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Group Skates Discussions about night skates, organized skate tours, skating party weekends, and similar group social skating events.

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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #1
Bryan
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Default 2007 Big Apple Roll Report (New York)

Who's going?

Jenn and I will be there, but we're not staying at the event hotel. Anybody else from SkateLog that's gonna be there, chime in and we can arrange a meet-n-greet.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #2
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Me! Me! Me!

Oh... wait. You already knew that didn't you?
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Old August 16th, 2007, 03:37 PM   #3
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Me too... I'll be there... can't wait....
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Old August 18th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #4
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I'm looking forward to all your pix and skating stories, and hope to join the BAR next year. Whoo hoo!! You're certainly going to have loads of fun and see plenty of nice people.

Can't wait to be back in the city.

City to skate in!
(O the blacktop! O the fierce mean!
O ubiquitous tourists and gawkers in daydream!)
City of the world! (for all boots can be found here,
all the lands of the earth make contributions here; )
City of ennobled burgers and glittering hides!
City whose taxis continually rush and recede
when you need them most and foam at the mouth!
City of derelict wharves - city of tall facades and marble and steel!
Proud and passionate city - mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!
Embrace these skaters O city!
Walk not - submit to no subways or horseless conveyance, O city!
Roll over when I zip past your gridlock, O city!
Good feet or sore feet - I endure all - just spare me a summer sans AC, O city!
I chant and celebrate all that is yours - yet peace no more,
In peace I chanted pece, but now that Broadway is mine,
roll, sweet roll is my song through your streets, O city!
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Old August 21st, 2007, 05:30 PM   #5
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Ack. Looks like Jenn and I might be missing out this year after all. Long story, but travel plans have gone all to hell. And at this late date, plane tickets are quite pricey, turning this into a thousand dollar weekend. Hopefully things will turn around in the next 24 hours, though. We'll see.
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Well, we gave up and planned a hiking trip in the mountains instead. So I went to do the last skate of the week last night, and when I got home a little after midnight, there was an email waiting for me... my buddy came through with the plane tickets, so we'll be there after all!

Hopefully we'll see a few of you there...
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 05:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
Well, we gave up and planned a hiking trip in the mountains instead. So I went to do the last skate of the week last night, and when I got home a little after midnight, there was an email waiting for me... my buddy came through with the plane tickets, so we'll be there after all!

Hopefully we'll see a few of you there...

nice glad you two are going, free tickets send us all some lol....enjoy
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Old August 23rd, 2007, 05:50 PM   #8
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Bryan and Jenn,

Glad to hear you guys will be going! I've asked a good friend of mine from the City to look for you at the festivities. I'll send you a PM here shortly with a little more info.

Enjoy! And if the group skates don't take you over to Central Park, be sure to go there and do a loop.

Julie
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Old August 27th, 2007, 04:41 AM   #9
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Talking Just got back from New York, and boy do my feet hurt!

It’s been mentioned previously, but we weren’t sure until 36 hours prior that we were even going to NYC this weekend. We had planned it a while back, but hadn’t bought tickets. This was because a close friend of ours that I gave my old skates to and then taught him how to use them (the poor bastard!) had just landed his first commercial pilot’s job and could get us free tickets. Unfortunately, they had spelled his name ever so slightly wrong in the system, causing myriad bureaucratic difficulties, one of which was an inability to issue Buddy Passes. As we waited for that to get resolved, we watched the retail price of those tickets climb. Eventually it was 48 hours away, no Buddy Passes were forthcoming, and the retail price was way more than we could justify. So, tears in our eyes, like little kids who have just been told that Santa was killed in a horribly chimney accident and Christmas was cancelled from here on out, we made alternate plans. They were good plans, too. We were gonna drive out to the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike amongst the big waterfalls and the bigger rocks. So Wednesday night, knowing it would probably be my last chance for a week, I went for a night skate at Wrightstville Beach to get my frustrations out. When I got home around midnight, there was an email asking if I’d cancelled the hotel reservations yet.

That email (and the subsequent phone call till 2:00am while he worked out the details and got it all booked) were the start of the one trip I’ve ever taken where every detail went perfectly. It was just eery how well everything worked out with only three exceptions (to be noted below).

Getting to NY

Friday morning we were up at 4:30am to catch a 6:30am flight up the coast. And in spite of two decidedly non-morning people being up at such an unrespectable hour, we were quite happy to do so. We landed at LaGuardia a little after 8:00am and were in the city by 10:00am. The hotel let us check in early, so we got our room, got some lunch, then took a nap. We got all our gear together and hopped a subway down to midtown for the expo, waiver signing, and gladhanding.

That gear included the backpacks we got from Inline Warehouse, which are $15 with a large enough order. They’re great in that they have an inner plastic lined pocket for sweaty stuff, a strap system on the sides to carry your skates, etc. That gear also included a Sierra lumbar pack with two 1 liter bottles that I thought was kind of a waste at $35, since we could just put as much water as we wanted in the backpacks. Boy was I wrong! Those backpacks are a great idea, but the execution is poor. Already had a strap rip loose on mine, while packing Thursday night, before it had even been used once! Also, skating with a halfway heavy backpack (water, food, street clothes, shoes) didn’t do much for my form. For the rest of the weekend I used the lumbar pack and it was great.

Friday Night (15 miles*)

Bright lights, big city. Skated through Times Square on a Friday night. Need I say more? This skate was rather slow, owing to covering a lot of high traffic areas at a high traffic time. Got a few good runs in, though. One of them was an excellent reminder that smooth pavement can go crappy at any moment, and if you’re running flat out, you can get flattened out.

I ended up doing one of my signature Sliding Knee Grinds™where I skid for a while on one knee and one hand then pop back up with most of my momentum and pride intact. In this case it was the right knee and right wristguard for a good thirty feet. Only problem was the the toe of my skate was also sliding. Oops. I’d already wounded the leather in a few spots previously, but this time I ground right through the carbon. About ten minutes later somebody rolled up and next to me and asked where I got the Bonts. I tried for a moment to remember where, since I’d gotten a really good deal, then remembered it was Back Street Inline. He said “Yeah, I know. I’m Paul.” Then proceeded to tell me how to patch them up. One of the many times fortune smiled upon me this weekend.

We ended up at a restaurant down by the piers. This was the first time things were less than perfect. Mediocre food, slow service, high prices. Caused me to miss the 10:00 speed skate back to the event hotel, which pissed me off more than it should have. Two thumbs up (but I’m not saying *where*.) We cruised back with a portion of the group to the event hotel, then took the Greenway back to our hotel.

Oh yeah, the Greenway (also called the West Side Path, I think?). It’s a multi-use athletic trail running all around the island, marked for pedestrians, cyclists and skaters. Very nice. Turned the subway ride from our hotel to the event hotel (The Skyline at 49th and 10th) into an easy two mile warmup skate. Sleep came easy that night.

Saturday Morning (25 miles*)

Got up early, found a decent breakfast and some duct tape to patch up last night’s damage. Skated down to the Skyline for what would turn out to be the hardest skate either of us had ever done. This was the Five Island skate, and those bridge climbs were pretty intense for us flatlanders. I suffered a minor wound on one of the bridges by waiting too long to get up onto the sidewalk. By the time I was forced to, it was at least a 24" hop. I damn near made it, too. Nothing serious, just a scrape on the right calf and some busted dignity.

The skate route was set up so that people could peel off toward the end and take the Tram back across instead of doing the fifth bridge, and we elected to do so. Turned out to be a good thing, as I’m not sure I could have done the second skate of the day had those things been on my feet another five minutes, to say nothing of another very steep bridge climb. We split with the group near the base of the bridge and headed uptown with a few other girls, who we dropped at Central Park. Had just enough time to skate “home,” change clothes, get lunch, take a shower, build me a pair of Comfy Skates, and head back out.

Saturday Afternoon (16 miles*)

Yes, I said Comfy Skates. Our hero Ben had planned to arrive in NYC Sunday morning but wouldn’t be able to have his gear with him. So I brought my old K2s and the pads/helmet I recently replaced. Twas a damn good thing, as there was no way my feet were getting back in those Bonts, but there was no way I was gonna miss and of the skates. There was also no way Jenn was putting skates on again that day, so she loaned me her 80mm Hyper+Gs. I was a little apprehensive about skating on those things again after three months on speed skates, but after thirty seconds I was back. (Okay, maybe sixty.)

It goes without saying that I couldn’t heel carve quite as well on them and the hill climbing was more difficult, but the comfort (like bedroom slippers on wheels, I tell ya!) and maneuverability made up for it nicely. This was the Square Skate, and was essentially just a square within the grid. But it was led by Greg The Psycho Sweeper, so it was very fast paced for a city skate.

We did two tunnels which was way cool, and I am very grateful to two anonymous cab drivers who realized what we were doing and what we needed: they stopped next to each other at the mouth of the tunnel, blocking traffic entirely until we got through. Thanks, guys!

It was the shortest short skate of the weekend, but other than that, excellent. That left plenty of time to get back up to our hotel, chill out, clean up, and take a nice, leisurely stroll around the Upper West Side, ending up at an awesome Chinese place (China Fun at 72nd and Columbus, highly recommended) for dinner. Had a drink or two, made some new friends, and ate very well. Some of the gang went next door for a night of clubbing (what have they got against the damn seals???) but we’re not really into that, so we went back to our hotel. Sleep that night was even more forthcoming. I started dreaming before I was even asleep. Freaky man, freaky.

Sunday Morning (16 miles*)

The two remaining glitches occured here. One was that I had neglected to pack the GPS charger, so it died right as the skate got underway. The third was the big one, which was that Ben wasn’t able to make it. He was supposed to have the day off and arranged to fly into LaGuardia at 8:07am, but was given a Sunday flight the day before. There was no rejoicing.

Other than that, this one rocked. Not as hard as Saturday morning and not as quick (in both senses) as Saturday afternoon. We did three bridges, but none of them were as hard as the previous day’s batch. Skated to Queens and covered a lot of ground there. Nothing really noteworthy, just a lot of good city skating. It was on this skate that I awarded myself my new Indian name of Dances With Taxis. We came back onto the island on the Williamsburg Bridge, which gave us the opportunity to skate uptown on 8th Ave. Which, as you may or may not be aware, is the area with the highest number of those big yellow things the town is so saturated with. So we danced with them all the way uptown, and they behaved themselves quite admirably. Very little groping, if ya know what I mean.

Getting Home

The folks at the hotel were great. They had told us we could check out late, but since we really had no idea when we’d get back from the morning skate, we checked out early and left all our luggage stored with the front desk. Then after the skate they let us take showers and become civilized humans again. After freshening up we headed over to Central Park for the picnic. Had a great lunch with two dozen of the gang then dragged ourselves (each with a backpack) and 54 pounds of luggage across Central Park to a Subway station so we could head back to LGA. Got there much quicker than we had expected, and had plenty of time to wait. Since we were flying standby there was a wee bit of apprehension, but this too went as well as everything else had this weekend. We didn’t sit together, but we both ended up with window seats for the single best sunset I have ever seen from a plane (or anywhere else!), so that made up for it. We were through baggage claim within ten minutes of landing (yay for small airports!) and home within ten minutes of that (yay for small towns!).

About the mileages: GPS reception was very bad, due I’m sure to all the crap we were skating under: buildings, overpasses, traintracks, tunnels, etc. Therefore the mileages given are guesstimates based on what was recorded, what wasn’t recorded that I knew should have been, and discussions with other skaters wearing GPS units. If I can get more accurate numbers from other participants, I’ll update this post.

Also, all mileages after the first skate included two miles each way to the event hotel via the Greenway. I had purposely ommited the GPS wallwort, as I typically get eight or more skates to a charge. Perhaps all the satellite searching wore it down much faster. Oh well. Of all the hardware to do without, that piece was preferable. We had all the bolts, bearings, wheels, and tools we needed, so I ain’t complaining.

Many, many thanks to all the Empire Skate people for putting on such a spectacular event. Also, a special thanks to every innocent bystander either cheering us on or just putting up with our shenanigans!
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Old August 29th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #10
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It was nice to meet you Bryan. Hope we could have talked more, but after that saturday morning skate, I was really tired and ended up not going to the other events.

After you left to the tram we still went across the bridge from Roosevelt Island to Queens and then took the queensboro bridge to manhattan. It was too much, I was wasted.

I am happy you had a good time. I love New York.

Daniel
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Old August 29th, 2007, 07:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dcuper1 View Post
It was nice to meet you Bryan. Hope we could have talked more, but after that saturday morning skate, I was really tired and ended up not going to the other events.

After you left to the tram we still went across the bridge from Roosevelt Island to Queens and then took the queensboro bridge to manhattan. It was too much, I was wasted.

I am happy you had a good time. I love New York.

Daniel

You are right about that. That was the single hardest skate I have ever done. I ended up napping right through the Saturday evening skate, but did join the crowd for the Sunday morning skate. I was glad I did. Wasn't that bad, and helped loosen up some seriously stiff butt muscles!
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Old August 29th, 2007, 09:44 PM   #12
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Dances with Taxis,

Thank you for the write up! I'm glad you were able to attend and enjoyed great skating adventures in tall tipi land. New York taxi drivers definitely make for some interesting stories too!

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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #13
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Good write up, Bryan! Thanks for sharing. It sounded like a fantastic weekend. I'm envious
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