Here at Skatefurther we love hearing about people’s skate trips. We know the amazing feeling of getting to the end of a journey regardless of the distance. Skatefurther is about exactly that; skating further. Here forum member Nik recounts one such skate.
42 miles, 6 hours 32 minutes and a feeling that can’t be measured!
I stepped out of my Peterborough home at a dark, ungodly 7:15 to begin the longest skate I’d ever attempted, a gentle jaunt through Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to my hometown to visit my folks. I’d planned the route, trying to avoid every major road and town so solitude and safety would be mine for as much of the journey as possible. The camelbak was filled with water, several energy gels and a survival kit (well you never know!), I hit the go button on the Garmin and started the push…
Passing the rail station I’d been commuting from for the past 5 years I smiled – what was a long skateboard ride a few months ago was now a warm-up. 4 miles down, lots to go. Peterborough looks quite nice early in the morning tho!
The next checkpoint on my map was Norman Cross, a monument to 1700 Napoleonic prisoners of war (as featured on this week’s Time Team!) buried in the nearby field, having died in what was possibly the first prisoner-of-war camp in the world. Something to be proud of, I’m sure! A brief rest here, time for a quick snack, and onwards. Pushing across the flyover above the hectic A1, through several sleepy villages, there was a damp mist hanging in the air that made the roads rather slippery. After a couple of unintentional slides i started to footbrake my way down any and all hills. I wanted to reach my destination in one piece – there’s no glory in ending up in a ditch!
I entered Sawtry, the only town on my route and immediately wished I’d printed off a map as there didn’t seem to be any signposts for getting out on the road i needed. I stopped to ask a local ‘which way to Buckworth?’ to which he replied ‘It’s at least a couple of miles, mate – you’re not going on that thing, are you?!’
‘Yeah, I’m on my way to Rushden, about 25 miles from here’ I said.
‘WHAT?! Are you mad?’ was the reaction.
‘No, I’m from Peterborough!’ I laughed and pushed away on the road he’d showed me.
‘Good luck, you nutter! he shouted after me. Brilliant! It’s amazing what once seemed impossible has become normal.
A few miles on, a most unnerving and surreal moment – rolling through another village seemingly devoid of all human life, through the mist i saw a figure, then another, just standing and staring at my approach. As i got closer i laughed – SCARECROWS! The village was full of them! Nearly every garden had one – flippin’ freaky out in the sticks.
Slowly the mist cleared, but i was skating under grey clouds – at least it was cool. The miles passed by, I’d chosen the route well and barely saw a soul, i was in a trance-like state. I love the feeling of travelling by board, i feel connected to the land, every corner, every undulation and especially every road surface. Never has ‘taking the rough with the smooth’ meant so much!
And so to Kimbolton, about ten miles to go and I was starting to feel the distance. I’d planned on stopping for food here, but it was the opposite direction into town so i decided to have my last Go gel and pushed onto the only busy road on the journey. It was the roughest road I’d yet encountered, so painful and frustrating. I kept telling myself that with every push i was closer to finishing, but it didn’t seem like that!
Then i was at my last major hurdle, a mile long hill, not so steep but one i’d practiced coming down a few years ago in training for the Bude Downhill. Back then I’d never imagined skating UP the thing! This was going to be harsh, so gritting teeth i puffed and sweated up to the summit and knew that I’d made it to my hometown. I swooped into Yielden on the other side of the hill, screaming past the 13th century castle mound approaching 30mph. Just 4 miles further on and I was home and dry, greeted by my mother with a cup of tea and cakes! HURRAH! I’d made it. 42 miles, 6 hours 32 minutes of skating and a feeling that can’t be measured!
Another personal goal down – now to plan the route to Cambridge! The addiction has bitten deep…