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The last straight, Illuminati, cake and a volcano

Wow – I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by in the last couple of weeks. I’m both shocked and amazed that my lost entry on here was the 4th May! Where has all that time gone…hmmm.

What have I been up to…
There has been lots going on which has been fun. A couple of weeks back I met up with a good friend of mine Alex with whom I did around 30 minutes of the Wednesday night roller meet but we were both knackered so we didn’t stay until the end – you’ve got to go with the flow and neither of us were feeling it.

Alex came with me last year to the Goodwood Roller Marathon and back then he was one of the few guys crazy enough to skate long-distance with me over here in France…that reminds me of how quickly things can change. We had a good turn out at the Paris Greenskate with around 50 people skating 30km+…I wonder how things will be next year! Alex also has his own blog about the things he is passionate about in life: surfing, chess and of course longboarding.

Alex, Tim and I at Goodwood 2009

In the past few months I’ve also become increasingly interested in the LDP (Long distance pumping) and as a result came across a rather funky company called G|Bomb. They make adjustable truck mounting brackets and boards. As the company and the ideas have evolved, so too has a partnership with Subsonic for creating a board which would be a perfect hybrid pump/push board – and lo and behold the Illuminat was born. So imagine my excitement when Laura Hatwell, who helped test the ‘light flex’ version offered to lend me the deck for the summer…stoked!

Illuminati – fun times
The fine-tuning of any setup is important, but none more so than for a pumping setup. Very small changes can make a very big difference to how the ride feels.  Using the bible that is the Pavedwave forum as reference, I put the difference components of the board together:

– Illuminati light flex proto-board with bent front pumping bracket and adjustable G|Bomb bracket at the rear
– Retro 70mm 78a Zig Zags
– Bennet 5.0 with Reflex Lime 80a Barrel and tall cone

– Tracker RTS 130mm with 90a Venom Eliminator and Orange 86a short cone

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!

Another thing to note is that as the brackets are made of metal they completely protect what would usually be the nose or the tail of the board. If that wasn’t enough, the guys at G|Bomb are currently working on another deck, the Paramount with the aim of making a board which would be even easier to push:

“Aggressive drop and stiff brackets to get to the platform height to the ~ 3.5 w/ 75mm wheels. The rear of the deck is at 3.25 w/out compensating with a riser. The platform needs to be on the stiffer side b/c of the drop. Front bracket is for wedge only with 0 degree (flat)  being the limit without an angled riser. We shortened the bracket on the front to put the wheels proud of bracket with a 75mm wheel and a Bennett truck. We really like have the wheels function as bumper and this makes the deck easily “trailerable” when walking.”

Here it is:

Follow the progress of this new board and setup here.

Distance training – continued
Last weekend was a four-day weekend in France so I made the most of it by going to Kendal (in the Lake District in Northern England) with my girlfriend who is from the area. Knowing that it might be a good idea to try and improve my overall fitness for the upcoming CaRott trip, we did lots of walking – 11km around a lake called Ullswater:

The second walk was a little more challenging, up the third highest mountain in England called Helvellyn (950m) in around 5 hours:

Another great thing about the UK is the cakes – for those of you who are a little put off by British cuisine the cakes are a good way to start enjoying food in England. Try these:
Flapjack: This powered the Plymouth local Matt Elver to a new UK 24 distance record of 161 miles on a TOPMOUNT – respect this food!
Cherry bakewells
– Lemon drizzle cake
– Banana bread
Kendal Mint Cake: This got Edmund Hillary up Everest so must be good! I’m taking some on CaRott…

A big thank you to Eyjafjallajokull for extending our holiday by 24 hours!

CaRott – the next challenge
I’ve been boring people enough on Facebook and via email about this trip, but don’t worry because it’s almost time for the trip itself to commence.

On Friday 21st May I’ll be travelling up to Calais with everything needed for a 4 day longboarding trip. I’ll have the pleasure of finally meeting Phil, the creator of a rather cool blog called SessionSixDeux who writes about his experience of longboarding in Calaifornia.

I’ll also be rendezvousing with the rest of the team Tim – a good friend from the UK and two Dutch guys called Jochem and Jesse whom I met and skated a lot with at Skaiti.  A very rough itinerary will be followed:

Day 1: Calais (Croissants) to Nieuwpoort (Belgian beers) : 75km
Day 2: Nieuwpoort to Middelburg/random crazy shaped island : 65km/80km
Day 3: Middelburg/random crazy shaped island to Hellevoetsluis/Rotterdam: 70km/100km
Day 4: Hellevoetsluis to Rotterdam: 40km

I’ll also be taking Bevilacqua’s list of things to see/eat do during our route – a big thank you to him for this list and his support! Check out his most wonderful blog here which is well worth a detour.

As far a equipment goes, this is the current state of my floor:

It’s still pretty empty, but will get messier – I’m going to do some more packing this evening… an essential map which is still somewhere between Holland and Paris in the post. Could be interesting if we have to guess our way from Dunkerque through Belgium and Holland…

At the moment we’ve pretty much reached 50% of our fundraising target. A BIG thank you to all who have donated so far, you’re all fantastic and your donations will not only help our chosen charity, Oxfam365, but also provide us with a great deal of good vibes to think about when we’re pushing through the pain. It would be great if we could reach 100% so please help us if you can by donating here.

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