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THE LONG PUSH 2012 is sponsored by...

THE LONG PUSH has been sponsored and supported by the following companies and individuals...

BIG WOODY'S SKATEBOARD SHOP : DC SHOES : ORANGATANG WHEELS/J&R SPORTS : SPORTING SAILS : SKATEFURTHER :

WOODY & DRE (BIG WOODY'S): MARK ROBINSON (OBAS UK): KYLE CHIN(LOADED BOARDS) : RICHARD BIRCHWOOD (J&R SPORTS): BILLY & NICK SMITH (SPORTING SAILS) JULIET & THE STAFF OF TESCO EXPRESS, ALBERT ROAD, SOUTHPORT :

If you would like to sponsor me on my journeys, please contact me at the_long_push@btinternet.com

justgiving - sponsor me now!

Monday, 26 March 2012

SKATE AND DEPLOY! Sporting Sails become the latest sponsors of The Long Push 2012.

www.sporting-sails.com
Yes indeed, I am thrilled today to be able to announce that SPORTING SAILS, as seen used by Adam Colton, Paul Kent and Aaron Enevoldsen on LONG TREKS ON SKATE DECKS  have now supplied me with a sail for The Long Push 2012.









I contacted the guys after seeing the sails being used on the Long Treks Morocco trip, to see if they would be interested in supporting The Long Push and helping raise autism awareness. Check out the sails in use in this incredible episode from Long Treks Morocco.




Billy and Nick's response couldn't have been better...

"Hi Chris, Thank you for reaching out! We want to help this cause!!  We think you are doing a very noble thing and would like to support you as best we can. We are very excited about your trip. You are an inspiration to all. Hope we can be a part of it."

Thank you so much guys. Your support means so much to me and families affected by autism.



Every action that helps draw attention to me while I'm out there training for The Long Push 2012 and on the two days of the ride itself, gives me an opportunity to explain what I'm doing, and about the daily struggles familes affected by autism have to deal with. My SPORTING SAIL will be another tool to draw attention to the cause. I feel a comedy video coming on of me learning how to use it! :o) Watch this space...

Find out more about SPORTING SAILS at  http://www.sporting-sails.com/home or go visit them at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SPORTINGSAILS?ref=ts

I should just clarify that any opportunity to use the SPORTING SAIL will only be for a short period on the ride itself, and won't detract from the amount of manual pushing/pumping and I'm going to have to do over the full 100 miles. Knowing my luck, the wind will be blowing in the opposite direction on both days! But it will be in my bag, in case I get chance to deploy and take the pressure of my feet for a short while.




Finally, please support the companies who are showing support for The Long Push 2012. So far this is, BIG WOODY'S SKATEBOARD SHOP, DC SHOES and now SPORTING SAILS. These are the people who live and breathe skateboarding/longboarding and the people who give us the scene we have today. Thanks guys.



Days 8 and 9 training blog coming very soon,


Chris



Monday, 19 March 2012

Day 7 Training, shopping for Mothers Day, and a recap on my motivation.

Hello again! Before I start writing about Day 7's training, I'm mindful that any new followers of this blog may be wondering what the hell any of this has to do with autism anyway!? So for those who haven't bothered trailing back to the begining of this blog here's a recap of how I got here...

My girlfriend's son was diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder around about 12 months ago. It was a late diagnosis, coming when he was in his last year of Primary school, aged 10 and without much time between the end of the school year to organise support for his first year of high school. That was the cause of a LOT of stress over the whole of last summer, mainly because all the departments who we needed to have contact with were closed over the school holidays! On top of that, the late diagnosis means that, because of Steven's age, we have a cocktail of ASD, early onset puberty and adolescence to manage and it can be a real problem trying to work out which is the driving factor at any one time. But any of you in the same position will already understand this, right? To say the last year has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, stresses and strains would be an understatement. It's been a massive learning curve, but The Long Push project has helped me to learn from others with the same experiences by sharing links/articles etc. It's still tough enough for me to deal with but much, much harder for Steven's mum, who's health has suffered as a result of a combination of illness and stress, partly caused by the diagnosis and partly due to other stress factors that have been unavoidable. But she's on the mend and hopefully will be back to full strength again soon.

As part of our attempts to learn more about ASD we stumbled upon Carol McKiernon of Families Connected at another ASD seminar for parents run by Autism Initiatives and shortly after this, I made contact with her to ask for some advice and support. Carol's first hand experience has been invaluable to us, so I wanted to do something to 'give back'. I thought about doing a cycle ride but then thought, "Naa, everyone does bikes rides. I want to do something different". I've been skateboarding since 1976 and have a few longboards, but have never really used them for anything other than just cruising round the seafront here in Southport in the summers. I had an idea to ride to Blackpool in a day, and then started to find out more about distance skateboarding at the forums at http://www.skatefurther.com/ and http://www.silverfishlongboarding.com/ and http://www.pavedwave.org/

I decided to name my project The Long Push 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness,  a 100 mile ride from Southport to Fleetwood on the North West coast of the UK and back over two days, 50 miles per day, in suppprt of Carol's FAMILIES CONNECTED charity.
Shortly after, I found out that two young American guys, Blake and Daniel had done an even longer ride in 2011 'Elevate Awareness: Longboarding for Autism', also for autism support. Then I knew I was on the right track.

By the way, Blake and Daniel are doing another, longer journey again this year, so please go and follow their journey and support them over at https://www.facebook.com/elevateawareness and http://elevateawareness.tumblr.com/

So now here I am, three months into my planning and training for the full 100 mile ride. I've found a way to combine doing something that I love (longboarding), generating some donations to a cause close to many people's hearts, raising autism awareness, physical excersise, a personal goal and, if I'm completely honest, a way of taking some time out away from all the daily stresses, to just be at one with my own thoughts and have to worry only about...not falling off! Which brings me nicely back to... Day 7 training.

Bikini clad California Girls just out of shot!
Day 7 came along almost as unexpectedly as Day 6, and was spent pushing and pumping along the same stretch of road, up and down the A565 Formby by-pass from Southport to Lady Green Nurseries at Ince Blundell, a little less than 9 miles each way. The weather looked a bit bleak when I set off but apart from that there's not much to add to Day 6's training really. Like I said it was up and down the same stretch of cycle path. One section of the path was particularly covered with little stones. I was fully expecting to hear that sudden 'SCRAAAATCH!' sound, grind to a halt and do my best Superman impression as a tiny stone just got lodged underneath one of my front wheels and catapulted me forwards, but somehow I got away with it and made it back unscathed.

'Crivit' running socks. A £2.99 Lidl bargain!
I tried some running socks from Lidl today, £2.99 a pair, to see if they eradicated the sore sole problem at the 10 mile mark and they worked pretty well. No soreness at all today. I was impressed. Well worth the money! Still going to try some padded tennis socks though.









Not sure how I managed this but... a bit gutted
The 'switchblade' is starting take some punishment through the training, though to be fair, I haven't used any of my longboards anywhere near this much before, and this IS what it's for.  Took a big chunk out of the top laminates at the front somehow which I'm a bit pi$$ed off about, but hey, it's all part of it. Heard some creaking sounds from the back truck while pumping down the bypass, but don't think it's anything to worry about. Good chance that I'll be needing a new set of truck bushings and new wheels and bearings before the ride itself though. My 'Durians' will be down from 76mm to about 66 mm by then!

 

Ah yeah, I nearly forgot.
So, it was the Thursday before Mothers Day. So part of the reason I pushed up to Lady Green was because Rachael had  picked up some things there that she liked when we'd visited a few days before, and I had to get her something from the kids. So, I pushed the 8.8 miles there, bought the presents, had an ENORMOUS veggie beakfast and pot of coffee (£5.99 highly recommended) and then pushed 8.8 miles back home, arriving just as the first spits of rain appeared on my shades. Good timing!  Time for a quick shower and then...off to work for 2.00PM! Hmmmm, in retrospect, with a full shift at work ahead of me, next time I have some training time in the morning I'll just do a short ride. As it was...I made my new personal best for furthest distance in 1 day, 17.5 miles. Just 2.5 miles short of my goal for the end on March. Chuffed! :o) But man, was I tired later? And then the day after I was hit by, that worst of debilitating illnesses...'man-flu'! Struggled through two days at work with it and Saturday and Sunday too. Grrrrrrr!

Still, I'm on target for 20 miles by the end of the month. Just got to fit some shorter training rides in around work this coming week and then, all being well, it will be the 20 mile push next week. Just got to work out where it will be, but it will definitley be back on The Long Push route again though.

I hope all the autism mom's reading this had a great day on Sunday 18th March? But it was probably just the same as every other day, huh? Respect ladies, you have my total respect.



Stats for the day here...
Part 1 -  http://runkeeper.com/user/TheLongPush/activity/75538154?&mobile=false
Part 2 -  http://runkeeper.com/user/TheLongPush/activity/75558012

Just Giving widget is fixed on the blog page again. If you havent donated and you can, please do. No amount is too small. And please keep sharing and re-tweeting.

More soon...

Chris

Monday, 12 March 2012

Days 5 and 6 Training: New personal best distance!

I sat down to write my blog post about Day 6 training tonight, and realised that I only posted the details of Day 5 on Facebook! Doh! My excuse for that is that Day 5 training was nothing more than a brief 3.8 mile push around my Marine Lake training route after work a week ago. Then again, It's important for me to vary the length of training rides, and all is better than nothing. And this was my first training ride wearing one of the new Long Push T-shirts, so it was important in being the next phase of promoting the ride and raising more autism awareness. 

Look out for me on future training rides around the seafront area of Southport, or along the Preston Bypass training for the full 100 mile ride.



Day 6 of training came about unexpectedly over the weekend and, like the heading says, ended with me reaching my furthest distance skated in one session so far, a new personal best of 12.31 miles.

Rachael had taken the kids to their grandads for a sleepover, while I worked a late shift, which left us with a bit of a problem for the next day. If I went over to meet them in the morning then we'd end up with two cars to bring back, which seemed a bit pointless. We hadn't worked out exactly what we were going to do before I finished work on Friday night, and everyone else had gone to bed by then, but when I woke up on Saturday morning and looked out the window, an idea struck me. What about skating up there? It would solve the car problem, give me a training opportunity as well, and leave Sunday free for Rachael and myself to do something nice while the kids were away with their dad. It loooked bright enough at first, but there seemed to be a bit of a wind, and I've never even thought about skating this kind of distance before, so I went out down the road to check it out.  I imagined the wind would, (of course), be blowing in my face, rather then being behind me. So I 'ummed' and 'ahh'd' for half an hour or so, looked up at the clouds, checked the weather widget on my phone and Sky News weather, but after half an hour, my bag was packed, cats fed, high viz vest was on and I was ready to roll!

This training wasn't along The Long Push route though. No, this was in the opposite direction, from Southport to Netherton in Liverpool, which I thought was going to be about a 15 mile push, and if it was, it would take me towards my 20 mile target distance for March. I think I've pretty much decided that I'm going to use the Landyachtz 'Switchblade' set up that I've posted in earlier blogs for the full Long Push ride itself so, with my board under my arm, bag on my back and sunglasses on I set out from home, down the road to a path which leads me to one of the main roads along the outside of Southport and out towards Liverpool. Here's my route...


View Day 5 Training. in a larger map


Since the 11.5 mile training of Day 4, the only training I managed to do for Day 5 was the 3.8 mile push around my Marine Lake training troute in Southport and then a bit of a scoot up and down the promenade in Blackpool last Tuesday, 6th March, so when I set off my right leg (the one I don't push with) felt a bit weak and tired at first, but after a while it settled down and was OK. This was the first long distance work with the new DC 'Monty's' too, so I was hopeful they were going to work OK as well. The first part of the ride was across a country park path and onto the pavement of Guildford Road, a long road which curves around the outside of one section of the town, dividing the urban areas from the farms on this side of Southport. After a little over 2 miles I reached the cycle path that runs alongside the A565 Formby By-Pass.
 
Here, the ride started to seem a bit daunting, with such a long straight road ahead and knowledge of how many times I've driven this road before in the car and on my motorbike. The wind was, as I'd guessed, blowing straight towards me, but it wasn't too bad. Only 12 -15 mph according to my weather widget. Still, I would have prefered it to have been behind me! I stopped a couple of times to try and get some photos and once to get another drink while I passed the Tesco at Formby. The cycle path was smooth for most parts, but I did have to swap sides at one point, after I found one section which was pretty unskateable. Well, it was if I wanted to keep the fillings in my teeth! The set-up rode perfectly, with no problems at all. Still especially impressed with the Orangatang 'Durian' wheels and the Bear bearings. They rolled over everything in sight, smoothly and as effortlessly as possible in the circumstances.  Some sections of the path were a bit narrow as the photos show. I even took a video at one point to show y'all, which I'll try to upload over the next couple of days. 

Pretty narrow with 70mph traffic coming atcha!
I got a few beeps from passing cars while I pushed alongside the by-pass, but then it ended at Thornton, so it was back onto the flagged pavements for the last stretch to Rachael's dads house. This was around the 10 mile mark and my pushing foot was starting to get a bit sore on the sole. The same thing happened at around the same point on my 11 mile push on day 4 too. It's no fault of the footwear I'm using. The problem is simply that... 30 years of habit means I still only push with one foot, and I really need to try and force myself to learn to push with my right leg too, to balance things out and ease the pressure on my left foot. That's going to have to be a a training day (or several) in its own right, coz it ain't gonna come easy! In the meantime I'm going to try using cushioned tennis socks and running socks to see if they help (I wasn't using them today) and maybe experiment with cusioned insoles too, but I have a feeling they will just move about in my shoes and cause me even more problems. Blisters were always going to be a problem on any distance ride like this, so I'll have to go on the http://www.skatefurther.com/ and  http://www.pavedwave.org/ forums and get some advice from the distance skaters on there.

Now this ain't California! Or Madrid! So the sight of me in helmet, shades, high viz vest and back pack drew a few glances through these outer edges of Liverpool, but I think it was the board that drew most people's attention. Longboards aren't seen too much in this part of the world, and to laymen I guess the size and shape of a board like the 'Switchblade' was something they've not seen before. Still, nobody stopped me to ask what I was doing today, which was a shame, because that's a big part of the reason for the training rides, raising awareness of the cause.

Check me out...I'm 'Tron'!
After a little while I rolled the last few yards along the road and into the driveway and checked RunKeeper for my stats: 1 hr 38: 58 secs and a distance of 12.31 miles. You can see the full stats via RunKeeper here:








Not quite the 15 miles I was hoping for, but still my new personal best and with 3 weeks to go before the end of the month, encouraging for me reaching my 20 mile target this month. So my training plan for the rest of March is this:
  • A training ride each week
  • Minimum distance of 4 miles (one lap of my training route)
  • Target distance for March of 20 miles
  • Minimum of a 10 mile bike ride each week if the weather is too bad to skate

I've got another sponsorship blog to post soon, which is great news and I'm working on another 'rainy day' blog, in case I can't get out to train again. But until the next blog post, please join the Facebook page at  THE LONG PUSH 2012 - Longboarding for Autism Awareness 
where there is daily activity sharing autism/longboarding/skateboarding links.


Also, there seems to be a problem with the Just Giving widget on the blog page. If you wish to make a donation, until it's fixed please go to directly to the Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/TheLongPush

Thanks. Back soon..........

Chris





Thursday, 8 March 2012

A trip to Big Woody's Skateboard Shop

Just a quick post this morning...
Had a good day on Tuesday. A trip up to Big Woody's Skateboard Shop in Blackpool to collect another pair of shoes from Long Push sponsors DC Shoes (Europe). Then had a skate up and down the prom to take a look around and get some photos, and had a chance 'small autism world' meeting while I was there too. Blog post coming about that hopefully. 


 
Thanks to Andrea, Woody (and you Derek) at Big Woody's and Leo at DC Shoes for the new 'Monty's'. Boss shoes.
 Here's a few more photos...

 



Monday, 5 March 2012

Logos and lawsuits - The Long Push 2012 T-shirts!


The more observant among you may have noticed that The Long Push logo changed from its original design a few weeks ago, and you would be right. When I started this project I knew immediately where to go to get ideas for a logo. That was the forum at www.middle-age-shred.com (MAS). THE forum to be on if you are a skateboarder of a er...'certain age', or if you've just re-discovered your old board in the loft and wonder if you should give it a go again. For the record, there is no argument over that last question. Of course you should try skating again. Just get some decent pads first!

So I posted detail of the The Long Push on MAS and asked for any graphics dudes to come up with possible logos. Within a day I had three or four to look at and chose one done by a guy named Sean. I was happy with it, but it was derived from the North Face logo, so I wondered whether we should run it by them or not, but then didn't worry about it for a few weeks.

Within those weeks, another MAS member, with experience of autism in his family, came up with another logo and offered to supply some T-shirts and high viz vests as his donation to the project.

This is the sort of community at www.middle-age-shred.com You would be very hard pushed to find a more friendly, supportive and downright hilarious bunch of contributors on any internet forum on any subject across the net. I would recommend anyone taking up skating to register on the MAS forum, young or old it's a very healthy mix of skaters of all styles and disciplines. 




The run of T-shirts was only going to be small. Just for my personal use to promote the ride really. We wern't intending to run a load off to sell, so we didn't 'think' the logo would cause any issues, but...there had been a previous lawsuit where a lad had used a similar logo and made some money out of selling shirts to friends in Canada. But, The Long Push isn't like that. This is a charity event. No commercial gain here. And no intent to satirise The North Face. Nothing like that. So out of courtesy, to avoid any more lawsuits, and kinda with an attempt to try and get North Face behind the project, I wrote to them to see if A) they would sponsor The Long Push or B) allow me to carry on using the logo that Sean created as their contribution. Sadly, The North Face didn't see it like that. I received an e mail from them saying that they were unable to make any donation to the project and that the logo was a copyrite infringement and should be changed immediately. Bugger! But good job I hadn't ordered 200 posters with the logo on! Phew!

Sometime over the next few days, Woody (of 'Big Woodys' fame) made a simple tweak to the logo that eradicated the problem and actually, made the logo more relevant to the ride, so we ended up with the current logo with it's 'there' and 'back' theme, which is ideal. This week, I collected the final T-shirts at Ramp City in Blackpool, when I went for the weekly 'Tuesday Tossers' meet-up. (Presumably a reference to the pancake tossing of Shrove Tuesday...or not!) 

T-shirts, funded by Mark Robinson
Thank you's then to Sean Tilbury and Woody for their photoshop skills, and to Mark Robinson, for funding the T-shirts and high viz vests for The Long Push 2012. It's my intention to wear one of the pictured items on each training ride between now and the full 2 day ride, to raise more awareness and generate some donations while out on the road. (Remember those photos of the 'kidnapped' garden gnomes, photographed in front of famous national landmarks? Kinda like that...but between Southport and Fleetwood!)  So if I pass through your town, you haven't donated and you want to, just stop me and I'll have a sponsor form to write down any donations accepted.




Right, that's me done again for now. If all goes to plan for these next two days off then I'll have my motorbike back on the road again by this evening, and I'll be able to get out to do a few miles on the board tomorrow. Let's see if life throws any spanners in the works. A longer blog summing up the work done in the first the months of The Long Push is on the way, and hopefully some video to make this thing come alive a bit more.

Until then, have a great week.

Chris