Today’s distance / ???????: 37.3 miles / 60km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.9km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 4h 19m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5871mi plus 377mi (?) / 9449km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 700m
Descent / ??: 360m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35° 47′ 49.00″, E104° 17′ 16.80″
10,000km on a skateboard. Done.
I remember sending an email to Matt Windsor, an old friend from high school who is also galavanting around the globe these days, and telling him that if I made it to 10,000km on my longboard, I would be happy. This was in Shanshan, a town in Xinjaing Province in China, in the middle of the desert, where I spent 3 weeks recouperating from travellers burnout. That was about three months ago. At that stage, I was not confident that I would make it.
And here I am in this little internet cafe in a town whose name I’m not sure I am spelling correctly, and I have recorded 10,055km on my skateboard. As much as this journey is not about distances, but the things I learn along the way, it is pretty darn cool.
I left Lanzhou late at 11am this morning after spending some time updating the blog. It didn’t take long to get out of the city, and the first thing on my horizon was hills. Marija Kozin, a cyclist from Slovenia, has cycled this route through Gansu Province before. In an email to me, she said “it will be interesting to see how you handle the hills in Gansu…”. I now know what she means.
The hills are not Qinghai material however, and the most I climbed non-stop today was about an hour. Long uphills interspersed with short exhilarating downhills. And the ever preent uber-smooth roads of China. Luverly.
Lunch was stir-fry noodles with beef, prepared fresh on the street for me. This reminded me of the fast food I had last night at the Dicos fast-food joint in Lanzhou. Whereas you have no idea where the ingredients come from in the fast food, here on the street, you can be sure that it’s all local, and all fresh.
I continued to enjoy the fresh seasonal local fruit all along the roadside today also. Rock melons, peaches, massive fat plums, grapes…no wonder I am feeling 200% stronger than I was in Xinjiang Province. I am eating so much better here. I am amazed at how incredibly easy it is to travel here in eastern China. Distances between towns is minimal, and great cheap food is in abundance. Covering distance has never been easier…ever.
After 10,000km, you’d think that certain bits on my skateboard have worn a little. The only thing that I have never touched in those 10,000km are the trucks (the axles), save from adjusting the tightness of them.
The trucks are Holey Trucks, and they are a fantastic piece of kit. They have been so reliable. Support from Holey is second to none, also. Emails have been responded to promptly, which is a massive bonus when you are on the road.
The trucks, understandably, have now worn to the point of being a little unpredictable on fast (25km/h plus) downhills. Due to wear on the pivot points, the trucks will ‘twitch’ when I am trying to keep them running straight. A bit unnerving at speed.
The top left photo shows the wear on the pivot on the hanger of the truck (for an explaination of truck terminology, see this link). The hanger should transition smoothly to the pivot, with no edge. In the photo, you can see a prominent ridge. That is the wear that is causing the twitching.
For now, I have wrapped a couple of layers of tape around the pivot point to reduce play, and this has stopped the twitching. They are now very stable, as they once were.
Holey Trucks has offered to send me some new trucks, so hopefully I will have some new trucks waiting for me in Xian when I get there in a couple of weeks. Another reason to use Holey Trucks. I never imagined that I would be able to get some replacement trucks in China!
I am now feeling a welcome feeling of pressure. I have just under 2 months to skate 2,100km to Shanghai to make it on time for my flight to New Zealand. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving!