Downhill Skate Weekend #2 with the Bustin Van ended up being even more gnar than the first weekend. I can’t even explain the level of joy that this privilege has given me. I feel free. Skates to and from work even feel better, just as a result of mixing it up more often. Today I skated my pump board. Yesterday, a drop-through prototype, two days ago I was bombing hills on a downhill proto. This never gets the least bit old. There is always new stuff to work on, new people to skate with, new hills, new boards, new ways of riding (gotta get my switch skills up!). I feel like I will do this until my knees don’t work. So knee pads are in order this week in the spirit of self-preservation.
Saturday was day 1 of skate weekend for me, though a couple ladies got an early start on Friday for a music video project with Brian Bishop from Original. Monica and Maribeth had already put in some work on Friday, and Monica’s knees were a little torn up from a fall she took. No matter, though, smiles were aplenty and both of them came in Saturday ready to skate. We went to south Jersey on day 1 of 3 and skated with our friend Ryan from NewLife Cruisers (they take old skateboards, chop ’em, revitalize them with art, basically do whatever it takes to make them cool and skate-able, and then resell them. And they thrash anything and everything!), and he showed us around some of his local spots. We ended up in a park with a couple pretty gnar, short downhills with ragged pavement, and best of all, a downhill that shoots onto a dock. Ryan threw a janky kicker down at the end and we launched off that puppy into the bay. We had a ton of fun, broke the ramp, skated it anyway, and came out fairly unscathed, except for Maribeth, who worked up the stones to take a run down it, and having not ever went off a ramp before, didn’t quite launch off of it. She slammed her thigh into the handrail surrounding the dock, which sent her into a front 1 1/2 into the water. I got to play lifeguard for the 2nd time that day and jumped in after her. She ended up being okay, though…she’s just going to have a bit of a limp for the next week. Best of all, it didn’t stop her from skating the rest of the weekend! Here’s some pics of a few of us launching:
Steven Sanchez was ripping down the hills here and sliding faster on this janky pavement than I’ve ever seen him slide. He was rocking the Bustin DH proto that Jonas and Will have been riding and getting me really excited to see him race in the upcoming events.
Next stop was a couple gnarly downhills that Ryan showed us. The first one was a solid 45mph with a left hand sweeper at the fastest part of the hill and a little gnar pavement. Ryan was fighting wobbles for what seemed like half the hill, and the rest of us watched with our fingers crossed. When he finally went down, he took a really nice spill that left him some sexy road rash. Ladies, come get it:
Finally, we ended our day at the infamous Skytop hill, where we skated until dark. The road had a few wet spots from the light rain that had just started, and as I was getting a little too comfortable and pushing a little too hard into the fastest heelside turn of the run, I lost traction and fell going about 35mph. Nothing too serious, but I’ll be recovering from some nice butt-rash until Stok’em next week. I’ll save the picture for another time. Everybody else handled the hill with ease and we concluded this epic day with a stoke-filled drive back to NYC, a few sleepovers, and the promise of another epic skate day ahead of us.
Saturday we piled in the van for some familiar runs upstate. We brought a couple newbs and a few veterans (on a relative scale here…) to take on some beginner-friendly hills and our favorite 10-minute long run. I did most of the driving early in the day, being pretty sore from my fall the day before. I ran everyone up and down this really nice semi-closed road from the video we posted last week. It probably tops out at 35mph and doesn’t have any turns that you can’t take full tuck. I had a blast watching everybody get more and more comfortable with the hill. Maribeth was toughing it out with a serious bone bruise on her leg from the day before. She’s determined to get comfortable on hills, and this wasn’t going to stop her. Watching these girls overcome their fears of falling fast has been really inspiring, and sometimes it’s just as fun to sit behind the wheel of the van as it is to skate….well, almost.
On the 2nd hill, it didn’t matter what I felt like…I had to ride. The side of the hill is lined with rocks and a cliff, so not everyone was taking runs, but some of us took some pics, some drove, and the rest enjoyed the hill. Everybody was stoked. Check out the viddy of the run. This is my favorite hill on the east coast so far, just because it never ends, and the views and speed are just about perfect for a great time. Thanks to Cami for supplying the GoPro today and putting some music to this raw run. Though some of us don’t exactly know how to hold a GoPro, at least our boobs made it in the shot, so everyone is guaranteed to enjoy.
Day 3 was Memorial Day, which meant Monday Skate Day! Tom Barnhart hosted a skate gathering from his house around all his local runs. We hit up quite a few neighborhood runs with our pack of 20 or so skaters consisting of total beginners to experienced hill riders. That’s what I love about this group of people most. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you want to ride, you’re in. We’ll take you to hills you can ride, and we’ll take you to hills you will be riding soon enough. You show up, you’re one of us, and you’re guaranteed to have a great time. We polished off the evening with a barbecue at Tom’s house. Thanks to Mrs. Barnhart for putting up with a bunch of kids at your home for a few hours, and though I had nothing to do with it, sorry Tom, for the broken bench. Some people are deathly afraid of big bugs…not me!
All in all, another epic skate weekend. The van is holding up, and it’s looking like I’m facing the best summer of my life. I couldn’t be in a better place. Lots of friends are coming in for Stok’em this weekend. Our house is gonna be packed full. More updates next week!