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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Day 1 Training: Saturday 14th January. Sector 1 - 6.2 miles

Todays Set-Up:

LANDYACHTZ 'Switchblade' deck    
BEAR 'Grizzly' 180 trucks
ORANGATANG 'Durian' wheels 76mm 83A

Finally, for the first time since I launched myself into this project, the winds died down, the rain stopped for 48 hours and the sun shone high in a bright blue sky to dry out the pavements and give me the conditions I needed to start my training for the ride.  So here I am, on the Coastal Road roundabout in Birkdale, Southport at the start of Sector 1 of the ride. Beautiful day huh? It was freezing! Only 3 degrees C, but with a few thin layers and my thickest gillet I was ready for it. Function: not fashion!

Of course, everything didn’t exactly go to plan. I left my phone charger in work the night before! Doh! Meaning I didn’t get it fully charged before I came out, and with this being a 100% solo training day, and the conditions being so perfect, I wanted to try and document as much of it as I could myself. So by the time I’d taken this photo and attempted to film a short snippet for Youtube, the battery on my phone was on its last legs! I had been intending to track the sector using Runkeeper on my phone, but now this was impossible. I needed whatever battery power that was left in case of any emergencies, and to ring a taxi to bring me back at the end of the sector. And that wasn’t the end of my technical troubles. Oh no.

In fine tradition, technology well and truly farted in my face as far as documenting the day went. Apart from the phone battery, the digital camera I tried to use came up with the ‘MEMORY FULL’ message within about 5 minutes of setting off! And despite looking like it had recorded my vids at the beginning and the end of the Sector, when I tried to review them, neither had recorded! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Even weirder then that one in the middle did! Not to be denied though, I had a spare camera! Thought I’d thought of everything but….tried to use it and …….nothing recorded! Swapped the SD card over with the other camera……….nothing recorded! Bugger! So for today, here are the stills from the day. When I manage to edit the (brief) clips I got together, I’ll add the vid into the bottom of the blog post. Watch this space.

So at around about 1.30pm on Saturday 14th January I took the first pushes on the longest distance longboard ride I’ve done so far, the 6.2 miles along the Coastal Road and along Water Lane to the roundabout at Banks on the A59. Before this, the longest I had ever pushed a skateboard previously was probably about 2 miles, from the house I grew up in with my parents in Birkdale Village, along this same Coastal Road to the original Solid Surf Skatepark. Solid Surf was a (badly built in retrospect) concrete skatepark with some additional fibreglass ramps. It opened in 1978 and closed its doors finally in 1999. The early days there are some of my most precious memories of skateboarding. Hot summers, great friends, my Z-Pig skateboard with Gullwing trucks and Belair Lipbomb wheels, (seen in the background of some vids on this blog!), the sound of the old wooden roller coaster at Pleasureland nearby,  the tide crossing the coastal road and flooding the skatepark! Learning frontside airs completely by accident in one of the fibreglass half-pipes! This was our ‘Dogtown’. We were just kids. Skateboarding was a ‘craze’ which wouldn’t last. And yet here I was today, 34 years later, pushing past the site it once occupied. You can find out more about Solid Surf Skatepark here: http://www.solidsurf.co.uk/ The link will take you to the Facebook page for it that myself and my friend Neil started a while ago. Not much on it, but one day we’ll populate it a bit more. Good times.

So I passed the site of the old Solid Surf Skatepark, passed the Ocean Plaza retail park, tried to film myself weaving between pedestrians and cyclist passing under the pier which, naturally failed due to my camera catastrophy, and continued on out onto one of the most isolated parts of the whole 100 mile ride. The Coastal Road was built on reclaimed land that was originally a Victorian tip. This is why the road itself is so lumpy, because it’s settled over time. On a board on the pavement though I didn’t notice this. I just continued pushing on, past the old sandworks and the RSPB bird sanctuary and the ‘twitchers’ with their massive cameras, up to the end off the Coastal Road at the roundabout where the Plough pub sits looking over it.

This roundabout is a nightmare at the best of times so, discretion being the better part of valour, I got off and walked across the road for the last push along the side of the Preston bypass (A59) to my destination, the roundabout at Banks and the Texaco petrol station. So how did I feel as I sat there on the wallof the petro,l station? Not bad, not bad at all. Very chuffed at making it. The set-up I’d used had worked well. Only complaint might be that the Bear ‘Grizzly’ trucks were a bit too twitchy. But then, I haven’t made ANY adjustments to these at all, since I got the board and, it is a freeride set up after all, not the choice for the hardcore distance skaters. I’m just using what I got. But hey, on the next sector I might try a different board/set-up. That’s partly what these training days are for, to find out what works best.

All I had to do then was...get back to the my car at the start! Ordered a taxi and then realised that I was £1.40 short of the fare when we got back! Embarrassed already! But the taxi driver was very cool. We’d been talking about the how the ride was for charity, so he let me off with it. Nice man.

Because of my attempts at trying the cameras on the first part of the ride, I didn’t bother timing the sector at all. And the vid I took at the end of the ride didn’t record either. So next time…next time…I’ll be prepared! And next time will hopefully be tomorrow, Monday 16th January. Sector 2 is the next 4 miles. Sector 3 is another 3 miles. Two short sectors that I could do separately or both together, or I could do the 4 miles of Sector 2, take a break for lunch and come back, making it 8 miles. Right now, my left (pushing) leg knows it did 6 miles yesterday! Despite a soaking in Radox (hmmmm, potential sponsor maybe?) and deep heat rub ointment I can still feel it, but that was only to be expected. 4 miles might be just right. I’ll be fine. Will keep you posted.

Here's the map for Sector 1:

View Long Push: Sector 1 - 6.2 miles in a larger map


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