August 1, 2009
Silver Comet Charity Push – 20 Miles of Smiles
A Benefit for BoardRescue.org
Smyrna, Georgia (Just north of Atlanta)
Chadd Hall – Longboard-Atlanta Group
The Silver Comet is a “Rails to Trails” project where abandoned rail
lines are converted into almost endless asphalt trails that enjoy
scenic views from atop paved trestle bridges, tree covered shady
spots, miles of smooth rolling pavement. The trail never varies from
its one or two percent grade, and typically the same grade runs for
miles before changing. The first three miles of the trail from the
Mavell road trail head is uphill. I laugh when I say that, because you
can barely feel it. But once you hit a downhill section, you KNOW it.
One push and you feel like you roll forever… It’s a great feeling.
So for me, the day started at 6:30 am when the alarm broke the fog
with some unnamed rap song playing on the clock radio. I woke up my
wife, Georgia, and we got dressed for the day. The car was loaded the
night before with gear and goodies for the event. Our neighbor had
agreed to watch the kids for the day, props to Shannon for that! So we
grabbed the cooler and headed out.
The Silver Comet Trail is about 45 minutes from our house, so an early
start was a necessity. We arrived there at 8:45 am to find
longboarders already gathering on the green in front of the trail
head. Mark Chernesky, one of our Longboard-Atlanta members and a
volunteer for the day, had started corralling the few bleary eyed
people that dared get there early on a Saturday morning. We had been
fretting the forecast all week, hoping for a break in the weather.
Well, we got it. A cool 75º morning, with a sunny 80º day ahead.
At 9:15 am, the safety meeting was called together to give the rules
of engagement for the event. Everyone was told to yell “On your left”
when passing, and watch out for the speed demon cyclists that don’t
give the right of way. If you see spandex, get out of the way man…
No stickering up the trail with Concrete Wave stickers that had been
handed out just before. (Guess that wasn’t so smart on my part, eh?)
And of course, have fun and spread the stoke! We even had a
rollerblade clad supporter riding with us for the cause.
Most of the 20 riders took off quickly and held a solid pace. Solid
enough that I was bringing up the rear most of the morning. We had a
support crew hanging out at the start/finish that answered questions
for onlookers and curious folks (Big thanks to those who did this,
including Georgia). They were handing out stickers and telling
everyone about the longboard joy.
I made the first 2.5 miles before I got a call from one of our late
rising members of the group, Ryan Pikul. He was just getting to the
trail head and had to catch up. One half mile later, he was on my
tail. This guy cleared three miles like it was nothing. And then he
blasts past us headed for the front of the pack that must have been
five miles out.
Billy Massey and I turned around at the six mile mark and headed back.
I needed to be back ahead of everyone to organize the raffle and get a
handle on things back at the trail head. I got an email on the
blackberry at 10:40 am saying that the leaders had reached the 10 mile
mark and were turning around for the homestretch. The last three miles
of my ride back were alone and quiet. It was all a light downhill
grade that was sorely needed for my tired old feet. A cool breeze
hitting me in the face and sweat covered t-shirt, natural air
Shortly after I got back and started setting up for the raffle, Ryan
shows up in front of everyone by at least five minutes. That was
twenty miles he pulled in roughly one hour and forty minutes.
Unbelievable! Robby Trotta showed up next with some shredded palms
that my wife had to bandage. Apparently, the number two guy, forgets
that you get tired after skating twenty miles and took a light spill.
Hey, he still beat almost everyone.
All of the other riders trickled in over the next hour. When we were
pretty sure there was no one left, we held the raffle. Lots of great
prizes were donated for the event and everyone was STOKED! Our
dedicated volunteer, Mark, brought out a cooler of Gatorade and
bottled water for everyone. I am pretty sure he made some new friends
that day. We had lots of prize winners and everyone that came had a
All in all, it was a great event. We raised 300 dollars for
Boardrescue.org. That means that alot of kids are going to be on
wheels because of what we did as a group.
Thanks again to our sponsors, Concrete Wave, Landyachtz, Loaded
Boards, and Green to Change USA.