Monthly Archives: December 2009

The nature of the challenge.

I was thinking the other day about why I dirtboard, indeed why I partake in any hobby at at; and just to be clear I have a lot of hobbies with varying degrees of fanaticism at different times. As the title of the post suggests, it’s all about the challenge.

I love board games, in these games you are often testing your logic, pattern recognition and occasionally planning against other humans. I laugh when I’m winning, quiet and contemplative when I’m not or I’ve got big plans in motion, but no matter the outcome I have fun. In videogames you are often also testing yourself against other people, sometimes you are challenging what the game programmers put in front of you in preparation. I could go on but this blog is ostensibly about mountainboarding.

Mountainboarding is a wierd one. There are disciplines where you fight opponents (bordercross and trick competitions) but more often than that your out with your buddies just cruising, trying to find that sweet patch where the boards come into their own. In this sense you are constantly battling nature, tree here, gravel there, a long downhill [blind] corner, the weather.

Then again, nature’s not fighting back, so are you not more than anything challenging yourself? Can I turn before I hit that tree? Will I stay upright with the upcoming gravel? Do I think I can take this corner? Is it worth going out in THAT!? All these questions have to be answered twice, once for your proficiency on your board, and once for your cajones.

Of all the sports and things I’ve enjoyed in the past dirtboarding is the one where I’m most willing to push myself through the fear of pain and more often than not I’m rewarded with a new level of understanding and respect for how much these boards with big wheels and suspension can handle.

To bring this back to my original thought, everything I love about hobbies is the challenge, not necessarily winning. Being able to go up against someone in a straight fight and seeing who comes out better, for luck, skill, reactions or whatever, then seeing if you can change the results in further attempts. I always respect my opponent – even though I don’t really show it on the outside – and am thankfull for anyone who wants to see who comes of better in a challenge.

So challenge me, that includes you nature 🙂

P.S. – This was ranty and my first attempt at writing original content since high school. Let me know what you think.

Newcastle City Center, Mountainboard blog

This post comes way late, personal life around mountainbording has proved itself busy once again. We went out on Saturday and I’m posting this on Tuesday, dinner time at work.

Anyway, Saturday, 8pm we were looking at dirtboard sites and talking plans so I put on the excellent ‘Hot Action’ by one5media. It’s a quality mountainboard video and worth the $5 it cost to download – in HD no less. We got the bug and had to go out. It was late and dark so town (Newcastle UK) seemed like a close place to go, Martyn had never done any city boarding and I’d only done it once but have fancied doing it again for a long time.

The skatepark was our first destination, we got out and I went to ride before I found I had two flatties. We both had a short go on mountainboards but the charvas were annoying us so we left for Newcastle Uni.

Newcastle Uni, this place has a lot of options for dirtboarders. Stair steps, grass, slight inclines for cruising (and learning to Backside 180o and Fakie Backside 180o). It was brillant, we were out for about 45 minutes before we realised we wanted to make a go of this so we went home and made a botch job of my tires as I had no spares. I’ll mention this now but it affected me for the rest of the night…I was running, but slow.

Anyway, by the time we got back to town we had the skatepark to ourselves. We learned a lot on there:

  • 90o transfers on a funbox
  • pumping half-pipe and half pipe 180’s – which gain you a ton of speed
  • out of bowl transfers
  • skateparks are slippery in the wet

After this we headed once more into Newcastle Uni and found ourselves some nice lines to ride together.

After a bit of of hanging about Martyn came upon the idea St James’ Park (NUFC’s football pitch) was a good place to go. Unsure I was but went along I did. There wasn’t much in the area but we decided to head up the top of the car park, the place was almost empty and we found a cylindrical spiral down to the bottom floor. First we needed to get to the top, and with the emptiness of the place it seemed like we weren’t meant to be there, but we found the stairs. At the top there was a brilliant view of Newcastle, but we didn’t stop for long…the ride down was awesome, and Marty had a s*** ton of speed. Blasting out the bottom and jumping over the speed bump we proceeded to ride to the bottom of St. James’ Park which was all down hill. Cruising speed and nodding our heads in awesome.

After this we headed just outside of chinatown. The small moving image under the right menu is of me the last time I was there years ago. This time we done all the 180’s we could off the ledge and attracted a small crowd, gaining some dirtboard appreciation.

Next we headed for Dance City. The grounds seem to have a few runs if you can be bothered to push, crazy architecture to play with and of course, jump over. Nackered and falling to bits we called it a day and headed back.

On the way back we headed up to Leazes Park which took us kinda towards the car, we were a bit apprehensive as it was dark but we had no trouble. Here we basically started at the top of the park and rode our way to the bottom, on the way I cleared a wall gap with a small drop but rolled on the landing, I’d like to go back here to get this on video in the light.

Finally, when we got back to the car near the skatepark we thought we’d hit it one more time, tired and falling apart we had a 15 minute session doing more of the same on Martyn’s board, the punctures on mine proving to be a problem I couldn’t be bothered to fix.

This session left me in great pain the day after. I was a bit tired before we’d even set out after a jog but the 3 hour dirtboard sesh absolutely killed me. Christmas shopping with two strained/cramped legs during all of Sunday was heavy, I couldn’t do stairs.

In conclusion; Newcastle City Centre is hella fun. You don’t get given any options, but you create them yourself which gives you a warm feeling. Of course, we didn’t check out the whole city, so next time we have a free Saturday we’ll have to check out the rest and hit some of the things again. Learning point for the day – do your stretches and give up when you body tells you too!

There’s no media from this session, we had all the time in the world for once but it was too dark. We’re purchasing some better equipment which should help us in the future.