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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 February 13th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #21
Bryan
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Default In Summary...

After three months of skating in thermals and gloves, this past weekend couldn't have come at a better time.

This was by far the best organized of the three events I've now attended. Obviously the registration fees make a huge difference here. They were able to provide t-shirts, feed us large meals Saturday and Sunday, follow us with a large truck to distribute water (and the occasional fruit) at the main stops, rent school busses to use as sag wagons, and (I assume) pay the city for the police escort. This was the first event that I paid to attend (aside from travel costs, of course), but it was well worth the cost.

Miami itself wasn't quite what I expected, but it was fun. I guess coming from Hawai'i I should be used to the idea that popular depictions of tropical paradise aren't always entirely accurate. The locals were very gracious towards us, and none of the half a billion cars stopped at inersections on our behalf looked annoyed by it. We received plenty of positive attention in various neighborhoods we rolled through, which is always nice. And the cops, they were just awesome. There are some downsides to a police escort however, such as (usually) being kept to one lane, which kinda puts a kibosh on the whole passing thing a lot of the time. But to be able to sail through every intersection? Totally worth it.

I wish I'd known the schedule when I made my travel plans a few months ago. I assumed it was similar to NY and DC, where the first skate is Friday night and the last is Sunday morning. Oops. There's also an early afternoon skate on Friday and a sunset skate on Sunday. Well, now I know that for next year. Aside from that little detail, the skates themselves were awesome. Great routes, and the police escort made for a very safe skate. The Friday evening skate was a bit unsatisfying in terms of speed, but that's to be expected in a large gathering like this. They estimated 450 skaters on that one, and although I haven't heard exact numbers, predictions were for the rest of the weekend to be even larger.

There was a late night speed skate scheduled after dinner that promised to leave those wanting more wanting a rest, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to hang. After talking with some of the locals, I decided to give it a shot, and I'm damn glad I did. I did some of the fastest skating of my life, got to experience a paceline for the first time, and most importantly, got some concrete evidence that while I probably won't end up on the podium at A2A, I can at least keep up with the middle of the pack without bleeding from the eyes. For me, this was huge. Very much the highlight of my trip. If you check out my GPS footage, you'll see that after finishing the skate, I made a little detour: I have never craved chocolate milk as strongly as I did then. Thank you, 24 Hour Walgreens!

Saturday morning was the longest skate, and featured a fair amount of bridge climbing. This was fine by me, as coming down them knowing that the cops had the cross streets blocked was a blast! There were a few bad falls on this one and a friend of mine passed out due to heat stress at the top of the biggest bridge, but in the end everyone was fine. Saturday afternoon was free time that involved the hotel pool and a drink or two. We then all did various dinners. I joined the Tampa crew at a German beerhaus. It was an awesome meal with a lot of laughs, and much off-color humor that I can't really repeat here.

Sunday morning was similar to Saturday, but not quite as long. I was actually disappointed when I realized we were nearly back to the hotel, as it seemed we had just gotten warmed up. Oh well. The highlights of this one were getting passed by a quad skater, passing two cops on bikes while climbing a hill, and the huge standing ovation we gave each cop car as they arrived in front of the hotel at the end.

Sunday afternoon was the Art Deco Skate, which is more of a walking tour on wheels: very, very low speed. But the tour guide was very knowledgeable, and we learned a lot about Miami's architecture and history. We also received a fair number of free t-shirts for answering inane trivia questions. So that was nice.

All in all, a good time was had by me. I met a lot of new people, got to put names to faces in many other cases, and even learned a bit by getting to observe (and sometimes chase) some more capable skaters. So thanks to all the other skaters, thanks to the Miami Police Department, thanks to Birgit for playing ambassador to a bunch of us out of town Skateloggers, and most of all, thanks to the organizers of this weekend for kicking so much ass!
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Old February 13th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #22
Jessica
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I joined the Tampa crew at a German beerhaus. It was an awesome meal with a lot of laughs, and much off-color humor that I can't really repeat here.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 01:05 AM   #23
sk8rchic
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Default More Miami photos

Hello everyone,

I have a few photos and video clips from the Great EsSkate 2008 up:

http://tinyurl.com/3br2d3
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