Stoke Challenge: Workout #14 & #15 Or Catching up after Failure

From this point forward the Stoke Challenge format is going to change.  Why?  The darn time zone change ended my 13 day streak, and my hopes for 365 days in a row.  In years past the challenge would be done, and I would go back to doing whatever it is a I did with my hour of the day before them.  This year is different.  This year my misses are opportunities and lessons to be harnessed.  Failure isn’t an end, it is another way to make oneself better.

This past week has been a delightful meditation in observation, contemplation, and fluidity.  After Day 13, I drove through St. Louis to pick up Micah (Shralpers Union President of Chapters 314 & 305) on our way to Morgan’s (Shralpers Union President of 901).  We arrived safely and had a super tasty meal Morgan cooked us.

The next morning we woke up and it was the Memphis to Punta Gorda, FL part of the drive.  I knew I would be cutting it close.  So as tempted as I was to delay our departure for an hour so I could at least get it in, I decided instead to head out as early as we could in an attempt to just get to where we wanted to be.  I made a gross miscalculation, which combined with less than optimal driving conditions, resulted in us arriving at 11:30pm.  So there was no way I could get my hour in.  Under the “challenge” part of the challenge that means I failed to skate an hour a day.

The next few days driving and getting the last things in place for the 24 Hour UltraSkate event at the Homestead Speedway, was equally as time filling, so once again another day of not being able to get on my board further separated what I had hoped would be a full year of hour a day skateboarding from reality.

Workout #14 24 Hour UltraSkate

When all was said and done.  This was a super challenging push.  Attempting to skate for 24 hours by itself is challenging undertaking.  We were prepared.  We had calories.  We had my wife heading up support.  We had all of 2019’s pushes for building up of the body in preparation.  I even had my daughter for a little mental boost on my part.  We had some of my best friends skating with me.  Motivating me.  Keeping me moving and stoked.  This was certainly the test for the end of the 2019 skate season, and the results would reveal areas to improve on for 2020.  What A Doozy!

I am a little bummed that Endomondo didn’t catch the 20 MPH winds we experienced.  It doesn’t even show the torrential downpour that we experienced midway through the day.  It rained so hard I repurposed a treat baggy to put my phone in because the rain started hitting buttons on my phone.  I discovered much too late that this also caused my tracker to stop tracking for about 3 miles too.  When my music and pacing stopped coming through my headphones all I could do was to continue pushing through it.  I’ve skated in gnarlier conditions, but not for as long as this.

When the rain stoped, my first and most critical mistake was made.  I kept going.  My thought was that my clothes wouldn’t stay wet forever.  I was wearing my usual push shorts, so I know they would dry fast.  My shirt was cotton, so I knew that would retain some water keeping my cool for a bit longer before my body heat dried it out, and then sweat would make it wet again.

What I should have done, was start pushing in my swim trunks.  So that as soon as the rain stopped I could have switched to not only my dry push clothes, but also could have dried my shoes and socks out.  My mantra bit me in the butt.  It was to keep going, and I did.  I kept going instead of critically thinking about how all of the wetness was effecting my body, and the extra work I had to do to keep moving because of those few critical mistakes.  By hour 16 it was in damage control.  Come in, change my pants, try to get the chaffing to stop-too late didn’t matter.  How to get my thoroughly soaked shoes and socks,  and wrinkly swollen feet to continue on even after the huge blisters had formed.  Each gentle step to the pavement was a reminder.  Multiple points of pain shot through my feet with every wincing motion and connection to the ground.   Kicking become a series of reminders as to how far over the “can manage it” line I had crossed.  When I pulled my head up to notice I was 16.5 hours in and had just put up 127 miles I knew that I had made some critical errors in race strategy.  Last year I had put up 129 miles in 14 hours, so that math helped me make the decision to call it good for the event.

Despite coming up short on goals I am still really really really stoked.  I lasted longer, in harder conditions than last year.  My legs weren’t cramping.  My hips which failed me last year showed no signs of the locking up.  This was in large part to the calories that my wife kept me up on, as well as the hydration.  I was never hungry, never over full, and never thirsty.  The support crew kept me rocking, and I am so grateful for it.

My biggest takeaway from this year’s Ultra, my critical linch pin to develop for this year’s pushes, and ideally what will carry me to a 200 mile Ultra for 2021 is going to be developing my critical thinking and planning of adverse conditions while on the push.  A big part of this will be researching the mental attitudes and habits that Ultra athletes have developed and come up with to keep them going through really challenging conditions.  In short, building that mental game.

I know 2019 was a tough one in that regard.  On several pushes I just stopped when I got bummed out, or discouraged.  I gave myself an out, instead of working through it. Once the precedent has been set of allowing myself that out when I should have and could have kept going the brain went to it again.  I even encouraged people I loved to skate with to come with me on this push so that I was hoping it would give me a pass at this skate.  However, the old adage of practicing how you play came in huge for this skate.

After this skate, during this skate, and the days after, which came and went in just as much of a whirl as the proceeding days a new plan was formed to help me in the regards of not giving up so easily and to come up with a reason to keep the Stoke Challenge going despite several days of not being able to continue.

This brings us to the new deal.  Since we are no longer in consecutive days in a row, I am just going to number each of the workouts.  Let’s see how many workouts I can do this year.  This way it keeps me accountable to this blog and the project, and the goal for this year, which is going to be a huge mental training year.  I am even more stoked now, than before.

Workout #15 was a balance board workout.  There ain’t any skating going on in KC right now.  When we came back from Florida, which seemed to take away all the all the sun and heat for the rest of the time we were there, we were greeted with snow and ice.  Bleh!  No worries though, we got it in, we got it figured out.  Now to simple execute.

Much love, thanks for reading.


Stoke Challenge: Day 13, On the move.

I am in the last moments before I start the drive to UltraSkate 2020. The timing has made it so that my Stoke Challenge hour needed to be completed in the morning. Which works out for the best, as I don’t have to drive through rush hour, and I can hopefully avoid the worst of the freezing fog that has moved in.

While on my balance board I have been thinking of things I’ve not packed. There has been the morning jump of ideas and information sharing on the group chats. So it’s been good to be able to get caught up in that before the driving starts.

In that lone if though the timing for this blog post entered my mind. Ope! I didn’t have the app downloaded even. So without getting off my board, I have downloaded it and am now using it to write this very post. All without taking a step off the balance board. Ahhh! Technology!

So app is working, Stoke Challenge is rocking. Excitement is building.


Stoke Challenge: Day 12 Pile it on.

Today should have been a Stoke Clinic day.  One of my favorite things to do every single month I can is a Stoke Clinic.  In weather much more conducive to skateboarding, we kick things of with a two hour push on Cliff Drive.  Located on a fairly flat 2.5 mile stretch of Kansas City road that winds through the historic Northeast.  This is road is a perfect kick off to start anyone off in their long distance pushing journey.

For two hours we push.  If someone can get 15 miles in those two hours they should be able to handle the challenges that the Indian Creek Trail offers.  Which is a part of a previous blog post on Stoke Challenge: Day 5.

Then I get to teach people the basics of operating a longboard or skateboard for the next 5 hours.  So I offer some really simple things like how to stop, foot breaking, Carving, and introduction to sliding.  Once the student gets to that level the community takes over.  People of all skill levels come to these things, so there is generally always someone doing the style of skateboarding you are interested there.  We do this in Kessler Park, near Gate 3, at the base of a quarter mile run the features a 25 mile and hour hairpin turn with curves in all the right places.  In full safe view of every one. Generally everyone gets a turn on the hill.  From varying heights up the hill.  Freeride, and people running the cones course congregate towards the middle of the straight before it turns right.  With beginner downhill taking the starts of their King of Kessler Downhill Dreams.

Instead of that, I got to pack, unpack, and in general get ready to head out to 24 Hour UltraSkate 2020.  I am so stoked!  All day was an incredible process of packing up, planning picking things out.  This year is my second and this year I get to bring my family with my Shralpers Family with the rad distance skating of the amazing event.  Stoked!  Stoked!  Stoked!  I just have the last few things to get together and then the road trip starts tomorrow!

Safe travels to everyone traveling.

I still got in an hour and got to hang out with the raddest shop cat in the shop cat game.

Stoke Challenge: Day 11 The Snow Hath Cometh

Welp, the weather dudes did not come up short on that forecast.  We got some snow and some ice.  Both a good and a bad thing.  Good because I wasn’t tempted to go outside and roll around…..bad because I couldn’t go outside and roll around.

I did scoop up a new Sweets Kendama yesterday when I was getting new bearings and getting the my Pantheon Trip ready to rip.  Being as I have a new Kendama, I might as well do balance board/kendama mash up work out!  Bamm!

The hour floated by.  Not lazily mind you, but directly, in intently focused immersion.  Moving the balance of the board through the motion of the ken to then transfer to the dama.  As the cup was weighted by the catch, the motion went back through it’s original path.  Like a ripple of focus touching all the points in my body in turn and in tune.

This was it though.  Last day here at the shop for like a week, until we get back from UltraSkate.  For those that may not know, as I ramble on with this.  UltraSkate is a 24 hour race put on by the IDSA.  It’s a super huge production.  They have some really rad sponsors.  No lies, it would be super rad to have a Burning Spider Stoke Company banner up on the headliner.

This Stoke Challenge, although only 11 days in, has a different feeling to it this year.  It was kind of wild to think that the last time I tried the challenge was in 2015, so it’s been five years.  It doesn’t feel like it’s been five years, but math don’t lie.  Those five years had many shifts, and challenges.  Most of it was in dedicated pursuit of learning the basics of where I wanted to take the shop.  How to use Illustrator.  How to keep the shop running through a difficult downturn in the industry without compromising the rather proud legacy of not owing any banks or credit cards any money.  How to keep the community growing and engaged, by sometimes showing myself how not to.  Dialing in our YouTube channel to more of what we want to produce, and then learning how to do all of that.  Working on the new website and delving into all the fun that goes on with teaching oneself all of those fun things.  The website’s upgrade also meant our own version of our business financials needed a more precise and encompassing (Read:not home made) use of Quickbooks, and then teaching myself as best as I could on that.  Then tying all of that into doing what we really want to do with the shop which is keep growing our community.  Grow it so we get noticed.  Grow it so we can show it off.  Grow it so the seeds from this community of really rad dudes may spread or inspire other communities.  Each community getting bigger, stronger, happier means there are more people to skate with.  More people to skate with, is just more fun.  Imagine that no matter where you traveled to if you had a spare evening you could catch a local garage, DH, or free ride session.  Maybe a push.  What an amazing world that would be.

I can see it.  I know how I want to live in it and be a part of it.  I can feel the warmth, and the stoke.  Going to another town’s shop and hang with the folks that make it what it is and pump up their community.  Learning something to bring back, maybe even shooting out and idea that solves one of their issue.  The world becoming a better place to live one high five at a time.

No.  The past five years was not a waste.  It was just a slight adjustment to learn what I need to do, to do what I want to do.  Now, with the stoke challenge and the knowledge backing it up I feel like I am finally setting about doing it.  All I did was a balance board workout, but it reassured me that I am on the right path.

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge: Day 10 Sword and Balance…..and a ball

Right now outside it is raining.  A few hours before this it we even had some lightning and thunder.  In a few hours the snow is supposed to move in.  So I took a break from getting my Pantheon Trip set up for Ultra Skate next week, and got in a little balance board action.

10 minutes in to rocking back and forth and watching the rain, I decided I would spice it up a little.  So I grabbed my Kendama.

Kendama is a Japanese skill toy.  We started carrying some of the Sweets line up in the shop this past year.  It’s a super fun way to pass some spare time, and even goes a long way to keeping your brain and body lined up.  Your hand-eye coordination gets a great workout, and I feel like it even helps develop your entire body coordination.

The hour, and oops having too much fun extra time, went by so fast I was a little bummed I didn’t have more time to put into it.  The inclusion of the Kendama into the equation definitely caused the balance board workout to be way more interesting and engaging.  By the end I was hitting all three cups and was getting super close to spiking it as well.

Tomorrow will be a snow day if the weather guy got it right, so I am pretty stoked to incorporate the Kendama into the mix again.

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge: Day 9 I Know What I Said

Ok.  I know yesterday I said that from now on I was only going to be working balance board sessions, but today….today was soooooo nice.  It is January, and it’s 60° out.  I could not, not skate outside.  That combined with the looming snowpocalypse that is forecasted for this Saturday had me itching to at least get out front of the shop and roll around.

My quadriceps where a little fussy after the hill climbs last night, but it didn’t take long to loose myself in the simple session of the day.  I worked on Manuals, heel side slides with a revert, pivots, as well as even worked some baby Ollies into the mix.  (I swear my back wheels left the ground for a millisecond). They have a long way to go to get them to where I want them, but I am having a blast working them in and working on them.

My head is for sure in Miami for Ultra.  The bearings I may have to use came in today.  Usually the start of the year I use my Christmas funds to scoop up a fresh set of Seismic Tekton Ceramics.  This year Seismic is overhauling them so they aren’t in stock yet.  So I am going to give the Bronson Speed Company RAWs a chance.  Aaron picked a set up and he has really been hauling balls on them.  He has them in a set of 66mm Powell Peralta Snakes and he has been keeping up with and passing my on 73mm wheels and Seismic 6-Balls, as well as several other skaters on bigger wheels.  As the racecourse at Homestead isn’t super gross, especially compared to what I usually skate, I am pretty stoked to give it a good solid go.  I will have some fresh cleaned old bearings, but only if it’s an emergency.


Stoke Challenge: Day 8. As I Eat This Jar of Pickles

That was a fun little rip.  My initial goal was to make aimless circles in the neighborhood directly behind the shop.  What ended up happening as the tasty curves of Kansas City streets melted my will power was a little bit longer loops and ending on the K & R.

The K & R is a mile long little DH run just north from the shop.  I was dinking around, and wound up by the Snake Path, did the sidewalk bomb through Roanoke Park, and, “Whoops, well if I am here I have to take a run or two on it.”

So down I went, pushed back up, and then back down.  Had a nasty headwind so I didn’t go as fast as usual, but still a solid bomb.

I am a little worried that some Missouri weather might be moving in so I wanted to get some miles in.  We hopefully will have Stoke Clinic on Sunday, with will get me another 20 miles.  Other than that my hour a days will most likely be stretching, Yoga-most likely on a board, and balance board work outs until Ultra.  I am Stoked!

Here is the Relive Link.  I may be a geek, but it’s one of my favorite things at the moment.

So as I am getting this all ready.  Looking at some Endomondo stats and such.  I got a little caught up.  Aaron and Dakota both got in some time.  They are still in.  So stoked those dudes are rocking it.  Also noticed fellow Kansas City Push Society rider Jeffery H. got out and got some miles in today too.  So many people getting out and making it a point to roll around a bit.  It never ceases to amaze me how much more level headed I feel after a skate.

I hope you skated today.  If not, make sure to get it in tomorrow.

Stoke Challenge: Day 7 Ollie Drills

Jam packed day. Before I knew what happened the day was most of the way over.  Most of the day was filled with a rad visit from an old friend/ex-coworker.  He was in town for a funeral unfortunately, but the day was filled up with great conversation.  So I hope that even though he came back in town with a cloud over his head, he left with a bright spot to shoot for.  It was really rad to catch up with him.

Since most of the day was toast I had to quick think of what I was going to do in my hour.      I wasn’t super sure, so while my brain stew came up with the recipe for creation, I hopped on the Ol’Book of Faces and our local group called theKansas City Longboard Community.  I am a little proud of the group we have built over the past 8 years.  1,200 + people mostly from Kansas City, but now with several rad people from all over.  It is a bastion of local skating and longboarding conversation that the internet needs.  Mostly positive local dudes, slinging stoke and hanging out.  Sure enough I struck gold.  One of our community members posted a video of the Brail guys and Andy Anderson (the most creative skateboarder? Yes, that wasn’t a question, it was a trap) on a pump track in San Diego.  I love watching Andy skate and this video was no different.  So the only thing left to do after adequate level of stoke was built up, but to learn some Ollies.

My hour would be in a meditation of Ollies.  Yup.  Super simple……right?  Well, yes, in idea.  For this hour I would be using my Loaded Kunthaka mounted with Onsens and the Skater Trainers.  My calves instantly protested with sharp little pins and reminders of the 75 from the last day.  The last of the aches driven away with jumpy jumpy skateboard fun.  So for an hour I worked on ollying and landing both in my natural goofy stance and regular.

Although I am by no means an expert after an hour I feel like I did learn a critical piece in this basic maneuver.  I am constantly telling the folks that come to the clinics to think about not standing with their feet 90° to the edge of the deck especially when carving.  So how did I notice I was standing after 30 minutes?  90° to the edge.  Dang ok, let’s adjust and observe.  I fell like my initial 20°-ish to the edge was maybe a little steep so I tried both stances with varying angles and I feel that even just not standing 90° was enough to make my initiation and landings feel 10 times better.  So I am quite delighted.  Now the answer is to keep at it.  Shoot, I’m only on day 7, no point in figuring all out at once.

Sick session.  Nice little step.  High Fives and Positive Vibes.

Stoke Challenge: Day 6 Ok, can’t put these off until the next day.

Today was as stressful a day as one could have, without loosing it, nope not even once.  I wanted to.  I wanted to scream, rage out, punch something, someone, anything.  I did not.  I was shut down on just about every avenue of forward progress that had been set out for me today…ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but that is the way it felt.

Start of the day, woke up a little sore.  I mean, like, Duh.  I pushed almost 75 miles yesterday.  Took some good slams, spent 9 hours overboard, and did a great job of continuous movement.  The mission was simple.  Drop car off at mechanic and have them give the Traverse a good look over, change oil, check tire pressure etc.  While that was going on I would take the Loaded Tesseract Unlimited Race demo to the bank, where I would get the Shralpers Union bank account up and running.  I figured that would take up enough time so that hopefully the car would be done.

What actually happened.  Pulled up to the mechanic…..nope…..not a single place to park…except for that spot…that just opened up….bet pull a U-turn in the middle of Southwest Blvd, just in time for someone to slide in to the one parking spot.  In which I then made a glory lap in the parking lot, again, before deciding to just go to the bank.  Got to the bank.  Waited for an hour while the person who sets up the accounts finished up with the person in front of her, then another 15 minutes while the dude who just came in gets a “simple” thing done.  Only to be told by the end that I did not have all the documentation I needed…..”thanks for not mentioning any of that stuff the first time I came in asking what was needed.”

Drove back to the mechanic.  Open spots.  Thank god.  Mechanic said it would be an hour.  Sick!  Finally forward momentum.  Let me just take me little Esk8 ride up State Line and try and get the shop open…..2 hours late.  I am not happy about that at all.  I did manage to get a lot of stuff lined up and taken care of in that little window of time, before hopping back on the Tesseract and going to pick up the car.

I did not spend enough time on the set up to count for the hour, but the little time I did get on it really helped to convince me that for an easy, fun, way to get around the city, the Esk8 set ups are legit.  I went up and down some fairly steepish stuff that I would not necessarily want to push up, and that I have been down before.  The accent was solid.  The descent was way more controlled than the first time I bombed down, and using the break, combined with standard carving techniques, kept me comfortable and safe.  Had I been able to do the original plan, it would have been glorious.

The rest of the day was catching up, though somehow I could feel the time slipping away without any forward progress.  My Day 5 write up, was way more hurried than I cared to write, and just as soon as I finished it I started my Day 6 Stoke Challenge time.

Monday nights are media nights, so right after the shop closes I set down in front of the computer upstairs along with any other person that decides to come over and work on whatever YouTube projects are on the docket.  Currently that would be finishing up Episode One of Stoke Chow.  You should totally Like, and Subscribe to that BTW.  That combined with the 9 hour workout from yesterday meant I was looking for the lower impact workout of a balance board session.

So an hour on the balance board and my knees tell me that was a good idea.  Just enough tension to make whatever tendon runs under your knee cap hurt just a bit, get some sweat rolling down my back, and get a bunch of no name (ok they have names, but I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know them dudes) small muscles and tendons all in my ankles and lower back a good bit of work.  Part way through the session my little gremlin came downstairs to the shop and wanted to play too, so we got in a great little session.  She had a blast, I got my mind off of the mountain of never shrinking things to do, and we got to smile and laugh.

She reminded me to focus on the moment.  The one thing we have control of right now.  How we spend it.  How our attitude going into this moment may influence it, and how despite how it starts, right here, this time is all that is real.  It is truly amazing how much she has the ability to remind me to enjoy what is in front of me.  She also reminded me I should stop finding excuses to not post each day after the activity.

The hour is done.  My knees are complaining in a slightly different way than earlier, and there is much to get done as best I can, with the time that I have.

I hope you got to skate today.

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge: Day 5 Last biggish push until Ultra

Despite the cold.  Despite the initial plan of only 37 miles.  Despite all the little factors and hang ups that presented themselves, 75….ok 74.02 Miles were skated yesterday.

It was a blast, and just the right amount of challenge to help relieve some of the anxiousness I have going into UltraSkate this year.  Last year was my first and I skated 129 miles before bonking at the 14 hour mark.  This year going in I am way better prepared, and I understand a bit better about how to achieve what I want to achieve.  This year I will have my wife heading up the support end, and just like the pushes here in Kansas City, I bet that makes a big difference.  I am also bringing Billy, who is an amazing skater in general, to keep me on pace for my goal of 250 miles in 24 hours.  Another big factor going into this years’ Ultra is the amount of people in the long distance community who are so super supportive and helpful.  I have learned a lot through the year, and really can’t wait to skate with everyone.  Another big bump from last year is the Shralpers Union presence, the energy from my skate family should be a super bump to all that attend.

This 75, the first one of the year was glorious.  The trail was pretty on point.  Not a lot of sticks, mud, or rocks the trail causing one to stop and get off.  The wind was the nastiest piece, but easily managed.  The sun was shinning, and I got to share part of the push with Aaron Fisher and Dakota Kinslow.  These two guys are on the Stoke Challenge game this year with me, and I am stoked for it.  Both of those guys kicked 25 miles, half of the hard way, and half easy, but all super rad.  If they stick with it and keep kicking, their next journey on the Indian Creek Trail will be even more epic, and easier.

You for sure need to check out the Relive recap of the push here “Stoke Challenge Day 5” .  I adore the app, yes it costs money…but these videos are so epic.  The featured image on Day 5’s post is a screen grab from the interactive viewing.  I am not like super cocky, but that image does make me feel like a bad ass.  Lol, so much of a bad ass, Day 6 is going to be a balance board work out for sure.

Thanks so much!  Shralp It!