My first participation at a 24 hour ultraskate just happened from the 7th to the 8th of july in Spaarndam, Netherlands. My personal goal was to skog at least 100 miles. In the end I reached a distance of 109 miles (176 km). Looking back it seems, to reach this 100 miles club was something almost everyone of the long distance enthusiasts at the dutch ultraskate 2018 could achieve easily. There were even a lot of people going more than 200 miles. Probably this is because people spend more attention to their setups and to proper training and preparation. Another reason could be that a lot of people are alternating their feet when pushing nowadays. So skogging might be a main factor, too. However, I have to face it: In the world of serious distance skateboarding, the distance I accomplished seems to be quite common these days (at least at an ultraskate) and remains only good enough to astonish an ordinary city cruising longboarder. So, of course my distance at the ultraskate will not be the main topic of this text.
I would rather like to talk about skogging: One main reason for my participation at the ultraskate was, to prove to myself that skogging is not just a good cruising exercise but that it can also be beneficial when riding for very long times. When I’m talking about skogging, I refer to full „pedidexterity“ style skogging, which means switching the stances and not only pushing mongo when alternating the legs. Of course I also pushed mongo at the ultraskate, but I regularly switched my stance as well, using a back to front slide transition I‘m calling the chi-skog. At first it might seem impracticable and time consuming to do this extra transitioning move, when you could just push mongo. But in reality it is all a question of muscle memory. When you always train to ride this way and you are getting used to it, it will happen effortlessly during your ride and be not disturbing anymore. Skogging like this can also have it‘s advantages compared to pushing mongo. When pushing mongo, you will have to balance a lot before getting your foot all the way back to the front of the board. With the chi-skog you just step out with your leg as when pushing mongo and just move your other foot on the deck a little bit to the front, giving the board an additional forward momentum.
Skogging this way allowed me to use my muscles, tendons and joints in both of my legs in an equal way. Together with the focus on a relaxed chiskogging style and relaxed „pedidextrous“ pumping (alternating between pumping in regular and goofy stance), I managed to keep a quite constant riding flow without putting too much stress on my body. Considering that I am in my forties, not being one of the youngest guys anymore and that I did not have any specific ultraskate preparation, except for three shorter rides of 40 to 50 km in the weeks before the event, I know that it is due to skogging in chipushing style that I could go beyond the 100 miles relatively easy at my first try. I also had time left to take some rests in between to eat something and decided, not to skog during the night, as I knew that I would easily reach my desired distance.
Another nice side effect was that I also experienced less muscle pain afterwards which also disappeared quickly in two days after the event. In fact the pain was located only in the groins and a little in the butt area as well, which where the parts of the body I engaged the most when chiskogging, because of swinging my legs from the area of the hips. If I would have trained this strain more specifically before the event and if I would have kept up the chiskogging style more accurately throughout the whole time of my ride, I’m sure the pain could have still been minimized or even avoided entirely.
Concluding I can say that my „experiment“ at the ultraskate has been successful, as it showed me, that it is indeed not the distance that injures your body but the constant repetition of incorrect or onesided movement. The good thing about this is that, with the right method, a lot of people, who are not well trained athletes, can make use of a longboard to more easily go further on longer distances, regardless of their age and bodily conditions.