Skaters sing praises of Silverado Trail  Several racers say course is the best they've skated
napanewsPMullen.JPG (143101 bytes) by Dave Williams                                                                                         

 SPORTS EDITOR June 20, 2002

The Silverado Trail proved as good as advertised. David Miles, who organized the Calistoga Roadskate last Sunday morning, had been telling just about anyone who'd listen that the Silverado Trail would be a perfect course for a long-distance skating race. When the competitors crossed the finish line after the 12.5-mile race, all gave the course rave reviews and said they'd return for another race.

"It was incredible," said Sandra Hawkes, who traveled up from San Diego for the tace. "The road was very smooth and it's such a pretty course too, It was by far the best course I've skated on." Hawkes was the third female competitor to cross the finish line, but she was the first in the women's 30-35 division. San Jose's Sara Sayasane was the fastest woman, crossing the finish line at 37 minutes, 29.61 seconds'

Phillip Mullen was the top male competitor, easily outdistancing the field with a time of 34:32.85. The race drew competitors from as far away as Boston, Los Angeles, Idaho, Miami and New York. Dennis Cummings, who dubs himself as the 'Legal Speed Limit,' took part in organized road skates on the Silverado Trail in the mid and late 1990s. Cummings is from San Jose. During that time, the skaters were allowed only to use the bike lanes on the trail. Sunday morning, however, the trail was closed to traffic for one hour between 7 a.m.8 a.m. "This is perfect when you get a chance to use the whole road," Cummings said. "Today was much better than the first time I skated this course."

With the help of the California Highway Patrol, the event went off without a hitch. CHP officer M.D. Vemming,

                 who was in charge of controlling traffic, said the early morning start alleviated a lot of logistical problems. "It was the perfect time to do it"                  Yemming said. "If it was held any later, even a half hour later, then it would have been a nightmare because of the people heading to the                  wineries, people going to church."

                 In-line skating may be introduced as an Olympic sport in 2008 in Beijing, China. If the Bay Area is awarded the 2012 Games, Miles and                  several other competitors feel the Silverado Trail should be used as one of the skating venues. "Without a doubt, I don't think there's a

                 better course to skate on," said Jim Davis.

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