Tuesday, February 08, 2005
31 Skaters Online
Downer's Grove
   Pro Men Downer's Grove, IL
   Sunday, August 17, 2003

Downer's Grove 2003

Downers Grove, while an ever shrinking skaters event, still draws the best of the best in US talent. Don't hear me wrong, I'm no doom-n-gloomer for the event. I would like to see more people attend. But at least the top pro's are still coming out to defend a title that holds some equity in the US racers market. This weekend would prove no different as the finest came out to see what they could do.

Rumors circulated throughout the weekend about "who had what" in store for today. I heard everything imaginable. Concerns over Diego's performance at Pan Am's, Chad's drive for ice and how it would affect the his inline, Jordan Malone, Josh Wood and Steven Carter all coming off of 2 hard weeks of residency at OTC and of course how would inline/ icer Boutiette fair? After all, he has been on ice for years now and had yet to yield a solid performance on his inlines in quite some time.

Some recent history on one our stories key players... I spent some time skating with Boutiette in April. He came up and we spent some time testing 100mm wheels and such. As soon as he left, I made a few phone calls to some other skaters and said "lookout, Booty is fast again." I was met with statements like "whatever...he has been on ice too long." I simply said, "say what you will...but don't discard him. I know that look in his eye and he has also changed his form considerably to get back more into an inliners form. Trust me. He is going fast right now."

Fast forward to Plano, Texas in early June. Rain soaked streets were the stage for a half-marathon. The top 4 finishers were, in order: Jordan Malone, KC Boutiette, Josh Wood and Dean Burke. Given that in the summer of 2002, Booty was not even skating fast enough to keep up with us on our local training days. Now we were watching him get away from a strong up and comer in the US like Josh Wood. Granted, Booty is smart and has been doing this at a top level for longer than most of us can remember, he still managed to go out and find some big time speed in about a years time.

Onto Downers Grove.... The man of the day was Chad Heddrick. And while some doubted his ability due to his focus on ice, Chad silenced all at once. From the start, Chad did not take even a single meters draft. He hit the gas and never looked back. Building up to a 51 second gap on the field (nearly half a lap on the DG course) Chad took his big-wheels to a new level. Then with about 5 laps to go, Diego Rosero broke hard with KC Boutiette in tow. In a perfect break-away execution, they sat silently in the back and waited for the pack to rest. Then hit the pass with enough momentum to make a clean break which really dismantled the field. Booty sat in on Diego and off they went for a hard push for the finish.

By the final lap, the Diego/ Booty combo was in site of Chad on the same straight away. A combination of Chad slowing a bit and the duo chasing harder. Chad let the two catch up and as they approached the finish line, Chad stepped back and conceded the win to his friend and career long mentor of sorts, KC Boutiette.

Boutiette has helped Chad reach his new levels of performance on ice, and with a history of trading wins in DG between the two, Chad said his friend KC earned this win today and not by his skating performance of today, but by his performance of over a decade and showed his appreciation today by honoring a great skater like KC Boutiette. It was a gentlemen's toast of athlete to athlete both demonstrating true professionalism.

But these attacks left a gap of some 30 seconds on the field where the remaining sprinters would challenge each other. Who took what place? I don't know! Have not seen the official results yet. But 4th - 9th were all at the line at the same time which included Tony Muse, Josh Wood, Jordan Malone, Jordan Nelson, Steven Carter and Remy Chait. Excuse me if I missed anyone in that field sprint, as I am calling from memory and not looking at any printed results.

Great job to all who competed. This certainly sets the table for an exciting race in Duluth next month... I think we can expect to see some big contention from the American's at Lake Superiors North Shore.

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