One of my long-time obsessions is inline skating. More specifically, long-distance inline skating. Long-distance is a personal thing. Some people say 30km is long-distance. For me, it starts at anything above 80km.
Well, after another huge effort in endurance skating I smashed my long-distance record on Sunday morning. Previous record was 150km. New record: 160 km.
I started preparing mentally several days earlier. I know, it sounds like a load of rubbish. But it's true. Thinking about what I'm going to do, how to prepare, what to take to ensure I don't hit the wall, what route to take etc etc.
Had dinner at my dad's place on Sat night but only had one glass of red (okay, it was a big glass) as I wanted to be good for an early start on Sunday morning.
Got home at about 9pm and organised all the gear:
Charged up front light, rear light, blue-tooth speaker, phone
1.5 L of water into Camelbak (was refilled during skate)
4 x energy gels
2 x protein bars
1 x muesli bars
3 x bananas
1 x bag Jelly Babies
Multi-tool repair kit
Blister pads, bandage
Ezi-fit booties, wrist guards, helmet
Set alarm for 3.15am to have breakfast (light breaky, couple of bowls of Cornflakes did the job) and to do last-min checks. Checked axle bolts, frame bolts, brake bolt and fastening system. Skates all good to go.
I am currently rolling Seba Marathon skates with a Bont 3 x 125mm racing frame. They are flipping epic skates and worth every dollar I spent on them. The frame set is the same one that won the 24 hr long-distance record (611 km) at Le Mans so I know it can do the job. High quality wheels and bearings make the road bumps disappear and the paths very smooth.
I left the front door at 3.45am and turned on the Strava GPS tracker. Then, of course, music needed to be sorted. Something nice and mellow for the first couple of hours in the darkness. Carbon Based Lifeforms, World of Sleepers was sent to the speaker. Time to begin.
Conditions were absolutely stunning. The first couple of hours in the darkness were perfect. Zero wind, temp would have been about 10 degrees or so, the steady purr of the wheels, fantastic.
I settled pretty quickly into a steady pace of about 22-24 km/hr. Not too fast but I've determined over the years that I can keep that pace for hours at a time so it works well. Headed east along the river to the new Optus Stadium, did a couple of laps around the stadium (1.25 km each), over Windan Bridge and then west through East Perth, Riverside Dr and continued along Mounts Bay Rd till I got to UWA. Stop, turn around and head back to the city then head south along the Freeway cyclepath, over Mt Henry Bridge, loop around the west side of the Canning River, back to city via Freeway cyclepath then back to South Perth. Each of the above circuits is about 40 km long.
Had my first break at about 60 km. Took skates off at UWA, stretched feet, had one banana and one energy gel. Changed music to something a little more rocking - a psytrance mix. Sweet!!! Felt great after the break and was easily able to go at a faster speed than before. Bananas are great. I'll never take them for granted ever again hahaha.
At about the 70km mark, I was going down a very small incline with a sharp left turn at the bottom. Can normally hit this sort of thing pretty fast and had done so a couple of hours earlier. But this time the retic had been on and I didn't see that some of the path was wet cos I was looking at the corner for cars, cyclists, dogs etc. So I get to the corner, start to turn and my skates just slide right out from under me. I'd like to take this opportunity to make sure you say to all your kids to ALWAYS wear a helmet. I banged up my right knee and lower leg pretty badly but my helmet hit the concrete very hard. I lay there dazed for 30 seconds or so while trying to work out what had just happened. Two cyclists came over to help and one stayed for five min or so while I got myself sorted out. Had to wash the gravel out of the wounds which was unpleasant. Still, look on the positive side: at least I got another break.
I continued on to finish that loop and start the third. At Burswood there was an ambulance by the cyclepath that had been there for an official public event. They were packing up to leave when I skated up and asked if they could please dress my leg. The paramedics were happy to help and reckoned it was the most interesting thing they'd seen for ages. Hahaha, glad to oblige!
Another break at UWA during circuit #3 for energy gel and banana. Took skates off and tried not to cry like a baby. Was hurting pretty bad by now. The freeway cyclepath of loop #3 was quite windy but I drafted in behind two cyclists (with their permission) and we stayed at 27 km/hr for about 6km or so. The remainder of loop #3 was horrible. I stopped at a cafe on the South Perth foreshore to get a Coke and a Poweraide. Took skates off, called Lucas (my son) to tell him I was at 130 km and didn't think I could do anymore. A passing lady saw my blood-stained bandage and asked if I needed any help. Only if you can help me skate another 30km I replied. Ten min break over, back into it. Got to the stadium and saw a mate there. Had a chat for five min and continued on. Loop #4 skipped the UWA section but the freeway section was very difficult. Got back to South Perth finish point and was on about 157 km so did another 1.7 km down the path then turned around.
Final distance: 160.6 km
Time: 7 hr, 19 min
Max Speed: 53.6 km/hr
Avg Speed: 21.9 km/hr (very happy with this avg speed as it is good for a solo skater. If I had similarly inclined skaters, we could form a paceline and go a fair bit faster. But this is Perth and i'm the only one who does this.
So, where to from here? I'm still keen to do a 12-hr skate around Optus Stadium for charity. Will be expecting to get 220+ km for that effort. That won't be for a while though.
Long-term, I really want to do the 24 Hr Le Mans skate and I'll do it solo of course. That'll have to wait till the kids have left school though. I believe the current record holder was 55 when he got his 611 km. Lots of pacelines at that skate to join into so average speeds are a bit higher.
Link to vid of skate and photos: https://www.relive.cc/view/1859618707