Interview Number 7 of our ‘hello my name is…’ series… someone who’s well known. Welcome to ‘La Maquina’…Andy Andras!
First of all…please introduce yourself.
My name is Andrew Andras, a bit of a tough twister so my friends just call me Andy. I’ve been called a lot of other things too but lets leave that one alone. I do have a nickname in the Distance Skateboarding world- La Maquina! Spanish for The Machine. I think Joner Strauss started calling me that on the loud speaker at the Miami Ultra-Skate on one of my world record performances due to me holding the exact pace though all 24 hours. He was announcing and every time I passed the timing system he said my pace was exactly the same every lap and it was machine like. Being that I’m from Spain he switched it La Maquina on one of the laps and the nickname took.
How and when did you get into Skateboarding and when did you start Long Distance Skating?
I grew up in Madrid, Spain most of my child hood to an American father and Spanish mother. My Dad came back from a trip to the States with a skateboard when I was about 10 years old. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I rode it quite a bit with out knowing much of the skateboard culture; just innocent fun like it’s supposed to be at that age. A few years later I started skating street, vert, bowls, anything I could find that looked like a fun skate spot. I was a total skate rat!
Distance Skating came much later in life, I must have been in my 30’s and living in Miami Beach when I started seeing a lot of people commuting with longboards around town. So I bought one and used it to get around town instead of my bike. One day, in 2009 another longboarder told me of an outlaw push race called “South Beach Bomb”. A racecourse thought the busy roadways of Miami Beach. It was the first one to be done in my town, so I showed up, pushed like a mad man and ended up winning it!! My setup back then was a heavy oversized top mount longboard that had a tail and everything. I had no clue of racing, setups or training. I just had a solid switch push and probably some luck with the traffic that day. But I was hooked and I needed to race more. It was a rush.
Speaking of influences… who inspires you? Someone in the Scene, friends, family or someone else?
I remember early on in Distance Skating I was always inspired by the 2 fastest guys we had in the sport at the time, Paul Kent and Jeff Vyain. I just couldn’t understand how they could skate so fast, it was incredible watching them go at the first Adrenalina Marathons and the first couple Chief Ladiga stage races. Conan Gay and James Peters where also veteran Distance Skaters that I really looked up to. I had never skated 24 hours when I first met them two and I thought it was so crazy that they had been doing an event like that. I remember asking if I could please come try it at the next one? I want see how much it hurt to try and skate for 24 hours
Later on I found inspiration from the slower racers, (no disrespect guys) Watching someone grind it out all night at an Ultra Skate to get their distance done was something special to me. They may not have the genetic code to be amazing endurance athletes with some crazy Vo2 threshold but they will persist and still give it their all at every race. I’m also super proud of the younger generation that are killing it now. Going fast and farther every event is so impressive to watch.
Outside of Skateboarding- Killian Jornet!
What is your very personal reason and goal? WHY are you skating long distances?The goal is to have fun!!!!!!! Overall I love the community of Distance Skaters; there truly is not a cooler group. But I also like racing against them. Inflicting pain and pushiest on my friends while holding a strong pace in the middle of a race brings a smile to my face, and I love it when they do it back to me. I am proud of them when they beat me in a race, and I know they made me earn it when I win. That’s racing the LDP way. Everyone enjoys the social afterwards with no animosity.
My personal goal was to get a podium spot at least once in every major LDP race I knew. The biggest personal goal was to break the 24-hour world record. The first time I tried 24 hours was in the Pacific North West with Conan and James. The record at the time was 252 miles and was held by Paul Kent. I had no real training or understanding of Ultra type events but still managed to skate 230 miles that first time. From that point on I knew what was going to occupy my time. I dedicated myself to training, nutrition and race knowledge for Ultra-Skate.
How do you train? How do you prepare yourself prior Races and Trips? Any tips for the reader?
First you need to see training as a part of life. Like eating and going to the bathroom, you should always have a good base of activity that you can build on when it comes time to get ready for a race. I used a lot of training programs from running, or sometimes just make up my own training. But ultimately I try for 2 days of intense workouts and set a distance goal for the whole week. So a long slow training day, 2 intense days and the rest fun rides to hit 60-100 miles for the week. I found cross training very important too. Specially running. I truly feel that doing a high intensity running program combined with LPD got me 309 miles in 2016 Miami Ultra Skate. But it dose not always have to be running. Biking, Stand Up Paddle or just some strength and conditioning a couple times a week is good for body balance and to keep you from overtraining in one sport.
As Distance Skating means spending lots of time on a board… do you have any remarkable memories to share?
I just love where my mind wonders while I skate. Its fun to come up with ideas or just old childhood memories. I don’t know, I think of all kinds of things when I get in the zone. Kind of trance out and have deep thoughts of the Universe to newton’s laws of motion. Ha-ha
Your most glorious or heart-touching Moment from the past?
My favorite moments like that are things like hugging my wife and kids after skating non-stop for 24 hours. I always found it special and helpful to embrace the ones you love after such a tough experience. Or that amazing feeling of knowing that you just had an epic experience at a weekend event racing against friends. Those ones that you leave you buzzing with stoke and you just can’t wait to do it again.
Biggest long distance fail moment? (Skating in the wrong direction, injuries, broken kit etc)?
2010 Adrenalina Marathon! It was my first real event after winning the South Beach Bomb. I thought it would be a great idea to change my wheels at the last minute to some Roller Blade wheels. Some ridiculous 90mm wheels that where way to hard and a narrow contact patch. Every little rock in the road or crack in the pavement would pull my board from under my feet. I spent that whole marathon chasing after my board. Never again! Skateboard wheels are for skaters.
Goals for the future? What will happen next? Plans?
The goal for the future is to still have fun at events, even if I’m not competing as much. I have been taken a bigger role in the LDP sanctioning body of Skate IDSA. I think if we want to see our sport grow and become known outside our circle then we must have a strong and unified sanctioning body. To show the world that we have rules and regulations, a points systems with ranked riders. That we are doing legit events in our sport with real competition is very important. So when it comes time to talk to Olympic comities or the World Roller Sport Federation we can say, “Yes we are a bunch of skaters, but we have our shit together and we are unified and organized sport.”
If you had one wish… what would be your biggest dream related to Distance Skating?
I want to see our sport grow and get more exposure. But not in the wrong way. My dream would be to see more people enjoy LDP and its healthy lifestyle while keeping the good vibe and friendliness we have now.
10 Facts for you related to Distance Skating:
1. It’s better to come into a race undertrained than over trained.
2. A little bit higher board with flex is better than a low stiff board.
3. I rather loose a hard fought race than win one easy.
4. Don’t get to crazy about your setup- Its only as fast as you can push it.
5. All the emotions of a lifetime can be condensed and felt in 24 hours of skating.
6. Setbacks happen so you can have awesome comeback.
7. You don’t stop skateboarding when you grow old; you grow old when you stop skateboarding.
8. Yes you can get an aerobic workout on a skateboard, try pushing faster.
9. There is no wrong way in LDP, just your way. Ride your setup the way it works for you.
10. Asking what bushing duro’s to use is like asking someone how to make love. Some thing’s you have to figure out yourself.