Reflection, Criticism & Incentives

August has been pretty intense so far, but a lot of fun, with the best still to come, in the form of ‘Tregaron Freeride’ hosted by Brianne Collective in Wales next weekend!

Two weekends back (8th – 9th August) I made a big solo journey to Ullswater in the Lake District for ‘Thrill Hill Freeride’ hosted by Lewis and Hermione of Skate to Escape! It was a small gathering of UKDH Longboarders but a weekend to remember, I’d never skated Thrill Hill before, but heard amazing things. It certainly surpassed expectations! Friend of Skate to Escape, Andy Rose was on hand to take some stunning shots:
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The Saturday was amazing, perfect weather and slightly more riders with the addition of Jed Chapman. The road was a lot of fun, pretty grippy and gradient varying from 12-25%! 3 Main switchback corners that really test your skills. I was on my reasonably new setup (down to just 2 completes now!) Omen Phoenix, Ronin Pro Lites and some fresh Slide Perfect Momentums (Awesome wheel for fast freeride). Jed followed me down with my GoPro nice and close, so close I could always hear him bearing down on me:

Having a picture of the raw run is pretty awesome too :]

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After a very intense day of skating on the Saturday, the knees were destroyed and most of us were praying for some rain skating come Sunday! UKDH attitude.. dry is easy haha.

Sunday was rainy and wet for the morning but dried out after about 2 hours practice, around 1pm making everyone swap back from rain wheels to Saturday’s dry wheels. We did a little bit of racing, nothing serious, but it was good fun! Lewis blew everyone away with how fast he could get down and with so little sliding and took the win. Some might say the hill favours goofsters.. others say regular riders attending didn’t have as big balls. In the race for 3rd and 4th I fucked up the first Toeside, sliding too late and wide, whilst out in front, allowing Oli Parkinson to take 3rd, but consistency is the aim of the game too!

By the end of Sunday’s skating everyone was knackered, but I throughly enjoyed the weekend, Hermione put it well in a Facebook comment on the review of the event. “It’s epic when you get together with a bunch of pretty much total strangers, to share one thing you all love more than anything & it’s like you’ve known each other for years.” I couldn’t agree more.

The weekend just gone was back to Mountainboarding, for Round 6 (Final 2015 round) of the ATBA-UK Series at Hales Superbole in Cheshire. Going into the weekend I was 4th in Downhill overall in my category (Seniors: 18-29 year olds), but knew if I kept within 1 place of or beat Jethro Lomas I could take the title overall, due to Simon Neck and fellow Team DAD rider George Pollard being away.

I put in a decent run of 44 seconds, a decent improvement from last year’s 51 seconds. Video of the run is on Facebook. Little did I know at the time that Jethro had come 4th and I’d come 5th, beating 6th place Josh Holmes by a mere 0.02 seconds! I won the series by 3 points, meaning if I had come 6th (4 less points) I would of finished 2nd overall! Super close, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It felt great to win and nice reward for 3 years of competitions. I feel like I’ve improved my Mountainboarding a lot this year and improved my 8’s riding, despite still preferring brakeboarding on 9’s. Pretty sure I’ve mentioned that in a previous post this year, I mainly put it down to lots of weekly practice with Team DAD on Friday nights and riding different and tricky tracks to expand my riding skillset. podium

The sad news about next year is that the UK Mountainboarding Competition scene is so small now, with an average of 20-30 riders per event, that 2016 will have just one event at Hales Superbole during the August bank holiday weekend, known as the ‘UK Mountainboard Championships’, a good idea but sad to see dedicated Downhill events be written off for because of low attendance. The only upside for me is the time saved, so I can attend more Longboard events next year.

On a final note, kinda unrelated, it’s just my observation that I seem to come across two different kinds of ‘Normal’ people who don’t do any extreme sports. The first group I like to call ‘Criticisers’, who upon talking about the subject of either of my sports just jump to the conclusion that they’re dangerous and going to seriously hurt or kill me one day, without a single thought as to how big an adrenaline rush I get almost every weekend and good fitness! I hate these kind of people, but they seem to appear in big groups sometimes.

The other group I like to call ‘Wishers’, these people aren’t as bad, they take an interest in your extreme sport(s) but are still sceptical about the dangers. They’ve probably tried Mountainboarding once or skated in their pre-teen years and not continued. Generally not interesting people but do still take an interest and encourage you from time to time.

Just random observations.. I’ll leave it there on the boardy side of life. Outside of that is a bit of a mess at the moment, my flat flooded (again) and I need to find a new one.. though the extra space would be welcomed with how many board related things I have lying around.. on top of that I’m saving for New Zealand, which is now just 6 and half weeks away!

Until next time, thanks for reading, cheers!