Back at home again in Colorado after an incredible week traveling to San Diego for the Adrenalina Marathon, a 26-mile long push race around Fiesta Island in San Diego, featuring most of the strongest distance pushers in the world.
What to say about the race other than that it was an incredible test of will and #PantheonTribe had an awesome showing between Kyle Yan and myself (Jeffrey Vyain) sealing the deal on the top two positions, crossing the line together nearly a minute and a half ahead of the next competitor, Joe Mazzone, who would’ve set a new course record if it hadn’t been for Kyle and I! A whole host of other inspiring and incredible stories occurred, I can’t even begin to name them all! Jesse Swalley competed in the skateboard marathon pushing on his hands. He has a paralyzed leg and kneels on his board to skate! Swee Ool and Ginny Kirk are women in their 60s, and they each completed three laps apiece! Deejay Pascua broke 2 hours for a marathon doing the race 100% paddle style!
So you know the result. Let me tell you how we got there.
I am a fan of distance skating. I consider myself a sort of “spiritual astronaut,” devoting a great deal of energy toward the development of mind, spirit, and body as a single unit in respect of the individual life experience. And part of the exploration of spirit requires pushing boundaries. “Pushing boundaries” largely embodies the spirit of skateboarding for boarders of all breeds, from downhillers to distance riders and commuters, to the bowl riders and park guys. For me, a great deal of this constant testament comes from distance skateboarding. It hones and tests balance in body and mind. It keeps me in shape, it keeps me exploring my surroundings, it introduces me to new people, and I just generally have a good time challenging my mind and body through all forms of skateboarding.
So driving out to San Diego from the Front Range in Colorado seemed like a no brainer! It was a first opportunity for me and my family to experience that part of the country on the way out to California, and it was an opportunity for me to push myself and my friends toward further individual development, from racing strategies to testing the capacity of individual will.
The race itself was a blast! I found myself leading the pack around the first lap and breaking the wind. The goal was to establish the front pack. To not let anybody feel comfortable, so that once opportunities presented themselves in the race, I could work with my team and we could make strategic moves as the race developed. Going into it, there was no telling who was going to be where. The front group of riders were all so strong, and it had been a long time since I went head to head with any of these guys over a marathon distance. I made sure to have conversations with almost everybody I thought would end up in the front pack, and I wanted to let them know my intentions during the race, thinking that it would make it really fun and give us the opportunity to possibly break some records.
The first opportunity presented itself when Kiefer Dixon took the lead going into the end of the first of six laps. It was appreciated, because I felt like he had really worked to get that lead, and I figured this might present an opportunity, as over-stressing too early can really eat you up later on and make it harder to cover moves when people make them. So when Kiefer made a mistake on the first U-turn after the first completed lap, it allowed Kyle and I to pass and to create just a little bit of space. These were the moments I was trying to prepare these guys for. I told Kyle, “Go!” and we started pressing. I took the lead and gave him the draft for a good portion of the lap, with the intention that he would then take the lead later to ease my effort without us giving up speed. And that’s exactly what happened.
Joe Mazzone followed closely behind until about the 4th lap, but never got in the draft. I was perfectly happy for Joe to catch us, being a big fan of the guy and wanting him to succeed, but he was going to have to earn it. And it was going to be tough for him to do that without someone helping him, so I knew if he did eventually reach us, he would be spent. Joe, I told ya! Don’t give us space! Next year, I’m confident that you’ll be in there and we’ll be riding 3-deep-minimum toward another course and possibly world record!
Ultimately, Kyle and I crossed the line hand in hand, thankful for each other’s efforts. I led the majority of the race, paving the way for us both to crush it, and Kyle pulled ahead at key moments to push the pace when I could no longer do it and provide much needed draft and rest. Relenting would’ve only opened up opportunity for those behind us. We made the choice together as the race transpired and committed to our finish in the last lap. We could’ve raced against each other for the win, but I guarantee that if we had done that, we’d have gone a lot slower. I wouldn’t have been willing to lead (likely, nobody would’ve!), and everybody would be just waiting for that moment when somebody makes a move. No records would be broken, and it would’ve been interesting race, but individual will and efforts would not have been pushed to the same extent. The way it went down, I am pretty sure I pushed my body and mind harder than ever before, and I feel stronger and more capable for it. We will come in even harder in 2017!
Congrats to everybody who pushed their limits last Sunday! Congrats to Alyssa Monteiro on her big win for the ladies. Thanks to Pablo at the Adrenalina Skate Shop for all the work he does for the community in hosting and promoting these events. Thanks to Scott at Muirskate for riding a Pantheon to finish his first skateboard marathon ever. Thanks to Brad Miller for the photos used in this blog. Thanks to everybody who comes to these events to test the self and meet good people. Thanks to my family for coming along to share the experience. And thanks to Kyle for being a part of #PantheonTribe and sharing the true tribal mindset. When you hunt together, you share the kill!
^Here’s the official 2016 Adrenalina Marathon video. Edit by Sam Smylie