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Old August 4th, 2007, 07:00 PM   #21
Bryan
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What about instead of thinking in limitations (like not enough money, not in shape etc), think in posibilities, think in goals, think in "wauww I can do this"??
I challenge myself almost every time I skate, especially now that I’m trying so hard to gain proficiency with speed skates. In fact, we’re just about head out for a session, and we’re taking separate cars because even if she can’t in this heat, I am absolutely determined to do twenty miles today.

The only thing about A2A that truly concerns me from an athletic point of view are the hills, which from what past participants have told me, are brutal. And these were people who actually live in areas with hills. The only place in my area with any hills worth mentioning is downtown by the river, and aside from being illegal and insane traffic-wise, if you think I’m gonna do hill training on cobblestone streets, then all I’ve got to say to you is, pass the dutchie to the left hand side.

None of that’s saying I won’t do it. I definitely intend to, it’s just a question of whether it will be this year or next. All else aside, at this point I’m kinda nervous about pissing Speedy off, know what I’m sayin’?

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What's $5 a day, one less Starbucks coffee??
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Old August 4th, 2007, 08:20 PM   #22
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Yes, two of the most vocal do marathons, have traveled the world (Holland through Tahiti) to go skate. They never did skate A2A, but never the less I was told that "A2A is dangerous and you are crazy for doing it".
WHAT? Dangerous? I think that is bolony! It wouldn' t be anymore dangerous than going for an afternoon skate!

If people don't want to do it... fine, don't do it! But to discourage others because they don't want to do it is a bunch of bull$hit!
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Old August 4th, 2007, 09:49 PM   #23
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The only thing about A2A that truly concerns me from an athletic point of view are the hills, which from what past participants have told me, are brutal. And these were people who actually live in areas with hills. The only place in my area with any hills worth mentioning is downtown by the river, and aside from being illegal and insane traffic-wise, if you think Iím gonna do hill training on cobblestone streets, then all Iíve got to say to you is, pass the dutchie to the left hand side.

None of thatís saying I wonít do it. I definitely intend to, itís just a question of whether it will be this year or next. All else aside, at this point Iím kinda nervous about pissing Speedy off, know what Iím sayiní?

I'm sure Speedy will get over it - did you happen to piss him off

About the hills, what I did was going to do a SkateFarm at Eddy's in VA. Those are some hills, yes I do know thats more money out of the pocket, BUT after 4 days there I was 100% sure that I could do it. That being mostly because all the hills up there are steaper and longer than A2A hills, and yes it was work, but funfun after the climbs. And in October I'll know for sure

Hill training on cobblestone streets, hmmm think think - no thank you! But thanks for asking

Maybe if you go to a town next to yours, maybe they will have at least a highway overpass or somethink like that, maybe not that steap or long, but better than nothing. I live in the FLatlands and do not have anything else than overpasses to train on, if I want to be on hills I have to drive 1-1Ĺhrs (each way) to get to some hills that are hills, they bite - but fun going down (exept the one that has an almst 90degree turn into a tunnel - there I must admit I let the trail eat some of my wheel, last time upthere I didn't even try conquering it!)

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Originally Posted by panch0 View Post
WHAT? Dangerous? I think that is bolony! It wouldn' t be anymore dangerous than going for an afternoon skate!

If people don't want to do it... fine, don't do it! But to discourage others because they don't want to do it is a bunch of bull$hit!
Just my words, thats why I'm going anyway!

And Bryan thats why I think you should stop listening to the people that say "those hills are brutal" - maybe they were to them, but who are they to tell you what they are?!?!

Get your own feeling of what they are like by participating this year. So what if you get a DNF, you'll still be a hero in my world for just trying!!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:44 AM   #24
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Damn, alright. I'm saving.

I don't want to ever say "Oh, I wish I had, but by the time I got around to it they had stopped." or whatever. It feels to me that a2a is *the* event of the skating world in the US. I'm not going to miss it.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 12:59 AM   #25
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I don't want to ever say "Oh, I wish I had, but by the time I got around to it they had stopped." or whatever.
This is very true. If you care about the sport, it makes sense to support the events. They need our support, and they will not subsist without it. I've seen some very good ones go under, more than i care to admit.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #26
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I had been thinking about how much it would cost me to go, I read Birgit's post and thought about how much it would cost me to *not* go. I can always make more money. I'll never be able to go back in time.

Our sport is small enough as it is. I will do my best to be there and I'll be telling every-one I see about it. I doubt many will go, but just knowing it's there and people are crazy enough to do it means something to people.

It meant something to me reading about MC and the SL team doing the 24 hour in Montreal and I guess this is just something I can do to give something back and maybe hearing about it would inspire some-one else. It would also be a tremendous achievement for me that would last me a lifetime.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 01:27 AM   #27
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Our sport is small enough as it is. I will do my best to be there and I'll be telling every-one I see about it. I doubt many will go, but just knowing it's there and people are crazy enough to do it means something to people.
Ameceda - you rock!! Another everyday hero to go to A2A - see you there!!

And just as a note, when you talk to people and if you can take the viewpoint of "I truely believe this is going to be great" they will follow you there and want to be part of it as well. Good luck talking it up a storm!!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 02:45 AM   #28
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I believe Online Inline just committed to going too!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 04:07 AM   #29
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Good to see a lot of responses. This is the kind of conversation we should be having.

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The critque of A2A is correct in that many skaters don't appreciate it, but I question the validity/rationality of the reasons. There is speed! Lead skaters average over 19 MPH, yes, that's slow for Joey Mantia, but fast for me. On one section, many skaters go 45 MPH (yes, that's downhill, you just sit and coast).
To say that A2A has speed because the pros average 19mph is misleading, just as it would be misleading to say that running a marathon is fast (it's not) because the world-class guys average 5:00 miles. The median speed for an A2A finisher last year was 11.8mph. That's not fast. Any skater who completes A2A will have to skate slowly, relative to what that skater would consider fast.

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A2A is also treasured by participants for the friendships built while skating together for hours under challenging conditions. Marathon skaters just rush through their skate, relatively speaking, and miss what's most important for many people. Also, A2A skaters feel the sense of accomplishment from doing what very few other people do.
Makes perfect sense to me, but then I'm an ultradistance athlete like you. Here's my entire point: Most skaters do not want to skate ultradistance, and you can't make them.

Look, you guys can't have it both ways. You can't brag about how brutal A2A is, and about what an awesome accomplishment it is to finish it, and simultaneously wonder why so few people enter. Most skaters are not looking to enter brutal, hilly races. They are not trying to achieve something awesome with their skating. Most people cannot stretch their minds around the concept of racing for 7.5 hours -- last year's median finishing time -- or even the 3 hours it takes to complete the 38-mile. Most skaters want to go fast and have some fun and get in shape and taste a bit of competition. That doesn't make them wusses or "faint of heart" or any other such nonsense.* It makes them people who have different skating goals than you do.

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What a sad display in this thread. Lawrence, your post sickens me. Good job. I can't find the words to reply to it. You win.
No, Speedy, I don't win. I don't want things to be this way. I wish A2A was a huge, thriving race. If A2A died it would bring me no joy at all.

Good for Francisco and the A2A organizers for promoting their races and making them more appealing by offering freebies, cash prizes, new distances, etc. I hope these measures work so the NYC 100K and A2A will be around for me to skate someday. Also good for those of you who are encouraging other skaters to attend these races. But... there is a difference between promotion and encouragement and the kind of badgering and wheedling I'm starting to see around here. This will not work. People tackle ultradistance races because they are motivated from within, not because some guy on a message board told them they should.

Likewise, I don't like being told I should pay the A2A entry fee whether I plan to race or not. If a race has been reduced to guilt-tripping people into paying for phantom entries, then that race is in serious trouble. Any extra entries that result will be like sticking a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Besides, is this really in the best interest of the sport? If the amount of money I can spend on skating is fixed -- and it is! -- then sending $90 to A2A means not attending the USARS banked track clinic in Colorado Springs. Would it be better for our sport for me to enter a race I don't intend to start, or to pay for a clinic that I will actually attend, and that will make me a better skater?

Like I argued before, the reason A2A is failing is not because the current crop of speedskaters lacks determination and fortitude, but because the current crop of speedskaters is just too damn small. Attract more people to speedskating, and some of those people will be interested in ultraskating, and they will find their way to A2A as surely as ants find their way to honey.

Now, how to attract more people to skating? Um... good question!

*If you disagree, then I can expect to see you soloing the Montreal 24hr next year, right?
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Old August 5th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #30
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*If you disagree, then I can expect to see you soloing the Montreal 24hr next year, right?
Ooh Boy... I'm gonna go get some pop corn this late at night!
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Old August 5th, 2007, 05:56 AM   #31
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Lawrence, I agree with you, but think you are misunderstanding A2A to be simply an ultradistance race. For some it is a race, but for most it is a fun weekend adventure. Friday you get to catch up with skate friends and have a fun skate through Atlanta. You then take a charter bus to Athens where you again get to hang out with skate friends. Saturday is more of the same with the expo and a fun skate through Athens. Sunday is a race for some, but for many more it is a more relaxed fun skate to enjoy skating with friends. Many of these are new friends that you meet on the way to Atlanta. There is a much tighter camaraderie than any other event. For most it is an experience where the event itself is the accomplishment rather than any placement or timed result.

Regarding doing Montreal solo, Iíd like to someday, but Montreal is also the only event in North America where you have a chance to work with a team in a relay. Iíd prefer to have my once a year chance to work with a team relay and make events like A2A, NYC 100K, San Mateo 100K, and Hayward my individual type challenges that are longer than a marathon.

Speaking of Montreal, they sell out and have to turn teams away. I think it is the uniqueness of the event that helps create the demand. The uniqueness of A2A is what creates the strong passion many of us have for the race, even if the demand isnít quite where it needs to be.

Speaking of people asking you to register for a race you arenít going to race, that is just silly. Having said that, I think A2A makes a mistake with the registration fees. Iíd leave them the same for first time participants, but increase the price for previous participants. Of the 146 that have already signed up, I suspect many are like me and willing to pay more. This event should cost significantly more based on the logistics and all the event provides. Similarly, the early registration discount costs the event money. I suspect most of the 146 would register early with a smaller discount knowing the race is dependent on the early registrations. Iím probably totally wrong and would find most people have budgets too tight to make this work, but that goes back to people setting their own priorities for their money. For me, A2A will cost around $550 (flight, gas, hotel, etc). Iíd easily accept twice the registration fee (an extra 11% at the early bird rate of $60) to do this event, but I suspect I am in a small minority.
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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #32
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I didn't mean you were right, I meant I was done trying to convince you to do this race.

It takes a few zealots out here to go into the wilderness. Having someone on the sidelines reminding us what's wrong isn't really helping is it? You berate some of the people in here for "badgering and wheedling" and dismiss the board as a source of inspiration, yet you of all people seem to have enjoyed a great amount of support from this board. That is the type of position that sickens me.

You can make all the scattershot observations about the race you want, but they'll still be observations from the sidelines, not experience. Drawing conclusions based on some of the stats is pointless. You dismiss the median speed as "slow" and I guess that's the one point you have direct experience with, but until you've been on the course yourself and experienced the eye watering descents, you won't have a clue as to how fast it is. The descents are fast, the climbs and flats are as fast as you choose them to be. Just like anything in skating, if you want to go faster, train more.

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Old August 5th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #33
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.

Speaking of Montreal, they sell out and have to turn teams away. I think it is the uniqueness of the event that helps create the demand.
Yes, from what I understand they are turning teams away but of the 74 teams signed up in Montreal it is interesting to note that 50 were recreational, 21 fitness and 3 elite. Twice as many rec teams (approx 500 individuals) as fitness & elite combined (approx 240 individuals and with the solos approx 257 individuals). Do you think the rec skaters would sign up for A2A or NY 100?

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Old August 5th, 2007, 08:17 PM   #34
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I am a rec skater and hopefully will participate in the NYC half marathon. I believe there isn't such a stigma to particiapte in a half marathon when most people are doing the full marathon or 100k in NYC, but in the A2A case, it seems like you cheated if you participated in the Athens to Atlanta competition, but you didn't really go from Athens to Atlanta. I guess that maybe one of the reasons why there are more people percentage wise competing in the lower mileage competitions at NYC than at A2A.

I am sure there are other reasons such as NYC being the most populated city, while Atlanta is really far from all the major centers, such as Chicago, NY, and Los Angeles. Even from S. Florida which has so many skaters, it is still a 10-12 hour drive.

Now why are they including a 10k race? 38 miles is much more than 42K which is a regular marathon, and 10k is less than half of 21k which is a half marathon!!!

Who is going to drive or get on a plane for a 10k race? If everyone was competing in 10k, then maybe.

I believe they should have the 87 miles, 42k, and 21k.

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Old August 5th, 2007, 08:57 PM   #35
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The 10k will appeal to family members or friends who are coming to the race weekend and don't want to do serious racing, yet to be part of it. It will also appeal to people who want be part of the event enough that they are willing to travel but just want a sample.

The distances that A2A offers are because they are between good starting/stopping places. A 42k, and a 21k would start/end in the middle of no-where.

Quote:
it seems like you cheated if you participated in the Athens to Atlanta competition, but you didn't really go from Athens to Atlanta
You get cheated???

Quote:
Do you think the rec skaters would sign up for A2A
They have, many more than Montreal (in past years).
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Old August 5th, 2007, 10:12 PM   #36
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I think that it is odd that in the thread about the decline of skating there was much talk about the need for rec skaters and how to bring people into the sport. As a rec skater, I would never consider the A2A based on the distance and the hills. I've done 10Ks and half marathons and am working up to a full marathon. Jumping up to a 38 mile skate is a huge leap! Living in South Florida, my "hill" work is confined to overpasses on the Interstate - 30 or 40 feet. The idea of screaming down a 150 foot hill has no allure to me but maybe my othropedic surgeon pal or my local Band-Aid sales rep.

More Cowbell is right, you can not expect to have a thousand people sign up for an event that half the people can't finish. You have to be able to work up to the toughest events. That means more races that people can finish and feel good about themselves doing it. I can not think of anything more demoralizing than a DNF.

This has been my soapbox for a while. 5K, 10K, 10 milers are around every single weekend for joggers/runners. People complete these events at all levels - from 4.15 minute milers to 15 minute miler plodders and they all wear the TShirts proudly, no matter what their level.

With the inclusion of the 10K race, I am seriously considering it. I have checked the A2A website and there is no information on the course. Any information about the hills or area of Piedmont Park?
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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #37
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Old August 6th, 2007, 01:59 AM   #38
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I agree with all of you pretty much, in the good the bad and the ugly, I think MC is right about A2A not being so popular because it is a super long distance, is not the same to do 100K in a 5K loop in a park, as to do it in a 86 mile course, I know, Ive done both, I love the two events, but I've struggled to finish both, and it is a lot easier to sit on a side on a park, that it is in the middle of a road in the middle of nowhere when you can not even move anymore, (I know I was there) so in this as an experienced skater, I do agree with MC, Now Speedy, I do agree with you that MC has enjoyed the advise and support of people on this board, but I do agree that we shouldn't be advising people that have not ever trained for this kind of distance to go ahead and do it, I rather pay as a phantom skater and I do advise people to do this (and think is a better choice,unlike MC tell people here, I would gladly have paid for A2A even if I can not make it, just to make sure that if 3 years from now I am ready to skate it the event is still there! maybe people can consider it a little investment. )
So in a nutshell I agree with paying as a phantom racer, and I agree that the distance does discourage a whole lot of people from doing this event.
I disagree with encouraging people that have not the experience as an outdoor skater (by this I mean people that have no outdoor skate experience at all) to go and make this their first experience (anything other than the 10K that is)
I think that the new 10K event your names on the numbers and everything else that A2A is doing is great, they are amazing, I can imagine the kind of work that it takes to organize such an event.
I also have done many things to improve the NYC Skate Marathon & NY 100K, but I do see that a lot of people think that the distance is too much, I understand how they feel, but people need to understand that as event organizers we are doing our best to make our events more accessible to the average skater.
this should be a forum to express our opinions, to help this sport grow, Lets keep the positive comments coming, the great ideas and our friendships over all.
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Old August 6th, 2007, 02:03 AM   #39
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Yup - I'm back!

Despite my negativity on that other thread, I have no complaints about the A2A event itself. None at all. The atmosphere of cameraderie and excitement leading up to the race was amazing, and the course itself was fun. Yes, the hill climbs are relentless. That is a definite challenge.

I guess I find it strange that people would be intimidated by the A2A descents, since to me that's the fun part! Then again, I learned to skate on mountain roads. The speeds clocked on "the big hill" at the Big Granite race were similar to those on Silver Hill - around 45mph. It's enough to get the speed wobbles started, but I found them easily manageable at Big Granite...and the reported speeds surprised me because that hill felt a lot slower than several I've skated on. Of course, that's exactly the issue - if I'd been skating on flat terrain for 10 years, I might have been one of the folks taking my skates off and walking down that hill!

I think it's a big mistake to blame A2A itself for the low registration numbers. The real problem, in my opinion, is much like streetsk8r points out: there need to be more local events. Runners in any decent-sized town can count on at least a couple of local 5k-10k races. From there, they might be willing to step up their training and travel to one of many marathons throughout the year...if they even have to travel.

If skating events were as popular as running is up here, I'd be doing 26-mile races within an hour's drive every summer weekend, gearing up for one (or both) of the annual 87-mile chock-full-o'-hills endurance tests in town. If skating even had the popularity of sprint-triathlons around here, I'd still have 3-4 races to choose from each summer. Sadly, the skate races are too few, too far between, and too far away for any but the most die-hard to get involved...if they can afford it.

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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #40
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My first post Yay.

I definitely planned on going to A2A this year. The only reason that I didn't register earlier was because I skated the Disney marathon and @26miles and my feet were torn to shreds and bleeding. I still managed to finish the race strong but I figured to myself that by the time A2A came rolling around I would have much better skates. I'm still working on that, but I can't wait to tackle A2A. It's just something about finishing 87 miles that feels like an amazing accomplishment. I enjoy doing things that the average person couldn't do. That ongoing challenge will bring me to A2A this year.
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