Sunday, October 23, 2005
121 Skaters Online
Ontario Shore Marathon
   Road Rochester, NY
   Saturday, May 03, 2003

Ontario Shores Marathon

Hamlin Beach State Park, Rochester, NY



Friday morning at 6:00am Im on my way to Rochester, NY from Chicago, IL  for the Ontario Shores Marathon.  I knew this would be a small race but I needed the work and the getaway.  The drive should have taken about 8 hours but ended up taking longer because I missed a turnoff while I was talking on the phone.  I was almost in Pittsburgh, PA when I should have been in Erie, PA.  This added 60 miles to my trip.  Good thing I wasnt in a big hurry.  It also wouldnt be the last time I went the wrong way this weekend.  I got to Rochester in plenty of time to register for the race and then check into my hotel, a $51/night Ramada Inn booked through  I couldve done better.  There was a restaurant right next to the hotel so I went there for a bite.  The wait was 30 minutes plus.  They told me I could eat right away if I sat in the bar.  The bar was crowded and I would have been the only person not smoking so this didnt seem to be an acceptable option.   SoI went across the street to Hooters.  No waiting and no smoking.  I had a quick bite and a glass of wine and then it was back to the hotel to get some sleep.


The race site was a 30 mile drive from the hotel.   The race started in a beautiful state park Northwest of Rochester.  The only problem was that there is no skating allowed in the state park.  Somehow this couldnt be circumvented for the race.  So they have a shuttle bus to take all the skaters (about 35 or 40 of us) to the start line out on the course.  Leaving the park the bus had to cross over the finish line where the banner was already hung.  Rather than untie two knots, the bus driver thought it better to drive around the scaffolding holding up the banner by driving through the wet grass.  Oooops, bad idea.


The bus got stuck.   Well at first we thought if we all got off and pushed wed be ok, but once we got out an took a look, we realized the bus wasnt going anywhere without a tow truck. This isnt the way to start a race.

Fortunately within five minutes they had another bus for us.  This time they remove the banner and we were on our way to the start.


Now on to the race.  As I said this was a small race but there were some very good skaters in attendance.  Notably Randy Bowman  of Team Pyro out of Cleveland, OH.  Top Masters skaters Dennis Humphrey and Bob Tysen of Empire Speed out of NY.  Also out of Cleveland, Alan Marcossan.  The race started into  the wind and was moving a fairly sane pace.  For the first 2 miles we had good size lead pack.  Then came the first turn at Mile 3 and Randy launches and attack.   When things settled down the lead pack was down to 8.  We were only about 4 miles into the race.  Things settled down but the pace was steady and fast.  By the time we hit about the 8 mile point  the lead pack was down to 5 skaters, Randy Bowman, Dennis Humphrey, Bob Tysen,  Allen Marcossan, and yours truly , Greg Major.  We were all taking a share of the lead to this point.   At about the 9 mile mark, where the course double backs on itself, we encountered the runners coming towards us.   Our pace vehicle was forced to stop in the middle of the road leaving us a narrow opening.   Randy launched another attack and this time I couldnt chase him down.  Bob and Alan made a hard charge to bridge the gap but couldnt quite make it.  This is where the real fun starts because Im on my own at mile 10 and theres not chase pack in sight.  Thats the only problem with a small race thats a marathon.  Well I came here to get some work so I just kept on skating hoping somebody up from tripped over a deer.  This was not a closed course so it was open to traffic which was very light for the most part.  The course had marshals at every intersection.  Without the benefit of seeing other skaters in front of me I had to rely on the course marshals to tell me which way to go.  As I approached and intersection that I thought I was supposed to turn, the marshal instructed me to go straight.  There was  group of three catching up with me and they were on the same course as me so I had no reason to suspect anything amiss at this point.  When I got to the next course marshal and asked him which way to go he just looked at me with a blank stair  so I turn to the right, slowed and looked back to ask if  Im going the right way.  What I saw was Randy and Dennis fast approaching from the south.  Great, Im back with the leaders.  Of course I knew at this point I had taken a pretty major shortcut.  I let Randy and Dennis go (I couldnt have kept up if I wanted to at that point) and kept skating until Bob and Alan caught up.  Not far behind, because they took the shortcut  as well, were Stephan and Andrew.  I continued to hang on to Bob and Alan for a while.  When the course turned back to the east it was into a  very strong head wind.  Bob Tysen was doing  all the work at this point.  Hes an  incredibly strong skater.  I tired and dropped off waiting for Stephen and Andrew with about 6 miles to go.  Not much drama at this point  other than to see which one of the three of us would get 5th place.  We were content to work together until near the end.  Watching the other two skate I thought I could pull away on the final stretch.  I was partially correct.  As I took off  I pulled away leaving Stephen behind but Andrew sitting on me.  I made on last attempt to shake him but to no avail as he started his sprint around me.  With about 20 meters to go the tank hit empty and Andrew skated easily to the line in front of me.  I kept moving just fast enough to keep a hard charging Stephan from overtaking me for 6th. 


(Greg Major, Bob Tysen, Dennis Humphrey, and Andrew Love after the race)


Final results:  Randy Bowman edges Dennis Humphrey at the line, BobTysen takes 3rd with Alan Marcossin in tow for 4th.  Andrew Love takes 5th over Greg Major and Stephen Tremblay takes 7th.




The ride home was largely uneventful.   I made the 600 mile trip in only eight hours.  I only stopped twice, once for a double whopper with cheese, fries and a fill-up of my two coffee mugs from Starbucks.  Then,  little further down the road I stopped for a Jamoca Shake from Arbys.  It was a well earned treat.  Next up, The Great Race in Elkhart, Ind on Memorial day.

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