In today's world of extreme sports, in which no hybrid pursuit is
too absurd and even scooter riders claim to catch "big air,"
there's something refreshing about distance skater Barrie
Hartman. In-line skating may have morphed from its roller-rink
roots--witness the popularity of roller basketball in New York
City, roller soccer in San Francisco and competitive trick
skaters everywhere--but Hartman's wheels rarely stray far from the
pavement. She admits to being "not very good at tricks," and
she's yet to chug a Mountain Dew and launch herself into some
blue horizon. Instead, Hartman, who's won three of the last six
86-mile Athens-to-Atlanta road races, is content to stick to
endurance racing, in which she typically outskates everyone else.
"I mainly skate for the experience," says Hartman. "I'm not too
With prodding from her New York City skate group, Hartman, 36,
began racing competitively in 1994, and a year later she finished
seventh in the Athens-to-Atlanta, the fiercest and best-known
race on the loosely organized U.S. distance skating circuit. She
won the event in 1996, 1998 and 2000 (when she finished in a
personal-best 4:53:07) and came in second in last month's race.
Because there's virtually no prize money in endurance racing,
Hartman holds two part-time jobs and occasionally works for a
skate-tour group, leading trips to places like Pennsylvania's
Amish country, where, because skating is nonmotorized, the group
is often joined by Amish children. "We even have an Amish guide
who helps lead the tour," says Hartman, who skates 20 to 25 miles
a day in Central Park during the week and 50 to 60 miles a day on
weekends. "He skates in the hat and suspenders and everything."
Even if she isn't extreme by X Games standards, Hartman isn't
exactly conventional. In '98 she posed with seven skaters for a
nude photo on the Brooklyn Bridge. "It was very artistic," she
says, pausing for a second before breaking into laughter. "Yeah,
I guess it was sort of crazy, too." Somewhere, surely, there's a
Mountain Dew ad exec with a lightbulb clicking on over his