ladies began their 21K (22 lap) trek along the Orchard Beach Oval, the 5 Empire Ladies appeared to organize themselves and made their way to the front of the pack. Halfway around on the third lap, Erin DiJulio, the lone Team Mogema-Labeda skater, broke away. Erin began to increase her lead over the next 2 laps, with two attempts by Empire and Verducci to reel her back in failing. By the 5th lap, Erin had built her lead to over 24 seconds over the rest of the pack and it appeared that the race could be decided early. Sensing that the race may be in the balance, several Empire skaters began to chase and after a couple of laps, they finally caught Erin.

The rest of the race now seemed to fall into a pattern of one of the Empire skaters trying to go on a flyer, with Erin in hot pursuit. With the rain and the cold slowing the race down considerably, it seemed that the ladies finish would come down to a field sprint. Sure enough, with 4 laps to go, the pace slowed and all the ladies stayed in a pack, waiting for someone to make the first move. With one lap to go, ErinDi Julio began to pick up the pace, and with 1/2 a lap to go, both she and Empire's Helen Havum were in a full sprint for the finish.

In the end, her early work and chasing the Empire team took its toll on Erin, with Helen taking the win and Erin coming in 2nd. 3rd place went to Empire's Luisa Castillo. Rounding out the top 5 were Elizabeth Drenkhahn of Empire Speed in 4th place and Channa Bradley from Bones in the 5th spot.

Full results from the Pro Women and Pro Men can be found at the Empire site at

For info about Erin DiJulio visit at the Team pages.

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