With the first weekend of Spring came the first longboard race of the year: Icy Annecy. It was a race that I didn’t want to miss because the last time I had been in Annecy I’d not had a board and the bike path the race was to be held on is lovely. So I got up at ridiculous O’clock to start my journey to Annecy.
Thankfully, the weather turned out fine and the beautiful lake views could be seen by all.
Since I arrived early, I had a good chill out in the sunshine whilst I waited for Thib the race organiser to arrive. He is probably one of the more active distance riders (amongst other talents) in the South-West of France and I was eager to meet him. He’d also participated in the other race to take place in the nearby region, La Familia Winter Challenge: Stage 2 and also gone up to the race that Alex Bangnoi had organised: Paris Push Race 2. I knew that others were coming up from Grenoble so it was a chance to meet a fair few new faces in person.
The ‘locals only’ mentalities of some of the locals meant that the event had received some bad press but in the end no-one from Annecy took part. In the end there was about 10 people of which 5 took part.
Thib took us on a small skate where we met up with the group guys, all members of the La Familia collective who had come up from Grenoble… they quickly set up camp and dug out some cheese and wine for those not taking part in the race.
I was sorely tempted but knew that if I ate some the race would be over for me even before it had began!
The five of us taking part were soon lined up on the starting line and we were off. The pace was pretty good and I remember feeling happy to be on a skateboard again. Just after the start the youngest participant, Jules took off at a crazy pace and overtook everyone. Alex was then behind him, with Thib in third and me in fourth.
I knew that Alex was going to try and make a break for it so I accelerated past Thib and Alex and took the lead. Not soon after passing him I heard Alex shout something. Not wanted to loose concentration I didn’t really reply but the Thib who was then coming up to overtake me once more said that me shoelace was undone!
Usually, I’m pretty thorough with my pre-race preparations but I’d not checked my shoes. Thankfully, I only had to stop pushing and tuck the lace into my shoe. It would have been annoying to have had to stop. Once I got push again I caught up slowly but surely with Thib who had got into a stead pace but Alex was already way ahead.
For a little while I took the advantage of drafting Thib and rested a little to catch my breath from the effort I’d had to make to catch him up. Thib was pushing constantly and I could manage 3 or 4 good pushes and rest for a few seconds between swapping legs. I was amazed that I could put in so little effot and it really helped my performance in the race. Once I was rested enough I decided to make a break for 2nd place and put on a good spurt of speed and managed to pass Thib.
Now I was ahead of him and needed to keep up my pace. Every now and again I would pump my board instead of push and it offered my leg muscles a good rest. The issue is that I find it a little harder to breathe when pushing and I felt that after a while I was cramping up. Still, I was happy to put in some pumps every once in a while. I’m really happy with the Illuminati setup and I love it for racing.
We got to the half way marker where we would have to turn back. Not knowing exactly where this was and having stopped slightly earlier, I let Thib catch up and pass me. Stopping then suddenly starting again made my legs feel really weak but after a few good pushes I got back into a rhythm. I used the same technique as before, catching up with Thibault and then passing him once I felt rested. The way back was terrible due a strong headwind and I could tell that I was tiring. Alex was way up front and there was no way to catch up with him.
Thib was right on my tail, maybe 4 or 5 metres away and when we got to the a small downhill I pumped all I could to make the most of the incline. Pumping downhill, in my opinion means that you can reach higher speeds than pure pushing and I definitely felt that this is what helped me keep my position. The final kilometre or so was horrible… I didn’t want to loose my place and really gave it all I got. 500 metre from the finish line there were a few 90° corners to negotiate and every one I passed was sketchily done with no class or style at all. The finish line couldn’t come soon enough and it was a happy moment when I crossed it (you can see Thib in orange just behind).
After race knackered-ness:
During races, I often wonder why I do this but being amongst beautiful scenery and awesome people really helps. The bit I prefer the most though is often the end though and the chilled skates that sometimes take place. Once we’d rested the group migrated to the skatepark which was nearby:
After some more chilling the Grenoble crew and Thib went back home and Alex and I got some quality catch-up time. We had some good food and tried to keep our skateboards out of the way of the throbbing crowds – post-race beers for the win!
We then had a little skate back to Alex’s nicely stickered-up car:
It was awesome to see everyone and be part of such an awesome day. For more information about the event see the full race report on on Skatefurther. Big thanks to Thib for getting this day together!
I’ve been a little bit behind with updating this blog but lots of stuff has been going on outside of longboarding and weather hasn’t been up to much either. Another thing is that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to learn to ski, and after my third day last weekend I can safely say that I’ve given it a good go! I was managing red runs without berating those that led me down them or scaring myself too much…
At the start of the month, I did manage a good skate with my good friend Tim Pritchard. About the time of his visit this kind of thing wasn’t an uncommon sight in Geneva which is quite close by:
However, although the week previous to his visit the temperature hadn’t gone above the -15°C, the weekend he was here was a cosy -10°C. Needless to say that with clear skys there was no way we weren’t going to skate. It is just what we do when we get together. It was the coldest skate ever…
In the past, I’ve skated in cold conditions especially when I was in Paris.
It was fun to skate and pump around the ice patches:
The G|Bomb, good at pumping and pushing, not so good as a snow plough:
… with some super-smooth stretches:
I got chased by dogs:
One things about dogs. It really annoys me when they decide to chase me when I’m riding a bike or longboard. I heard that one thing you can do is make noise at them to intimidate them… I tried, looked stupid infront of about 10 people and failed to get them to go away. After a good deal of barking once I stopped they got bored and went away by their own accord.
In the end, we managed around 30km in some really cold conditions including wind that never became a tail-wind, regardless of the direction we took.
A nice pic of a nice board in some weak Winter sun:
Dreaming of a warm chin-massage:
Tim, showing off his head-wear:
We finished off at the crazy sculture at Ouchy:
For those of you who are interested in what we gorged ourselves on post-skate, here is the awesome-ness that sorted us right out. Dumplings for the win!
Happy New Year to everyone (a little late, I know). Let’s kick this year off by showing you some of the contents of my stocking:
I’ve been following with baited breath the developments coming out of the Axcelspring kitchens. I ordered a few sets of the Axcelspring washer cups which have replaced my tired and ill-fitting old washers (old on the left, new Axcelspring on the right):
At, Griffin Skateboards, we have noticed there is a problem with the standard truck washers & washer cups on all stock skateboard trucks today. The grade 8 washer’s and grade 8 kingpins in combination with bushing that are too soft are hanging up the kingpin and snapping it. Old traditional washer cups surf around on the bushing and the cup and on the kingpin too much. It’s about time we have a state of the art washer cup that works to help the rider be safe. The center sleeve puts the pressure on the center of the bushing giving it more energy. The facing is the rings on the top and the bottom that gives extra grip to grad onto the base plate and the bushing. No movement equal straight power. It’s made in the USA in a one inch size and machined from 303 stainless steel. These washers will bring your LDP, slalom and downhill setups to life and increase the responsivenesss of your trucks.
Here is a pick of the old washer/truck setup to show you exactly how much difference there is:
Same truck setup with the new washers – no slop and no play either:
There are two sizes of washer which means that you don’t have to stack washers anymore, each set comes with a star washer to fit underneath the kingpin nut:
Last but not least is a set of 3dm Avilas in 75mm (unknown duro and reason for lathing) that were very kindly sent to me by Bevilaqua from Sa Ka Roulé.
These are sent with an aim and to ensure I take part in the Endomondo Avila Earthquake Challenge for the fastest 10km skated with these wheels. I’m ready to rock and will hopefully get a skate in this weekend, weather permitting. Why not join in?
Big thanks to Bevilaqua, Gbemi for their generosity and and to Thane at Griffin Skateboards for the quick order processing and postage!
The end of the year is a good time to reflect on what has happened in the last 12 months. One thing for sure is that it has sure gone very quickly and I’ve seen new levels of busy-ness on both a personal and professional level.
I moved with my girlfriend from Paris to Lausanne, and although I was sad to say goodbye to Paris the plus point of the change far outweigh the negative ones. 2011 was the year of the first Paris Ultraskate, another epic Goodwood marathon and the Rabbit Race in Amsterdam. It was also a good year for making new acquaintances both at the aforementioned events but also further afield, meeting Jeff Vyain in NYC and closer to my new home here Switzerland. It would be wrong to overlook those people who I have got to know via the wonderful medium that is the internet, people who have brightened up my inbox such as Bevil‘ at Sakaroulé, Mark from G|Bomb, Gbemi from Longboard Europe/London Longboards not forgetting my good friend Tim from PSD.
He is thinking about stepping up the footstop game by providing carbon fibre versions of his footstops. At the moment he is trying to gauge the interest that people might have in such products.
Please check out the pictures and if you have the time, let him know what you think on his Facebook page. Personally, I love his footstops, they have really help bring out the pumpability of my Illuminati and also love carbon fibre, so for me it is a win-win situation.
I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by All Around Skate and loved the chance to spread some distance love. Read all about some of the things that got me started on this 4 wheeled journey as well as some of this year’s highlights in the full article available here.
Props to the Skatefurther and Riderz families goes without saying! A big thanks also goes out to everyone who happened on this blog, read it and especially those of you who have got in touch. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
So what will next year bring? Hopefully a lot more events and some nifty suspension trucks of some kind! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Stay tuned for more adventures in 2012…
Skating during the week has become impossible, mostly mentally because it is so dark and cold but also phyisically because recently the weather has been wet. This isn’t all bad though because it means that the snow is finally falling – some 2 metres or so have fallen higher up whilst the town centre is looking rather white.
A week last Sunday was the first time in a while that the conditions were good and that I had some time to go and skate. I’ve been itching to go for a while so it was nice to finally get outside in the weak Winter sun. I decided to continue exploring the route that I found in Vevey during this trip. It is the start of the national Swiss Roller skating route number 2 the Rhône Skate which in total is about 100km (62 miles).
Unfortuately, I didn’t have enough battery on my phone to record exactly where I went but the round trip was a little over the 30km (18 miles) mark. Here is a very rough map showing an approximate route:
I firstly took the train from Lausanne to Vevey and then quickly found the very well signposted route which led to Montreux. In Montreux there started to be many people who were also making the most sun and the Christmas market. Pretty soon I had to carry my board and weave though the human traffic… by some wrong turn I actually found myself in the main Christmas tent complete with gospel singers. Needless to say I was not dressed for the occasion and by the looks I got I was a little out of place.
Still, I was in the mood to discover what the path ahead had in store for me. A little more walking had to be done around the Chateau de Chillon as well as a fair bit more stroller slalom:
As soon as I got out of the town I had a rest and took in the nice view back towards Lausanne:
I carried on a bit more along the route which started to take me away from the lake and towards Villeneuve and the Grand Canal. The view inland really opened out and I decided to stop and take some pictures. There were no cars and only a few walkers who were braving the cold. The path wasn’t great quality but it was certainly longboard-able. I think that it wasn’t helped by the fact that quite a lot of mud and stones had been brought onto the paths by the tractors and other equipment which use the roads.
I drew some attention from some local wildlife too! ;-)
It was possibly the sight of my longboard or, come to think of it, the smell of my gloves! A little later I headed back to Montreux by the same route and got the train back home. All in all it was lovely to stretch the legs and make the most of some dry weather. It looks like my next outing on a longboard will probably be next year now… it’s a good job that there are other kinds of boards to ride too!
Winter has officially arrived and with it all the usual horrible-ness – well that was until Autumn made a bit of a come back and meant that I could go out riding last weekend! Stoked! I also finally got round to writing something…result.
I’ve racked up a good few sessions now on the Subsonic GT and it’s low-ness has been misjudged three times, resulting in the pristine look being exchanged for a slightly more rugged one:
Last weekend I went on a nice leisurely skate towards Morges:
The cool thing is that I discovered that the bike route 1, section 6 actually carries on a lot further than expected although I had to run for about a kilometre to get across an unpaved section. This is awesome as it means that in theory I could get to Geneva without too much difficulty by just continuing the route.
I’ve also started using Endomondo to track my outings whereas previously I’d been using Runkeeper. All in all Endomondo seems to be a little more feature-packed, it certainly appears to be more social-media orientated. You find the same notion of ‘friends’ as on Facebook against which you can compare performances.
I actually started using Endomondo because over on the French forum Riderz there has recently been an upsurge in LDP/distance related talk. This is really good to see because for ages it was just Alex Bangnoi and myself yapping on as we tend to do. In the distance related thread there has been a couple of friendly challenges using Endomondo app and personally I’ve found them to be a really good way of motivating myself.
Look out for more tasty footstop treats seeing the light of day in the coming months. I wanted it to be a litle higher to be able to really push my front foot into the stop, I haven’t done many sessions on it yet but so far I’m really liking it.
In terms of gear, the following will probably be old news to most of you but I still think it is worth a mention. In all of my trucks I have never used the stock bushings as I have always found that the aftermarket bushings to feel a lot better. Also, I bought my trucks back in 2009/2010 before truck companies had really started to think seriously about the importance of the squishy bushings. Therefore I have run up to some obstacles: finding the right washers and almost always having to stack them because they weren’t the right height – that kind of thing.
These puppies are a dream come true:
People are snapping their kingpins on their trucks left and right. The grade 8 washer and grade 8 kingpin in combination with bushings that are too soft are hanging up the kingpin and snapping it. Old, traditional washer cups surf around on the bushing and on the kingpin too much. It’s about time we have a state of the art washer cup that works to help the rider be safe. We have been working on solving this problem since 2009.
Why Are These Better?
The center sleeve puts the pressure on the center of the bushing, giving it more energy. The facing on either side of the washers gives extra grip to help grab onto the baseplate and the bushing. No movement equals straight power. It’s made in the USA in a one inch size and is machined from 303 stainless steel.
Whilst we’re on gear, the following caught my eye last week: Num cups
Some information from the thread:
Because your stock pivot cups suck. Chances are if you loosen up your trucks, you can wiggle the hanger back and forth in the pivot cup. And if you can’t, you most likely will be able to in the near future. This is because so many truck manufacturer’s keep using that same crap black plastic for their pivot cups that deforms are provides no compression of the hanger pivot which leads to slop.
How do these make my trucks feel better?
I’ll sum it up short for now: A pivot cup that provides compression of the hanger pivot does not allow for slop in the pivot cup area. This in turn moves all of the turning focus to the bushings. With these you’ll probably want to go down a duro or two from the regular bushings you’re using because of this.
I’ll be following this idea closely…more information on the Silverfish thread.
The above is my favorite design. Here is some information into the thought gone into these new products:
This time around we had three focuses as we redesigned the gear; (1) Improve the reflective safety gear (2) Incorporate some of the dopest board graphics into some shirts and (3) Make a hoodie that you can’t live without.
Those who have been following this blog for a while will know that I am prone to blabbering on about bearings now and again. The difference they make to a setup is negotiable but still I love them. Apologies go out to those who will find this post akin to watching paint dry…
Having raced them during two marathons (Goodwood, Rabbit Race) as well as having trained on them, I believe that I have ridden them enough to give a pretty accurate opinion. I’ve also found some pretty interesting review online that I will try to summarise here.
Out of the box these bearings at least look great, they feel really sturdy and the blue trademarked dust shields look the business. Once on the wheel good fit and built in spacer really gives you the confidence to tighten these puppies down. I got a little too carried away and managed to de-thread a lock nut, thankfully not the axel…
Performance-wise I’ve found that they run well. Here is a excerpt from the Tekton thread on Silverfish:
I don’t know why but the fastest feeling bearings I’ve used, such as Tektons and Rockin Ron’s have always sounded pretty noisy and a little loose. I’ve used Rockin Ron’s (the same set) for well over 2000 miles and they’re still going strong. They outlasted my LBL Pusher anyway.
Regarding the Tekton rusting issue, I had a set sent to my friend and I asked him to clean out the Siesmic lube and but in some speed cream (there were reports of the Tektons running slow with the original lube)…here is what he had to say:
Also, I cleaned and re-oiled the Tekton bearings and the Garvers last night. Funny thing with the Tekton’s, I dried them as soon as I could after cleaning with a hair dryer, but there was still some thin rust forming on the spacers! Crazy! So, I dried them, oiled each of them with 2 drops of speed cream, spinning each one straight after dropping the oil in, then oiled the spacers and outer races to stop the rust. I’ve never experienced that with any other bearing, and I’ve cleaned a fair few kinds!
The real test was the 2000 miles and 2 1/2 months of harsh riding…with Rain, severe heat, 4-9 hours per day of riding. For the first 40 days, I used literally no lube. None whatsoever. I just didn’t see the need because that little noise coming from the tektons never changed, and neither did the ease of pushing, even after they were completely submerged for an hour in a flooded tent. A few weeks after the flooded tent I decided to try some lube because, come on how could they not need lube after so long. There was a tiny bit of rust starting to form on the axel, so I lubed it all up. That was the last time I lubed the tektons because the lube was stolen a week later. The second half of the trip ended up being rainy as all tits, and everything rusted completely over within two weeks. The tektons were ruined and I couldn’t even change them because they were rusted onto the axles, permanently.
So it seems that they have a super-tendency to rust up – and quick! That said I really do rate their solid feel and will continue to use them as they feel better made than many bearings out there. At $35 for 8 the price isn’t bad either. We’ll see how they get on over the Winter.
Twincam ILQ X mr2
I don’t own these yet but they are pretty rated in the world of speedskating:
Here are some features:
- 29% lighter than 608 bearing.
- Exclusive design 7 ball nylon retainer with self-lubricated material.
- Inner ring with exclusive design “SCRS” (S-channel Rubber Shield) and “DCF” – Double Contamination Free.
- Provides the most maximum contamination free protection than any other in-line bearing in the market
- The ‘top hat’ style adaptors which allow these to be used with 8mm axels act as an additional dust seal
- Greater loading than standard 608 bearings
- Lubricant: TK Ultra Light Gel gives better protection inside balls and nylon retainer.
A fuller review is available here and on the manufacturer’s site. There are also ceramic versions available but at increased cost. The non-ceramic version shown above are priced at $45.50 for a set of 16.
Twincam ILQ-9 PRO (6 ball)
The original feature of these bearing is that they each contain 6 not 7 ball bearings.
Why are 6 balls better than 7? Less is more! The contact area between the balls and the inner and outer rings has been reduced with 6 balls, so ILQ-9’s spin with less friction that any other inline bearing. With larger balls, there’s also less void space inside the raceway, so the bearing can be filled with less lubrication, allowing more free spin.
Additionally, the larger balls (4.5 mm diameter) allow ILQ-9’s to handle greater laoding rates. This means they are superior for heavier skaters, and for stressful activities like hockey, aggressive skating, or hihg-speed pushing and cornering. I know that Alex Bangnoi uses these and they seem to be working pretty well for him! More info here. $45.50 for a set of 16
Anti-abec rating and with seals that are “not perfect; just really, really good”…but also every bearing is purple and green giving rise to a hard choice (steezy side out or speedy side out)…
They have been, ahem, comprehensively tested:
Magics are FAST!!!! None of the current magic bearings have died, including the prototypes I’ve had since july. Rain, dirt, general abuse, they take it. I got rained all over yesterday, went through puddles of dirty brown road-rain-water and got all nasty and gross. This morning the bearings are still smooth, though a but noisier. Looks like rain for most of the week as well so we’ll see how they hold up. And I didn’t have the luxury of spinning the wheels at 30-40mph to keep the water out.
So in review people, you should buy them because:
1. They use Unicorn semen and angel tears as lube
2. They’re purple. The color of steeze and hustle
3. But they’re also green, the color of speed
4. B*tches love Magic
5. Seals and stuff
6. They’re centerset, so you can flip them.
7. I like to think they are made out of iron man.
8. They’re Magically self aligning. Even better than Tektons!
9. They make racecar sounds
10. The lube is pizza grease.
11. They are best for sliding
12. They will make you fast like K-Rimes
13. They’re magical duh
In the spoiler alert at the bottom of a post, I mentioned in passing the Rabbit Race which took place on the 1st October 2011. A few months back when Alex Bangnoi spotted it I ummmed and ahhhed quite a bit about whether to go or not. Frankly, I was disappointed by my performance at Goodwood back in August and so I wasn’t feeling too motivated. On the other side, I really love Holland, and more especially the few people (read longboarders) that I have had the pleasure of skating with, at various events (Skaiti, CaRott, Brussels, Paris Ultraskate) . I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go so I booked my tickets. I’m so glad that I listened to my gut instinct as I had an awesome time!
There was no hesitation about what board to use, so the G|Bomb went in the bag along with some Swiss goodies since I was staying for free at Flavio Badenes‘ place. Once I arrived at Amsterdam airport I had a little trouble finding ‘Sport Park Slotten‘ where the marathon was to be held because neither the Tourist Information nor the taxi driver who I resorted to had either heard of it or could find it on their GPS. A quick phone call to the race organiser, Flavio Badenes and I had a meeting point: The Nieuw Slotten shopping centre. Once there, knowing that I had about 30mins until he arrived I made the most of time by nipping into a supermarket to buy varying sizes of Stroopwafels, the very best thing to accompany tea/coffee and with which I cannot live without.
Having bought the necessary items, I then sat down on a bench in the sunshine to eat a pre-race sandwich and wait for Flavio. Half way through the said sandwich I heard the unmistakable sound of wheels on pavement. It was Paul Coupe and and Rob Ashby (?) who were also having trouble finding he venue and had spotted my bright yellow Decent Hardware bag and had thought ‘this guy knows where he is going’. After working out that I wasn’t Dutch but English like them (I had said hi with a mouthful of sandwich) we chatted a bit and I told them that I was waiting for the race organiser.
A couple of minutes later Flavio arrived in his car and whisked me off to the track, having given directions to Rob and Paul. We were about 5 minutes away by car and quickly passed a huge concrete rabbit, which had inspired the name ‘Rabbit Race':
Once we’d arrived at the venue we set about meeting various Dutch guys that were already there, including Lennart Van de Peppel. Little by little people started to arrive, I was super stoked to see Alex Bangnoi and also Giovanni Barbazza who’d came from France, but also Paul Brunninkhuis and Iemke Karun Postma with whom I’d skated with before during the Paris Ultraskate.
Once changed, Giovanni and I decided to do quick warm up lap and I was really enthralled by the course. The weather was perfect, apparently there were 4000km of blue skies over Europe that day! The later start (5pm) was really appreciated because it meant that the temperature was just right. Although the course was a bit short 2.48 km (1.54 miles) the scenery really made the course. The Autumnal colours, canals and peaceful atmosphere was only interrupted by the sound of urethane on tarmac.
At the starting line there was a really good vibe and at just after 17.10 the start was given and we were off.
Right after the starting point there was a short but steep uphill, on the warm up lap I remember thinking ‘this hill is nothing’ – something I would rethink as the race went by. The good thing about the hill is that it split up the pack really quickly at the start of the race. Going into the first corner Alex, Paul and Iemke were pretty much neck and neck. I was in fourth and just behind me was Giovanni who was really keeping the pressure up.
Then began a small game between Giovanni and myself where I would lead for much of the lap, him right behind me. On the run-up to the uphill section he would then put on a burst of speed overtaking or drawing level with me. This lasted about 8 laps and was really forced me to keep the pace high. There was once really sketchy moment after I managed to pull away quite a bit from Giovanni where I completely lost my balance. I ended up having to get off my board as it went into the grass. In a second I was back on and accelerating as hard as I could, relieved that I had not lost fourth place.
A routine started to form in my race, push 6 times with left leg, tuck into an aero position,push 6 times with right leg. At the last corner before the straight, I would start dreading the uphill, then get up the hill, and afterwards try and catch my breath on the downhill get some water/energy gel down me, wait until the speed after the downhill gets to below 24kmh and before starting the routine again.
At around the 3rd lap my body was screaming for water and I ditched the Isostar drink and I shouted to get the attention of people giving out bottles. I just couldn’t take any more sweet stuff. In the end Wizzy of Bakaboards ran along with me and ensured I got a bottle. Phew! Big thanks to him. I’m definitely going to look into getting some Elite Electrolite which is completely tasteless. The way forward if you ask me.
From about the 12th lap onwards I started to notice thanks to my GPS watch that once I’d started pushing again after the hill it would take a good while for my legs to get going again. The result that I’d push really slowly at about 18kmh compared not my usual 21/22kmh. At about the 14th or 15th lap, just after the downhill section I heard a cheerh ‘hello’…it was Lennart Van de Peppel, overtaking me. For roughly half a lap I tried to match his pace but I couldn’t. He really deserved 4th.
The routine continued, with the hill getting harder and harder until the 16th lap when Matthijs van Wijk, who had started the marathon late and was on his 10th-ish lap caught up with me. He was in really good spirits and was in the mood for a chat. By this point I could only concentrate on one thing and apologised that I was not in a fit state to talk and skate at the same time. I felt really bad about this as he was obviously stoked to be taking part, but I was hanging! He overtook me with no problem and seemed to have lots of energy. After the race I went over to him and had a good chat…I was stoked to meet him! Here he is going full pelt down the hill.
I was really starting to feel the burn and by this point my GPS was showing distances well over the normal marathon time. Just before the last lap I was lapped by Paul (smiling) and Iemke I was amazed at the power they still had. The last uphill section was a real struggle, once I’d got to the top I felt my legs buckle but I knew I was on my last lap so just kept going. Thankfully the lap went by really quickly and soon enough I had finished the race in 5th place and had done 45km! I was super stoked as I knew that I’d done more than a marathon in just over two hours and with an average speed that was higher than at Goodwood in 2010 at 22.1kmh and therefore bettering my marathon time:
All the results can be found on the relevant post on Skatefurther. After the race there was a super good vibe. Everyone cheered on the people who hadn’t yet finished and once everyone had, and had managed cool off and rest a bit some nice prizes were handed out to the top 5 finishers. I was really surprised at this and really wasn’t expecting it. It was a nice touch.
Even after that you could tell that no one wanted the night to end. It got dark, the mosquitoes came out we were still all exchanging stories and sharing the wonderful atmosphere. At around 8pm we decided to all meet up at a local Chinese restaurant to get some food and relax together. More importantly we got to drink the post race beer which is one of the best tasting ever! In total about 14 of us were there and it was great to discuss past and future events, get to know new faces a little better and catch up with old ones. Flavio told us about his diverse history in skating, Alex about his time at the NYC leg of the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon and we all chatted about distance skating more generally.
The next day Alex, Giovanni and I went to breakfast in central Amsterdam and we bought some souvenirs (tulips, Gouda) had a nice cruise around the pretty streets. Alex wasn’t even aching and looked like he could do another marathon, I certainly was feeling the previous day’s efforts so we didn’t do too much. Alex then took me back to ‘Sport Park Slotten where I watched some of the Slalom antics before heading back to the airport. My only regret was not to see Jesse Beau (get well soon) or Jochem Boer.
I’d spent barely 24 hours in Amsterdam but left feeling really as if we had managed to pack a lot in. I want to thank Flavio and the NLDSA for having organised the race and for making us feel really welcome. We will certainly be back if the race happens in 2012 as planned. A big thank you is due to Sofie Jochems and Orta for their excellent job at timing and for taking many lovely photos. I think I almost rode into Orta as she was taking some more ‘extreme’ shots by sitting in the middle of the downhill section. Mike Fish and Wizzy of Bakaboards also deserve thanks for their pictures too.
Most of all, if you get the chance to travel to Holland and meet up with any longboarders, you can be sure to find a lovely welcoming crowd of talented and dedicated people. I for one will be making trips there as often as possible and can’t wait for my next skate with them. Who says you need hills to skate! Vooruit!
There is a known weak spot in the board that cracks over time. I hadn’t worked out until my last run what was causing it to split but now I know that it is caused by going over big cracks in the road and up kurbs, etc. On Saturday over a particular rough patch (drainage channels, yep) I actually heard it splinter…yeesh.
Yesterday, I received a huge parcel in the post with the replacement board. After much umming and arring about what to go for I chose to go with a Subsonic GT board. This is the board that was ridden by Ben Colchester during the trip Skating South. Ben was a long time fan of the Subsonic Raven but had the chance to slightly tweak the design…what resulted was the GT.
I was considering a board by Pulse Longboards, such as the ones used Skateventure but decided against it for the simple reason that there wasn’t much information on the board and that it was in an early stage of development. I also liked the idea of the Rock The Drop model by B2 Longboards but wanted something that looked different to the Longboard Larry Pusher V1 (i.e. not wooden-looking).
In the end, having seen and ridden some of Scott’s (Subsonic founder) boards (Tim Pritchard’s Pulse, my G|Bomb) I knew that I could order with no doubt in my mind. Here is what was agreed upon after exchanging a few messages with him:
Board model: GT
Construction: your usual laminates for this board (I’m around 75kg)
Top layer: Black tri-ax fibreglass or carbon
Bottom layer: Silver Texalium
Ride height: around 70mm – 75mm with 85mm wheels
Finish: as weather-proof as possible with resin coated edges
Cut-out ends: Open
Ride: Slight give for shock absorbing purposes
Unboxing the package, I was not disappointed. You can tell by the wrapping the board came in that a lot of love goes into making them.
The quality of the materials is really outstanding…
Here is a shot of the top of the deck:
And the concave of the deck which feels very mellow and progressive:
The big advantages of this board as I see them (without having ridden it) are the following:
– It is not taped at the back, meaning that my back foot should never get numb as has been the case during day trips and ultraskates
– By it’s construction, it is totally weather-proof. I had to re-varnish my LBL after it’s first trip in the rain.
– It has a more aggressive drop, meaning that more of the platform is flat, making the feel more stable.
Last night I took apart the LBL and thought about the many trips we have done together. Although broken, I’m not sure I can get rid of it just yet – it feels like part of the family. Going on the trips I have written about, I’ve done more than 1200km (745 miles) on it but I think that the real total is much more, possibly around the 2000 km mark.
I still recall writing this about it when I first received it back in March 2009 :
Sleek, low but still manoeuvrable this board does exactly what it says on the tin and certainly helps eat up those km! I wrote a longer review here. Although it is now showing some abuse, it is still going strong and is my go-to board for anything other than a ride to the shops…we’ll see how far it takes me!
Now we know how far it got!
Retired old lady with battle-scars on the left…young gun ready to rock on the right (check out my alliteration!)…
Here it is built up from above:
And from below:
Tonight it is time for this…
Feels like things have slowed down in this last week, but despite the feeling there is still some stuff to write about. Last Saturday I attended my very first longboarding event in Lausanne: Descent2. As far as I can make out, it was co-organised by Lausannedescent.ch and La Fièvre/Skatepark HS36 and was very good afternoon out. Being my first DH event, I didn’t know really what to expect but it was really chilled and everyone I chatted to was really friendly.
The event was held at the Vallée de la Jeunesse, which is a curving road, closed to traffic which winds it’s way down to lake-level. It is the perfect event to go to if you want to try your hand at some of the tamer downhill runs that Lausanne has to offer. More experienced riders can also practice in an environment which is free from traffic or uncertain road surfaces and ‘have at it’…
Just for the record, that’s not me…I was on my G|Bomb and mainly there to get a flavour of what was going down. I did get to meet some lovely people including long-time skater and all-round nice guy Stephane Conus. Stéphane had been on hand with some really good advice when I was looking at moving to Lausanne. Incidently, a big thanks goes out to Bevil’ from Sakaroule for putting me in touch with him. It was great to cruise the lake route with him and put in a few ‘k’.
Along with the much needed BBQ stand a few longboarding brands were showing off their wares. Some were well known (Sector9 with the great ‘Push don’t Pollute’ t-shirts) but others brands less well known. Two Swiss makes represented; LGS Skateboards which showed some awesome carpentry skills and F-9.81 with some carbon-foamcore-concave-dope-ness. I was representing PSD which raised quite a few eyebrows:
As well as longboarders, there were quite a few people on luges, lots of inliners and something new to me drift-trikes – it is as crazy as it sounds. Big up goes out to some of the organisers I met: Nicolas Gachoud and Natan Lakonishok.
Like most years the Goodwood marathon is one of the top, if not THE event in my longboarding year. It certainly is the longest and most competitive distance event in Europe to my knowledge. This time around things were no different – I’ve been focussed on how I can improve my time since I started training back in April.
Tim Pritchard and I arrived early enough to set up a camp and generally collect our starter packs and get ready. The couple of hours before the race went by in a flash. I made some adjustments to my setup and after some stretching was ready for the off. Tim, Matt Elver and I made our way on to the track together and snaked through the masses of lycra-clad rollerbladers, many roller-derby girls and got pretty near the front. With a little bit of manoeuvring and some grumbling from those around us we managed to get our boards down. The race marshals counted down from 10 and we were off. After about 10 metres Matt got knocked or tangled up with another rollerblader but other than that the start was clean and problem-free.
Tim and I got into a fast pace and the first lap really flew by. During some sections of the first lap he pumped and I managed to keep up by pushing as hard as I could, but only just. I should have pumped too but didn’t want to loose valuable time changing my stance but I was already aching and didn’t feel like I’d warmed up enough. After crossing the line for the second lap we were soon passed by Matt who seemed on very good form. I was really taken aback by how fast Tim was pushing and really struggled to get into a rhythm. After turning into the section of the track where there was a headwind I was lagging further and further behind. Pausing to drink some water proved a step to far. Tim put in a few power pushes and just pulled away, I couldn’t keep up.
My breathing was all over the place and I decided to pull back a little, in the hope that if I maintained a high average speed then I could possibly catch up with Tim again in the later laps of the race. I had successfully done this the in 2010 with Alex Bangnoi. Soon after, I then also got overtaken by Ben Williams on a rather funky LBL Pusher V2 and Moe Neve. Shortly after that I managed to get into a good zone.
For the next laps, I pumped on every downhill and straight where the wind was behind me or in the downhill sections and and pushed the rest of the time. It is at this point that I versitality of the G|Bomb showed through. Being able to pump the board was a very welcome break from the pushing. I also found that I was much quicker when I was pumping compared to when I was pushing. This was most noticeable on the flat or gradual downhill sections of the circuit. Along these sections I maintained speeds of around 24+ kph (15mph) compared to 20-ish kph (12.5mph) when pushing normally. I felt really comfortable on the G|Bomb and I was pleased that I had adjusted to it in such a quick time. I have found my ultimate race board.
As the counter on my GPS climbed above the 43km mark at around the 2 hour mark, I started to wonder how many laps I’d done. One error was that I didn’t carry a pen with me and being focused on pace, I’d not really paid attention to the number of laps I’d done. I really didn’t want to be one lap out so decided to do another, in hindsight I did this perhaps unconsciously to honour Alex Bangnoi with whom I’d raced around with for an extra lap at Goodwood in 2010. ;-)
In the end I finished in : 02:00:15, in 4th place – not bad!
A great podium picture of the top 3 finishers – well done guys! Check out the funky Skatefurther banner!
Here are the readings from my GPS for both 2010 and 2011.
You can see from the above pictures that I was 1.4kph (0.86 mph) off last year’s pace.
Since the race I can’t help wondering why I was slower. I’ve tried to change many things in preparation for this year’s race, from looking into different techniques by reading the Chi-Running book to uphill training with the aim of improving strength. I perhaps made too many changes and don’t think that I ate right on the day. The previous day I hadn’t managed to resist a couple of beers either – schoolboy error!
Additionally, given my time in 2010 I may have been a tad over confident, it may have also been the headwind too. Who knows. One thing is for certain, I really feel that I got the setup right this year with the G|Bomb although I may tweak a couple of aspects. I will also look at the pushing and tucking method, especially for use in headwinds. I also want to train for longer distances and give up on the grueling short uphill strategy as this isn’t fun. Regardless of my performance I had a really great time with everyone and had a great day.
This is the complete setup I used:
- Board: Subsonic G|Bomb Illuminati in light flex
– Front truck: Bennet 5.0 with Lime 80a Reflex barrel bushing boardside and Orange 86a barrel roadside (with rounded edges), with bushing saver fix
– Front wheels: ATOBE Wigglers wheels 77mm 82a
– Back truck: Seismic 30° with red springs tightened to 2.5 turns
– Rear wheels: ATOBE Bonneville wheels 76mm 78a
– Siesmic Tekton bearings
– PSD FWD+ Short footstop
More importantly, Goodwood like the other longboard events that are too-few, is also an unmissable opportunity to meet and get together with fellow longboarders. It was great to see such people as, Keith O’Leary, Tom Parker, Nick Randall, Zoltan Nagy, Ben Williams, Moe Neve Jon Steel, Chris White, Gary Ewens, Matt Elver and not forgetting Tim Pritchard. Laura Hatwell was sorely missed though as were the other members of the Skatefurther family who weren’t able to make it.
Another awesome aspect was that the PSD footstops was really well received and deservedly so. Quite a few people bought a one on the day and all feedback on them was great. Here are several in action.
It was really nice to have to time to chill with some of the others after the race. After a good rest Tim, Keith and I went for a chill lap in the Summer sunshine. The circuit really is an amazing skate…
Keith, Chris and I took the opportunity to ride the super smooth circuit for one last lap. All 3 of us pumping and using my footop’s which was another great feeling. I took a ride on Chris’s G|Bomb Illuminati, extra low brackets, Bennett front 17* Seismic red springs -7* and AToBe Wigglers/Bonnevilles. It was far more stable than my top mount LDP and return to centre equally, turning equally and less like a fish weaving. The pump feels much more centred, you kind of make longboard type turns, and it pumps/accelerates and you can make tiny pumps with your toes/heals dipping. The height is really low which felt pretty normal, until I stepped back on my board which felt enormous. The G|Bomb certainly has potential for a true pusher/pumper, but, I may well stick with my Pulse? The mega quick alteration of angles on the G|Bomb is also a massive advantage, I’m sure we all agree, especially front and back for us LDPers. I’d love a G|Bomb, and I have no doubt that it could be my ideal board for a race, but, I may never know.
New strategies, more training but the same board – bring on next year already! Tim’s write up of the day can be seen Pavedwave and all the results of the day’s racing are here. A big thanks goes out to the organisers for putting on such a good event!
So my weekend of training is finished. As I sit here slightly aching and full of food I know that in a weeks time the race will already be over. Seeing as I only started training properly around a month ago, I’m pretty pleased with how things have gone. I’ve learnt a couple of things too which I want to record here so that I don’t forget.
Sounds basic, but is easy to get wrong. Realising that I wasn’t going to have all that much time to put in the miles, I decided to go for an sprint approach with my regular sessions. The route I used is short in distance terms, around 4km (2.4 miles) but has an elevation of around 135m (442 ft). Here is the different times it took me to travel the route:
Jul 18, 2011: Pace: 4:04min/km, Speed: 14.47km/h
Jul 21, 2011: Pace: 3:49min/km, Speed: 15.72km/h
Jul 27, 2011: Pace: 4:20min/km, Speed: 13.83km/h
Aug 02, 2011: Pace: 4:02min/km, Speed: 14.83km/h
So what happened on the 27th July? Well, I arrived back home thinking I was going to pass out. Coming up the hill I felt like I had no energy and like I was skating through treacle. It was a horrible feeling. From that day on I decided to eat more during the late afternoon to fuel the longboarding runs. The results are that I have got a little faster (last run) and I am also decidedly less grouchy upon arrival home.
My favourite snack of choice at the moment are home-made cereal bars that I used during the Paris Ultraskate. Why make them? Well, here are some advantages:
1/ You know exactly what is in them
2/ They contain different levels of sugars to give you quick and sustained energy
3/ Really easy to make
Long Distance energy bars – all credit goes to the fantastic Diet-Sport-Coach site (in French)
By slightly changing the ingredients, you can make either a sweet or a slightly salty version – good to ward away boredom for when you have to eat a lot of them during ultras, etc…
Mix for sweet:
> 250 g powdered almonds
> 100 g fructose (powdered or agave syrup)
> 50g brown sugar
> a small potato (80g) cooked and mashed
> Add 80g sesame and/or lin seeds
For salty version:
> 250 g powdered almonds
> 75 g fructose (powdered or agave syrup)
> 100g peanut butter
> 80g sweet potato steamed and mashed
> Add 80g sesame and/or lin seeds
Mix everything up into a paste. It might at first appear really dry but just mix in enough and it will turn into a paste. Leave it to set in the fridge overnight. The next day, cut the paste into bars and wrap in cellophane. You can also wrap the paste around fillings such as dried bananas or dates.
The last big training push
During the weekend, I had some time to get the final bit of my training in. Since I setup the Illuminati not too long ago and had a couple of issues getting to grips with it and it was a real feeling of relief to feel everything come together. I’ve mainly been playing around with bushings (see last link) and also trying out ways to strengthen them.
I knew that it was possible to setup and get used to a board that is both good at pumping and pushing. From using it at the weekend, I think that I have came close to achieving that.
The weather around Lausanne has been pants for the last couple of weeks; muggy and showery. Not really very summery at all. All in all I did nearly 60km (37 miles) during the weekend at race pace for as much as possible. The most interesting run was on Saturday. I actually had a false start that day. I came out of the flat ready for a skate and after 10metres it started to rain. That was in the morning.
In the afternoon as I was waiting for the bus to take me down to the lake, I got my picture taken by a passing photographer:
Once at the lake, I’d done about 12km when again, it started to rain. Luckily, I decided to press on and the rain didn’t last – I did almost go home at one point because the rain kept threatening to come down.
Here is the route I took according to RunKeeper:
I’m happy with the speed. The route is certainly one of the more interesting ones to skate around on, but that does mean that you need to keep your wits about you. I had multiple near-misses with children on bikes, roller blade or just people randomly changing direction. There were also several crossings to deal with, although for the most part I managed to time them just right to get the ‘green man’. When you’re not dealing with all that, there is a lovely view of the lakeside. The surface really is top notch too. Physically, afterwards I felt pretty good and made sure I did my stretches. That reminds me…
Tim Pritchard recommended that I read a copy of Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. There is some interesting stuff regarding technique. After reading it, I’ve tried to keep in mind the following when I skate:
- Strike the ground when pushing with the mid-foot, making as little noise as possible
– Stay as straight as possible, lean forwards more the faster you want to go
– Don’t reach too far forwards, concentrate your push to the back
– Focus on the point where you want to be going (as much as your board and the terrain allows you)
I would really recommend this book. There are some very waffle-y sections and some running information that isn’t very relevant to longboarding, but the philosophy, warming up/warming down, stretching, race preparation and training plans are all well worth the read.
T minus 5 days-ish
So now comes a nice part of the training: eating and resting as much as possible! I’m really looking forward to the weekend, as well as the race it’ll be a good chance to catch up with old friends (Matt Elver, Keith O’Leary, Tim Pritchard, Tom Parker, Nick Randall, Zoltan Nagy), and meet some new faces for the first time in person (Chris White, Gary Ewens of Smile Longboards, the UK Longboard Larry distributor, and who knows else!).
A sad fact though is that Alex Bangnoi will unfortunately not be able to make Goodwood this year- it won’ be the same without you drifting me around the track ;-). The French will be duly represented though by Matthieu Josse, a young gun who shot to 8th place in the Ultraskate rankings at the Paris Ultraskate. I think there are going to be a few surprises this year…let’s see!
A buddy who lives in the city of Vancouver WA has quietly revolutionized the modern day longboard. With one simple, unique idea, he makes it:1. quicker and easier to tweak and tune for different terrain,
2. even more portable for travel on airplanes, in cars, etc.,
3. just as high performing as other high-end longboards on the market.
At first there were no specific boards that were built for the new brackets and early prototype decks were simply cut from existing suitable shapes.
After some testing, the potential to create a full LDP board with the benefits of being lower for pushing was clearly seen by forum members and this avenue was then thoroughly explored by a handful of testers. The initial brackets although innovative and functional were not completely suited to pumping since the front truck was out in front of the board, meaning a loss in leverage for pumping. In order to correct this a new ‘bent’ front bracket was developed, but with it came a compromise. The increased pump-ability brought about by bringing the truck back nearer to the board meant gravitating away from the aim of using a drop deck shape – although it was still lower than a traditional LDP deck.
Well back then when the foundations of this idea were being laid, I had barely started longboarding and the term LDP (Long distance pumping) meant nothing to me. As I started to get into skating distance, I got intrigued by the idea of efficient pumping and at that point it was only for the fun factor – pumping is first and foremost fun and feels awesome.
Having used a very low deck for pushing, I was (and still am) hesitant to invest in a LDP specific deck because I find them awkward to push when you have to because they are too high. Laura Hatwell on the Skatefurther site pointed me in the direction of the more recent developments to come out of the G|Bomb stables which were being talked about in the afore mentioned thread: the Illuminati. What grabbed my attention was that it was designed to be an “an all out pumper” , whilst obviously being nice and low. Another thing for me was that it was a colloboration between G|Bomb and Subsonic. A seemingly perfect fusion of two companies that I admire greatly.
Knowing that I was highly interested in it, Laura very kindly lent me her light flex Illuminati to test for a while. After setting it up (description here) I was instantly hooked. Back in May 2010 I wrote:
I was very intrigued by how this board would feel compared to a regular LDP deck like the Subsonic Pulse and also how well it would fit the description of a hybrid Pusher/Pumper.
I’m pleased to say that I’m instantly astounded with how good this board feels. If you are looking for versatile board that is as pumpable as it is pushable then look no further. It’s going to sound rather simple, but being able to adjust the truck angles the ‘on the fly’ really is a very nice touch. The metal brackets feel as strong as a tank and the quality of the board construction made by Subsonic is pretty much second to none. Purple to turquoise fade – awesome!
I wrote a couple of articles about trips I did on the board that can be read here and here. Another positive indicator is that this board is still in my possession one year on, and luckily Laura is willing to sell it to me – don’t worry she already had another one! Still, a big thanks and goes out to her for letting me initially borrow it.
The development of the brackets and G|Bomb mantra continued and soon came some tantalising picture of some lowered version of the brackets. After a review of these by Rob Thompson – I’ve had my eye on these ever since:
With the recent news that my LBL Pusher was nearing the end of it’s days, I got in touch directly with Mark to see if I could get some brackets…after exchanging a couple of emails I soon received extremely awesome pictures like this:
Once I received them, I wasted no time in swapping over the original brackets for the new ones – you can see the difference in the curvature of the bracket design:
As you can see the deck is very low, about 8cm at the centre (the Illuminati has some concave in it so is higher at the edges). With the new brackets and 75mm wheels it is now just under 80mm. Before, with the old brackets and 70mm wheels it was 113mm:
Here is a side view when put next to my LBL Pusher, there isn’t much difference considering it is a pure pushing deck:
Here it is fully built from the top. As I mentioned earlier I bought some rather nice wheels from Jeff Vyain at the LongboardLoft during my recent trip to NYC, I mixed the sets of wheels up back to front at first – doh!:
And here is the bottom, wheels on the right way, softer duro at the back :-) :
Awesome G|Bomb detail:
Here is the setup I am using:
- Front: Bennet 5.0 with Lime 80a Reflex barrel bushing boardside and Orange 86a barrel roadside (with rounded edges) ATOBE Bonneville wheels 76mm 78a
– Back: Seismic 30° with red springs tightened to 2.5 turns and ATOBE Wigglers wheels 77mm 82a
I initially had problems adapting to the very turny nature of the front truck compared to my very stable setup on the LBL Pusher, but this was sorted out thanks to some experimentation with various bushings, more ramblings about which can be found here. The drop on the new brackets is set to around 30mm, and together with some bigger wheels, the whole package feels very stable and comfortably low for pushing whilst remaining pumpable. It certainly isn’t a pure LDP deck but more of a fusion. It does exactly what I want it to do which is be great for pushing whilst being really pumpable but at speed – this is key for me. Additionally, the thicker brackets have stiffened the deck substantially, I really couldn’t be happier with this deck and setup. Last night I went for a cruise and came back grinning from ear to ear.
It is important to mention that there are future developments in the pipeline from G|Bomb about which more will be known in the next couple of months. Including: Drop-thru front bent brackets, improved original 10mm drop adjustable brackets and bumpers. I can’t wait to hear more. This is one of the things which I love about designers such as Mark – it is the forward thinking, via original and high quality products that help move this industry continuously forward. I have nothing but respect for all the long hard work, effort and time that is necessary to this process. Thank you Mark!
For more information, follow the thread on Pavedwave, or this one on Skatefurther or simply visit www.gbomblongboards.com. I will be using this board at the upcoming Goodwood Roller Marathon on the 14th July.
It’s 1pm (GMT+1) last Saturday, the 30th July 2011 and I am sitting in the Pschorr brewery in Munich, Germany, eating würstl and Fass-sauerkraut accompanied by a glass of their refreshing Helles beer.
As nice as this all is, beer, smiling mädchen and all, my mind keeps on wondering how is everyone getting on at the Adrenalina marathon in NYC. I’m pretty sure that two names will be on the podium but as we all know, these events often bring surprises. When I finally saw the top three results I was not disappointed:
1. Jeff Vyain – 1:31:41
2. Paul Kent – 1:32:10
3. Robin McGuirk – 1:38:07
Ideal (weather) conditions…a gorgeoous setting! Imagine: the starting and finishing in front of the Statue of Liberty! Classy! What better motivation!
Alex Bangnoi went on to set himself a new personal best time (I think!) of 1:48:20, placing him in a solid 30th place out of 110 starters in the male category.
With around 6 minutes separating 2nd and 3rd place this was clearly a dual for the last lap or so as apparently both the front racers were working together to maintain pace…the following pick captures this:
But the race was worth it from the expressions at the finish line:
1st place Jeff Vyain:
2nd place Paul Kent:
All this makes for a great podium: Epic!
Adrenalina photo credits: ShRED Magazine
Let’s not forget the women – woop!:
1. Cami Best – 1:59:16_Bustin
2. Sara Paulshock – 1:59:48_Bustin
3. Priscilla Bouillon – 2:04:42
The full results are available here – only one rider from outside the America’s…there’s bound to be more hidden talent out there!
Those of us who couldn’t get to the race got to have the next best thing, a live report by PushCulture News, all the videos which were broadcast live can be seen at by clicking here. There are great interviews with the winners and many racers including an epic 5 mins with Alexandre Bangnoi at 14m32! Bravo!
Another thing which has stood out is the amount of attention that this event got from the media, national and international alike:
Yahoo: Bustin’ Boards Jeff Vyain wins Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon’s maiden NYC run
ESPN: Skateboarding meets marathoning in NY
Sports Illustrated/CNN: Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon
Also, what could be better than a picture in Times Square!
Congrats to all the participants, the organisers and everyone who is playing their part in making what distance skateboarding is what it is today and for continuing to push things forward. Bring on the next races, with hopefully one in Europe! Failing that, I’m going to get out there to the States in 2012 for sure!
Skatefurther store now open for business!
Exciting news this week in the Skatefurther world as we have now made the once elusive merchandise easier than ever to get your hands on. Clicking on the picture below will take you to the store.
On the store you will find designs old and new, on most of the t-shirts you can choose the colour. As well as giving your wardrobe a boost, and helping you look more awesome, part of the price you pay will also help support the cost of running the site. Happy days!
Not long to go now! Adrenalina NYC needs no introduction and kicks off the first not-quite-world-tour, but certainly biggest step forward in distance longboarding in recent years. Racers are now winging there way to participate from far flung corners to step up to the challenge.
If like me you can’t be there, the next best thing for sure is to hit up PushCulture.
They will be bringing you the best of the action live and as ever will make sure that you don’t miss a thing. As well as the usual news crew, Longtreksonskatedecks‘ Aaron Enevoldsen will be flying in from Canada to help with the live broadcast of the event. You can be sure that with is distance experience Aaron is sure to have plenty of relevant and entertaining content to contribute. It’s going to be one hell of a show.
For more information about the event and what will be going on during the day, everything can be found in Adrenalina’s latest press release. Best of luck to everyone taking part! It’s going to be a close call.
With Adrenalina NYC happening the same weekend, this may have not had the coverage that is deserves. Weather permitting, the Dutch ultra-crew will be once again out in force to push the boundaries of what is physically possible in Summer Ultraskate13. The Paris Ultraskate was a warm up for this. Can’t wait to see some personal bests beaten and hopefully some records!
Training is in full swing for me, lots of cross-training using the flat then uphill route described in my previous post and trying to balance of work and longboarding successfully. I’m still dialing in my setup so until I’m 100% confident that it is perfect I won’t be divulging anything else G|Bomb-esque – with the LBL Pusher broken I need to get this right.
Until next time…
This week marked the start of my training for the Goodwood Roller Marathon which is taking place on the 14th August. Last year I was skating home from work in order to get some training in, this time round I’m mixing things up.
Last Saturday I decided to stretch my legs a little and longboarded from Lausanne, the town I live in, to…well, about as far I could get in roughly 1.5 hours. I got about 22km (14 miles) away following the lake:
The trouble was that my board the LBL Pusher which I have had for a good few years now is finally showing it’s age and is on it’s last legs. There is a known weak spot in the board that cracks over time. I hadn’t worked out until my last run what was causing it to split but now I know that it is caused by going over big cracks in the road and up kurbs, etc. On Saturday over a particular rough patch (drainage channels, yep) I actually heard it splinter…yeesh.
Anyway, the show must go on – based on other people’s recommendation that the end was nigh, I’ve contacted some companies about getting a replacement deck. Although broken, ti is still useable for the moment, but it is difficult to judge how long it will last. I certainly don’t want to undertake any big trips with it for sure.
My training route during the week is a shorter, more intense one to work on muscle and power development. It’s much shorter (just shy of 4km, 2.5 miles) but encompasses some brutal up-hill:
I managed that route in 15m38s – it’s something to work on. My aim is to do this route a couple of times a week at least, getting faster each time.
On a gear point of view, there has been some exciting talk about Vicetrux on the Skatefurther forum – I hope that these trucks will see the light of day sooner rather than later as the design is awesome. They are also thouroughly tested by Jim Petersson during his trips so they are sure to hold up.
Also, a wonderful package of stoke arrived chez moi this morning from G|Bomb Longboards:
More information to come on this soon…exciting is an understatement!
Here is a great article I came across on the ‘fish about bushings – I couldn’t not post:
Click on the picture to see the article…prop to SteveC for putting this together!
As it is about three weeks since I last posted on here, I needed a recap of what I had written about last time around when I was just about to go to NYC. That’s when I was reminded about the snack that has had the greatest influence on me for as long as I remember. The Katz Pastrami sandwich.
Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about longboarding, not food, so back to business.
That last paragraph wasn’t totally irrelevant though, as a about a mile away from Katz’s is the Longboard Loft at 132 Allen Street in the Lower East Side. It lives pretty well to it’s ambition of being “the headquarters for longboard enthusiasts in NYC and all over the world. With New York City’s largest selection of longboards and longboard components, you won’t find a better place to get your longboarding itch scratched”. I certainly left the shop feeling completely un-itchy, for sure!
Walking in the area around the shop already felt familiar, almost certainly from having watched videos that were filmed in the neighbourhood. Another, pointer was that I started to see a couple of people on longboards – suddenly, there is was! Once I entered I was amazed by how many boards there were, it truly was a refreshing experience to see so many brands represented: Earthwing, Tutone, Landyachtz, but also rarer boards such as Subsonic, along with the the full Bustin line up. News has it that perhaps some Swiss ones will also be stocked too…
Not forgetting the wheels, too.
I got a really good vibe from the place and it really was busy. All the staff were super friendly and I was super happy to meet Jeff Vyain and have spend some time talking to him. We talked about his wheels, the Atobe Wigglers, the upcoming Adrenalina marathons, The Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Stage Race, Skatefurther, PSD, some things cooking in the Subsonic pot and about Pavedwave and Ultraskates. It was really nice of him to take some time out of the busy-ness of running the shop – Thanks Jeff! Although I was mostly doing touristy stuff in NYC since it was my first time in the city and in the States, the visit to the shop was definitely a high point for me.
Needless to say that I didn’t leave empty handed:
These puppies are going to go on a rather special new setup which will be the subject of a different article…
My girlfriend and I walked around NYC a lot. Like any major city it is huge, and in my experience, if you want to get a feel for the place then you have to just walk around. Having lived and longboarded in Paris, I couldn’t help but look at the city from a longboarder’s point of view. My opinion is that you have to be pretty hardcore and especially focused to skate and not run into trouble.
First off the pavements are often narrow, much narrower than is the norm in Paris and often crowded and of varying quality. There is no choice but to skate on the roads, making use of the numerous cycle lanes that are on offer. Even then it is at a level of hectic-ness that is rarely seen in Paris. I’ve found myself having a lot of the respect for NYC’s longboarding scene because of this. The result of this urban riding certainly has proved it’s worth in the many pushraces and marathons that the city’s crews have owned.
Then you have Broadway, which we walked most of the way down in sections during the week we were there…I was trying to picture being part of the front of the pack during the Broadway Bomb. Calling it challenging is the biggest understatement you can make. It is the least practical and ridable course that could be thought up, but I know that I just have to do it at least one time in my life! Wow! Central Park is the obvious exception to all this…but once you’ve skated there you’d need a little bit of calmer riding.
Too bad that I can’t make the Adrenalina Skate marathon held in NYC (Govornor’s Island) on the 30th June. As for who is going to win? Well we’ll all just have to wait and find out…one thing for sure is that Alex Bangnoi will be representing once again. Go Alex! Oh, and Jeff Vyain just posted a sustained pump at 18.5 Mph (29.7Kph) for quater mile intervals…to put it into perspective, during my final training last year I was getting about 21Kph, and averaged 22Kph (13.6) on the day itself. I’ve got some work to do!
New York – I’ll be back!
So, last Monday I ended up going for the first session in a while. I firstly met up with Christian Schlumpf and we got down for some LDP action, he hadn’t ridden an LDP setup before so it was interesting to him go from curious to stoked! I’ve been playing around with the new Siesmic truck that I’ve recently acquired and I’m loving the kick (return to centre) that it has…
We then met up at the Vallée de la Jeunesse with Arrash and ended up meeting two other locals (including Matthieu) who seemed to really know what they were doing. They were totally nailing the DH sections, unlike me!
Since, then the weather and time constraints have meant that I haven’t done any more boarding so this post will be kept pretty short. Tomorrow I am off to visit the home of Bustin, Longboardloft, Unclefunky’s, Earthwing, Concretekings, the Broadway Bomb and Pastrami – I cannot wait!
After that week of debauchery in the Big Apple, it’ll be a relaxing few days of farniente in Spain where I’ll be mainly enjoying the playa so don’t expect too much action here for the next fortnight…after all that I’ll be back and raring to go with some reports of my adventures!
Big shout out to the people who continue to read this blog…I’ve received some really nice comments recently so thanks for reading!
The new helmet was received yesterday and it immediately went into intensive testing…
As last week was spent waiting for it to arrive there was no longboarding to be had. Still managed some exercise:
And some hydration:
Not to wory, more longboarding – related excitement coming very soon…
On another helmet related topic, I stumbled upon this good idea which might be good for a future purchase.
So…I haven’t been doing too much longboarding of late due to this:
Somehow, I managed to forget my wonderful Bern Helmet in the park and not realise for pretty much a week. The moment I realised was about 10 minutes before meeting new longboarding buddy Christian Schlumpf who hails from Toronto where all thing Longboard Living are at. It was strange boarding for the first time in about 2 years without a helmet but I still managed to get stoked. Another helmet should be arriving in the next week or so as especially with the hills around here I want to protect what few braincells I have left.
During our outing we met up with fellow Lausanne longboarder Joan Nydegger who is the founder of lausanne Papy free ride – and I am told that routes will be made known around Lausanne that do not involve shoe-melting über downhill sections. I haven’t quite got to grip with those yet…
On another note, I’ve just bought my plane ticket to the UK for the weekend of the 14th August. Why I hear you say? Well it’s the weekend of the 2011 Goodwood Roller Marathon! Woop! More information on the previous link or Facebook event. Let’s get loads oflongboarders representing!
The Paris ultraskate was the second 24h skate I have undertaken. One thing I have come to appreciate is that an ultraskate is an event which is full of highs and lows and at the Hippodrome du Longchamp, thanks to the lie of the land, ups and downs too. For some reason, the need for mental strength really came out at this Ultraskate.
In terms of physical preparation, I really didn’t feel like I’d done much at all. The recent move to Switzerland, the pretty busy work schedule and a certain apprehension to the massive hills in Lausanne have meant that I’ve not skated much in recent months. I was also organising the event from afar and hosting it on an untested circuit. Although I was super stoked to hear that people were coming from the UK and Netherlands for it, a small part of me was wondering, what happens if we get kicked off or if the track is not suitable…I didn’t want to let anyone down.
So when I picked Tim up from late on the Friday night, I was a little apprehensive…however, the ball was already rolling and we needed to get ready – and that meant eating! I’d already started carbo-loading since the Friday morning but I’d asked my grandmother with whom I was staying to cook a big pot of rice…Tim and I finished that off before snatching a couple of hours agitated sleep. On the Saturday morning we ate probably enough Bircher museli for four people, it is an amazing Swiss snack and contains many good things as well as being mega tasty. From my point of view it is the perfect breakfast to have before a sporting event as it is nutritious and filling whilst remaining easily digestible.
It was clear that for at least the Saturday, thankfully the weather would be with us. My main aim for the event was to ensure that it was a success from an organisational point of view, meaning that we would be able to hold an ultraskate as planned. I also wanted to beat my previous performance of 100mile (160km) at Skaiti.
Upon arriving at the Hippodrome de Longchamp, we were already greated by Matthieu Josse and Romain Bessière who had made their journeys from the North of France with family as support crew. Another worry was how we would fare with the cyclists who we would share the track with.
As you can see from the picture above there were quite a few around. Luckily for us though they weren’t the type to stay there all day and as time went by the track cleared (they most probably went off for lunch). We had to put back the start time to 1pm (instead of mid-day) in order to give the Dutch guys who had travelled further some time to get ready. It was all good though as was great to spend a while chatting to different people at what was to become the event HQ.
The turn out really went beyond my initial expectations. I was sure that Romain Bessière and Mattheiu Josse were going to make it, along with one or two local guys such as Alex Bangnoi, but in reality things were even better. Obviously, I’ve mentioned that the Dutch were well represented and the UK too with Tim Pritchard, but what really was good to see was that many skaters from around Paris also came along and really gave it a good go. That really was good to see.
Everyone was soon ready and after waiting for a gap in the pack of cyclists, we were off.
At first I found it hard to keep a rhythm and was a little daunted by the prospect of lots of skating around bikes. I remember spending a good few laps with Tim, generally chatting and enjoying the atmosphere. Every now and again you would hear a whistle or a ‘à doite’ being shouted by one of the more aggressive cyclists as they came up from behind.
I felt good about how I was progressing. It was a really hot day so a priority was to ensure that I was drinking enough. I was using the same Isostar endurance drink I had used before and always had a pouch of energy gel or something similar to keep me going. Every 12km (approximately 3 laps) or if I ran out of water, I would come in and have a 5 or 10 minute break and something more substantial to eat, such as a cereal bar or slice of Ultracake (reciepes in French here). I’m glad that I had brought lots of food though because I found out that the carefully prepared Ultracake had suffered al malfunction, it was undercooked and pretty raw in the middle, the sides were ok though and the general consensus was that it was tasty.
Some people, such as Jesse Beau and Paul Brunninkhuis just kept going. I was trying to be sensible and learn from my mistakes at Skaiti and manage myself, ensuring that I was eating and drinking enough. Still, the fact that in the past Jesse has done well over 100km before his first stop shows that this guy means business but also that everyone has their own preferences. Perhaps eating for me is a good way of reassuring myself that I can carry on skating, it sure feels that way.
In the eveing, most of the French guys had finished their 100km skates and headed back home. With fewer and fewer cyclists the track became our own and the rhythm just got stronger. This is the point where I put in a lot of miles – everything just felt right.
The track we were on went right around the Hippodrome the Longchamp which is a famous course used for horseracing. Around 8pm one of my stops coincided with Jesse and Paul. They asked me what the deal was regarding the use of the track on race days as like me they had seen banners all around the track saying that on race days the bike track was closed from 10am…if that were true then our ultraskate would be cut short by around 3 hours. I had seen banners around the track for an horsey-type family event, but no racing so I was pretty certain but not sure that we would be able to complete the 24 hours.
In light of this, I aimed to equal my previous distance of 160km before sleeping. In the early hours of the evening, I had a great time skating with Alex Bangnoi in the early part of the night. I’ve enjoyed many long rides with Alex and he has also been a worthy opponent in the Goodwood Roller Marathon. Later on, I asked Jochem Boer to come along with me (he’d decided to play a more supportive role in the event) and we ended up skating a good few hours together which hadn’t happend since CaRott. I also had a good time skating with Giovanni Barbazza who previously to the ultra hadn’t skated much at all. His enthusiasm was infectious and help get through some of the night time hours.
I really need to skate with people during an ultraskate, it makes things so much easier. There comes a time when I can’t be on my own, I’m too tired and need the banter and conversation of a fellow skater to help me through a tough time. Or to even just share the pain with someone else. It is funny because I have only met and skated with Jesse and Jochem on three separate occasions, but despite of the fact that we haven’t shared much time together, the little we have has really brought us close. I would definitely think of inviting them when organising future distance trips and really enjoyed seeing them at the Ultra.
As I have hinted at before, ultraskating is full of contradictions and the track we were on certainly was very varied too. Cyclists aside, one part was a haven of tranquility and the other was a mega hectic. From around 10pm one of the buildings set back into the horse-racing circuit turned into a nightclub. At first we went by queues of immaculately dressed people and as it got later we had to slalom around broken glass, drunken people and mini traffic jams. There were a few close calls but people generally didn’t take much notive of the crazy guys on skateboards.
In the middle of the night, when I was about 10km off the 160km target Jochem and I stopped at the HQ and I wondered off to ‘give life to a tree’. A guy approached me declaring himself to be ‘completely hammered’ asked me in French where I could find some weed. I said I didn’t know and explained what we were doing and that most people here only spoke English. In the next half hour we entertained this guy who was clearly a drug dealer. I got increasingly annoyed because I was loosing valuable time, but fortunately he didn’t stay long. Jochem and I laughed about this later on as apparently he could tell that I was fuming! Apart from him and a courtesy call from the police at around 5.30am we weren’t bothered at all.
From around 5am until 7 I had a rest in Alex Bangnoi’s car. Perhaps it was the vast quantities of sugar or maybe just Alex’s snoring ;-), but I really found it hard to sleep. In hindsight, perhaps I should have just carried on skating! I woke at around 6.30am feeling horrid and ate what I could to keep myself awake. This picture sums up how I felt well.
Jesse was also pretty knackered as he hadn’t slept a wink, Paul on the other hand was really going strong. We formed a nice little line and it was great to skate together and really helped with motivation.
As the morning progressed, the cyclists came back with a vengeance. I decided that I would aim for the next round number, which just happened to be 200km. With about 10km to go, I got fed up with cyclists having a go and ended up arguing with one of them for about half a lap…we were within out rights, on a public right of way (I can already feel my blood pressure rising as I write this!). The positive thing that came out of this was that my average speed jumped by about 4 km! Awesome!
I quite clearly remember skating the last lap with Tim, who had woken up by that point and I reached 200km with half a lap to go until the HQ. I slowed right down for the last bit and after shouting a bit of encouragement to the others that were still going, I just completely conked out. I feel now though that it would have been possible to continue, so I am really confident that I can push further next time. We’ll see.
Overall, I really had a great time. I was proud to have beaten my previous personal best by 40km, but most honoured that the event was attended by so many awesome people. The track in the end worked pretty well, but we were lucky with both the cyclists and the weather. I really want to thank all who attended – like most events, it was the people that really made it and I can’t thank them enough for coming. A big shout out also goes out to Marvin Thine of UrbanDrift and James Peters of Pavedwave for their support.
On a personal note, I felt the success of the event was a win also for French distance skating. Ever since I had started to get interested in trips, ultras and the like, I had got a little bit of a strange reputation. It has taken some hard work to legitimise distance skating in Paris and thanks to lots of people’s tenacity things are moving forward. I’m really pleased to see that there was anther Push Race in the centre of Paris at this year’s Greenskate, there is also another a 20km push in the South of France coming up.
The Paris Ultraskate results:
Romain Bessière (FR): 366.8 km (227.9 miles) – Push
Paul Brunninkhuis (NL): 338 km (210 miles) – LDP
Jesse Beau (NL): 324 km (201.4 miles) – Push
Matthieu Josse (FR): 305 km (189.5 miles) – Push
Iemke Postma (NL): 261 km (162 miles) – Push
Chris Vallender (UK/FR): 201 km (124.8 miles) – Push
Alex Bangnoi (FR): 179 km (111 miles) – Push
Giovanni Barbazza: 150 km (93 miles) – Push
Jason Yoyotte Lapierre (FR): 100km (62 miles) – Push
Alex Pereira (FR): 100km (62 miles) – Push
José Laurier (FR): 100km (62 miles) – Push
Eric de Ridder (NL): 68 km (42 miles) – Push
Tim Pritchard (UK): 85.7 km (53.3 miles) – LDP
Here is also a video recapping the event – it captures the vibe of the event well:
Well, the Paris Ultraskate is pretty much upon us and this week has been full of last minute confirmations from people saying that they will attend the event. There was even talk at one point that Barefoot Ted was going to make an appearance as he is currently in Europe – sadly this will not be the case.
However, Holland and the UK will be strongly represented as I have described on Skatefurther here. I am delighted as this is the first time since CaRott that the original crew we will be together. I’m sure that this will raise the levels of stoke somewhat giving us all the strength to go harder and further than we thought possible.
Contrary to the post title, I will taking nutrition during the event pretty seriously. I will be making my own ‘ultra food’ using recipies from this awesome site. I hope that at least eating the right food will help me as I have not had much chance to train!
I really cannot wait for this weekend, it will be amazing to get everyone together and do some serious skating in a relaxed atmosphere. Who knows, if everything goes right some records may be broken! I really hope that the weather will hold out and that there will be no rain, the forecast for the moment is ok, but with some showers. One thing is for sure is that I should come back with some good stories – I will obviously share them with you here.
Bring. It. On!
Bustin Composite decks
I’ve kept a pretty close eye on Bustin and their decks for a good while now and have always been really impressed with their originality, their rider-centred approach is refreshing and you can’t help but pick up on their stoke.
The only problem I’ve picked up on in the past is there construction, but lately they really have been stepping up their game. A little while back I was pleased to note in the 2011 Concretewave Magazine’s Buyer’s Guide that they were introducing a Carbon fibre version of the Robot 36″ and 41″ to be released early June:
More info here
See also: The Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Sk8 Challenge 2011 – the 1st Longboard Stage Race, ever!