What a year. I am sure that 2020’s post on the internet mostly start that way. This may be the only customary same as other blogs sentence, so I figured I would get it out of the way.
To say this year has been challenging may be a bit of an understatement for most people alive. The glorious plans of excess miles and smiles, even the seemingly guaranteed “Second Sunday” Stoke Clinics, and even the Broadway Bomb have been uprooted, upended, challenged, and modified from the beginning to current. I don’t know of a single tradition, or thought of normalcy that has survived the year intact.
However, somehow, through all of that I am more stoked than ever. Stoke Challenges, the one thing I was consistent with before Rona Time, the one thing I felt I could lean on as a normal easy to achieve daily goal barely made it a week into the pandemic.
People filled the usually empty trails, so even long distance pushing underwent a slight change. All of this should have been the sign. The tea leaves at the bottom of the pot, the indicator, the call to action, but as we know sometimes one has to run through all the easy options before we no longer have a choice. When we have dinked around with every other option, the one thing we have been struggling with and avoiding turns out to have been the most fun.
All of this came to be on the September Bonus miles push. Joining me on this push was a young rider named Julian. After an entire summer of gearing up for big miles with this new skater, we finally were able to schedule a day for 75 miles. I had just cleaned my old set of Tekton ceramic bearings to hand down to him. Brought a Pantheon Trip out of retirement, I was still mostly hopeful that it would last, and rounded out his set up with some Seismic Alpha wheels. I was on my standard Trip, pretty fresh as far as other set ups went, maybe the board had a couple hundred miles on it.
The weather was amazing, trail was clean, pace was on point. 42 miles later, a tricky section of the trail, and a dingus on his cell phone both boards had to overcome an inch tall concrete ledge. The speed we were going, and the way we had to hit it instantly blew apart Julian’s deck. The front forks completely ripped off, but the speed carried until the back trucks went over and snapped them almost off. The crack of the board was deafening in the tunnel, and he was sliding long enough on his back that I had time to look back and watch it happen.
As we waited for rescue, we discovered my board didn’t even fair much better. Granted I didn’t have a destroyed phone, and I definitely didn’t get sent sliding across the ground, but the ledge had even broke the bottom three plies of my back forks as well.
So my main board is not structurally sound. My maybe emergency set up was just obliterated. Pantheon is out of skateboards until 2021……hmmmmm. Well the only thing left to do was bring out Dos.
I’ve been pushing a Pantheon Trip in one form or fashion for years. A drop through drop down for the entirety of my LDP career thus far. Despite this familiarity and ease of pushing of this style of deck the Loaded Icarus is still one of my favorite boards. It is not a drop through drop down. Drop through sure, drop down nope, hard nope. One might even say the opposite. The center camber of this deck is easily 2 inches over the standing platform of the Trip. Which is the primary reason I have not ever pushed past 25 miles at a stretch on it.
Dos, is my second Icarus. The first (Uno) was skated to oblivion. The front and back were annihilated from tiger claws, the camber was flattened, and it was skated to death. Dos, was retired because the front and back kick had been bashed mercilessly. The board creaked when I turned because the pieces still present move against each other as the board flexes. The center and truck mounts were still mostly intact…..intact enough.
The board my have been intact, but the 37 miles I pushed for October’s first Sunday left my ego in pieces. From “challenging yet still plausible” to “SHUT DOWN” in the course of 4 hours. Yet, somehow, by the end as my legs lay quivering and aching, and the dragons of my mind confirmed the inadequacies of my performance and ability somewhere in there a spark took hold.
I love the Icarus. I love carving it. I love pumping it. I love pushing it. It’s harder to push, I was exhausted, I was defeated, I can’t wait to push it again. Somewhere in between getting blasted, and failing, my resolve has reignited. Maybe it’s the challenge. However it goes, I get to start over again, and build myself back up. I get to fail, and fail, and fail, while all the while feel myself get better again. Starting back at the bottom of another mountain, with the Icarus I will get stronger than I can probably imagine. Stoked!