The weekend my buddies
and I took this shot, the waves were soupy, and it was windy and
raining like crazy.
Best thing about the
big boards is they're not as selective about conditions.
And since urethane
doesn't hold well on wet asphalt, I can think of no better way to
play in the rain.
The Seattle to Portland ride could easily become
an annual addiction.
It was even more of a blast this year, I took a
little more time to enjoy things like the free chocolate milk stop
(Wilcox Farms), get a picture with the world's largest egg (Winlock),
met many of the same cool people from last year and a bunch more.
That's part of the reason I rolled into Castle Rock the first night
in total dark (along with three other straggling cyclists.)
It was great having some familiarity with the hills
that were coming, what to expect and when to tuck and bomb. The
Lewis and Clark bridge is still freaky as hell! I'm done eating
Clif bars and protein drinks for a few weeks afterward. Recovering
takes a couple weeks. Will try to jot down more ride notes as the
dust at work settles.
Can't thank cascade.org enough for allowing me
along on this again, they host a great event, the logistics of organizing
this thing across the state are mind-boggling.
Best thing of all was having Skip Marcotte meet
up and skate the last quarter mile into Portland, then greeted by
Subsonic Scotty and his kids, G-bomb Mark and my friend Sharon at
the finish line party.
Would like to pull another bro or two into this
LOST IN TOKYO 2007
During the wee hours of the mornings, armed with
a halogen light, a Garmin GPS device, and a trusty bottle of POCARI
SWEAT, I sliced, carved, and pumped through the streets of Tokyo's
west suburban sprawl, tracking down a few scenic riverside bicycle
and pedestrian trails for the longer treks. 134 miles in just over
a week, terrorizing Tokyo's asphalt jungle inhabitants with rusty
Below is a GPS readout map showing all rides over
the 2-week vacation, and some of the adventures along the way.
I started the longer morning treks after consulting
a street map, taking rough notes on major arterials. Invariably
the course would change along the way due to either construction,
but usually because the roads are not marked at each intersection.
Even in the highly developed city of Tokyo, residents rely more
on landmarks and colloquial knowledge of how to get around.
And a big DOMO, SUMIMASEN!! - to the workers at
convenience stores, guys out practicing their golf swing, young
unsuspecting students, Omawari-san (police), and all the random
people on the street -- for all your help and advice along the way
the many times I managed to get myself lost. I would have had to
take the train back home several times over if it weren't for your
The trip was mainly to visit in-laws and friends,
so the morning excursions began with short jaunts, surveying a 10-mile
radius, only to discover a community-built wooden halfpipe just
15 minutes away! The 5-footer and the mini ramps next to it were
in really decent shape, considering the rains hit pretty hard in
the spring. There was one gnarly hole in the bigger ramp, which
would eat a wheel, but easy enough to patch. Park's name is Musashino,
which is across the street from Nogawa park, off ToHachi Doro.
This sign might read "Please Skateboard all
over this park, anywhere you like" ... and then again, it might
not. This is where the illiteracy plea comes in handy.
On the other hand, reading can be fun. I spent
quite a while poking around the few skateshops I could find in Harajuku
and Seiseki, yakking with the shop guys and finding entertainment
like this "How to Surf Skate" instruction manual sold
alongside a set of boards from "Nice Skate America"
Murasaki Sports seems to dominate the mainstream
skate scene, though if I could spend more time there I'm sure there
would be more options for skateshops to explore. At least they have
CarveBoards, and only $600, better jump on that!
You know, judging from this picture, Carver boards
just might be popular in Japan. Funny thing is they've been there
for years, and are just now stepping up their marketing efforts
in the U.S.
I almost ended up meeting someone from the outdoorsjapan
forum, but in the last days the schedule got too nuts. Next time
I'll scour the message boards before the trip, plus it'll be in
spring or summer.
Doing a little tandem boarding with my daughter
out in the Tama area...
of my favorite trails runs alongside the Tama river. Parts of it
are so cobbly and rocky you need an ATV skateboard but much of it
is butter smooth. Fortunately the area near my mother in law's place
is one of the best...
Mister Donut, my favorite health food store in
Japan, and they're everywhere.
out having some fun in a public park in the morning.
in the morning before the bikers arrive, we hit this place for a
few laps. Smooth as silk, the Marymoor Velodrome was just resurfaced
in Spring of 2005. The banks on the ends are steeper than is really
practical for generating speed on longboards (25 degrees?) but a
lot of fun to hit with some speed, do a cutback and carve back down!
innermost flat 'apron' is a perfect track for a cyber
mile, being both perfectly flat and a loop track, ensuring no
bias in slope. Set the GPS to auto-trigger a lap time at one mile
4 minutes or 12 minutes, whatever the case, it can be a great motivator
to start logging your pump (or push) efficiency today and track
your improvements over the years.
an effort to find my reasonable physical limits of longboarding
to work, and test out the best longboard pumping setups currently
known on earth, I've gradually built up to riding 4-5 days providing
good weather, and more 2-way, 25-mile day commutes (a.m. and p.m.)
The last couple days on this chart I took a 10-mile out and back
cruise east on the Burke rather than west, and a couple mellow loops
around GreenLake with Derek to close out the week - stoked, and
a bit cooked!
absolutely addictive - there's no better way to get the day started,
and I'm just lucky that I ended up both living in a suburb and working
at a place downtown where an almost unbroken trail runs 13 miles
from door to door, with perfect skating asphalt.
eating through tons of bushings, constantly seek new mp3's of extended
mixes, funk, trance, and drum & bass, eat a lot of Clif bars,
and get all my work done AT work so I don't have to pack a laptop
on my back. If I were simply pushing, the extra weight of a backpack
wouldn't be significant or bothersome, but the motions in pumping
are centered around the body's core -- the abs, back muscles, and
spine -- so its best, if not imperative to try staying free of any
weights and add-ons other than your body.
friends in other endurance sports - biking, running, or blading
- talk a lot about the pain threshold you've got to overcome on
extended rides. I used to go through more of that in the foot arches,
the knees and the quads, but looking back I think that was mostly
from being tired and relying on less than optimal pump form. When
executed properly, the core of your body should be the most exhausted.
With that in mind, now it seems like the most susceptible area are
the heels of the feet from the sheer physical pumping on the back
of the board to accelerate forward - soft risers, good shoes, and
shifting the feet around on board are just a few things that help
keep the ride perpetual and the feet happy.
Trail (Redmond / Seattle)
full Burke is roughly 27 miles long, running mostly along lakeside,
staying close to sea level. There are long, very gradual hill climbs
and drops, with a few steep climbs, with an overall result of one
very flat trail. Munson has that steepest hill dialed now!
GPS mapping above shows about 19 miles, mostly of my West-side territory,
where the asphalt ranges from ultra-craggy and teeth-chattering
in the north, to pretty smooth although obstacle-laden (root growth
under the trail, "cattle guard" warning bumps, and more
signal lights) getting closer to the University and Fremont areas.
are a couple shots of the all-too-many "cattle guards"
which upon approach, you should first, look back for any bikers
sneaking up on you too fast, then try to do a quick "S"
turn to cross diagonally for the smoothest and fastest ride across
-- not to mention its probably a lot easier on all your hardware...
way to cross:
way to cross:
silver-spoon, butter-smooth, foot-pampering asphalt on the East
side on the other hand, means that he can train all summer and never
get his little iddy biddy fingernails dirty or wear down his soft
Avilas... Just kiddin' Derek!! ;-)
2.8 miles of perfect waves - yeahhh!
GPS don't lie! Our best laps around GreenLake's 2.8m are
somewhere in the 14:00 range. Typically we're riding laps in the
15--17 mins range.
typically ride the full lap with just some starting pushes -- there's
one relatively difficult hill climb, the rest are gradual slopes.
Pavement is superb, and the scene is probably the closest thing
Seattle's got to Venice Beach (its a toss up between this place
riding is first thing in the morning. Later in the day it becomes
Pedestrian Tight Slalom.
Cedar River trailhead is conveniently located at the Liberty Skate
Park, so if after a 22 mile round trip ride you still feel like
shreddin it up, you can. Typically, I feel only like drinking a
beer and watching people shreddin it up by that time.
almost-11 mile trip out gains 250-300 feet in elevation, which is
barely visible to the eye but definately perceptible once you're
on board! This also helps explain the data below -- the return time
is blasting downhill, although on this day it was against the wind,
so it could potentially be a few more mph faster.
trip, the trail itself is wide, perfect asphalt, a bit boring at
the beginning as you're mostly going alongside a busy freeway, but
later on it meanders near the Cedar River and through some nice
shaded tree areas. During the last mile, there's a 100-foot gravel
break in the trail, then a little more asphalt before its done for
good and the rest of the trail is for pneumatics only.
trailhead in Snohomish: Snohomish-Wenatchee exit off I-5 onto US2
in Everett. Take the third exit off US2 to Snohomish. First traffic
light is 13th, take a left, go straight until a "T", then
take a right on Pine Ave. Follow to intersection of Pine Ave and
length is 17 miles (34 round trip.)
spring of 2006, Airin came down from BC to ride about 24 miles of
it with Derek and I, one of the best vibes all year!
the South to North there is considerable incline. You'll find this
out fast if you go Northern for the first half of the ride then
turn around and BLAST Southbound. The incline is hardly detectable
visually, but its definately there.
One of the upcoming rides... if anyone has experience
on this trail already drop a line!
BiCentennial park / Christensen trail head is on the Green River
about 4 blocks east of SouthCenter mall.
I-405 North or South, take Exit #1, turn right (south) onto East
Valley Road. Go to Strander Blvd, and make another right towards
soon as you go over the bridge make the first RIGHT (68th ave s.)
and the park is on your right. SKATE SOUTH!
It seems somewhat ironic that with some of the
best skatepark designers such as Grindline
coming from the Northwest, Seattle has such a dismal number of parks
actually within the city limits.
That should be changing in the coming years, due
to focused effort from local skaters, primarily the guys that have
been active on the scene for decades. Kate
Martin has also been particularly active and advocating for
Scott Shinn and Dan
Hughes are a couple local area rippers that are very active
on the committees for skateparks in the Seattle area. The first
time I met Scott was an early morning at the Ballard Bowl, and Hughes
at a slalom gig. Dan is one of those guys who skates the parks all
the time, then just shows up and tears up slalom courses naturally.
Here are some links on the long term planning for
Seattle skate parks.
Kids park primarily. One half bowl, ramps and street
stuff. I go there more often just because its close to home.
Take the N.E. 145TH ST./WA-523/5TH AVE. N.E. exit/exit #175 0.2mi,
Right on NE 145TH ST -- take a left on 8th street.
Go up 8th street for about 3/4 block until you hit 155th street.
At the corner of 155th and 8th, you'll see the whole park area,
the skatepark itself is nearer to the corner of 9th and 155th.
Or try yahoo maps and look for the corner of 9th and 155th
A good park for beginners, rolling in everywhere,
can make some good snake runs. Nothing like the gnarliness of Milton.
I-5 SOUTH....Take ramp onto MARTIN LUTHER KING
JR WAY - go 2.8 mi
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR WAY becomes SW SUNSET BLVD[WA-900] - go 0.8
Bear Right onto RAINIER AVE S - go 0.7 mi
RAINIER AVE S becomes WA-167 - go 8.3 mi
Take ramp toward S 277TH ST - go 0.2 mi
Turn Left on S 277TH ST - go 0.8 mi
Bear Right onto AUBURN WAY N - go 1.6 mi
Turn Left on 28TH ST NE - go 0.1 mi
Arrive at 611 28TH ST NE, AUBURN, on the Left