Today is my first full day back from the last Adrenalina Marathon of this year’s series. Today marks the end of my racing season, and good thing, because I can hardly walk after a less-than-stellar (riding) but absolutely awesome garage bombing session. I nearly broke my heel AND my hand in one night, but if I’m lucky–and I think I might be–both might turn out to be serious bone bruises that left me with little to do but sit in this couch. But it’s all good. After a hard, taxing 26-mile race battling the world’s fastest distance skaters for a $15,000 prize and a few months worth of bragging rights, I am worn out, a little under the weather, limping, and very deserving of a day’s worth of not leaving my house. In fact, I am embracing this laziness. But there will be a tomorrow, and tomorrow I’ll be back in the basement working on next season’s Bustin Boards, and I can’t wait for that either!
Recapping over this past race, myself and a few of my teammates, Kiefer Dixon, Andrei Hippix, Sara Paulshock, Cami Best, and Maribeth McHugh, all went down to Florida this weekend for our final challenge of the season, the Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in Hallandale Beach, FL. The race was a success, we had tons of fun and placed well across the board. I couldn’t be happier.
My own story was very special for me and one that I want to share with you today. Paul Kent, one of my best friends and fellow competitors, and I shared 1st place by crossing the finish line hand-in-hand, splitting the $20,000 winnings for 1st and 2nd place. We spent all season battling it out race after race, and this particular race was the most hard-fought of all and was the pinnacle of my skateboarding career.
Here’s how it went down:
We started out hard. Hard enough to form a gap, but not so hard that anyone was tired. Paul and I like to break the pack apart early when possible. This takes a lot of the stress out of the race, knowing that you’re going to place well early on. We dropped it down to just 3 racers in the front pack after a couple of miles into the race, which surprised me a little bit, but because the first part of the loop has a long straightaway into the wind, once the gap was opened up, it was hard for people to cover that open space alone.
Jason Yerke, a newcomer to Adrenalina this year and co-founder of Bees Knees Skateboards, raced with us for a little over 2 1/2 of the 4-lap race, covering every move either of us made without fault. Neither of us could ditch him, and as the race went on, he was making it more and more clear that he intended to fight to the end for a win. The 2nd lap was especially brutal. We crawled to a snail’s pace into the wind, with Paul and Jason following close behind me and sucking my wind. I stood up at one point and said, “So this is how the race is going to be?” On the straight headed back the opposite direction with the wind behind us, I blasted out into an all-out sprint to test the two behind me. They covered it without fault. Finally, after numerous attempts, I made a move halfway through the 3rd lap that formed a tiny gap, which Paul covered. Paul then made a move up a small hill which opened the gap further that I was able to cover, and finally I took over and pushed the pace even further to try to decide the top two positions then and there. Paul held on and we had broken the race open together to take the top two spots. No less than 2 minutes later do we encounter a major twist in our story when we head down the only section of the race with opposing skater-traffic. We were instructed to stay to the right, but with me holding the line on the right and Paul on my left shoulder, we found ourselves heading straight toward an oncoming racer. I held my line, and Paul went left to avoid him. The oncoming racer follow Paul as the came closer and closer until he was literally run off the road and into the grass, stopping dead in his tracks. This was devastating to him, I’m sure, and it was to me as well, because I see him as my top competitor and as a great friend, and I wanted to battle it out with him all the way to the line.
Paul lost a lot of space. The clock shows that we were 3 seconds apart with one lap to go. Jason was hot on his heels just 5 seconds behind. I’m actually surprised by this…Paul must’ve closed a great deal of space in less than half a lap. Regardless, it didn’t feel as close as it must’ve looked at that time. I was holding pace and I felt like Paul was using a ton of energy to try to catch up. I was still focusing a great deal of energy on Jason at the time, knowing that if I let him smell blood, he would jump on it and may work up the energy to run us both down. At the time, I felt like I had a big lap ahead of me–the race was there for the taking.
Paul battled behind me for a long time. I guess I was sort of playing with him and testing myself at the same time. I was tiring but powerful, and I was having a good time seeing how fast my legs could take me. The gap opened a bit. I began looking behind me, and it was clear that it was a two-man race again. Coming up the uphill with less than half a lap to go, Paul started closing the gap inch-by-inch, and I started getting thankful. Truthfully, I didn’t want to give the race away, but I wanted him to come take it and share it with me. We had both worked so hard for this moment, and it felt wrong to take it based on a mishap at no fault of his own. As he inched up on my tail and then beside me, I asked him if he wanted to split 20-grand with me, and he agreed. We shook hands and began the trek down the last long straightaway together heading back into the mall. Paul took the lead and blasted us forward through space and time, faster than I thought we could even go at the time. For a second, I wondered if he was trying to pull away with the race, but to my amazement, I was keeping up with a big smile on my face. We were hauling ass into the mall area, where we began going back and forth with the lead through the final turns, and, nearing the finish line, he reached out his hand and i did my best to grab it as we crossed. Paul and I turned off to the right together as he collapsed and I stood up in awe at what we had just done together. We crossed the line in 1:30:49. This currently stands as an unofficial world-record, one that I am proud to share with Paul Kent. The time may be adjusted for accuracy over the distance, but either way, it was an awesome effort and the best way I could’ve ever ended my season.
Thanks to Adrenalina for putting on these events. They have changed my life. I won $32,500 from them this year, and I’m one of quite a few that have benefitted to a large extent. I live in a comfortable apartment in Brooklyn that I was able to put a deposit down on and furnish with Adrenalina winnings, and last year, I was able to forever change my life by fixing my eyesight with Lasik surgery from the first marathon’s winnings. People don’t usually talk about money they make…it’s kind of an uncomfortable subject. It’s a little weird for me too, but I’m thankful enough that I’m happy to share it with those who are deserving. And let it serve as inspiration to anyone out there who thinks they might be able to compete. It’s there for the taking, and you could be next, JASON YERKE. Get it in. See you on the starting line in 2012.
Final results can be found HERE!
Thanks to Ali Vyain and David Lekach for the pics!