Tuesday, February 15, 2005
60 Skaters Online
22nd Annual Athens to Atlanta
   on the open road Atlanta, GA
   Sunday, September 28, 2003

Matzger Wins Again!


a2a winners
Photo by James Peay

Sunday, September 28th 2003 saw 400 eager skaters at the starting line in Athens Georgia. The energy around the start line was as high and contagious as ever, and a bit of relief from many that the down pour from the evening before stopped as quickly as it started, that was the good news dry roads. The bad news was a steady head wind that would have to be skated through on this all ready difficult point to point road race.

At the start, Twincams Eddy Matzger was up to his regular morning silliness, this time dressed up to show support for Dan Burger. The start had a few crashes in the first corner out of town. WOWskates Kendra Hudson was one of the unlucky, bleeding from road rash she put in a big effort to get back with pack. At the front of the field Matzger's costume was long gone and it was down to business as usual. Due to the tough wind in the face, the lead pack stayed in a tight group, perhaps too tight, as this year seemed to have more crashes than usual. One by one skaters were dropped off the back. 20 miles into the morning a 100 meter section of road was closed for construction did skaters have to detour? No! Jump the first set of concrete barriers, run through the gravel and mud, climb over the barriers on the other side and sprint the hill. Despite the pleasant temperatures, this was turning into one of the toughest years of this race, and the times showed it.

The 38 mile mark and 1/2 distance finish area in Dacula, GA. had the lead pack 12 minutes down from last years pace. First to the 38 mile finish line was Rodney Grabinski skating for Caravan, repeating his win from 99. In the Womens division it was Bonts Stacey Eldridge. What did she have to say? Im from Florida, we dont have HILLS in Florida! Dacula was also the starting area for a new distance event this year. The first ever 52 mile skaters left here and would finish at the end of the 86 mile event.

Spectators waited anxiously at Piedmont park in Atlanta for the first skaters to cross the line. Would it be a contested sprint finish at the line like last year? Would anyone dare a solo breakaway? The clock kept ticking and then the shouts from the crowd welcomed Eddy Matzger home to what has become his race. This time there was no contest from the field. Over 30 miles earlier Matzger took the pace to level no one could match. It would be 8 more minutes before the chase pack of three came to the line, lead by Empires Juan Naula, way to go Empire! Kimberley Perkins was the first woman across the 86 mile finish line. making it two in a row for her, and bringing victory to team SAFE.

As skaters continued to trickle in the wind was picking up, making for a long hard day. One group had no problems staying together and that was the Texas Flyers from Dallas. This group kept every one of their 10 starting skaters together all the way to the finish, what a sight!

The 52 mile race had the most exciting finish of the day. Nikko Ramkissoon gave it all he had against last years 38 mile record holder, Jonathan Gorman, with a sprint finish to the line. Gorman showed how you make it to the junior world team with a quick step across the line for first place. Jonathans teammate Lillian Mitchell made it a GT Speed domination - top mens and womens.

Piedmont park is perhaps one the most festive finish areas with vendors, sandwiches for the skaters, beautiful views of the Atlanta skyline and lots of space to relax on the park lawns. The awards ceremony latter in the afternoon is very enthusiastic. Everyone always comes home from Atlanta with a story to tell. If you have never been you are missing out on one of the hardest events of the year, yet also the most fun.

Report by Rodney Grabinski, Team Caravan

Go to www.a2a.net for full results.

86 mile Mens Overall.
04:42:01 Eddy Matzger
04:49:57 Juan Nuala
04:49:57 Luis Carlos Mejia
04:49:58 Steven Krawulski
04:57:10 Mauro Guenci
04:57:44 Randy Bowman
04:57:45 Dennis Humphrey
04:57:47 Bruce Belden
05:02:17 Miguel
05:02:22 Lou Shuba

38 mile Mens Overall.
02:09:13 Rodney Grabinski
02:19:41 Robert Clare
02:21:01 Taur Caisey
02:24:17 John Altwater
02:27:26 Chuck Opperman

52 mile Mens Overall.
02:49:31 Jonathan (Jono) Gorman
02:49:31 Nikko Ramkissoon
02:49:41 Thomas Detwiler
02:52:06 Gary West
03:28:47 Bruce Whitney Matthews

86 mile Womens Overall.
05:09:12 Kimberley Perkins
05:20:11 Kendra Hudson
05:22:05 Jenni Armstrong
05:32:36 Kimberley Westbury
05:33:30 Elizabeth Dougherty
05:33:31 Caroline Bragdon
05:49:16 Dhyan Vortanz
05:49:28 Marcy Turek
05:50:11 Tiffany Murnan
05:50:12 Brenda Harris

38 mile Womens Overall.
02:23:48 Stacey Eldridge
02:28:46 Vanessa Ayala
02:29:05 Monica Arenas
02:32:32 Tonya Guadiz
02:44:40 Katie Heffelfinger

52 mile Womens Overall.
03:43:23 Lillian Mitchell
03:56:09 Cynthia Walters
04:09:23 Bethany Mach
04:16:14 Michelle Beyer
04:48:25 Lynn Pencek

©Team Caravan and www.RaceReports.net