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Cyber Mile Burke-Gilman Green Lake Cedar River Centennial Christensen Skate Parks

 

Westport, WA

"kooks with softtops"

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.

STP 2007

 

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 next year!

 

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 Japanese!

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 neighborly guidance.

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...

One 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.

Just out having some fun in a public park in the morning.

Cyber Mile

Early 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!

The 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 and GO!

Whether 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.

Check out the specs for the Cyber Mile, and send in your times!

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Peters' Velodrome GPS readout:

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Munson's parking lot GPS readout:

100-mile commute week

In 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!

Its 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.

Been 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.

My 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.

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Burke-Gilman

27-mile Trail (Redmond / Seattle)

The 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!

The 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.

Here 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...

Right way to cross:

Wrong way to cross:

Munson's 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!! ;-)

 

Green Lake

2.8 miles of perfect waves - yeahhh!

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The 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.

Walking traffic runs clockwise, wheeled traffic runs counter-clockwise.

We 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 and Alki.)

Best riding is first thing in the morning. Later in the day it becomes Pedestrian Tight Slalom.

 

Cedar River Trail

The 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.

The 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.

Nice 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.

 

Centennial Trail

Southern 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 Maple Street.

Trail length is 17 miles (34 round trip.)

In 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!

From 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.

 

Interurban Trail

One of the upcoming rides... if anyone has experience on this trail already drop a line!

http://www.cityofshoreline.com/cityhall/projects/interurban/index.cfm

Christensen Trail (Tukwila)

The BiCentennial park / Christensen trail head is on the Green River about 4 blocks east of SouthCenter mall.

From I-405 North or South, take Exit #1, turn right (south) onto East Valley Road. Go to Strander Blvd, and make another right towards the mall.

As soon as you go over the bridge make the first RIGHT (68th ave s.) and the park is on your right. SKATE SOUTH!

 

skate parks

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 parks.

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.

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/SkateboardAdvisory.htm

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/Skatepark.htm

http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/skateboard/PotentialSitesMap.pdf

 

Burien Skatepark, South Seattle

Fun snake run into a kidney bowl, you can keep it going forever in there. Kids usually stay on the street section anyway, so its a pretty good place for unobstructed carves a few hours in the morning.

http://www.djc.com/special/concrete01/skatepark.html

http://www.policygov.com/skate/burien.html

http://www.concretedisciples.com/skateparksdb/skateparks_display.php?id=821

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Paramount Skatepark, North Seattle/Shoreline area

Kids park primarily. One half bowl, ramps and street stuff. I go there more often just because its close to home.

I-5 North
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 in shoreline.

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Auburn Skatepark, Auburn/Kent WA area -

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 mi
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

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