Interview with Lucy Adams – UK’s number one female skateboarder

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1.How did you first get into the sport?

I was 13 and I used to swim for the local swimming club and there was a new skatepark being built just behind the pool. I had previously used roller boots on the old ramps near me but this time I saw some skateboarders riding the park. I thought it looked so cool and so I asked my dad if I could have a board to try to learn. Luckily I seemed to have quite a bit of balance but also I was encouraged by that fact that there were so many others that were new to the sport at the time! We all used to meet up early on Saturday mornings and skate all day until we were tired out, then used to do it all again on Sunday!

 

2.Where did you skate as a kid?

My local haunts were Crawley and Horsham Skateparks with a few multi-storey car parks thrown in during wet weather. There also used to be quite a crew of us that skated around the local town centre at a spot called the Fountain! We used to annoy pedestrians / shoppers.

 

3. You have been skating for 15 years, how many years to go?

As many as my body can take. I actually feel like I’m still learning new tricks every time I go out and skate and although sometimes I don’t have as much confidence as I used to, I think my skating has got stronger recently.

 

4.How much competition do you have in the UK to hold onto the ultimate title of UKs Number one female skateboarder?

There’s a good few girls that are coming up plus those that have been ripping for the last few years! It could be anyone’s really as skateboarding is so spontaneous.

 

5. Who are the big names you are up against on a world scale?

I’m not really anywhere near to any of those girls that compete in X-Games or Maloof Money Cup etc. The ones to watch out for there are Alexis Sablone – she kills it and in my opinion is the most exciting girl skater out there. Then there is also Lacey Baker, Leticia Bufoni and Vanessa Torres.

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6.Do you have a signature trick?

I feel like I’m known for doing Fakie Flips. I find them pretty easy and always use them as a trick to test the ramp or whatever. If there’s a specific ramp such as a jump box, then I’ll always try a Sal Flip – I like the hangtime!

 

7.What female skateboarding competitions are on offer in Britain?

The UK Champs is annual and has been going since 2009. We’ve had something called the Ladies Skateboard Series happen in 2012 and 2011 but unfortunately it didn’t happen last year. I think it was a combination of organisers not having much time to spare (as they do it voluntarily) plus sponsors cutting back on ££ and product to donate as prizes. The other noticeable event and my personal fave is the Girl Skate Jam UK. This is now in it’s 11th year I think and runs at St Albans park, organised by Jenna Selby, Rogue Skateboards Founder.

 

8.Proudest achievement in the sport?

I think it has to be having sections in both ‘As If, And What?’ the first European girls Skateboard Film and also a part in the Lovenskate Film. It’s great to be able to have something on video that I can look back on in years to come!

 

9.Why do you coach others?

I really enjoy seeing the progression in others. I seem to have a some skill breaking things up and passing them on in bite sized chunks. I also like to work with those that want to learn!

 

10. What is the furthest distance you’ve travelled via board?

Haha, good question but no idea how far I’ve actually rode on the four wheels. In terms of how far I’ve travelled specifically for skateboarding, then It would be Australia, to compete in the World Cup in 2003.

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11.What are the worst Injuries you’ve picked up over your career in the sport?

I’ve broken both wrists and also broken my arm in three places. I feel quite lucky that I’ve never broken anything in my lower body as I feel that would knock the confidence more and recovery time would probably be longer. My wrist did have to have pins in though and I had physio for months to get full range of movement back.

 

12. How many boards do you have and what are they?

I only ever have one set up at a time. I change boards every couple of months or so as they get delaminated or generally become quite worn. Trucks, wheels and bearings last a bit longer depending on the hours I’ve been putting in! I ride a 7.8 Lovenskate deck, 54mm Bones Wheels, Thunder Trucks, and Bones Bearings.

 

13. What are the advantages of been the only girl on the team?

I’m not sure it makes any difference! Its quite a cliché but we’re quite a family at Lovenskate and we do try and meet to skate every couple of months or so. We all keep in touch via phone or email regularly!

 

14.How often do you get out on your board?

I do try and get out every lunch time for at least 45 mins. I’m lucky that I work literally opposite a small concrete skatepark! Once the weather is better and the nights are longer, I try and stop off on my way home from work at a local park plus I’ll usually go on a little road trip on a Saturday to skate all day. Then on Sundays in the summer I’ll have coaching work lined up!

 

15.Wheres are the best places to skate in the UK?

In my opinion, the new skateparks near me, Guildford, Woodingdean, Petersfield are pretty damn perfect! It’s also good to travel up to Manchester (where I used to go to Uni) and skate the parks or street up there. There’s also a local street spot near Gatwick Airport that I like to go to for a chilled out session away from skateparks.

Credit: Lex Kembery

17. Do you ever self film yourself out on your board with something like a gopro?

Yep, I was lent a Drift Innovation Camera by DC which is very similar to a Go Pro. I use it quite a bit on my lunch break propped up by the wall or something. It’s good to be able to get the odd trick on film when I’m not with anyone else who can film.

 

18.Whats coming up for you this year?

I’ve got quite a few coaching related bits going on this summer. We managed to get some funding to run another female skateboard course in Brighton so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also going to head over to Malmo for Girls Get Set Go contest again. Malmo is great and they look after the skaters really well – I can’t wait to go back. Then there’s the Girl Skate Jam UK in June which I’ll be heading to. Loads going on this year.

 

19.Best website to buy a board on for someone living in the UK?

I would say to try going to a local skate store if you can. It’s always best to speak to people and have a look at board shapes and graphics. Most of those local shops will also do mail order so just have a look around. Boardridersguide.com is good plus Altar Skate store is online and has a good choice of products at good prices.

 

20. Have you tried Longboarding?

I’ve been on one but I’m fine on my skateboard – haha.

 

21.Does skateboarding really help with your snowboarding and surfing?

Yeah I think it definitely has. I love skateboarding so much more than the other two but it’s nice to get on a different board from time to time! Plus, I think skateboarding can hurt more as you fall on concrete so it’s given me more confidence when I’m on the snow or in the water.

Follow Lucy via her website or Twitter @LucyAdamsSkate

I shall climb Ben Nevis.

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Me on Ben Nevis, courtesy of George Byrom

In a pair of Doc Marten boots and Primark gloves, with no training done or experience under my belt and only a Tesco sandwich in my backpack, I decided today was the day I would climb Ben Nevis. At 6am, I boarded a minibus tottering with strangers and gear and off we set on a three hour journey across Scotland to the base of the UK’s tallest mountain.

At half past nine I put one foot in front of the other and began what I thought would be a pleasant stroll up a big hill. Three steps in and I was peeling the clothes off me, sweating and nervous about my tendency to assume that I can do anything as long as I keep moving. After the uncomfortable pleasantries of introducing oneself to the group, I fell into a thoughtful silence and shuffled onwards. It is never until the going gets tough that boundaries break down and people start to open up and share their stories. An hour and a half into the hike, the snow appeared, the hats came out, the gloves came on and we talked to break the monotony of our thoughts and to forget the twinges of our muscles as they began to protest.

One German, four French, one or two English, one Swiss, several Scots, and one Irish hiked our way upwards, single file, mostly in silence, lost in our thoughts and the blissful scenery that held us in place.  One hour to the summit and all we could see is white; snow and fog embedded us. If our leader didn’t know the route off by heart, we would be lost forever and all I had was a Refresher bar for nourishment.  The group split, with the latter one slowing and ready to potentially turn and head back to base. I was stubborn, I could keep up with the speedy fuckers. But as time elapsed, I felt my body slow. I was not keeping up, I was tired, I wanted to abandon, to turn back but if I did everyone would have to. So I dug deep,  it killed me to do so but It would forever haunt me to make others abandon due to my weakness, so in my boots that were built for fashion not for climbing I dug my way onwards. Falling often, sliding backwards on the ice, frustrating the group with my pace. But they were kind and patient and they encouraged me onwards. And eventually, when all I could see was vast whiteness I stepped upon level ground and one of the hikers turned to me and said “Guess where we are?” “Where?” I replied, sagging on the precipice of defeat. “We are on the summit.” he smiled and hugged me.

Blissful glee rocked me for a moment, a quick photo by the marker and then a plea to move quickly back down before daylight fades. The descent was rapid, six of us took off at the front, I fell many a time, some scarily close to the edge. But once my boot touched gravel I was free and solid, and I moved quickly down the mountainside. Six hours after setting off, I had returned to reality. A quick call to my overprotective mother to tell her I was still alive. And then the usual thought popped into my head; “Hmmm, what shall I do next? Perhaps a surfing trip on Tuesday?”

Me on Ben Nevis, courtesy of George Byrom

Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest – Edinburgh

It’s the day after the race and my body is in pain. The sweet, delicious pain that only comes after you put your body to the test. After you make it run up a few hundred steps, climb a slick hill, do the monkey bars, crawl under nets, climb walls and jump off the other side. As I said; sweet, delicious pain. Everyone tells me that day two post race is always worse. I cannot wait. Because I know when my body recovers in a couple of days, I will be stronger.

Red and green t-shirts dominate my line of sight at the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest in Edinburgh. The world around me is set ablaze, the crowd buzzing, high on life and adrenaline. Thirteen waves took off one by one from the start point; the iconic Royal Mile. Off we went in troves; climbing over bales of hay, swerving down narrow streets,  jumping over barricades, climbing iron structures, trotting up the steps of Calton Hill to where an assault course lay waiting. The click, click of knees in pain as we descend, praying for a stretch of flat but no such luck. A walking ascent up a part of Arthur’s seat followed, too slippery and too steep to run but some studs managed it. I was not one of them.

It felt like been a child again, free to roam the countryside running amuck in the fields and forests . Instead of descending the typical way we slid down on a home-made wet plastic bag slide, spinning into the mud to a chorus of hearty laughs and applause from the spectators. Chug, chug, up we get and on we run, through a caged maze in the Grassmarket area.  1km to go, 3 more obstacles to face. We re-enter civilisation and return to the event village stationed at Princes Street gardens. A leg up over the boxes, a frantic scramble through the water, up a small but deadly hill, we know the end is near. “Keep ‘er going,” a man urges as I begin to stutter and slow. I dig deep and push on to face the famous wall.

A recurring theme of the day and of this event is the kindness people show. As I face the dreaded wall, I do not have to hesitate, a man in front of me asks if I want a boost up, another catches me as I rise and pulls me up. I look down at the height I will have to jump but another stranger says ” I’ve got you” and off I go. People, especially adventurous people, I am quickly discovering are good, to the very core.

I finish. I survive. Soaked and dirty with a mad grin plastered on my face, I amble home utterly content. Now it is your turn. You want to do a 10km obstacle course, well your choices in the UK for the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest are London, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester. Take your pick.

 

Cycling’s Wheels Are Falling Off

The sport is falling into disarray as the doping scandal rolls on.

by Orla O’Muiri

Published in the Edinburgh Journal on 07/11/12

The only option is to hop on your bike and keep on riding, your 20km or 200km route, it doesn’t matter, keep going until it all melts away. Pace yourself, though, as there is a long road ahead in the rebuilding of this broken sport as the bad news just keeps rolling in.

After 17 years, Rabobank announces it will end its sponsorship of a professional cycling team. The province of Drenthe withdraws its financial support from the 2015 Vuelta a España. The powerhouse of this year’s peloton, Team Sky, is sputtering to a halt. Sporting Director De Jongh and Coach Julich are forced to resign after the pair admitted to doping during their individual professional careers, while Sports Director Yates retires ‘for health reasons.’

The future is looking dim; Armstrong will never confess and the sport seemingly isn’t getting any cleaner with top riders like Alberto Contador caught out in 2010 and Frank Schleck in this year’s Tour de France. Levi Leipheimer is fired from Omega Pharma-Quick-Step for doping. Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie, all of Garmin-Sharp are banned for their involvement in the US Postal doping programme. Even at amateur level the scandal whirls; eight American amateur riders were sanctioned for doping this year. No winners will be attributed to the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.

Rabobank’s Bert Bruggink says it all; “We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport.” The UCI President Pat McQuaid needs to step aside if a revamp is going to have any success. Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond published an open letter on Facebook urging both McQuaid and Hein Verburggen to resign. In it, he says; “I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history – resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport. Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.”

Five papers – The TimesL’EquipeLa Gazzetta dello SportHet Nieuwsblad and Le Soir have united and published a manifesto calling for reform. Cycling journalist Paul Kimmage has set out in pursuit of Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid by lodging a criminal complaint against them. Change will come eventually but for the moment just get on your bike, put your head down and keep pedalling.

Poster boy’s fall from grace

Published in the Journal newspaper – 25/10/12

Another legend stumbles, and he falls as he raced- hard and fast. Lance Armstrong is no longer the unstoppable hero of a sport; he is human and he is a cheat.

Former US Postal Service cyclist Lance Armstrong received a lifetime ban on 24 August this year after an investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found him guilty of doping. His offences include using the performance enhancing drug EPO, corticosteroids, growth hormones, undergoing blood transfusions as well as helping his teammates do the same.

The seven times Tour de France winner chose not to fight the charges pressed against him. He will be disqualified from all competitive results after 1 August 1998 and forfeit any medals, titles, winnings, finishes, points and prizes. The US Anti-Doping Agency’s report describes it as “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.”

Armstrong’s story is legendary, a mere mortal who survived cancer and went on to win the greatest race in the sport; the Tour de France a total of seven times. A man who built an empire out of his tale and branded it Livestrong, not to find a cure for cancer but to raise awareness of it. Armstrong is a master of marketing.

However this fairytale had a sell-by date. One by one his former US Postal teammates stepped forward and outed him for what he was- with it they sacrificed their own reputations and admitted their own guilt. Among them stood self-confessed dopers Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

500 drug tests were all clean, as his advocates roar. But this, his primary argument, falls short as the tests were apparently impossibly easy to evade or pass. There was no test for EPO until 2000, blood transfusions continue to remain undetectable and teams frequently knew in advance when testers would be coming. The solution to that was saline drips which would cover up any evidence of the crime.

Armstrong is not to be pitied for falling prey at the hands of other dopers, and caving under pressure. He has been described by USADA as the “ringleader of biggest doping conspiracy in sporting history.” Every day the story thickens, another element added to the ever-growing jigsaw. Recently, the UCI admitted accepting a donation of more than $100,000 from Armstrong in 2002. They deny that it was connected to any cover-up of a positive doping test.

The question is; will the sport of cycling ever be credible again after this poster boy’s fall from grace? Perhaps cycling journalist Paul Kimmage was on to something all along when he referred to Mr. Armstrong as the “cancer” of cycling.

Croke Park Finds Its Heroes

Published in The Journal Newspaper – Edinburgh 10 Oct 2012

Two counties per year get to boast winning the ultimate title in Irish sport. They secure that privilege for one year only, then they must start from the bottom once again, everyone an equal. Neighbouring counties pitted against neighbouring counties. All must take to Croke Park to fight it out on the playing field for that revered crowning of All Ireland Champions.

Last week, Galway stepped forward to attempt to tame the Cats in a glorious All Ireland Hurling Final. In front of 82,274 supporters, it was Kilkenny who returned home with the McCarthy Cup to place once again upon their mantelpiece where it has sat seven times since 2000. Incredibly, this is their 34th All Ireland title. The final score read Kilkenny 3-22 to Galway’s 3-11.

Galway had their head in the game from the early stages, leading 2-2 to 0-5 at one stage. But the ever capable Kilkenny machine retaliated quickly. Donnellan got a straight red card for a dirty pull in the 49th minute and the tragedy for the Galway supporters transpired from there. A nice nine points from the legendary Henry Shefflin as well as a goal and three points from Walter Walsh in his championship debut meant that with 20 minutes left, Galway were goners.

In the All Ireland Senior Championship Football final, Donegal finally laid their hands on the Sam Maguire Cup after a twenty year fast, defeating James Horan’s Mayo squad. Donegal obtained three scores in the opening eleven minutes with a goal-a-piece by Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden. Donegal played a superbly smart game with wing-back Anthony Johnson at the core of it. Donegal’s manager McGuiness is praised for creating a new style of play that critics are saying will be difficult for other teams to replicate.

As for the ladies, Wexford triumphed over Cork in the All Ireland Senior Camogie Championship. They made it three in a row, with the score card reading Wexford 3-13, Cork 3-6.

In typical Irish fashion, with the season barely over it is straight back to the grind and time to plan for the 2013 season. Thirty-three teams will compete for the Sam Maguire Cup, while fifteen line up in the race for the Liam McCarthy.

Longboarding in Ireland

Published in OutDare Adventures on 1 Oct 2012.

A stretch of tarmac, a summers breeze, and a longboard – that is all you need for an evening of bliss. You yearn for an adrenaline rush, but you are restrained by a tight leash;  the dreaded word that consumes your thoughts and haunts your dreams; money. You are broke.

I’ll share with you a little secret. There are kicks to be found outside of the pricey niche of skydiving, BASE jumping, snowboarding lessons, etc. The growing sport of longboarding is accessible wherever you may be. It just requires practise and a pair of balls.

The longboard was created to mimic the motions of surfing and snowboarding, now it stands on its own, as a sport in its own right. But why just pave down your own road when you could be racing all over the world.

America and Australasia seem to be leading the charge when it comes to surfing the roads. When I went searching I discovered a bustling hub of festivals and races dotted around the globe, all dedicated to this niche sport.

The following are just a few races to try out around America and Canada, plenty more lie just a google search away:

As for the rest of the world we’ve got some options:

For more events around the world click here.

When I purchased my first longboard, I took it down to the tennis courts behind my old school to practise, hiding it from prying eyes because people in my little town in the south east of Ireland did not understand what this board was. I began to think this was going to be one lonely sport as I carved the pavements on my own with just my Ipod tucked in my ear for company. But now my eyes have opened and I see the world out there, the people that are traversing across their home lands via their boards to join together and unite with this epic booming community of longboarders.

You want to try longboarding in Ireland? Be warned; its hilly, the weather is crap and the community of riders is small. However, if you catch her on a good day, it can be spectacular.  You can roll through the streets of Dublin city; dodging cars, cobbles and people or you can dapple in the extreme and push out to rural Ireland (aka nearly every other county outside of Dublin) thereby taking on the country lanes, the cattle and the wildlife.

If your curiosity has been piqued then you’ll need to know that the Dublin Longboard Crew are at the forefront of the rise and they are waiting to welcome you to our home.

Tiernan-Locke a Tour de Force

Published in the Journal newspaper – Edinburgh & Glasgow edition 26/09/12

First the crowds screamed for Cavendish, then Wiggins, then Armitstead, Hoy and Pendleton. Now Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is the name rolling off supporter’s lips, in what has been a historic summer for the sport, one in which showcased a river of British cycling talent.

The Devonian climber is the first British rider to win the Tour in 19 years. Eighteen seconds behind Tiernan-Locke was Garmin’s Nathan Haas (Australia) who finished second overall. Following them in third position was Italy’s Damiano Caruso.

The 2012 Tour of Britain took off from Ipswich on 9 September consisting of 102 riders making up 17 teams. The British teams out to play were Team Sky and Team UK Youth while the Irish team An Post turned out for their fourth year to compete in the race.

At the onset things were not going the way of team Sky with a crash from reigning world champion Mark Cavendish in the opening stage. This was followed by TdF winner Bradley Wiggin’s abandonment of the Tour after stage 5 due to a stomach bug. However their looming presence was still felt with a consistently Sky dominated peloton.

The real highlight of the race across the Isles was the performance of the Endura racing rider Tiernan- Locke.  It was stage 5 when he came into his element and dominated on Gun Hill. The 27 year old then really began to push towards the top of the General Classification scale. He moved into the overall lead in stage 6 by pulling off a successful attack on Caerphilly Mountain to edge out Leigh Howard.

In his last race for Team Sky, Mark Cavendish won the final stage (8) from Reigate to Guildford which marks his 15th victory of 2012. Winning the final stage means he relinquishes his hold on the world champion’s rainbow jersey in style. United Healthcare’s Boy Van Poppel took the overall points jersey. Peter Williams claimed the sprint title and Kristian House took the Skoda King of the Mountain’s title.

Another race in the season ticked off, now let the UCI Road World Championships commence.  A nine man strong British team featuring both Tiernan-Locke and Cavendish take on the big boys in Holland this week. Already Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws have won bronze with their team AA Drink-Leontien.nl in the team time trial at the Championships.