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Old July 16th, 2007, 02:17 PM   #10
SeJoWa
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Basel, Switzerland
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Thanks Rods, glad you like it! You did put your finger with remarkable precision on a shall we say slightly contentious issue. The custom T-shirts, which are handed out during many a long distance skating event, were also meant to provide a good photo op for the press - we had some newspaper and radio coverage of Finline. Obviously, many of ous did not wear them all the time - in fact, I donned SkateLog garb on Independence Day. Cotton is really less than ideal once you start to sweat.

Alrighty, I left off the tale yesterday for an impromptu Sunday BBQ with the hardest part of Finline behind us. And though I write about ailments and delights from a personal perspective, do keep in mind that many had their own battles to fight - you'll never get such a diverse bunch of skaters (there, I finally used the magic word again) together who are all in pristine condition, devouring the miles as they pop up over the horizon. On the other hand, observing those who do is fantastic!

We usually bunked two to a hotel room (kudos once more to Dirk, as even the best of friends can find this problematic over any length of time), but for our well deserved rest Katie Koota, who was absent this time around, had selected a wonderful vacation village on one of the innumerable lake's shores - precisely what I had hoped for when inscribing.

We formed groups and dispersed to plunk our gear down in the well appointed little wooden houses, revelled in hot showers, a nice buffet supper, sauna, relaxing, and especially important after such a strenuous day, some spirited rowing about on the lake. It's really fun to make the oars skim just so over the water, and punishment for dipping too low is quite jarring! Vatto! A sport has actually developed in Finland around the old practise of rowing Sunday churchgoers around the myriad islands in small wooden boats, and we had a practising expert on the matter along for the ride too.

Daylight and dark in Finland do not follow established habits, as you might know, and I spent the better part of two hours till midnight on the jetty watching the sun fade away and drinking in all the music I had missed during our exertions - it would have been a tad dangerous to sink into my own bubble in the state we'd been in and some roads we navigated. Jessica posted a while ago that "Breathe" by Anna Nalick once kicked in at an opportune moment, and that song had been buzzing around in my head a lot - in any case, getting back to the house I found myself to be the last man standing.

Day five turned into a great one for me, which is why I've selected these two to write up! Breakfast during the trip was always enjoyable, and the rice topped pierogy as well as Finnish porridge prepared with rolled rye had especially cought my fancy. Alas, one last hurdle of my own making was left to overcome. You'd think I had left reasonably well prepared for Finline, and yet the frames were adjusted in a way that made me merrily pronate - and my right knee had really begun to hurt. We started skating amid a date with rain that began pouring down in such copious amounts that shelter became the ordre du jour. This was my make or break time - I knew that if I couldn't position my frames better, I'd be hitting the bus pretty soon.

Anyway, I finally got it right enough to keep blasting along in the speedy group of the day before, the rain went on to bother another place, and can you say skating is so much fun? It was tremendously rewarding working on my moves mile after mile, swooping down hills in silent prayer, and making the pavement fly by under our wheels.

You get to see an abundance of skating styles on an outing like this, but mark this down as the first time I could actually attempt to fall into cadence (power and form willing, that is) - the low countries do produce some outstanding skaters. And that's the thing about skating - such a delicious way of cutting the air. In my mind, we did indeed spout flames from our wheels akin to the graphic on the Finnish Street Gliders emblem.

I'm out of time for closing remarks, and frankly this is as nice a way to hit the post button as I can imagine. Wrapup and credits in my last post - our Finnish organizers deserve a special acknowledgement.
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