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!
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.