"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Goal #1, Resume Transmission:

There are probably hundreds of goals that I could set for the new year, but as I stated in the previous post I am  keeping my focus on three, and because I am a nice guy here they are so you don't have to go back and look at the last post to jog your memory.

  1. Build on the foundation of the 100+Project.
  2. Increase my level of fitness
  3. Spend 12nights in the bag.
The second half of 2011 was pretty much a waste, as far as training and racing was concerned.  I won't go into the details of why, but if you don't know the reason take a look back at some of my other posts to get an idea of how things fell apart.
One of the good things that came out of 2011 was the creation of the 100+Project (click the link for details).  It seems like so long ago it was just an idea.  The project allows me to add a bit of adventure to my life while raising money for the St Louis Asthma and  Allergy Foundation.  I remember contacting them for the first time thinking that they would not want me to proceed with my plans.  I found that the exact opposite was true.  They seemed more excited than I was.  Jessica (from the foundation) and I appeared together on a local AM radio station WBGZ 1570 to talk about the foundation and the 100+Project.  I was invited to speak at a board meeting (an invitation that I have yet to take them up on), and I was a guest host at their annual trivia night along with some other local celebrities.  So our relationship has been one thousand percent better than the flat NO I was half expecting.
Skate 100+ was the first of the 100+Projects, since the whole idea was inspired by Dave Cornthwaite who first skateboarded the length of Great Britain, and then across Australia I though it would be a fitting homage for the first event to be skateboarding.  The true benefit though lied in the fact that I already knew how to skateboard.  I had never ridden a longboard before but the mechanics are the same, bend right leg, push with left, repeat.  I did a few loops on the Madison county bike trails labor day weekend.  The day started early and the temperature was cool, but it soon rose to over 100degrees.  I had some relief in the late afternoon when severe thunderstorms moved in, and as the sun went down the temps became cooler again.  My wife and daughters were my support crew for the event and I think I underestimated how hard the day was going to be on them.  It took me a little under 19hours to skate the 107miles from the MCT trails on up to Grafton, IL and they were out on the road the whole time taking care of anything I might have needed.  I received tons of emails, text messages, comments on facebook, and tweets to encourage me along the way, and they were very much appreciated.  I met some of my friends along the route too.  Cheri met me at the halfway point which was also the hottest part of the day.  I was really doubting if I could finish, it was just so hot out.  I had just left my family at Horseshoe lake where we had lunch, and I hid how much the heat was beating me down because I didn't want them to worry.  Cheri rode alongside on her bike (the bike that she ran me over with in the past) and we talked about the heat and how far I had to go.  Talking through it made it seem more manageable.  I would go as long as I could and if I succumbed to heat I would figure out what to do at that point.  The crazy thing about the heat was that the temperature the day before and the day after was about 25degrees cooler making the heat a non-issue.  I happened to pick the freak September day was a heat wave.  Cheri turned and rode home when her husband called and told her that there was a severe thunderstorm was on the way.
The storm was good news to me because when the leading edge rolled in it brought cooler temperatures with it.  When I turned the corner on the Schoolhouse trail I could see the thunderheads in the distance, as well as the lightening strikes.  Beating the heat was such a triumph but now I was faced with another potentially hazardous weather situation.  The success of the first project was very important but was I willing to ignore some very real danger in order see it through?  Checking the weather on my phone I found out that the storm was very narrow and fast moving.  A message from Jackie who was at the Cardinals game said the storm would be very intense for about 15minutes and then gone.  The decision to keep going was not an easy one but it seemed that if the storm was too bad I could find somewhere to ride it out before continuing on my way.
After making three loops on the MCT trails it was now time to head north making my way to Grafton.  I almost made it to the Wanda park and ride lot before the the skies opened up and the rain drenched me to the bone.
 
Arriving at the Wanda park and ride it was time to take this show on the road, for a few miles at least.  The shoulder of the road was fair but the road itself was smooth as could be so I skated toward traffic and moved to the shoulder when cars came toward me.  It was fun to skate in the rain until I got to New Poag road when the storm really got going.  The storm got really ugly when I made the turn.  The wind was blowing me toward traffic so I switched sides of the road and fought the wind as it tried to push me off the shoulder into a ditch.  It would be an understatement to say it was tough going.  Tornado sirens could be heard in the distance and the very real possibility that I had made a mistake by continuing was upon me.  It was then that Beth and Sarah pulled up in the car, I hopped in and rode out the storm.  Safe in the car another check of the weather revealed that the storm was almost over.  When it passed I was back out on the road.  The shoulder at this point was not very good but there were too many cars for me to ride in the road.  I pushed to the top of a pretty steep hill hoping to enjoy the freedom of the downhill side but again the cars were too frequent and the shoulder to littered with small deadly pieces of broken asphalt and gravel.  Anyone who has ever ridden a skateboard knows that even the smallest piece of gravel can stop your board cold causing a sudden and immediate fall.  So I spent the entire way down the hill checking my speed instead of freewheeling and enjoying the ride.  Beth and Sarah were waiting for me at the Lewis and Clark visitor's center in Hartford so I resupplied and grabbed my headlamp since the daylight was fading fast and it was time to get back on the trail.  After it got dark I kept my light off because I didn't want to attract the wrong kind of attention.  I was still feeling strong and kept on pushing.  Near Alton I noticed a runner up ahead and tried to figure out the least frightening way to pass.  I guy on a skateboard at night on the trail is an unusual sight indeed and I didn't want to freak her out and get pepper sprayed.  I rolled by with my light on and wished her a good evening and went about my way relieved to not have been pepper sprayed or taken out with a few handy techniques from a women's self defense class.
Once again I met Beth and Sarah, resupplied and made my way to the Vadalabene bike trail.  I stopped for a minute to explain what I was doing to a couple of curious on lookers.  They seemed to think what I was doing was cool and not stupid so I was pretty pleased with myself.  The way to the bike trail was very difficult, the shoulder of the road was very narrow and covered in loose gravel.  After such a long day I was very frustrated almost falling every time I got going.  The cycle of pushing and stopping myself from falling was a low point for sure and made me wonder how long I could go on like that.  Luckily though it didn't last too long and once I hit the bike path it was smooth sailing, except for the spiders.
Yes spiders!  By this time I was starting to feel the effects of the days journey and was really looking forward to finishing.  But what I was really looking forward to in a more immediate sense was not riding face first into giant spiderwebs.  My headlamp let me see quite a few webs before I got to them but most of the time I didn't have time to react.  The worst ones were when I could see the spider in the web right before I rode through it.  Now where did that spider go?  Eventually I switched over to the shoulder next to river always thinking Raging Rivers water park was around the next bend.  Moving very slowly I still couldn't believe that it was taking so long to get to the water park.  It was like my mind was playing tricks on me.  I stopped to rest for a minute watching a tree up on the bluffs burn.  I guessed that it had been struck by lightning when the storm blew through earlier.  Finally, Finally, Finally I made it to the water park.  Raging Rivers was important because it was a big landmark on the way to Grafton, a sign of progress that the end was near.  Even though I have never actually been there when it was open that night it was my favorite place in the world.  As happy as I was though I still had a ways to go.

Grafton, dead ahead.

Beth sent me a text saying there was a patrol car heading in my direction.  I had no idea what the police would think about me skating up the River Road in the middle of the night but I had a feeling that I was about to find out.  I had visions of being hauled off to jail not being able to finish.  Being hauled off for skateboarding may seem a bit extreme to some of you but I was around for the second revival of skateboarding in the 80's where the battle cry was "Skateboarding is NOT a Crime".  In my experience when you combine law enforcement and skateboarding the outcome is not good.  Soon the patrol car pulled along side me and I summoned enough strength to speed up and look strong.  The car slowed down to match speed with me, and I swear I saw the cop look at me shake his head and drive off, or maybe I just imagined it.  Either way he drove off and left me to my finish my journey.
Not long after the close encounter with the law I arrived in Grafton, 107miles from the start and almost 19hours later.  Beth and Sarah were so tired after spending the day (and night) on the road.  I was over 100miles and Skate 100+ was a success.  I raised some money for a great cause and I was feeling pretty good.  The day was long and full of highs and lows and I am glad I did it.

I was glad to get the 100+Project started in 2011 and I was trying to fit another project into the schedule before winter but it just didn't work out.

In 2012 the 100+Project will include Cycle 100+ on the KATY trail over Memorial day weekend (May 25-28) 200+ miles of cycling and camping.  I am inviting anyone that wants to come along to join me for the adventure.  We will cover about 70miles each day.  There will be more details coming soon.
Also 2012 will see Kayak 100+ when I paddle the Missouri River 340 (July31-Aug3), a 340mile race across Missouri from Kansas City to St Charles.
Sometime in the Fall I plan to embark on Unicycle 100+ I don't have a route or a date but I do have a unicycle and time to learn how to ride it!
There is a lot to look forward to in 2012 for the 100+Project hopefully a string of success as well as a rising donation total!
A huge thanks to everyone that donated in 2011, without all of you my fundraising efforts would be a total failure.  I do these things for the love of the adventure and to help out a great cause.  By reading this terribly long post, or by following me on twitter or liking the facebook page you are telling me that what I am doing is worth while and that you feel that we can all do something to help out those that are less fortunate.  In a nutshell that is what the St Louis Asthma and Allergy Foundation does, they help those that are less fortunate deal with conditions that at times can be life threatening.  They are the ones that deserve your support and I am looking forward to helping bring awareness to the work they are doing in 2012.

The 100+Project is just getting started and there is much work to do.

3 comments:

  1. Great recap of the epic skate board ride! 107 miles is very impressive specially given the extreme heat that day. Looking forward to your next projects Patrick. Happy New Year!

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  2. I'm hoping I'm in shape to go with you in May. Robin

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