"4.5? 4.5 miles, is that it?", I hear you ask. Yup, you read that right, and not without reason.
Today was one of those days.
Mostly the day was a chance for Rachael and I to spend some time together without the children, and that's what we did. Watched the Moto GP from Mugello (we both love watching the bike racing), spent some time in the park and went for food. It had been dry and sunny all day, but there was a bit of a wind. About 7.30 I tore myself away from 'Titanic' (sorry folks, but I like that movie) and drove up to the seafront to get the board out for the evening and see how far I could get. One of the things I've picked up over the last year is a bit of knowledge about wind speeds. I now know that anything from about 12mph or above is going to be pretty good behind me, but pretty tough to push against. By now the wind was blowing 15mph; enough to blow me down the first mile of the coast road non-stop by pumping alone, after just a few pushes. "Hmmmm, a lap back against the wind to see what it's like and then time to deploy the Sporting Sail and see how much quicker I can go powered by that", I thought to myself. The push back around the Marine Lake against that 15mph wind was VERY tough, but I must have done OK, because I overtook a guy on a bike! I'm sure the drivers passing me were wondering what "...that nutter" is doing though!
Back around the lake and I got the Sporting Sail out and velcro'd the straps onto my legs above my knees. I started off OK, even had the camera rolling in my right hand (will upload into this post asap) but then I made...the mistake.
If any of you have seen the latest Long Treks on Skate Decks video, and you should have, but if not, here's the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvOcYRvlEd8&feature=player_embedded
you'll know that even an experienced distance skater like Paul Kent can make a mistake, using a sail. Well, I very nearly did the same thing, but thankfully, managed to bail before falling. My mistake was to lean down and try to adjust the strap on my left leg, which let part of the sail drop and get caught under the front wheels of my board. Just as it wrapped around one wheel enough to grind me to a sudden halt I managed to step off and avoid injury. Yikes! Close one. The bad news is that I got a small, tear in my sail in the process! (See my finger pointing it out in the pic above) Billy, Nick...sorry dudes! But...I remounted and persevered and got blown down to the end of the mile stretch of car park that runs alongside the coast road. The tear is only small. The sail will live to be deployed again, but I've learned my lesson and in future the sail will be gathered up before any leg movements are occurring! And despite the scare it was still the most successful deploy of the Sporting Sail yet. I can see it being a lot of fun over winter journeys. I carried on around the lake, back against the wind again, but even on this section I was off balance and just...not in tune witht he board like I am nornally, so I decided to employ the ever relevant 'quit while you're ahead' rule and live to ride another day! Back to the car and packed up for the day.