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ORANGE COUNTY ON THE GO | RECREATION NOTES

Hillsea Race No Average Day in Park

May 04, 2000|MARTIN BECK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Runners tired of pounding the same pavement in the same road races can take a different trail Saturday at the Southern California Hillsea race at Central Park West in Huntington Beach.

The Hillsea is a cross-country race that is handicapped by age group to give everyone a chance at being the first across the finish line.

For instance, last year's winner was 56-year-old Sally Adam of Huntington Beach, who beat 52-year-old John Hunter of Torrance by 28 seconds. Huntington Beach's Jon Butler, a 35-year-old and two-time track and field All-American at UCLA, could only manage third place.

The Hillsea race, in its ninth year, is modeled after the Dipsea Race, a trail run from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach in Marin County. The Dipsea, which will have its 90th running in June, limits its field to 1,500. The Hillsea usually draws about 150-200, race director Oscar Rosales said.

The race's popularity, according to Rosales, was at its peak when the fitness craze was at its trendiest.

"So we're back to just the few who want to do these things," he said.

The Hillsea is run over a 7.57-mile cross-country course and features obstacles such as the "monster stairs," the "switch back trail," and "The Hill," which offers views of Palos Verdes Peninsula and Saddleback mountain. Runners also must deal with the "Old Well Ghost Town" and "Green Huntington Lake Attack Ducks," a gaggle of geese known to snap at runners who get too close.

"We run in parts of Central Park," Rosales said, "that no one ever sees."

Registration on Saturday begins at 6:30 a.m. at the park, which is between Golden West and Edwards and Ellis and Slater streets. The race starts at 8 a.m.

For more information, (714) 841-5417 or http://www.nealand.com/finishline.

SAILING SAGA

Vic Stern's 38th Newport-to-Ensenada International Yacht Race experience wasn't a pleasant one. First Stern, a staff commodore for the Seal Beach Yacht Club, steered his 43-foot catamaran Imi Loa on the rhumb line, the direct route, and it turned out the best wind was way offshore.

Imi Loa finished the 125-mile race in about 27 hours, sailing into Todos Santos Bay Saturday afternoon, 12th of 16 multihulls to finish.

"That's terrible," Stern said.

It got worse.

As Stern and crew motored out of Ensenada Harbor Sunday for the trip back to Southern California, they noticed that the propeller on the outboard motor was spinning freely and not pushing the boat forward.

So they turned around, not wanting the make the trip home without power. Monday was May Day, meaning most Ensenada businesses were closed. Tuesday, Stern and company started searching for a replacement propeller.

"It's been a saga of incredible length and complexity," Stern said. "We tramped around Ensenada about 10 miles looking for a propeller and never could find one."

They anchored Imi Loa in the harbor 100 yards off the shore and took a bus to San Diego, then caught a flight home. Wednesday, Stern bought a propeller in Costa Mesa and plans to return to Mexico today and sail home Friday and Saturday.

NOTEWORTHY

Lee LeGrande and Brent Doble won their first Assn. of Volleyball Professionals event, defeating Canyon Ceman and Huntington Beach's Brian Lewis, 11-7, 4-11, 8-6, in the final Sunday in Delray Beach, Fla. . . . Danny Reed of Laguna Niguel and Kathy Smith of Irvine won the male and female 10K divisions at the Laguna Beach Classic on Sunday.

Reed, 39, finished in 31:20, ahead of Rick Herr of Mission Viejo (31:51). Smith, 34, finished first in 35:51. . . Garrett Collins, a 17-year-old senior at Esperanza High, had another strong cycling weekend. On Saturday, he finished seventh at the Brentwood Grand Prix. He was the top amateur and the first rider under 23 to finish. On Sunday, Collins won a Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Series race in Santa Clarita, leading his Team Hansen's/Canyon Velo to victory.

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