2017 Inline Year in Review

The 2017 inline season is complete and the Christmas season is upon us.  I know most of you are on the nice list, but can think of at least one that will be on the naughty list.  As you reflect back on 2017 here is a rundown of the skating events that filled our year.  Skaters enjoyed great weather on race days, except for the North Shore and the Summer Inline Series.  Steve Meisinger’s years of hard work made him the season’s big winner.  His season started with a victory on Madeline Island, second in the Minnesota Half, fourth in Chicago, and concluded with a lead pack finish in Duluth.  Hannah (Hendrickson) Vanasse was the only female skater to complete more than three events, but she made them count.  Hannah finished 14th overall in the Minnesota Inline Grand Prix Standings, one of the highest finishes by a female skater ever.   Below are links to the race day coverage, event photos, and summaries of the season’s other non-race events.

Notice the countdown on the right-hand column.  Only 27 weeks until our next race, keep that in mind when the plate of Christmas cookies is passed your way.

Loppet Speedskating Marathon

The second annual Loppet Speedskating events were met with crisp sunshine on Friday afternoon for the 25k race.  Eighteen skaters finished the race.  Isaac Harker and Ilsa Schobe won the respective events.  The 50k was held Saturday afternoon in overcast and windy conditions.  Skaters had to fight the wind on the front stretch, but had quite a draft on the back stretch.  Six skaters managed to complete the entire event with Kelin Dunfee and Melissa Dahlmann winning.  Ice conditions, while far from those in the Olympic Oval in Salt Lake, were much improved from last season.  There were far fewer falls, and no substantial injuries.  Special nod to Lisa Hambly for completing the second half of the 50k event with a broken spring on her right skate – that would have been all the excuse I would have needed to find a warm locale.  Congratulations to Bruce Anderson for completing both events.

Apostle Island Inline Marathon

The 2017 inline race season began on the south shore of Lake Superior.  Steve Meisinger skated away from the pack early in the Apostle Island Inline Marathon and was never caught.

Steve skates for Rainbo in Illinois and is one of the true gentlemen on the inline circuit.  Steve skated to an “easy” win in a time of one hour and ten minutes on the nearly 27 mile course.  Three hundred and fifty skaters enjoyed absolutely perfect weather on Madeline Island Saturday morning.  This event has a history of rain, but this year it was 70 and sunny with a light breeze.  Skaters competed on the heavily wooded winding course that touches both sides of the island with sweeping views of Lake Superior.  The Marathon skaters completed three laps, the A Little More than Half Marathon skaters (ALMTH) completed two laps, and the Mad Fun skate was one time around.  Kara Parker had to battle, but she picked up the win in the Female Full Marathon.  Tucker Vincent won the Male Fitness/Rec marathon and Muriel Kennedy won the Female.  Midway Ice Speedskating coach Andrey Zhuikov and Giorgia Birkeland won the ALMTH.  The Mad Fun skates were won by Austin Davis and Christina Wagner.

Roll For the Roses

Michael Mullery led the field out of the gate in the 2017 Roll For The Roses on Saturday morning in Roseville.  But it was Jeff Terwilliger and Gary Johnson that jumped out in front on a breakaway in the early miles.

Skaters encountered substantially cooler weather than one would expect for the end of June, and had to battle the breeze.  Twig and Johnson pulled away from the pack on the backside of the course.  By the time skaters reached the oval, Twig was well ahead.   Long lost Chris Lomen, who hasn’t skated with us all season, laid back and entered the final spin around the oval in about fifth place.  Lomen sprinted around the track and ended up in second.  Johnson hung onto third.  In the ladies race Melissa Dahlmann skated to the win.  The event was plagued by timing chip issues that weren’t fully resolved. After three weeks, Roll For The Roses and Anderson Timing released what they deemed to be final results.

Chicagoland Inline Marathon

Sunday July 23rd on the streets surrounding the AT&T complex in Hoffman Estates, Illiniois, the 2017 Chicagoland Inline Marathon was won by Justin Stelly.  This is not the first time Stelly stood at the top of that podium.  Stelly also won the memorable 2012 Chicagoland event.  Stelly, Rob Bell, and Steffen Howard, Steve Meisinger, and Kelin Dunfee were together for the first four laps.  At the end of the fifth lap Dunfee was sliding off the back of the pack.  On the final lap Meisinger would endure the same fate.  After Dunfee the top Minnesota finisher was Michael Mullery, Chuck Laufer of Wisconsin was right behind him.  Matt Robinson, Herb Gayle, Greg Miller, Josiah Hendrickson also had solid performances.  Roger Olson and Ken Huss had nice performances in the recreational division.


Summer Inline Series

The Summer Inline Series at the Oval restarted this summer after a few season hiatus. The summer was plagued by rainy Wednesdays that made it difficult to get into a routine. Skaters competed in races from one lap to 10k and were divided into two groups: elite, and over/under. The over/under received it’s name when a skater in that group said all the skaters in that wave were either over the hill or under aged. Attendance occasionally reached the twenties, but was typically less. Rebekah (Dyrud) Raftshol helped keep the season afloat by bringing the Midway speedskating kids she coaches. Tom Peterson was among the events biggest supporters, never missing a week. Katy Herman and Mary Bos contributed greatly by assisting with registration/organization and photography.

The series may return next summer, again with the support of the Greater Minnesota Speedskating Association.

Elite Category:

1 Tom Peterson
2 Melissa Dahlmann
3 Arne Boberg
4 Kelin Dunfee
5 Michael Mullery
6 Greg Miller
7 Stefan Ronchetti
8 Jeff Terwilliger
9 Isaac Harker
10 Adam Johnson
11 Randy Landucci
12 Sami


1 Jesse Peterson
2 Auggie Herman
3 Rebekah Dyrud Raftshol
4 Kylie Peterson
5 Emily Bos
6 Greta
7 Michael Johnson
8 Darrell
9 Kevin Johnson
10 Michael Pekarik
11 Caden
12 Hans
13 Isla
14 Susan
15 Kate

Minnesota Half Marathon

In thirty-two minutes, just about the time it takes most of us to watch a sitcom and make it to the fridge, Kelin Dunfee skated the Minnesota Half Inline Marathon and did most of it on his own (with his trademark Colgate smile).  Skaters were met with mild and sunny conditions on the morning of August 5th, 2017 in St. Paul along the banks of the Mississippi River.  The usual packs of elite skaters took off just after 7 AM and were followed by hoards of recreational skaters.  There were over 305 inline finishers.  Close to 1500 competed in the various running events.  Dunfee skated away on the hilly course and was chased by a pack of Steve Meisinger, Rob Bell and Steffen Howard, behind them was a pack of Fedak, Steven Hartman (showing substantial improvement from previous seasons), and Jeff Terwilliger. After that came the big pack with Ovid Westin having a strong kick.  Two weeks ago in Chicago the combination of Justin Stelly, Bell, and Howard dropped Dunfee with a couple of laps to go. Dunfee would have none of that on Saturday as he beat Bell and Howard by over a minute.

Skaters had a heavy heart on race day as Sarah Gutknecht was not able to be in attendance as she battles stage four pancreatic cancer. That cancer would take her life, see below.

Trail Photos

  • Donut skates, beer runs, and a dope on a fat bike struggling to keep up.
  • Photos


Kostka/Dahl Memorial Skate

Skaters gathered at Elm Creek on the morning of August 12, 2017 to honor Andy Kostka and Daryl Dahl.  This was the Fifth Annual Kostka and Third Annual Dahl skate.  Over 20 skaters/riders and family showed up for the event.  Among attendees were Betsy and Brynn, Andy’s widow and daughter.  Brynn is now eight years old and a dancer.  Skaters shared stories, visited both memorial benches, and dined at Clives.

For those familiar with the location of Andy’s bench, you will have no issues finding Daryl’s as it is just forty yards down the trail from Andy’s.  We had a great time remembering a couple of good men that left us way too soon.  Thank you to all that shared stories, including Roger Olson, who gave us all a good laugh.  Earl and  Ovid wrecked on the way back to the parking lot, but the physical injuries were not too serious.  Also of note from the Memorial Skate was our involvement in a City of Champlin promotional video.  The photographers showed us the drone footage of our group skate/ride and had us skate an extra pass so they could get slow motion photography.  They stated they would e-mail me the footage, but when I followed up with them they claimed “the client” had requested they not share the footage.  More likely is the client saw the slow motion footage of Collins skating and told them to delete it all.

North Shore Inline Marathon

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 was the 22nd running of the North Shore Inline Marathon from Two Harbors to Duluth along the shores of Lake Superior on scenic Highway 61.   Much of the race course has been repaved in recent seasons, and many notorious tar snake pits have been paved over.  Skaters were met with bouts of downpours and wet slick roads.  Despite the slick pavement, a solid tailwind pushed the skaters towards Duluth and led to fast times.  The leaders finished in just over an hour.   After 26 miles the final drag race came down to defending Champion Justin Stelly on 125mm wheels against the World Champion in the 1000m, Venezuelan, Sebastian Guzman on 110mm Storm Surges.   Guzman had better traction in the final yards.  Rob Bell, Danny Frederick, and Alex Fedak won their divisions.  The wet conditions led to a few falls.  The photos show Jeff Steltz getting caught up in someone elses fall and ending up on the ground.

Meisinger Wins the MIGP

Ken Huss Award:  The Ken Huss Award goes to skaters that completed every MIGP event.  This years winners:

1. Ken Huss

2. Greg Miller

3. Michael Mullery

4. Josiah Hendrickson

Noteworthy finishes in the seasons MIGP include 75 year old Roger Olson finishing 17th.  Conrade Thomas, who hadn’t participated in many events the past season or two, returned with an impressive fourth place finish. Congrats to Steve on a well deserved victory.

Overall Top 25:

First Last Total Points # of Races AIIM R4R CHI MNH ROR NSIM
1 Steve Meisinger 3977 4 1000 985 997 996
2 Kelin Dunfee 3911 4 951 1000 1000 960
3 Jeff Terwilliger 3813 4 928 1000 980 905
4 Conrade Thomas 3682 4 926 960 967 829
5 Elias Hendrickson 3656 4 974 974 905 804
6 Michael Mullery 3640 6 928 907 848 957 833 762
7 Josiah Hendrickson 3634 6 959 920 814 941 728 766
8 Greg Miller 3606 6 927 933 815 931 729 763
9 John Schulte 3538 4 927 840 944 827
10 Herb GAYLE 3452 5 927 815 882 728 828
11 Matt Robinson 3384 4 928 822 961 674
12 Jason Mann 3279 4 927 954 746 652
13 Jeffery Steltz 3271 4 799 853 862 756
14 Hannah Vanasse 3261 5 812 765 856 829 739
15 Tracy White 3105 4 800 634 908 763
16 Tim Pothen 3072 4 770 787 872 643
17 Roger Olson 3010 5 799 707 610 885 619
18 Rob Bell 2990 3 1000 993 997
19 Steffen Howard 2988 3 1000 990 998
20 David Swan 2934 4 924 866 467 677
21 Gary Johnson 2865 3 928 973 964
22 Ken Huss 2776 6 702 560 460 820 638 616
23 Alex Fedak 2744 3 916 987 841
24 Matt Kitzis 2730 3 971 977 782
25 Brian Geisel 2707 3 927 951 829

Top 7 Female:

Hannah was the only female skater to complete four events needed to earn a full score.  Had Kara skated another event and earned more than 727 points, Kara Parker would have won.  Miranda Halsey could have also won with a fourth score greater than 836.

1 Hannah Vanasse 3261 5 812 765 856 829 739
2 Kara Parker 2534 3 834 928 772
3 Miranda Halsey 2425 3 815 836 774
4 Erin Stenseth 1865 3 645 774 446
5 Heather Luberts 1838 3 573 705 559
6 Darcy Futrell 1819 3 646 702 471
7 Erin Topley 1817 3 644 555 618


Gone But Not Forgotten

The passing of an inline skater is the most difficult story to post on inlineskatempls.  Typically I know the skater, sometimes quite well, and sometimes only in passing.  But when I post about a death I am cognizant that it is the worst day in many peoples’ lives.  I do the best I can to memorialize the skater by providing photos and stories from their skating career and at times offering a personal recollection of the skater.  All skaters are memorialized in the Gone But Not Forgotten page, with links to photos and stories about each skater.

In 2017, Sarah succumbed to the ravages of pancreatic cancer.  Chet’s voice, which rings just as clearly in my head as it did through the hallowed halls of the Metrodome, suffered a brain bleed and died shortly thereafter.  Rayna Meyer’s brother and niece, Ryan & Lillian Fuglie, were lost on the shores of Lake Superior.

Nearly making this list this season was Roger Olson.  Roger finishes 55th out of 700 recreational skaters on Saturday morning in Duluth.  Monday morning he was under the knife having a quadruple bypass. By Tuesday he was lamenting how much faster he could have gone if he had had clean arteries.