The Paris LDP Challenge
Well, would you look at that – this blog is now over a year old…
Last weekend Tim Pritchard came to visit me in Paris and as is the custom the aim was to get as much longboarding in as possible, I’d predicted 110km but the weather on Sunday meant we didn’t get that far.
First a little history… Tim first came to visit me with a longboard in tow back in October 2007…he was riding a GHF Recluse and I was on a Motion Pintail 43″. The picture below was from an album entitled 12 miles. At the time I remember this being a significant moment and to a certain extent it still is, yet now our take on distance has changed somewhat…happy days! On a side note, is it bad that I still own those same jeans?!
A little over 3 years on, we were to take to the streets with some completely different setups purpose built with more wiggling than pushing in mind. For a good while my LDP (Long distance pumping) knowledge was pretty non existant and if I remember rightly, I was first made aware of it back in 2009 when Keith decided that he would pump the Goodwodd marathon rather than push. He was crazy right?
Since then, I was kindly lent an G|Bomb Illuminati board by Laura Hatwell at Skaiti and that is where my journey of discovery began in earnest. At Skaiti I’d met James Peters from Pavedwave and got to see LDP in one of it’s purest and most accomplished forms. My curiosity was piqued and after looking a little into setups the Illuminati was good to go.
I first LDP’d across Paris back in September which was quite an experience. With Tim still riding the LDP high from his sub 2 hour LDP time at Goodwood and the recent win by Jeff Vyain at The Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon on an LDP setup, there was no way we were going to push this one. It was also a good opportunity for me to take Tim on a tour of Paris from a longboard perspective, taking in some of the ‘sites’ that he might enjoy and that over the years I have come to know and love….the wide avenues from Daumesnil to Bastille, the cycle paths along the Seine, the Trocadero, and that’s just for the entrée!
We then went on to the Circuit de Longchamps which at 3.5km makes for the best Ultraskate ‘loop’ location in the immediate Parisian area. Going around the track twice got us some interesting looks from the cyclists, but also allowed me to work on my pumping technique. Tim’s top speed on the Pulse was far faster than what I could achieve. I reworked my moves and tried to get my arms more involved in the pump. We had a lot of fun trying different things out, winding up the back hand, front/back/dual lasso, shadow boxing and what came to be named as the “Vallender row”. I certainly don’t do anything to help LDP look cool, that much is sure!
By then, at around 30-odd kilometres we were in serious need of refuelling and decided to head back into the centre of Paris. After passing the Opéra we stopped from at a small Korean restaurant to get our eat on.
Once our hunger had been sated, we once again were off through some very busy streets heading North-East to La Villette. We even had to walk at times and there were lots of cars around the the touristy areas of the Opéra and Boulevard Haussmann area. This made for some interesting weaving in and out of almost stationary traffic.
This didn’t last very long, as once we turned off onto Rue Lafayette things quietened down a lot. I was very surprised at this and even turned around at one point to see if there wasn’t a big protest or something blocking traffic coming up the road. The road was slightly uphill but by that point Tim and I were pumping machines…we owned the road and felt unstoppable.
The quiet streets around the Gare du Nord gave way to the much calmer districts around the Canal Saint Martin and La Vilette, the further we went. Our destination was the Greenway that follows the canal out of Paris called the Canal de l’Ourcq along a route which I’d been on a little while back.
Once on the Greenway we were really able to ‘open up the throttle’ and get a really rhythm going. The aches and pains had become normal and the distance just flew by. We were a little worried about making our way home in complete darkness so we turned around a few kilometres from Sevran as we still had a nice distance to cover in order to get home. It was a lovely area in which to finish off a day’s skating, away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
The following is written by Tim in his write up of the day posted on Pavedwave – the rest of which can be read here
The wind was now behind us and we lightly pumped back. The darkness had really drawn in once we got to the city so we put our lights and hi-vis jackets on. We’d both really got into our pump groove now, from a good few hours on it and the desire to get home to eat dinner and drink beer.
The last leg was on a narrow cycle path next to the road, separated by a kerb, so we had a good run. The narrow path meant we had to go single file and our empty belly’s meant we were going at a good pace. The darkness also helped improve our technique I think, no longer focused on talking or looking around, but just straight ahead, watching for cars/people/puddles and just pumping through it. The cycle path was interrupted many times at intersections so we had to run red lights and dodge cars. People were everywhere and we had to shout a few times to let them know we were coming through…we get back to the flat and dumped our stuff. A quick shower followed then by food and beers. Awesome.
Awesome indeed. We we tracking the route all day using Runkeeper and my Garmin GPS. In the end we did around 62km (37miles) at a pretty sedate pace. Few were the times when our ride could go on interrupted, but that is something to be expected in big cities and only adds to the challenge and to the excitement. Pushing off with cars at a red light, finding an keeping a line is something which is typical when riding in Paris.
So three years on, a big thanks is in order for Tim – it’s always nice to skate with him and look back on how far things have come. Murky buckets to Laura Hatwell for the extended loan of the Illuminati. I’m really getting used to the board and setup now, but through riding it, some questions about the shape are coming through, more specifically about the shape of the deck. I’m also curious to hear more about the lower brackets which have been developed. To follow the discussion click here.
If anyone is ever coming through Paris or needs some showing around, it would be my pleasure…