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Skating from Rosarito to Ensenada Mexico in 1998
by Michael Collins

In 1998 Michael Collins of Southern California skated 50 miles from Rosarito Beach to Ensenada in Mexico with thousands of cyclists and two skating friends.

SKATING THE 1998 ROSARITO TO ENSENADA ROLL
by Michael Collins of Southern California

skaters and bikers at the starting line
Reprinted with permission from Michael Collins

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The three inline Los Angeles Friday Night Skate veterans circled nervously about the pole position at the 18th Annual Fall Rosarito to Ensenada 50 Mile Fun Bicycle Ride in Baja California, Mexico. "I don't know what's so 'fun' about this with all those damn bikers behind us," fretted a goateed Crash. "Plus it’s raining." The Persian pointed down the coastal road leading to Ensenada. "You ought to be thinking more about that mountain down there!"

The rough road was lined by thousands of Mexicans and American tourists and patrolled by hundreds of Federales and numerous ambulances and helicopters. Crash, The Persian and an apprehensive Mercury had good reason to be troubled. The nicknamed trio had more than 11,000 pumped-up bicyclists lined up behind them and 52 miles of rugged tarmac ahead to skate. A mild shower made the route as slippery as running across butter-glazed glass. Particularly troubling was the "the Hill," at mile 22 on the course, where the road turned inland and climbed over two miles on a 7% grade up the thousand foot face of El Tigre ("The Tiger"). Getting up the mountain would be hideous -- the two mile descent, eight miles later, would be deranged.

Mercury, a reporter in black spandex, glided apprehensively in front of the starting line, dragging on a cigarette, much to the astonished disgust of the bikers. "I don't know about this, guys," the correspondent glowered. "This is crazy." Crash laughed off the shaken scribe’s anxiety. Suddenly, the starting pistol fired and the threesome streaked down the pavement to the cheers of the crowd and blare of screeching police sirens. At three hundred yards, the first bicyclists caught up to them in a frightful crush southward. The three skaters struggled to keep going.

Mile after mile of the beautiful Baja coast road were lined by thousands of cheering Mexicans and American tourists. The bladers drew astonished stares as they skated by, high-fiving hundreds. Bikers chucked candy to shrieking kids as laughing roadside touristas chugged on bottles of El Sol and Corona beer. On one lonely knoll, above the shimmering sea, a beautiful Mexican girl offered Mercury a rose from a tray of flowers she held by the side of the road.

The Persian and Crash carefully avoided the crush of onlookers and bikers as they pressed on to Ensenada. Careening down the backside of El Tigre's thousand foot face, speeds approached 50 mph before they finally slowed down and surveyed the route behind them. The lagging reporter was nowhere in sight.

"Mercury is definitely not rising in this race," sniffed Crash. The Persian was more conciliatory. "He probably got distracted by one of those Mexican beauties back there by Puenta de la Muerte," responded the exhausted skater. "And who could blame him?"
- Michael Collins

More Photos
Skaters at the Start Line in Rosarito
A Lone Woman Skating the Event
Skaters Being Interviewed in Ensenada



Michael Collins About the Author...
Michael Collins is an investigative journalist who writes for several Southern California publications. He is also a long-distance skater who enjoys skating up to 90 miles at a time. He can frequently be seen at the Los Angeles Friday Night Skate, or skating with the Southern California Speed Skaters.



Related Links
Michael Collins - Main Menu
About the Rosarito to Ensenada Roll
Skating in Mexico
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