Longboarding the Bank-Vernonia State Trail, twice in one weekend

Jamison wanted to longboard again today, or was it me? Maybe it was both of us. Regardless, I wanted to try my downhill board and see if that made me a little faster. My Kegels are already on that board. I need something to be able to keep up with Jamison. So, off we went!

Suzi and Melissa didn’t want to shuttle us today, so we took a couple of cars.

Last time I’d ridden this board, it had felt a little squirrelly at speed. And no, the Banks-Vernonia Trail isn’t that fast, but with a consistent tuck, Jamison’s phone said we got almost to 25 mph.

The board felt solid. Jamison and I have already checked our calendars for the next Wednesday we can both hit Mt. Tabor.

Wednesday at Tabor

Thanks to Ethan texting me Daddies was doing a demo day at Tabor, I had a great time at Mt. Tabor. Going down after a large pack really relieves the concern of pedestrians and dogs on the route (though one rider had a close call with a squirrel). Some of these guys are just fast. ‘Course, they’re the ones that talk about Tabor being boring, it’s so easy. I’m not there, yet. But I’m getting there.

I did all but my first run from the top. That, plus a better tuck from doing the Banks to Vernonia trail with Jamison multiple times, resulted in another PR for me. I think my next run was even faster, but SpeedMeter had an issue with that run. Oh well. That leaves more room for another time.

I miss Jamison on the hill.


Quick Banks Vernonia Trail Longboard Run

Jamison and I tried to get Longboard SpeedMeter going the last time we longboarded the Banks to Vernonia Trail, but it couldn’t get enough GPS satellites in view at Tophill.

This evening, I waited until the first gravel crossing before starting SpeedMeter and it worked — I think. It captured a top speed of 25.14 mph at the location I would have expected, but then recorded the run’s top speed as 9.73 mph. Oopie!

Regardless, I’m looking forward to trying my top-mount board on the trail and then at Mt. Tabor.

Longboarding the Banks-Vernonia Trail

Jamison, Ethan,1Ethan is the master of riding fast and looking fast. One trick I learned is to wear an untucked and unbuttoned shirt. When it flaps in the breeze, you look fast. Being able to “match” a plaid shirt with plaid shorts is just bonus! ;-) and I longboarded twice2It takes a few trips between Buxton and Tophill to reposition the cars, longboards, and longboarders. from Tophill down to Buxton3It’s 5 miles each time. That’s 10 miles on the longboard — a good day. :-) on the Banks-Vernonia Trail. A fair number of bikes4One fat-tire bicyclist was so enamored by my steeze that he couldn’t avoid heading my direction. Fortunately, there was (barely) enough pavement left over to sneak by. and pedestrians joined in the fun.

Jamison took a bunch of videos using his new Yi action cam5Not an ad, just a hopeful observer of the consumer. The price and specs seemed right. We’ll see. and snapped some stills with it, too. I’m looking forward to his video edits. Stay tuned…


Update: Jamison’s video is live!

#goskateboardingday at Mt. Tabor

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Mary Schmich

Today, I succeeded.

Jamison and I took #goskateboardingday seriously and went to Mt. Tabor. It was my first downhill runs of the year, and just like last year, the first run was terrifying. Actually, that’s not quite true—preparing to go on the first run was petrifying, starting was a little less so, and by the time I was speeding down the hill, I was having fun. It only got better on the next runs.

We met up with nephew/cousin Ethan and made a new friend, Jeff, once again proving that longboarders are the nicest bunch you’ll meet on the hill.

I used the board I got for last year’s Fathers’ Day the whole time today. That way I can leave my double-drop set up for push and this one for downhill. It felt more comfortable than the last time I used this board. Now I wonder what the other board would feel like.

The strangest thing about downhilling: when I tense up, the board wants to go all skittery under me. When I relax, it calms down. I’m sure there’s a life lesson in there, somewhere… ;-)

What scary thing did you do today?


Yeah, there are four boards in that picture. Jamison and I both brought our top mount downhill boards and our double-drop push boards, just in case. Only two boards left the car.

Bombing Tabor to close the summer

A day or two ago, Jamison asked me if I could longboard Mt. Tabor with him on Wednesday. As Jamison is getting ready to head off to college, that was a definite yes.

The last time I’d downhilled was in April, so I was a little nervous.1Okay, I was terrified, but that’s okay. :-) The first couple of runs helped both of us get back in the groove. By our last run, we were again feeling comfortable and relaxed.2I don’t understand it, but faking being relaxed helps the board run smooth underneath me. Tense up and it wants to jitter around. It’s a lot more fun actually being relaxed, though.

We met some other skaters and bombed the hill a couple of times with them. They are definitely faster than we are, but it was still great.3I bombed the hill doing the “Ethan”: wear an untucked, unbuttoned shirt — its flapping in the breeze gives the illusion of speed and looks cool. :-D

Although I took both boards, I used the drop mount because that’s the one I’m more comfortable with. It’s the one I ride during lunch, pushing through Hillsboro.4I think it’s time to make the transition, though, and keep one more focused on push and the other on downhill. Or not. ;-)

I skated from the top for the first time. Other than a wet, chundery patch in the middle parking lot, the top portion is easier than the bottom.

I feel like I’m a few more skate sessions and a full-face helmet from next year’s Mt. Tabor Classic. :-)


Longboarding the Banks to Vernonia Trail

A few photos from the ride.

Woo hoo! Google made a video from a bunch of video clips it took with my phone and a selfie stick.

Jamison and I decided that longboarding would be fun.1With Jamison getting ready to leave for college, spending some time with him is a top priority. The question was “where?” We limited our choice to either Mt. Tabor or the Banks to Vernonia Trail. Because it had rained earlier in the day, I didn’t want to bomb Mt. Tabor and possibly wipe out at speed. So Banks to Vernonia it was.

Jamison had already ridden this trail a couple of times recently so he knew the best places to start and stop.2Turned out, he also knew a couple of place that the trail would be dicey with mud across the trail and a gravel crossing, so we were able to slow down in advance. It’s nice to have an experienced guide. :-) We would start at Tophill and ride to Manning. This is about an eight-mile ride. Because the trail is a rails to trails park, it is limited to a gentle slope and we were going to be going downhill the first five miles and flat the rest of the way.3Little did I know I would strengthen my antipathy to chipseal. On normal roads, automobile traffic flattens chipseal to be relatively smooth. On the Banks to Vernonia trail, the section between Buxton and Manning has been chipsealed. Worse, it is rough and has furrows in it from bicyclists riding on the chipseal before it had set. Note to maintenance crews: chipseal only works on roads for automobile traffic.

On the way to the trail, we notice whispiness to the right and Jamison asked if it was smoke or fog? I didn’t know the answer for a few seconds, then it became obvious. We were driving through a local cloudburst. Fortunately, we never got rained on while longboarding, at least not directly. The skate wheels kicked up a bunch of spray from the wet trail, coating our legs with muck and forming puddles on top of our boards.

I was surprised how few people we met on the trail (none of them longboarding), and yet, we ran into people we know.

I’m looking forward to our next ride!