Those two rest days did me good. I really had time to relax, going to a reggae concert with my dad, and eating some damn good food before the big day. When I arrived at Toolenburger Plas in Hoofddorp, I felt refreshed, and ready to skate a few miles. I saw some familiar faces like Paul Brunnikhuis and Jesse Beau who I skated the Paris Ultraskate with and who had achieved positions 5 and 6 in the world respectively, so I was prepared to go the distance with them if not further. We got into positions, waited for the clock to strike 10:00am, and we started.
The tempo at first was very fast, but I consciously restrained myself because I knew the tempo the faster skaters were keeping couldn’t be sustained for 24 hours. One of the most important things in ultraskating for me is listening to myself. What pace is relaxed? Do I need to eat something? Do I need some water? The most difficult question to answer, however, was: Do I need a break? At times I took breaks because I felt my knees saying that it’s time to sit down for a while, but these might have been unecessary. As it became later, and later, I took more and more breaks. This was really hurting my average speed, as I saw it slowly slip. I also took a 30 minute nap somewhere between 01:00am and 04:00am because I thought it might help me stay focussed, and give me that extra energy boost. What really helped was other boarders who gave me a psychological boost to push myself. This was especially true in the last few hours. One of the skaters, Menno, burned his energy too fast in the beginning, and slept for about 6 hours. He was fresh when he woke up, so was able to go at quite a high pace during the final few hours. I couldn’t have kept the pace we were going at without him. I felt like I could use a break, but I ignored it since Menno was still pushing… so I forced myself to push a little more. And that went on until I HAD to take a break in the form of peeing, but I didn’t take longer than I needed to. Peeing whilst rolling only works on downhill parts (stepping and peeing doesn’t really work), and I prefer to do it at night when there are no passerby’s for the sake of public order. Anyway, the point is we were keeping up a good tempo and I wasn’t taking any extended breaks. We were doing 3km rounds in under 10mins at some point, which is an average of over 18km/h… and that’s fast if you’re skating for 24hours. Around 6:00am, I had achieved about 300km, and thought to myself, if I can achieve an average of 15km/h I’ll be able to pass James Peters, the inventor of ultraskating, and with that achieve a pretty good world ranking. I kept on rolling, despite almost falling asleep during my speed tucks on the downhill parts, and somehow got myself to skate the distance. After 363km I had enough.
Ultraskating, I realized, is something I can do. It seems to be something I’m good at. Although there aren’t many people that do it (yet), I have got myself up there on the rankings, and I am more than happy about my results. I feel a lot of doors opening since I’ve been taking longboarding more seriously, and hope to spread the stoke amongst others. I will definitely be doing more longdistance skating in different forms in the future.
What I learned this time round in the ultraskate is that it is important to set goals. Set a solid goal, and go for it. You don’t need a reason for achieving a certain goal. You just need to want it. The training I had during the 12 city tour also really paid off. Skating every day for 11 days, with distances between 60km and 120km, 9 to 11 hours a day, and all kinds of weather and terrain circumstances gets your body to adapt. During the trip, I also always tried to be at front in order to push the tempo a little bit. I also made sure I was able to at least keep up the pace with the fresh skaters, and that might’ve moulded my behaviour into being able to push myself to keep up, or past other speed demons.
A support team is also greatly appreciated: Luutse and Tim v.D., who filled my water bottle, held out snacks and skated alongside me were awesomely awesome. Edwin from Bakaboards let me use his prototype longdistance pusher…most of the time 😉 Which was greatly appreciated since my alternative was a Loaded Tan Tien: the only board in my arsenal that came mildly close to a longdistance deck. Warm food is also appreciated loads; soup is super awesome, which I think Patrick cooked on his stove, and my dad also came around with pizza in the evening which gave me good psychological and physical nutrition.
To improve my results for next time, I think the most important thing is to take structured breaks since I had trouble getting feedback from my body about this, and felt that I sometimes took unecessary and too long breaks. I would like to also be able to afford a 30 minute power nap sometime, so that I can finish strong, and completely wreck myself until I have achieved my goal. My goal, next time, will be to average out 50km every 3 hours. This is a good way to slice my ultimate goal of 400km into bitesize pieces and make it actually seem doable.
Before the ultraskate, I was also curious about my pace (since I only realized I would get a GPS later), and I logged what I achieved every 3 hours. Here are the results:
10:00 to 13:00 = 59km
13:00 to 16:00 = 114km (55km)
16:00 to 19:00 = 160km (46km)
19:00 to 22:00 = 205km (45km)
22:00 to 01:00 = 245km (40km)
01:00 to 04:00 = 277km (32km)
04:00 to 07:00 = 317km (40km)
07:00 to 10:00 = 363km (46km)
The next ultraskate is in September. Lets see what we can do 😉