By: Mike Dallas
In a recent edition of Concrete Wave I learned the rules of Downhill racing, unfamiliar with the rules and regulations of ISGA (International Gravity Sports Association) competitions. DH racing allows only one push to keep the pull of gravity the greatest control. A race requires controlled variables to fairly judge one’s performance but the rule impairs a rider’s push strength advantage. Because the IGSA is a gravity honoring association the rule is regulated.
New York City racing is much different. There are few controlled variables, as each course changes without notice. The city conditions riders face are fast pace and extreme. One variable is the pace of each course’s obstacles. Outlaw racing in the city happens regardless of pedestrian or other physical obstruction.
The Central Park race crowns the most athletic longskater and the Broadway Bomb crowns the best Outlaw skater. The reason I write this article is to clarify how I feel about these races. I believe the skater with the best trained sprint endurance will win the Central Park race and the skater with the best street smarts will win the Broadway Bomb.
The finishline for the Broadway Bomb 2008 was a mix of emotions. Skaters shares stories and skaters congratulated each other while some skaters complained that some had skitched during the race. Skitching is a term used for holding on to a vehicle while skating. Because the race proves that a competitive longboarder will reach the bottom of Manhattan faster than a vehicle in traffic, skitching is a demonstration of finesse. Skitching is like catching a wave. Just because you can catch a wave dosen’t mean that you can’t surf. I understand the frustration racers feel when someone catches a few fine skitches and finishes with a faster time. Skitching is tough! I watch riders try and fail and I watch others transfer vehicle to vehicle dominating busy intersections. To catch a good skitch is to use an extension of your skating potential despite it being very dangerous and probabally illegial.
New York City’s races are not sanctioned or insured. The rider assumes all liability and risk. The rider chooses what is responsible skating and what is dangerous approaching each unique situation. A rider who is comfortable skitching and can decode a line of traffic has greater advantage. City riders practice outlaw technique because it is the most efficient mans of transportation and saves energy.
The Broadway Bomb is a different race this year. Broadway will continue to evolve as New York matures and this year will by-pass Times Square. The once epic stretch of race is now obstructed by a pedestrian lounge of sorts. Loose pebble flooring and a crowded seating area will challenge riders to detour, against the original Broadway Bomb rules. Because this rule will be jeopardized so has the entire races integrity. Local riders debate the ruling in our everyday sessions and have decided to “abolish” the ruling. AS the race matures, so does the rider. The outlaw skaters of New York demand fair play as many wish to break the 8.2 mile 25 minute mark. I encourage your thoughts as this is a highly debated topic. I assure this is only for the sake of discussion and represents aggressive street skaters of New York City.