That's right- 97
tough miles of skating from S.F to Santa Cruz
BY NANCY GAY
Mercury News Staff Writer
ANYONE IN the Bay Area who blades seriously - beyond the comfortable flat, nicely paved
environs of sidewalks and parking lots - has heard of full~on, hard-core group distance
skates like the venerable "Friday Night Skate" through the hilly, rutted streets
of pot-holed San Francisco.
A mere 10- or 20-mile skate, though, just isn't enough for some folks.
"Boring," sniffed East Bay skater Dan Filner, who is among those enthusiasts who
has turned his attention to long-distance "road skates."
One of the longest and most intimidating of those races takes place
Saturday, a marathon for in-line skating and a real test of the skaters' ability to
negotiate steeps and bends.
The third-annual Bridge to Boardwalk Roll -a sweeping, grueling jaunt from
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge through the San Mateo coastline to the Santa Cruz
boardwalk - is a 97-mile race that presents the ultimate skating challenge for Bay Area
skaters. Come to think of it, it could be the toughest race in the country.
"I like to think so," laughed race
organizer David Miles, 39, a longtime skater from San Francisco who has spent the past 15
years promoting skate events throughout the Bay Area. "No actually, other than a few
really steep hills, it's not that bad."
Truth is, a novice
who regularLy panic-stops - typically, on :heir rear - probably has no business trying
this race. With three hills dubbed "Headache," 'Misery" and
"Heartache" waiting to demonstrate Newton's Law of Gravity, there wouldn't be
enough padding in the world to protect your behind.
Then agaln, if you can handle the drops in your neighborhood parking
garage or can hang with the group that does the "Friday Night Skate," you might
up for the challenge.
Take a look at some of the specifics of the course and judge for
At 6 am., the pack - an estimated 90 racers
- will cruise though a casual prologue from a parking lot under Golden Gate Bridge, up
Ralston Avenue to Lincoln Boulevard, through the Park Presidio area and down to Ocean
Beach, where the race actually begins.
· Stage One sees the racers prrceed
down the Great Highway to Skyline Drive (Hwy 35), then through Daly City, Colma, San Bruno
and Millbrae on El Camino Real to Burlingame. After a stop and go (SAG) break, they will
negotiate steep Trousdale Avenue to Hillcrest Avenue, then proceed southbound to Black
Mountain Road, site of the second SAG station. A hard right takes the racers onto Crystal
Springs Road, where hey will merge onto Highway 92. Tbe pack will exit ½ mile later at
Canada Road and follow it southbound to Olive Hill Road, site of he third SAG stop.
BRIDGE TO BOARDWALK ROLL
WHAT: 97-mile road skating race from Golden Gate Bridge to the
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
WHEN: Saturday 6 a.m. start
from the parking lot under Golden Gate Bridge.
RULES: All skaters must wear
full protective gear, including helmets
throughout the race.
Racers will be protected from traffic, but most obey traffic laws at all times.
CLASSES: Pro Class will
compete for cash prizes. Citizen Class will com-pete for product prizes. The top five male
and top eight female Pro Class racers will win cash. Product prizes will be awarded to the
top three skaters in six age categories for both male and female skaters in the Citizen
Class. All skaters will receive a T-shirt and a water bottle. A barbecue will be held at
U BACK AND
FORTH: CORA provides transportation
back to San Francisco.
ENTRY FEE: For the 50K, $15
for CORA members, $20 for non-members; for the entire race, $30 for CORA members and $40
for non-members. Add $5 for race-day entries. For Information, call (415)752-1967
Stage Two takes the pack over Cahill Ridge and down to the ocean,
westbound along Olive Hill Road to Albion Avenue and a right on Manuella Avenue. From
there, the racers turn right on Manuella Avenue, then turn right at Kings Mountain Road
for a steep climb to Skyline (Highway 35). From there, they will turn onto Highway 84, the
"Skylonda" intersection, where there will be a SAG station. The racers then
follow Highway 84 down the 12-mile downhill section through La Honda and San Gregorio to
Highway 1, where the pack will turn left and head southbound.· Stage
Three simply follows Highway 1 to Santa
Cruz, with SAG stops every 10 miles along the way. At Davenport, the racers have 11 miles
to the fInish, near the Coconut Grove at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
The winning time last year was six hours, 30 minutes, 22 seconds, by
Dan Burger of Berkeley. The women's winner, Anna Stubbs, finished 8:06.44. Other racers
tend to roll in between nine and 10 hours after they begin.
Miles, who also puts on the popular 50K "Napa to Calistoga"
race along the Silverado Trail four times a year, is president of the California Outdoor
Roller-skating Association, or CORA. As a courtesy to CORA members who didn't feel they
had the energy to complete the entire race, Miles has added a "Bridge to Boardwalk
Roll" 50K race, in which participants would finish at Cainada Road near Olive Hill
Road at Woodside.
He devotes his life to the sport, earning a living as a skating
instructor for the San Francisco Learning Annex and through private lessons.
Bridge to Boardwalk Roll ohampi~b Dan Burger's winning time in last year's race was 6
hours, 30 minutes and 22 seconds
People call me the "Godfather Skating,' "Miles
said, "because I'm always trying to
promote the sport. And this is the kind of race that can help promote the;sport because
it's really unique.
The distance - and the course itself - see to that. The
other race in the country that compete in terms of length is 85-mile "Athens to
Atlanta" roadskate skate in Georgia.
Many of Miles' converts taking the plunge.
"This will be my first Bridge to Boardwalk, but I've done the Napa to
Calistoga race before" said Dan Filner, 25, a self-descrbed skate addict who has cut
back his hours as a computer programmer so he can log as much skate time as possible.
His forays into distance skating were practical in origin: "My car
finally died, and I thought about all the money I could save repairs, gas, registration,
licence stuff like that, by just skating everywhere I need to go," said Filner, a Cal
grad who has only been skating about 3½ years. "I think I first figured out I could
a race like this when I realized could use my skates to get around anywhere."
As for the hills, Filner shruged them off. "Skaters who live in the
Bay Area are used to handling hills - we're proud of it" he said. "If you get
some skaters from Iowa or Ohio, then they not going to like it."
The Bridge to Boardwalk Roll Filner sald, is a perfect race for a group,
which is why he is looking forward to the experience.
"Because of the length, is not the kind of race where you want to
skate by yourself. You need a group of people, especially to help cut down the wind
resistance," he sald. "That's the best part about skating is enjoying with your