Hey guys! Here's a quick update. The weather forecast is looking really good here for the weekend which is just as well after the stormy April Fools Ultra!
We've got 250 skaters signed up and we're all raring to go for the full 24 hours on the 1.4 mile racetrack. I just heard some good news from the diner next to the track which is going to stay open for us for the full 24 hours. They may even be setting up a hot food and coffee stall right by the track... mmmm.... hot coffee and snacks around the clock! Whoop!
Our total raised now stands at £10,790 and sponsorship is still coming in. I'm hoping for some good photos especially when the runway lights are switched on through the night and I'll post some up here after the event.
A phenomenal amount of $$$ raised for Shelterbox, huge applause to Jo for pulling this together.
After spending a week of slow and questionable recouperation walking about London, I may or may not be ready for a "hardcore" ultra tomorrow, but I'm good with that. I've been icing the right ankle every day after the 221-miler last weekend, the downtown trips all week may have been a bit more than the doc would order. What're you gonna do --- it's London, I'm here mainly to have fun and by that gauge it's been a huge success already. Will hopefully have some Top Gear track pics to share once back home.
The weather has been almost 100% SUN shine, bunnies and marshmallows -- England really is just like the Teletubbies show!
Meeting the crew tonight, Jo, Laura, Ben, et al., in about 6 hours actually, for an overnight in Guildford -- thank you Keith!! Then on to the track (after sleeping in, I hope) and finally meet Stridey and a bunch of skatefurtherers and lushers. I bought a cheap tent and sleeping bag here just in case I need that backup plan.
Carbo loading this week has included a bit more of the ale and lager variety, it's all an experiment in the nutritional value of hops -- we might just have to rewrite the ultraskate athlete's definitive food list
Back to my little 'home' in the South of London after 2 days of SKAITI. The train ride home was a tad exhausting since the train-folk ushered me to the wrong platform twice, which meant on a still aching ankle I trudged up stairs, over the tracks, down stairs a few more times (and extra hour or so) more than needed. What I found in general here in the UK was that your common friendly citizen standing on the platforms were generally more helpful and informative, and they were the ones that saved me!!
To offset that nonsense and numb the pain a touch, I stopped off at a pub once reaching New Malden, tossed my bags against the wall and had a nice slow couple brews, and Steak and Ale PIE!! (Steak pot pie with mash and peas and a pot of gravy on the side) Appetizer was a few bits from a bag of Pork Scratchings, something that won't likely become a staple but was fun enough to try out, learned of this wonderful hairy oily and somewhat ingestible substance from some gents on the track. Basically just take pork rinds then add more grease
Enough on my current obsession with food --
Out on the track, the friendly skater vibe was what Skaiti was all about. The combination of skateboarders, roller derby girls, inliners, and speed-skate inliners was awesome and for me hearkened back to the inception of pavedwave and the events in Seattle where the inline community welcomed a few of us "oddball" distance skateboarders to join in marathon-distance events.
This time it was the other way around -- the skateboarders led by Jo Coles inviting skaters of all sorts to join in for a universal cause.
And talk about a success!! $19,667 at last count!!!
What I really hope is to see more of the people's pictures that I met, maybe off Facebook or posted here, anything would be great -- please share! I am pretty bad remembering names but faces I never forget. My photos are still on camera, will transfer some up once back home.
One never to be forgotten moment was while skating with a couple other guys on the strength of a strong tailwind, the roaring sound of a WAVE of London speedskaters huge wheels coming up from behind, followed by all of them passing around and between us a few MPH faster. Total rush, about 15 of us on that little portion of the immensely wide track. Some amazingly stoke-filled conversation with Chris Vallender from France, the miles just flew by while talking with him. Also the Bustin guys from New York, crazy crazy fun and a bit of carnage when Bryan (caution: I'm pretty bad with names, this is my best guess) did something magical with the Kahuna BigStick and went flying, I only saw the aftermath.
My only slam was a royal one -- flying along nicely into the headwind to Devo's "Girl U Want" and hooking up on a tarmac light, I got that familiar airborne feeling where time slows down for a few seconds just before loosening up the body for impact. The only casualties were a few drops of blood off the left hand, slightly sore hip and elbow, ripped jacket, and GPS snapped off the strap and is now frozen in time. I got off pretty light!
I hit my 100 mile goal sometime just after 11 p.m., the laps I took after that were all just gravy, I didn't track miles after that. What I did track was what time the diner closed which was 11 p.m. so skated up around 10:30 with Andy and Nick, to find Laura, Funkymonk, Stridey, Rob Ashby, and Sam Gordon -- the UK slalom crew extends HELLO's to CSA -- in particular Jackman, Dong, and Stryker.
The thing that really kept Skaiti in Ultraskate mode for me was the Dutch crew -- they held the track overnight, keeping at least one of their stoked crew out there cranking the miles out ALL night. I went back to the camping area once to grab my sleeping bag from the tent (ended up never using the tent, but it was good insurance!) then came back to track-side armchair to support these guys. Passed out in the chair probably for an hour?? Skated the occasional lap, finally found "brick building 96" restroom which was surprisingly warm in an increasingly cold night. Jo broke out a few Ciders at something like 2 a.m., some fun banter with Wizzy, Jochem, Paul and others, always so many great memories with the 1--5 a.m. crew!!
Things like that just kept the mileage going with never a thought of the feared monotony of a lap track. 1.4 miles after all is a pretty large circuit when you're going between 10--15 mph most of the time.
There's much more to say, and endless list of Thanks to extend, but I've got to get packing for a leisurely return to the airport possibly with another Ale or two along the way.
James, sorry for the banter, but that's the way we communicate with each other
Jo and Jack, thank you for an amazing event!! It was my first Ultra and it was a great experience. Also thanks for the Cider wich gave me another boost for 5 laps more. We are going to look for a nice spot to do our Ultra the next time
It was great to meet you, and I now feel we have a greater connection with our US friends, and those from Holland too.
And to think Jo and Jack have managed be the impetus for such a brilliant fundraising effort. 20 Shelterboxes or so, making a real difference to people whos main thought for the day is food and shelter, not bushings!
James, sorry for the banter, but that's the way we communicate with each other
Edwin, the hours we spent skating and yakking and laughing our asses off overnight are honestly my favorite of the whole experience -- true brotherhood!! Making it over that early morning hurdle is huge!!
I've got a few pics up now, but I'm also rushing off to work this morning... will get back tonight!! Cheers
The Dutch crew: Jochem, Patrick, Edwin, Jesse. Paul's probably pumping around the track.
Serious headwind most of the day! Luckily it mellowed out in the night hours.
Meeting up with Stridey, Sam Gordon and Rob Ashby at the Diner before it closed for the late night.
These guys took advantage of the tailwind + downslope and did a mellow backward cruise.
Pre-event announcement by Jo about Shelterbox and the funds raised so far, then onto track logistics, to the crowd of 200++ skaters. We started a little late, at 12:30 to allow everyone to get to the start from the camping area. Jo stayed extremely busy just keeping track of goings on and fielding questions throughout the day from skaters. We finally got to chat a little more at night after I recalibrated my skating goals -- but I surely hope to have a chance for meeting up again.
Jack is such a great kid, a creative, positive spirit. He gave me one of his earliest hand-drawn "promotional" posters for Skaiti at the Friday night dinner. And he had everyone in stitches when he broke out the lit-up robot suit at night!!
CONGRATS MATT!!! 161 miles in total, this kid was flying. I knew when he reached 100 miles he had it in the bag, his personal goal being a 150-miler.
Many, many thanks to Keith (winnersh) for putting me up at Guildford and for doing all that shuttling to and from the track Saturday morning, I know that wasn't a mentally relaxing start for him. Keith kept a constant, smart, steady pace throughout. And he has a beer in his hand - the man is a genius.
Laura, Keith, and Ben met me at Guildford train station when I first arrived Friday night, Laura helping to lug my suitcase over half the way to the hotel.
After Skaiti was over, we slowly packed up our camp and waited for Keith to come back from his first shuttle trip to the station, so we were the last skaters to leave the campground. It was a lucky time to be able to relax and chat with Laura. I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome committee (including Ben, who isn't pictured here...)
Nice pictures... James I think you were the only person to get a picture of me skating! So well done!
Just a quick message as still really busy doing admin stuff. We're trying to put together our collective mileage so James what do you think your total was including all the gravy?
There's now a Facebook group called Skaiti 2010 for sharing thoughts and especially photographs of the event as this is a place where boarders and rollers together can say hello.
We had such a great weekend!! It was so good to meet James and the flying Dutchmen and the Bustin Boys from New York! Everytime I wanted to do a lap one of them BB boys had stolen my board!! I think they really caught the LDP bug at Skaiti.
I will write more soon on my thoughts about the weekend. Current fundraising total is £13.354.02 and the raffle and Skai-tee money is still to come which means that we have bought 27 boxes which is enough to provide for upto 270 people.
James - I did warn you about the hairy pork snacks! EEEEEK! And I'm sorry about your crash! I had no idea those little reflectors were on the track as I didn't see them when I did my initial skate there.
I've got some pictures that I'll post up on Facebook at some point and remember people... early morning cider is your friend!
Just a quick Skaiti update - the total to date is now £15,247.33 which is enough to pay for 31 Shelterboxes. I received a letter from Shelterbox yesterday to say that another four of our boxes have now gone off to Haiti.
Just for interest the total mileage we covered stands at 7,608 from 155 skaters' individual reports so far.
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