The toughest longboard race of 2011 will likely be held in Georgia and Alabama this Spring. This is a few steps above your average day in the City, a Warriors Run, or even an Adrenalina Marathon, and will absolutely test the limits of any skater who embarks on this journey. The organizer is Mr. Marion Karr, known best in the skating world for this past year’s Surf2theSurf, a 496-mile trek across North Carolina that he accomplished to test his personal limits and raise awareness for brain injuries and money for Hinds’ Feet Farm. I had the opportunity to interview Marion about this upcoming event, so I’ll let him give you the rest of the story:
Can you tell us a little about the race you’re planning? What’s the format? Where and when is it going to be?
This is all a work in progress so some of this or all of this may change but here you go with what we have so far:
It is going to be a 3 day event with hopes that in the future it will morph into more like a 5 or 6 day race. It will be 3 days of racing with each day a race unto itself and also and overall. The whole concept will be based on a bicycle stage race where there are daily winners but also total time. Each day the racers will start all the same time but will be in order of overall time (like in NASCAR).
Day 1 – Approximately 40-45 miles
Day 2 – Approximately 60-65 miles
Day 3 – Approximately 90–95 miles
Racers will have check points and feed stations along the route where they will have to connect. Support along the route will also be provided by volunteer bike patrols for anyone that gets into trouble an needs assistance.
Where: We are working on getting approval to use the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga bike trail that runs from Smyrna (Atlanta area) Georgia to Weaverville (Anniston) Al. I was the first person to skate the entire length of it back in 2009. Its 94 miles long and is a rails to trails paved or concrete path with very few road crossings. There is, however, some climbing in a section near Rockmart and Cedartown Georgia.
Is there going to be an entry fee? Prizes or cash?
Yes, there will be an entry fee but at this point I have not set the budget. If we are able to get adequate sponsors I would like for the entry fees to go directly to the charity (see below) but there will be cost involved so we will have to work that out. Atlanta is the world headquarters for Coca Cola so I am hoping we can get support from Poweraid in the form of something other than product.
We will working toward getting both cash and product prices.
I heard something about a charity?
Yes. The charity will be:
The work they are doing to bring clean drinking water to people around the world is amazing and I thought because this race will be international, it was a great way to go. It is hard not to get behind an organization where every dollar that is donated goes straight to a water project somewhere and doesn’t go to pay salaries and other cost of administration. They have seperate funding for that.
The goal will be to raise $5000…that’s enough for our group to drill a well somewhere that can support a community of 250 people for 20 years.
What are your thoughts on distance skating in general? Where do you want to see this go?
For me long distance skating has become a passion. I am not sure I am interested in the racing component as a competitor. For me it is about skating a distance over a place no one has ever done before. That is one of the reasons I did my 496 miler this summer in North Carolina. People have done far greater distances but no one had ever done North Carolina, nor stayed in volunteer fire departments, etc. I plan on doing another trip in the future but am not sure what it will be. I also see it is as a great fundraiser because of the novelty. Surf2theSurf raised over $8000 for a brain injury program.
With the short distance races like you saw in Florida and the stuff they have been doing in NY for a while, I see stage racing as another specialty event for another segment..those riders who like to suffer for days not hours. I also would like to see other races that are more urban that require other aspects such as portaging around obstacles, riding unique terrain, and who knows what.
Do you plan to race in your own event? You’ve obviously done quite your share of distance skating. How do you expect to fair?
If I can get it organized to the point where I feel comfortable in doing so I will compete. I am going to be doing a great deal of training for it as though I might because I will be scouting the venue when possible. It is about 4 hours drive from my home though. I am even considering skating to the event from here as part of the fund raising efforts. That will be brutal because of the variety of mountains and rolling piedmont I will encounter. It will be a great challenge.
Because of my age and my size I will not be competitive with the guns of distance like Paul Kent, Barefoot Ted, James Peters, etc. but I think I will do okay. I learned alot about on the road nutrition in my trip across Georgia in 2009 and my trip across North Carolina in 2010. That is absolutely the key to super distance, so I think I could do fine.
So there you have it… close to 200 miles of skating in 3 days, Tour de France style. As you can see, much is still in the works, and we’ll be here to bring you news about it all as it transpires. Rumor has it we are looking at around May 2011 for this race, if you can call it that. More like a grueling test of courage, balance, and balls (balls not actually required, though I personally recommend you bring ’em if you got ’em). 2011 is nigh. If you’re considering this race, I hope the cold isn’t stopping you from being on your board. For most of us here in NYC, the train is the last resort. Let this event be a source of encouragement to keep you riding no matter how rough it gets this winter. Now get out there and go skate!