Well, the day had finally arrived. Boarding for Breast Cancer’s 5th annual Skate The Coast. An 18-mile push for the cure to raise awareness and promote early detection. And it was all being done on wheels. Skateboards, longboards and bicycles were the obvious choices. Was I crazy or what? Clearly this question is rhetorical and yes in case you’re still wondering. Still excited nonetheless.
The night before meant no sleep while early morning jitters served as my wake up call. No alarm clock needed. After boarding a chartered bus in Redondo Beach that took us to the start in Santa Monica, it still hadn’t quite settled in what we were about to do. When I first read about Skate the Coast, I jumped in with both feet because I thought it was a cool way to raise money and it didn’t require me to run anywhere. During the bus ride I realized that it was even way cooler than I could ever imagine.
A woman sitting in front of me had flown in from New York to participate with her best friend. While right behind me sat an entire longboard crew from Tucson, Arizona. People had shown up for their own reasons. We may not have been privy to the vibe but it somehow instantly connected us all in that moment. Seated next to me was a Spicoli look-a-like whose real name was Bill. Across the aisle was a very funny guy wearing a huge pink wig who kept us all entertained with his wise cracking charm. Ironically his name was Sean too. I would also meet a cow that day. A udderly true story.
Different times throughout the race I’d meet up with Sean or Bill and the guy wearing the cow suit and we’d push together for a while. Sometimes in silence. Sometimes a light banter going back and forth. There were moments when I could feel the lactic acid build up in one leg as I struggled to pull the other leg back on my board. Grateful for any slight wind that promised to roll me along. Along the route, there were crashes, lost bearings and skaters who had completely stopped due to fatigue, unable to make it to the next hydration stop.
There were moments when I too wanted to rest, stop or do my best Kevin Hart and yell, “Jeesussss“. And I mean lay down wherever my board had stopped. Right after we’d reached the half-way mark is when the wall appeared. My legs felt like wood. My back was burning and the helmet felt like one big ol’ heat cap. Luckily I had managed to stay hydrated throughout the day and that last Clif Shot Blok didn’t hurt either. Someone yelled that we had less than five miles to go. It didn’t seem like much but I knew that I couldn’t start any premature celebrating. I had to keep going. I had to keep pushing. So I did.
Wish I could say there was this eureka moment and everything seemed to come together. There wasn’t. I was determined from the start to complete the race. I’m not even sure why I did it besides it being a fun way to raise money for a great cause. I do know that when it was all over I experienced a sense of loss. That moment was over. We had accomplished what we’d set out to do. And now it was over. As I sat on the patio and ate my fish taco, compliments of Wahoo’s, I looked around and wondered what was next. I wanted to do more. There had to be a next and I was going to find it.
A great big wig toss to all the skaters and bikers. Especially seven-year old Asher Bradshaw who also completed the 18-mile push. That kid rocks! Have to say it was really groovy of Boarding for Breast Cancer b4bc.org to put together such a creatively informative event. I really dig longboarding and meeting other cool people who skate. Finding more events to get involve with that not only promote the push culture but social change is always high on my list. No matter what life throws your way, keep pushin’… That’s peace.