And the year, I turn thirty in days. Hat low, music high, attempting to hide from the memory of me being me but also, from the quickly approaching reality of becoming future year-old me. Suddenly, mid song — the music stops. I lift the brim of my hat to check my now vibrating phone as a picture of Annaliese, my BFF since 7th grade and my maid of honor, lights up the screen. My thoughts race. I would be worried too if she were posting weepy thank you notes to strangers on the internet! I know Annaliese only calls, or I only call Annaliese, if something is incredibly important, life altering or, as some of our favorite conversations tend to be, if something is incredibly and ridiculously unimportant.
Our texting this week started on my way back to the ER with Nora, who was feverish and struggling for breath in her car seat, an oxygen cannula across her face and tucked behind her ears. The tank was wedged between the captain seats while a pulse oximeter alarmed loudly in the passenger seat next to me. I tug at the brim of my hat, pulling it close to my nose, again attempting to hide me from me and duck further down into the sleeping bag. I laugh too. I know she is waiting … wondering… if I am okay after crying on the side of the road. I just kept walking — without the purple flower — which of course brought more waves of tears and by the time I got close to the hospital, I was completely exhausted.
I knew I needed a minute; I knew I needed to sit down, probably before I fell down. On the way back to the hospital from the airfield, there is a second Ronald Mc Donald fiberglass statue. I sat down and took a few breaths. See you out there my friend. The pink hat is my prize. I bought it! But in that moment, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I was late. I had just walked up to the parking garage, laced up my skates and put my helmet on, when my mom who was with Nora, called to tell me the doctor was walking into the room.
I was sure he would probably wait for me to get back to the room if my mom asked, but I thought I ought to also do the decent thing and hurry back, and since skating is faster than a quick sprint in flip flops, I just went with it. Does anyone use that word? Not only that, I roller skate in parking garages and occasionally through hospital hallways. I decorate with wildflowers in Dixie cups and now, apparently, I cry on the side of the road so hard that people feel compelled to give me their contact information.
Who would actually choose to live like that? Or any age for that matter? I stop talking and start to pull the Ronald McDonald hat down down down down over my eyes, completely hiding my face. Until she says, clearly and firmly:. This is all just you. And, I love you for it. All Skate Films. Videos You May Also Like. Felix Georgii's harbour run See the unexpected.
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The sky is various shades of orange and red, and the chalky surface of the desert glows with an iridescent pink from the sun. The tow mountain ranges from a dark line that splits the scene in two and the sage brush ranges cast long dark shadows across the glowing salt flats.
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Far off in the distance come the last half-a-dozen riders. The back light gives a golden glow to the reds, oranges, yellows, blues and greens that denote their different identities. The WindSkaters lean one way, then flipping the sails over their heads as they turn, they lean the other. In a rapid succession of turns, they criss-cross the sage brush mogul field as if it were a giant slalom course. As the riders break free of the mogulfield, they enter the last cove of ice-smooth surface and it is time to play.
They shout with enthusiasm and drift in and out in a grand finale of flight maneuvers that would leave the Blue Angels a little envious. A campfire has been lit, and the roller sailors make a few last circling approaches before coming in for the final landing and the warmth of friends by the fire. It has been several hours of WindSkating and complete detachment from all forms of urban civilization.
There has been no noise of traffic, no stoplights to control the flow, no hamburger stands to pollute the skyline or your stomach, no ten-cent toilets to remind you that capitalism exists everywhere.
You have been alone on the high seas of a new experience, and there is nothing unnatural to mar the sensations or the purity of the encounter. After an experience like this, it is easy to feel a great pride in my own involvement in the development of WindSkating. The sport had come a long way since my original discovery with two broomsticks and a plastic dropcloth five years ago in a Santa Monica parking lot.
Undaunted, I had taken to another parking lot down by the beach where a bunch of kids rolled down a hill with skate wheels attached on the bottom of wooden boards. They stared and snickered and told fairytales about that strange person with the funny contraption on his board. But one by one, I convinced them of the joy that these wings could bring with the sea breezes of late afternoon.
Soon, the skateboarders had learned to WindSkate, and surfers who rode the waves at the adjoining beach would ride these skateboards and sails on the afternoons when it was too windy to surf. And the surfers brought bikini-clad girls who would sail down the bike path on breezy summer afternoons. The surfers knew skiers who knew motorcycle riders who all liked WindSkating, and soon, I was no longer alone with my new sport and pleasant " companions they were! After about two years, a new kind of person rolled down the bike path. He had wheels on his feet instead of on a board.
He had rented these devices in a nearby fairyland known as Venice.
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And he had plenty of company, with more roller persons coming in every new day. One day a roller person name Terry Caccia asked to use a WindSkate sail. We stared and snickered and told fairy tales because we knew you had to have a board to sail. But we were wrong, and Terry converted even more roller persons to the joys of WindSkating.
Almost overnight, the fairytale beginnings turned into very real recognition for the new sport. Hundreds of articles appeared in newspapers, magazines, films and TV shows around the world. Orders flooded in and we set up shop to keep up with the demand. But my personal motivation was not the manufacturing aspect, rather the challenge of developing a sport as serious as soaring or sailing with all the fun of skating. I wanted WindSkates to sail down wind, up wind, turn on a dime and still be easy to use.
To be valid, I knew WindSkating would have the simple joys as well as the difficult challenges that were part of skiing, sailing and skating. In parking lots and on bike paths a group of us worked on the designs that would separate toys from sporting equipment and develop the techniques from real sailing. When I could turn on the skateboard by flipping the sail around the front of the board, Terry Caccia would make the same turn on his skates by flipping the sail over his head. To add challenge, we leaned into the sail against the wind in a position called "back sail. We found plastic sails would tear and a wood mast would break.
The sails had to have the right curve and aerodynamics to tack up into the wind. The perfect size for a large person would be far to unwieldy for a smaller one. Light weight sail cloth did the job best and aluminum would neither break nor bend. It all seemed so obvious, looking back after two years of experimenting! It was as if some benevolent being had prepared the perfect WindSkate resort just for us: A fifteen square mile outdoor roller rink with a backdrop that no artist could paint.
Soon El Mirage had become the main target for all our photo sessions. We would wait for the strongest winds and lean into the most radical back sail tacks. Terry would elaborate on his sideskating with one heel cocked in a "shooting star. Soon, however, the abundance of publicity created the impression that you could only WindSkate on dry lake beds after years of practice. And this was too remote and difficult for the average skater.
The articles invariably mentioned that WindSkaters could go 45 miles per hour, and that I had once taken off like a hang glider in a short flight. The media likes thrills and spills.
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But the original idea was that WindSkating was a sailing sport that you could do any day, anywhere with average winds — a down-to-earth sailing sport that could be enjoyed by the every-day athlete. Someone suggested that we should sail across the United States. I felt that the sea coast from Seattle to San Diego would be a lot more attractive.
With the gas shortages, it seemed as likely an alternative way to travel as any. The sponsorship was followed by the best skating equipment that we could ask for: boots from Road Skates, trucks and plates from Tracker, 70mm red wheels from Kryptonics, bearings by NMB-Z-Flex, safety equipment from Rector and an assortment of clothes from O. There were several commitments and cancellations, but when we finally loaded up the van it was Jamie Budge yours truly , Terry Caccia, Colin Courtman and Terry Marcellino, the only girl on the trip.
We left Los Angeles and headed up the coast toward Seattle driving in the van to chart the course we would be skating on the way back. It was an awesome feeling to be covering all those miles at 55 per, and then realize that we were going to be skating back! The drive to Seattle took about two days driving day and night, mostly up Highway One to check out the skating conditions. We arrived in Seattle on a Saturday morning.
The pedestrians walk on one half of the path and the skaters and bicyclers roll on the other. We found a skate rental shop called the Roller Company that had borrowed the basic motif and trademarking of Road Skates, so we all felt quite at home. We introduced ourselves and explained our purpose, much to the delight of the locals, who scurried about rounding up a group for the send off. Saturday afternoon we all got together at Greenlake Park for a WindSkate demonstration and social skate around the lake. The winds were good and we set up the sails, amazing to locals who were used to skating under leg power alone.
We picked out a section of the path, whisked back and forth amongst hikers and joggers and gave a few lessons. The group from Roller Company offered to wine, dine and party all night, but we realized that we would need all the rest we could get before the morning departure. At a. We did a few calisthenics and took a couple of token runs around the lake, just to get warmed up. Our friends from the Roller Company skated with us, then gave us the best directions out of town. We skated one more section of bike path and then headed out into the real world of cross country skating.
Originally we had estimated the distance of the marathon to be about 1, miles as the road maps read. However, on the coast route with back road detours around un-skateable freeways , the actual distance was about 1, miles. We had a schedule and a budget that allowed for 17 days to get to San Diego. Some quick mathematics revealed that meant We figured we would average about 7 miles per hour, which meant 12 hours per day of hard skating over some of the roughest roads, the steepest hills and the windiest cliffs in the country.
But it was too early in themarathon to realize what this meant … or what it was going to mean to keep on schedule. We worked our way through Seattle along the sidewalks, over the bridges, under the Space Needle and down to Puget Sound. Terry, Terry and Colin skated while I drove the van. There was a bike path that followed Puget Sound, so we set up the sails and WindSkated along the water. The skies were blue, colors were bright and spirits were high.
Further down the Sound we ran into factory buildings, waterfront stores and a lot of obstructions to the wind. We folded up the sails and got back into street skating stride. We knew that we would do a lot of plain old roller skating in between the opportunities to WindSkate. After about an hour and a half, Colin jumped in the van to conserve his energy for a later time. It took them about a half hour to climb to the top, and it soon became apparent what an energy drain and slow pace it was going up. At the top, Terry Marcellino jumped in the van after two hours and a steep skate.
She was temporarily pooped, and I jumped out to skate with Terry Caccia. In preparation for the marathon, I had skated 7 miles every afternoon in Santa Monica about 45 minutes.
The training was minimal, but I felt energetic and confident as I reached my 7 mph stride. Actually, to average 7 miles per hour, you had to keep up a constant pace of 10 to 12 miles per hour on the flat lands. When you hit a hill, you would slow down to about 3 to 5 miles per hour, depending on the hill. Terry and I had a long downhill with easy speeds of about 20 mph.
At the bottom Terry ended his shift and Colin jumped out to join me in the long uphill that followed. By the time I had reached the top of my first major uphill, I was painfully aware of the endurance aspect of skate touring. A lot of this was going to be just plain work! By nightfall, we were nowhere close to our goal of 85 miles per day.
The new theory was to divide and conquer. I skated alone while the rest of the crew conserved energy in the van. I held the flashlight in my hand to spot rock and other unskateable objects in my path. One unskateable object ran in front of me while I was in full stride down the shoulder. At first I thought it was a squirrel, next a raccoon, then a cat. By the time I realized that it was a skunk, I had changed direction mid-air over the critter and was back in the van before you could say,"lt stinks!
We had vowed to skate every foot of the way, but skunk gas necessitated an exception to the rule. A hundred yards down the highway I climbed back out of the van to resume my journey. There were just a few traces of the odor far off in the distance. It had been a close call! We stopped for dinner in Yelm, Washington. By the end of our meal, the whole restaurant seemed to know what we were up to and wished us luck on our endeavor. We were now skating some real back country roads with no traffic on a Sunday night, Colin skated while we followed him closely in the van. Marcel followed Colin and they were making 8 to 10 miles per hour till about midnight.
About that time we fell under the delusion that if we skated 24 hours per day, we would be home in half the time.