Once again, the Goodwood marathon was an amazing event, bringing the usual suspects to race the 11 laps on the historical British race track. I managed to beat my personal best time by over 2 minutes and got 3rd place.
I went with quite a relaxed approach this year and was as fully prepared as I could be. Iíve been skating and cycling quite a lot, changed my diet a little and the last 2 weeks of preparation have been ďtext bookĒ; little alcohol, 7 days of no training, quite a lot of protein to begin with and then 3 days of carbs. About 3 or 4 weeks ago I was driving myself crazy with choosing and changing my setup. Then, it started raining. The rain brought me back into reality a little and made me realise that it could well be raining on race day. This allowed me to stop obsessing about this race and just relax, itís only for fun.
I surprised myself last year with a sub 2 hour time pumping around 90% of the race. Once again, I wanted to make use of the LDP efficiencies but I have spent many months also improving my pushing on my LDP board. Iíd planned to pump around 50% of the time, so my setup was put together for slightly higher speeds, which is incidentally also more stable for pushing. In the end, I think I pushed around 90% of the time which shocked me! There was a big head wind on the day, so doing a few pushes and tucking was far more efficient. This wind was in the opposite direction to last year and where I seemed to be fast last year, was where we were all slow this year. I pumped along the tail wind section on around 6 of the laps, but pushing and tucking seemed just as fast for me and meant that I could rest in my tuck. Also, my setup was really great, but required just a little too much energy to accelerate and keep it going fast. (Briefly, my setup last year was a Bennett 17* front RTS -13* rear, this year a Grennet-Bennett 15* and rear Virage LDP 0*). The RTS has wheel lift issues, but, it seems to get to its limit of turn easily and return quite well, the Virage is my favourite feeling rear truck ever, gives me great return, confidence at any speed, never makes me feel like the pump is going to make the board fly off my feet, but it does take a little more effort to compress the bushings. I plan to experiment with Seismics on the rear a little more, might be the best of both!
I digressed a little with setup, but it is an important subject. I skated the first lap or 2 with my good friend Chris Vallender who was on his G|B*mb Illuminati who was hoping to move over from 100% push to pump a little, which he did, enjoyed, and felt he made use of. As soon as I started, I really wanted to drink some water, I had a bottle of isotonic sports drink with me, but I just wanted water. So, I ditched the drink and got water as soon as I could; I hadnít expected that at all; I'm glad I was able to get water quickly and it was a valuable lesson for the future. After around the 2nd lap, I was in 2nd with Matt Elver in 1st way in front, I probably couldnít see him by lap 2! Then Ben Williams caught me up on his dropped and lowered pusher. I felt pretty sick, at this point, with burning lungs and my leg muscles started screaming. This is where I swapped techniques and mimicked Ben, pushing and tucking. Ben gave me some tuck tips as we were skating and it helped! It meant that my feet were both centred and pointing forwards which made bending over easier and both feet were poised and prepared to push, amazing! My feet were always ready to push regular, push mongo or tuck, no need to move my feet at all; amazing! For about 4 laps, he accelerated with the tail wind and the downhill section, almost disappearing out of view, but by the time heíd made it to the head wind again Iíd caught him up. On the 5th lap of doing this, I made an extra effort to tuck and push hard to keep up, and I seemed to manage it. Then, Ben and I were slowing right down in the head wind with around 4 laps to go, so I made the first move and tried to make a break away from him, only to be counteracted by his power, leaving me for dust. I then kept going on my own as fast as I could, wondering if it would have been better for us to go slower and stick together, or whether Iíd just made a great move and heíd tired out before the end. Not long after, I was tucking behind a roller booter who decided to kick me, making me hit the ground running and I ended up scraping my palm open. I got straight back on and got right back up to pace. With my hand bleeding everywhere and getting it all over my shorts, 2 or 3 laps to go, I was worried about falling on it again. Plus, when I push I often put my hand on my knee, so I got a pretty messy. Then, I started having cramping issues in my preferred pushing leg, in my shin and the muscles around my ham string. Being on a taller deck, I find that my push it less in line than when on a lower deck i.e. I'm pushing slightly with my foot angled out and kind of making contact with the ground more with my big toe, than all my toes. The cramps made my turned out foot twist out into a position I never thought possible. It felt crazy when it hit the floor and, to be honest, it scared the heck out of me. I got both feet on the deck and gave my legs and head a moment to think, and I remembered I had dextrose tablets in my pocket; dextrose I guess are like tablet form isotonic but the type I had contained extra salts and magnesium. I ate one and washed it down with water, 10-30 seconds later my leg was back to normal. Whether it was the tablet or just time, who knows, but Iíll certainly have them with me in the future, and, isnít the body an amazing thing!
On the last lap I could see Ben again. So I slightly increased my speed to gradually catch him up and with half a lap to go, we were side by side. We stayed that way for the third quarter of the lap, then we sprinted. I wiggled as fast as I could with Ben tucked but the head wind caught me and I had to push, Ben pulled away and I couldnít do a thing. I crossed the line overjoyed and beaten by someone who Iíd say was a far better, and more powerful, pusher than myself. He gave me tips on the way, I helped him out when he tripped off his board, pushing it closer to him, so were assets to each other. I know that I wouldnít have been that fast without him there and I honestly think that his time would have been slower without me on his heels, although, I'm sure he would have still come in 2nd.
My preparation and race strategy had paid off. I had a small pack of energy gel that I got 3 squeezes from over the 11 laps, and the 5 or so loose dextrose tablets in my pocket came in very useful. As for water, I ended up deciding to not use my hydration pack as I didnít think Iíd need that much water, I managed without one last year, I didnít want to carry the weight and I didnít want it to make me or my back hotter. I found that pushing a bottle down inside the back of my compression shorts, just at the top of my bum crack, was actually quite comfortable. It meant I had free hands for pockets and my marker pen, and while swinging them around when pushing. Energy wise, I felt great. I may have felt ill, had over used lungs and major leg muscle fatigue, but I maintained my energy till the very end. Last year, the last 4 laps were hell. This year, despite everything, I enjoyed every one and both my body and mind felt energy rich. The only thing clothing wise I would change is my shorts, they were a little too baggy and long, so they sometimes got in the way when I put my hand on my knee. Setup wise, I donít think I could have been any faster and the setup was ideal for the way I rode. Next time, Iíll plan for an easier to pump setup. Iíll still use my Subsonic Pulse, I'm sure, because I'm not and never will be a 100% pusher. As for deck height, I quite like it high. Plus, the way a top mount LDP board turns for me is a truly spiritual experience.
After weíd finished, Keith took the opportunity to fit his new PSD footstop to his Mermaid. Jon Steel brought his borrowed LDP board him, and had fitted his own PSD footstop to it for the day; that made a total of 4 LDP boards in one place, all with PSD footstop's on, what a great feeling. It was great to talk to everyone about the footstop's and get some further feedback, which is always good. One positive point from Jon was that the footstopís sit completely flat on the deck with no gaps which means his shoe and lases donít get caught underneath, a massive plus for him over other footstopís heís previously used. †
Keith, Chris and I took the opportunity to ride the super smooth circuit for one last lap. All 3 of us pumping and using my footopís which was another great feeling. I took a ride on Chrisís G|B*mb Illuminati, extra low brackets, Bennett front 17* Seismic red springs -7* and AToBe Wigglers/Bonnevilles. It was far more stable than my top mount LDP and return to centre equally, turning equally and less like a fish weaving. The pump feels much more centred, you kind of make longboard type turns, and it pumps/accelerates and you can make tiny pumps with your toes/heals dipping. The height is really low which felt pretty normal, until I stepped back on my board which felt enormous. The G|B*mb certainly has potential for a true pusher/pumper, but, I may well stick with my Pulse? The mega quick alteration of angles on the G|B*mb is also a massive advantage, I'm sure we all agree, especially front and back for us LDPers. Iíd love a G|B*mb, and I have no doubt that it could be my ideal board for a race, but, I may never know.
Coming 3rd to Matt and Ben was great, Iíd done the best I could and thatís all you can ever hope for. †My time of 1:56:08 (on the slightly longer than official marathon length course) might not be up there with the best, but it might well be the best time I ever get. This was the year I wanted to push myself to the limit and do the best I could at the one and only official longboard marathon in the UK, and I did. As for next year, weíll see what happens. I gave this year my all and had fun doing so. I donít plan to push myself anywhere near as hard for next year and I doubt Iíll train as much, but, I know that Iíll give it my all on the day and finish one happy man. From now on itís all about fun and doing LDP forever, love it.
Today, I may have sore legs, but theyíre solid. My cycle into work this morning loosened them enough for me to stretch them out again. Bring on more LDP this Sunday as planned, cannot wait!
Awesome write-up and shots Tim -- this really brings us right onto the course with you -- and congrats on your podium!
Lots of things that resonate, like the desire for "just" water. Funny how the brain starts having strong preferences in the middle of a race? Always good to hear a strong, fast finish AND a long skate the next day.
And shout out again to the whole skateboard crew that made it!
As for timing chip height, I expect mine was one of the highest there, and I rolled over the wires standing on the deck most times; and I had no issues with my laps and times. But, there were different sorts of chips this year???
It seems that there are some incorrect times on the results figures for the goodwood times. 2 of Zoltans laps look to have been grouped together, as does one of Chris Vallenders, who actually skated 12 laps, and similarly Tim Peters looks to have skated 12 laps, unfortunately his final lap looks grouped which makes his actual time impossible to know, but easy to estimate (by halving his final double lap time to find the average of the 2).
As for me eyes and ears at the race, I know that I passed Jon Steel during the last lap, I know that I didnít pass Chris, and I donít think I passed Zoltan. When I was waiting for me lap time to be shown on the computer screen, I saw Chris skate past to do his 12th lap, which I believe was around 2:02:00? But it could have been 2:00:02? Or I could be quite wrong? I was 26.62miles tired out by then!
I think the best solution is to get in touch with Goodwood and see if they can fix it from the source as it could easily be an issue with data manipulation.
However, Iíve had a go to correct the rankings, which I have made assumptions with, so, theyíre simply for reference, nothing official:
1 Matthew Elver 01:44:22
2 Ben Williams 01:56:02
3 Tim Pritchard 01:56:09
4 Chris Vallender 02:00:16
5 Moe Neve 02:01:20
6 Tom Parker 02:02:15
7 Zoltan Nagy 02:07:49
8 Ian Savage 02:07:50
9 Jon Steel 02:09:39
10 Jacob Knill 02:11:40
11 Tim Peters 02:14:01
12 Carl Bakes 02:20:19
13 Shaun Carney 02:20:19
14 Keith O'Leary 02:22:54
15 Helena Baker 02:25:23
16 Gary Ewens 02:26:45
17 Emily Young 02:27:25
18 Matthew Carter 02:40:19
19 Leonardo Wieland 02:45:11
20 Naomi Liles 02:49:16
21 Dek Kent 02:59:41 _________________ Weight: 145pounds † Height: 5' 7"
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