Ultraskating and Life, Longboarding and Basketball

Ultraskate, May 2012, Toolenburgse plas, Hoofddorp

Ultraskating teaches something about life I believe. It’s a bit of character development, pushing yourself to your limits like that. I find I’m asking myself questions: what’s the point? Going against all intuition and instinct, we choose to endure, and skate as long and as hard as we can. There is no reward at the end, other than discovering your character: do you have what it takes?

In my last ultraskate I didn’t achieve the goal that I set for myself, due to overexertion in my tibialis anterior (muscle which moves my foot)- a muscle which would be strong enough if you skated a lot. It showed that to be able to skate good, you need to practice. I had many reasons not to practice: injuries I sustained while practicing other sports, the Dutch weather which I do not like to skate in, and the time I chose to invest in different interests. A valuable lesson I therefore learned is: if you want to get somewhere, prepare yourself for it.

What I also noticed is that my motivation was lacking because I set goals for myself which were hard to reach, and wasn’t mentally prepared for. I monitored my own progress a lot, constantly calculating how far I still had to skate, going at what speed, and so forth. What I learned that it is better to check your progress at checkpoints spread at a reasonable distance apart. Forget about time and distance, and just skate. Focus completely on the journey. I think there’s only a point to check distance when you’re in the last 4 hours of the 24 you were pushing in. That might give you an extra boost of “if I skate at 15km/h right now, I can get this number” which is how I got my 363km. This doesn’t only count for ultraskating, but any project you undertake: stop thinking about the outcome, and focus instead on the task at hand.

At the moment I’m also thinking about developing other abilities of mine, and for sports I’m thinking about focusing more on my basketball than longboarding. I’ve been really getting into my basketball again, being motivated by the NBA playoffs, fellow basketball players, and opportunities to grow with it at the school team. I feel that the Netherlands is more a place I can be happy when I’m playing basketball because it can be practically done anywhere, either for free or very cheap. There’s an indoor court at my university and outdoor courts galore.

For longboarding, I see myself getting more into the downhill and speed scene rather than the freestyle side of it. I suck at freestyle, and have no real intention to get better either. However, I do have a soft spot for skate parks, especially wooden indoor ones, and would love to visit those more often. I would be more inclined to skate these with short boards though.  It’s the Dutch weather and landscape which is the biggest barrier for me to keep on longboarding- at least with what I want to do with it. It’s wetter than a fisherman and flat as a witch’s tit. Any longboarding I’d want to do I’d have to plan and make time for, whereas with basketball it’s an easy pick and roll.

I’m curious to see what I’ll be doing more in Australia. I’m curious to see what I’ll be doing there at all. 32 days left, and counting down 😉

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