THE CHIEF LADIGA SILVER COMET TRAIL CHALLENGE: https://www.facebook.com/ChiefLadigaSilverCometSk8?ref=ts
It looked bright and sunny enough, and it was. I'd wrestled with the moral dilemma of doing some training on a Sunday, instead of spending time with my girlfriend, or...watching World Superbikes from Donnington on the TV! But I needed to get some miles in and with Rachael's approval, off I went. I set off straight from the front door again, up through Birkdale village and up to the coast road. Stopped to send texts and ring Rachael before I set off in earnest, get my helmet on and make a start. Pretty high wind; about 15 mph, but behind me so blowing in the right direction...for now at least! Once past the busy part of the seafront I even deployed the Sporting Sail for a while and got blown some of the way down the coast, past the RSPB marshland area. The wind was blowing across me though, as the road curved round, so although it was good, I still could have benefitted from it being a bit windier to really drive me along. So I pushed and pumped alongside the A565 and A59 up to Tarleton where I stopped for a sandwich and to chat to a bunch of boys who came over with the now usual "Wow! Never seen a board like that Mister! That's wicked!", comments. Gave me a chance to explain what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, so it's all good.
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Half an hour later I set off for the return journey. Now, I knew this was going to be tough, because I was pushing back into that wind this time. I didn't realise how tough! There isn't much shelter along the A59, but I was pretty close to the hedges, so I guess that took some of the buffeting away. The problems really started when I got back to the coastal road again. I stopped for a breather at the Plough roundabout and rang Rachael, who offered to come and get me. I'd done about 17 miles at this point, so there would have been no shame in quitting for the day there and then,. Like a fool though I said, "No, I'll give it another fifteen minutes and see how I get on". Mistake! Ten minutes onto the coastal road and the wind had increased to 20mph. Every push was getting me nowhere, as car drivers and bikers whizzed past me in the opposite direction, wondering "...what on earth is that fool doing on a skateboard in this wind?" I was struggling. If only that wind had changed direction the Sporting Sail would have been ideal at this time. Still, it wasn't, so I pushed, and pushed, and pushed along the most isolated section of the road. As I reached the pier I met another fellow Southport longboarder who I hadn't met before and stopped for long enough for him to have a quick scoot on the 'Switchblade'. Nick was on a Lush Samba, one of the boards I've got and used on my early training days. Nice to meet you Nick. Catch up with you around the seafront sometime.
I'd done pretty much the same route as when I did my 25.7 miles ride, but I wanted to improve on that, so, despite everything, the tiredness and stiffness, I carried on up the coast road to do a loop back onto the promenade and back home to Rachael's. Exhausted, I collapsed on the sofa. Later I realised that that my biggest mistake, (apart from not staying at home to watch World Superbikes!) was not putting any sun block on. My face was burning red from the wind. A lesson learnt for next time. Here I am a couple of hours later, talking about the journey. At this point I thought my distance was 26.7 miles, but a later recount of the distances on the google map came up with 30.4 miles, and that was the right route so, I'll have that! Result!!
The good news though was my distance achieved. I was going for 30 miles, and when it was all totalled up on the Google Map seen here it came in at...30.4 miles!. A new 'skate further' than I've done so far, and...over marathon distance! The experience left me with nothing but respect for those pushing the 94 mile last day at Chief Ladiga though.
One technical hiccup that's developed recently is the griptape on my board seems to be getting pushed out of place by the baseplates of the Bear trucks. It's a weird thing. The trucks seem solid and secure enough if I try to move them by hand, so I'm guessing it must just be down to vibration over some of the rougher surfaces. One thing my set up didn't have when it arrived was shock pads (thin pads that fit between the truck baseplates and the deck itself on 'drop-thru' decks, and help preserve the life of the deck. It looks like I'm going to need to get me some of those. So shock pads, new deck bolts, a set of bearings and a new set of truck bushings are on my shopping list, come pay day. A bit of maintenance won't do any harm and is probably overdue at 166 miles.
And finally, I've made my first appointment with a chiropodist! Before I set off today, corns of some kind on both feet were hurting me. I survived the day, but they are only going to get worse if not treated, so I've bitten the bullet and Monday 21st the man is coming to see me. I don't know who will enjoy the experience less, him or me?
Next time I do a long push for training I want to try and skate further along The Long Push route. Watch this space...
Here's to day 19.