A few days ago I went out onto the Razorback Greenway via Bella Vista Lake. It was perfect. A few hills to climb and descend, but nothing crazy that would leave me struggling. So, I headed out to the lake for another Greenway ride.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to skate the Greenway today. As I approached the first tunnel I cam upon a section that was roped off. Also greeting me at the tunnel was a reporter. He informed me that the trail was closed at that point as they were painting the inside of the tunnel with a white "anti-graffiti" paint. I paused my Endomondo app and got a little camera time as he interviewed me. As I geared back up to ride, I wondered where I could ride...
...around the lake, of course. The lake made for a very shaded easy ride. The full loop is 1.8 miles but one parking lot connecting the trail looked to have gravel, so I would turn around and loop back around to the other end. 15 kilometers later, I called it a day and headed home before the afternoon storms rolled in.
While it won't become my most common ride, looping around the lake makes for a fun addition to the Razorback Greenway.
Oh, and here is my interview for the news: 40/29 News
The blog post could easily be called, "My Longest Mile," or "The Trail That Killed Me."
A few days ago, as I drove through Bentonville toward Bella Vista, I saw a pump track. It was bigger than the pump track I'd skated in Springdale, and it just happened to be stationed on a trailhead for the Razorback Greenway.
When I got my opportunity to check both out on Wednesday afternoon, I hit the pump track first. I spent my first twenty to thirty minutes getting used to the track, adding a little more speed with each run. I found myself having a hard time with one particular wave. It is awkwardly placed directly after another wave. It wasn't necessarily taking the wave, but the narrowness coming out of the wave. While it gave me some fits, the pump track was a lot of leg burning fun.
Now, I could blame my poor performance riding the trail on my legs being worn out from the pump track. I can put blame on the summer heat (the temp was around 93 with the heat index upward of 100). But I'm not choosing to blame my poor performance on those. No, I'm choosing to blame it on the hills because these hills are crazy.
In fact, the first mile felt as if it were almost entirely uphill with only a couple drops in elevation. By the time I made it to the the busy street crossover into the next portion of (what looked like) more incline, my legs were shot. I knew not to push it further because I din't want to get too far out this tired. I turned around and started the descent.
Now, here's the thing. I now had a crazy downhill ride. And, while this may sound fun, it was actually more stressful than the uphill battle I'd just taken on. I had to slide. A lot. And I'm not proficient at sliding a drop down drop through longboard yet. The difference between sliding a drop down drop through and sliding a topmount skateboard is in foot placement and leverage. When sliding a typical skateboard, I rely heavily on my back foot being on the tail. The tail is a lever. Your back foot pushes down on the lever as you turn into the slide. Now, having that lever gone, the slide feels very different. So, I started carving toe side with my hands down, basically doing "backside bert" slides down the hills. The interesting thing is that the next downhill mile was actually slower than my uphill pushing mile because I kept sliding to a stop.
After completing a three mile ride, I decided I needed to work on my slides and get comfortable doing powerslides on my longboard (or standies as the kids call them). I went back into Bella Vista and visited Loch Lamond. The parking lot was empty, so I spent a good half hour getting comfortable sliding. It wasn't necessarily how I wanted to finish my day of skating, but it was a necessary thing to do.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been dealing with a little knee pain when pushing. From everything I've read, I believe it to be a simple case of runner's knee caused by overuse. I've been riding very high boards for some time. Top mounts with multiple risers make for very tall skateboards. Add to the mix that I tend to revert to pushing rather than pumping when I get tired, and I was spending far too much time essentially doing lunges when skating.
To combat the knee pain, I ordered a drop down drop through 8 ply maple deck. I set it up with Caliber trucks and 76mm 78a Sector 9 wheels. Looking at the platform height of this board compared to the platform height of the boards I've been riding was amazing. And, almost miraculously, I noticed within the first mile of pushing, that I was not having any knee pain.
I also noticed that, because my foot was so close to the ground, I wasn't bending forward nearly as much when pushing. This was very important to me as well as it was my first time riding with a hydration pack on my back.
I've been thinking about getting a hydration pack for a long time, but didn't have a good enough excuse to buy one. Most of my rides, when living in central Arkansas, were 3 to 5 miles. To the vast majority of distance skaters, this is a warm up ride and nothing to really talk about. However, now that I live in Northwest Arkansas with all the amazing paved trails around us, I had my excuse. My distance rides can now be much longer (especially now that my knee pain when pushing has gone away), and I know that I hate carrying water bottles in my hands while I skate.
The pack straps on like a tiny backpack (because that is exactly what it is). It contains a "hydration bladder" that holds 2 liters of water, and has a long straw that you bite down on to release the water. I loved this addition to my ride gear! Having the water readily accessible was awesome. I'll never hit the trails without it again.
Speaking of trails, I hit the Razorback Greenway (Rogers AR section) for the first time.
I'm in love with this trail!
The Razorback Greenway is a nearly 40 mile trail that goes from South Fayetteville all the way up to the northern border of Bentonville. So, it runs through the towns of Springdale and Rogers! A four town trail!
I got on at Cambridge Trail Head in northern Rogers and took a slow pace. Since I'd never ridden this trail before, I didn't know what to expect around any of the very plentiful turns. It is a very hilly area here in the Ozark Mountains, and I didn't want to suddenly be bombing a major hill when I wasn't prepared to slide. And, as I learned, sliding a drop through/drop down longboard is very different from sliding a top mount with a kicktail.
Those of us that are used to skating more traditionally modeled boards put one foot on the tail, behind the back truck, when sliding. With a low rider board you don't have that back truck leverage when sliding, and trying to break the wheels free feels very different. I fell off several times when attempting what would have been very easy slides on one of my other boards.
I'm going to have to do a little "freeride" slide practice out at Loch Lamond to get my longboard slides up to par!
I ended up doing a ten mile ride on the trail at what I considered a low, cruiser speed. There were two other realizations on this ride:
1. The low platform means that I push more efficiently and I don't get tired nearly as quickly.
2. It is easier for me to push with more power when the platform is lower.
I'm so happy with my new gear. I can't wait to get back out on the Razorback Greenway this week!
Loch Lamond is a short trail (between 1/2 and 3/4 of a mile) in Bella Vista, Arkansas.
My thought going to Loch Lamond was that I would have a short "track-like" trail to make quick pumping loops. I was completely wrong.
While short, the trail is tough. I keep forgetting that this is Northwest Arkansas aka The Ozark Mountains. I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a flat trail in NWA. While I talk and write a lot about the ditches of NWA, I don't speak much about the hills of NWA.
And there are hills everywhere. I mean, we're in the mountains! Loch Lamond trail is no different. While the portion of the trail visible from the road is very flat, the other 3/4 of the trail is a hill descending into another hill, so, you're either barreling downhill or pushing up the climb back up. Luckily, I brought both my pumping board and a second, shorter board (my everyday cruiser). After checking out the trail, I chose the cruiser so I could slide to slow myself down on the hill.
And I needed to slide! I easily hit 30 mph after sliding while going downhill. Now, for DH skaters, this is nothing, but for a guy that started distance skating in very flat Memphis, 30 is very fast. However, it was a chance for me to work on my DH slides (something at which I'm not great), and some heavy heavy pushing back up hill.
However, I can admit, after this session, I have a problem. I have what feels like runner's knee in my right knee. I believe I'm going to have to move to a drop through or drop down deck as riding tall boards with risers, tall trucks, and big wheels forcing me to do a squat each time I push is getting to my 40-something year old legs (after all, I've been pushing for over three decades).
Lake Atalanta sits just outside of the downtown area of Rogers, Arkansas and links to some unpaved trails and the Razorback Greenway, a paved trail that links all of Northwest, Arkansas together. The park is also just a couple miles away from some amazing Northwest Arkansas ditches (which were still wet today after a big storm a couple days ago).
For today's ride I made a couple laps around the lake which is just at 2 miles per lap. A fun, mostly clear path, the only obstacle to get around are some steep hills to push or pump followed by descents that were a little too fast for me. Were I to be riding a board with wider trucks and wheels that I was willing to slide, the hills would be simple to take. But, since I was on my pumping set up, I didn't want to break the wheels free and go sideways. Instead, I foot braked, carved some wide arcs, and even buttboarded downhill. Oh, and I did bail once which ended up bashing my board against a railing. It came out with a little dent along the nose, but otherwise fine.
I'll save you all the boring details of the last couple of months, but I will say it has been a long time without nearly enough skating. I managed to get a few sessions in here and there, but I can admit, a lack of places to skate where I've been living really started to get me down.
I have gotten some sessions in when I traveled to Little Rock or Memphis, but those breaks had been far apart.
However, a new location in a ditch-filled area with miles and miles of paved trails has me stoked on the future of Skate BDCD. The future is now and Skate BDCD (and my inspiration to stay on four wheels) is officially relaunched.
Here begins the future of BDCD!
The Mark Williams interview from earlier in the week got me thinking about skating distances on different setups. Today's experiment was to skate the same one mile course with three different boards to see the differences in skating each. For instance, how much difference would the 78a 65mm Star Trac ride from the 78a 75mm version? What difference would wheelbase really make? And, finally, which board would offer the most "fun" when riding?
In all honesty, there were no surprises, but I'd like to share the results with you.
The Landyachtz Loco 37 (on the far left) is my everyday board. I set it up to be a cross between the other two boards I rode today. Shorter than the homemade Birch deck but longer than the Alva and set up with big, soft, centerset wheels, I set it up so I could have a longer wheelbase, easier to skog deck that would still ollie and do any tricks I might want to do when skating for a few miles or more.
The Alva is my go to ditch and bank deck. Today was the first time I'd taken it out for a distance of a mile or more. This board, because of the shorter wheelbase (18"), smaller wheels, and less riser pad, as you could imagine, was much easier to ollie and felt much better hitting curbs and driveways. Also, probably due to the smaller size, I felt I had more control over the Alva. I also noticed that it felt faster on the 65mm 86a wheels than it does on the 78a 76mm wheels on the Landyachtz. My initial reaction was that it felt this way because of the faster acceleration of the smaller wheel and the speed gained on the smoother of the surfaces. However, on the con side to that, skating into the wind (and it was very windy today) was a lot more work on the smaller, harder wheel, and the wheels felt far too hard on the roughest surfaces.
The much longer 29" wheelbase Birch board is, of course, terrible for ollie popping and hitting driveways in comparison to either of the other two. It will ollie enough to get over big cracks in the road when you need it to, but it, for sure, wasn't built for tricks. It was, however, by far the fastest and smoothest ride of all three. Plus, the narrow Bennetts set up with 10 degrees of wedging combined with a TKP back truck de-wedged to nearly 0 degrees pumped for distance so much better there was really no comparison.
All in all, while all three were fun (I mean, they are skateboards), the least fun set up is the one that is supposed to be the middle of the road board. I guess that is why we end up having quivers of boards, right? One is never ideal for everything and today proved that.
I found Mark in an online group for Distance Skateboarding and thought he was an interesting person blending distance skating with standard street skating boards and wheels. He has traveled all around the globe on a skateboard. Such a unique journey. Here are ten questions with Mark Williams.
10 Questions with Mark Crt Williams
1. What gave you the idea to skate distances on a traditional skateboard instead of a longboard?
I have always been a street skater, it's all I ever know, basically only set up I like & prefer to ride is short board hard wheels street style. I explain it like a BMX biker wanting to go cross country he wouldn't switch. I want to skate skateparks if they're in town & not out of the way off of my roads & routes I'm skateboarding on the trips.
Also downtown city spots or any spots I may find while on the way. I film heaps of clips at skateparks & street along the way also, I love street skating. I got into distance after street skating for years, started skating year 2000. I had to work a lot of jobs ever since (I was) 14 years old, so many times in my life I always skated place to place, realizing how far my skateboard could take me & how my hard work, faith, & dedication earn my way.
2. How many countries, and total cumulative miles have you ridden?
I have skated 10 countries with 15,816 miles. 4 years of documenting as of 3/27/2018. I first skated every state of USA by 2 years & 5 months of documenting with 12,500 miles at that time. I'm never gone all at once I take pretty long breaks in between trips at home in my home state Maryland, usually the holiday/winter season Thanksgiving to end of March/April/May is when I start to leave & plan the next trip.
3. Do companies sponsor your trips?
No companies sponsor my trips. I start all this from the ground up, knowing that my faith, hard work, dedication through my craft of Skateboarding Distance can pay my way by sharing stories & accepting anything that's given through donations.
It's good humanity that supports & pays my way. I have 3 underground sponsors, but it's not big companies, Its my own company Crt Skateboards which I have had since 06' but now I only get decks for sale when at home & have extra money to do so, which isn't too often since I have to work un-skate related jobs at home when in between trips to help keep my skating going. I have TheDcWheels sponsor which is a nonprofit organizations that has fundraisers for different causes & reasons, events to impact communities through skateboarding, showing the world how much more their is to skateboarding that meets the eye. I also have TayPac photography which is for Photos & appeal, which does amazing photography for all walks of life no matter the race, religion, sex, showing all kinds of different passions. None of these sponsors pay towards my trips. I get products from them, they help promote my upcoming skate distance trips, spreads my messages, meanings etc on my trips. My sponsors my be underground & not paid through them but we are family, we help each other out in ways money can't buy, through our real connection & love we have for each other.
4. Tell us about your boards? Do you bring more than one on a trip?
My board setup is, usually deck size 8.25-8.5 I prefer 8.5 so I won't snap them as quick. I prefer my own Crt Skayeboards decks but I skate whichever deck is donated at that time. Trucks: Independents size 8.25-8.5. Wheels hard 99-101 street formula. I prefer Spitfires but I ride whatever is donated at the time. Now I am on Delores Wheels which is a local wheel company out of VA, again received through donations. Bearings I prefer Bones Reds classics, best for your money, also though I use what is donated at the time, now I am about to setup a new set of bearings, Bronson, which were donated by Mad About Skateboarding skate shop in Fort Lauderdale, FL on my past trip in Florida March 13-31st. Shoes I'm skating Dc Shoes for now, which local friends/support has donated, I prefer Vans, Airspeeds, Emericas, I like basic classic shoes, for good board control etc.
I am blessed that all my products come free through donations, never no worries on products, yeah sometimes I ride a bit rougher at times waiting on a new set of trucks like I am now Theeve hanger (Aussie brand truck co), Indy base plate. Decks get beat up every 2-3 weeks depending on how hard I am street skating at the time. In need of new deck too but it will come. I always say it's decks, shoes, bearings I go through the most. Wheels & trucks lasting longer. I used to have the same trucks every 2 years. Now, ever since distance, it's more like every year new tricks due to the thrashing, cracks, rough roads through skate distance. I thrash pivot cups & change them out often also which before distance I never did that. In my backpack I carry like few extra bearings in case they bust, same with hardware, a kingpin, bolts. The rest I receive donated products through support on trips either skaters in towns I skate, skateparks, skate shops... it comes as I need it, no worries.
5. Where do you sleep, stay on one of these journeys?
I stay/sleep anywhere for real. For example, if I don't have any support already in the town I am ending in or no new support/friends, then sometimes I'll try independently owned motels/hotels sometimes they like to discount/put me up out of donation. But that always depends on my budget at the time, so lots of times I will sleep outside finding a straight laid back place to set my tent where I won't be bothered or messed with. If it's raining out (or, I'm) too tired to set (a) tent or too cold outside for (the) tent I'll find a somewhat indoor or covered spot to where I'll sleep inside my tent as a sleeping bag with my blankets/hoodys tryin' to stay as warm as possible. Lots of times you'll be in weather where (it's) hot during days, cold at night. Sometimes the places I have to find to sleep or stay warm can get really random but I feel like I am helped, guided & kept safe doing so. . .it always works itself out.
My one rule about sleeping outside is that if in a city I will skate outside of that city to a suburb town or small town for the safest place to find to sleep, just cause it is harder & (there is) more risk in citiess to find laid back, chill, not get bothered or messed with places to sleep. So sometimes that means skate through ghettos in middle of night over staying in a city at night, but I find this better or what I prefer.
6. What has been your favorite trip and favorite place to skate on a trip?
Favorite trip? (It) is kinda too hard to pick just one trip 'cause each trip gave me different things in my life, or taught me different things, which mean a lot. I can say I really like it in Aussie for the way of life, living, laid back, chill, it's definitely my style. My favorite skatepark was in Aussie, north of Brisbane in Breckenridge. Also love Lakeland skatepark in Lakeland, FL.
My favorite mileage day, most intense but not most miles in a day, is the Salt River Canyon in Arizona. It goes Show-Low, Az to Globe, Az I skated 73 miles out of 87 miles on that route. I went from 10:30 am to 6:30 am (next day) on that. It was 5% grade down steepness, & 5% grade up steepness which switch back zig-zagged for 10 miles. I walked for like 4 hours I walked straight up, mad hard & intense. Also I burned a hole in a pair of shoes in one day on that day due to having to brake so much with my shoe from being so steep. It's my favorite place & skate day I ever had cause it gave me the feelings of heaven of earth, & also it felt so well deserved through the hard work & effort I put into that day, such an accomplishment.
I state I have records & history since I go short board hard wheels street style for skate distance, so the feelings I get tell me yup hell yea no one has ever done this how I have done it meaning my set up & mileage for a day on certain routes, mountain passes or that one canyon I've done.
7. What does the future hold for your journeys?
The future holds another round around the world for my journeys. SkateTheWorld Part 2. I start with Central America skate distance starting in Cancun around April 16th, pushing through Central America for 1 month, I would like to get to Panama City but I will see how this trip goes & how much I am able to skate on these roads & routes with my 1 month time frame. It is around a 1,700 miles route. I'll be home in Maryland again from May 19th to end of June, May 19th for TheDcWheels event through out the DMV called 45 miles Skate a thon. July I'll go out again starting in Hong Kong skating all the way to Bali, Indonesia, going through China, Vietnam, Loas, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Jarkata, Java, Bali- Indonesia. Then Nepal, India, Middle East, more Europe (different parts from last year), different parts of Africa - North, East, South. Around end of year I plan to be at the La Digue Island, Seychelles Islands when I reach my 20,000 miles. La Digue is my retirement Island where I want to be to retire my records & history I've been making on street style skateboarding distance. At some point I also want to get in Antarctica cause one of my goals is to skateboard distance in every continent, Antarctica maybe after I retire at 20,000 miles but still want to get there. For Nepal, India, Middle East, more Europe, different parts of Africa my roads & routes I'll research & choose when the time comes closer.
8. Where can people follow where you are, see where you're headed, and track where you've been?
You can follow my journeys @ Instagram or FB Mark crT Williams. On Instagram link is in bio for this year's Gofundme.com/skatetheworld-part-2
I post pictures of where I skate to where I skate breaking down my times & miles, take out break times, tell how long in skate time. I call 40 miles or less a break day, 40 miles or more a Skate Day since I like to keep skate days at high averages. I have 9 different days a 100 miles or more, my record is 143 miles Philly to DC in a day (24 hours time frame)
Also I post on all stories whenever I receive feeds, donations, places to stay, inspiration, etc.
9. Your faith is a big portion of your journeys. Do you look at these, in part, as mission trips?
It is very detailed what I do & all the things it can show. So it can be looked at as mission trips, but the best way I state it is I go off total faith, hard work, (and) dedication to this craft of Skateboarding Distance so it can pay my way. I don't ask for a single thing I accept anything that is given through donations, my support system, good humanity everywhere I go. So it does show a lot on what I believe, Faith? Yes, I believe in a God-Lord-Creator, Jesus but I'm not one religion & I stay open minded to all religions everywhere I go, cultures, way of life way of living, I accept all as humans, take in everything everywhere I go, learn everywhere I go.
I'm spiritual, I feel connected, helped, guided throughout my trips, cause I know I can't do what I do by myself, I have endless stories on Faith & how in my eyes I've been saved in near death situations. I don't fear. I never worry. I just live my life to the fullest. I never peach on anything, all I do is share stories & let people take it for what they want. All the way up in till this year I stated on my profile in Instagram & info on gofundme that #1 spread the Lord, which I'm sure I do & I still will do so. But I thought very hard on everything I do & how one word can make all the difference in some parts of this world, sometimes things can be hard & difficult doing something like I do. So I have grown myself as a person so I decided to state it now as, FaithLovePeace for the world, this way all can feel welcome if I do happen to be somewhere in this world that the word Lord could get me killed.
Maybe I over think things sometimes but I do feel my work can be very detailed sometimes, so I always do what I feel is right. I do feel that my trips so very much on Faith, Love, & Peace so I'm happy to continue to spread good messages throughout this world I love. Also shows faith in humanity, how theirs more good then bad no matter how the news makes it look. I speak off experiences not what others may see or think. Also shows to follow dreams, follow your passions, passions can turn into a living, to get out of a matrix type system if you are feeling stuck in a life you are not happy with. I have overcame alcohol, overcame depression, seen too much addiction from very close ones in my life, seen a lot of passings-on ones I love it's never easy having to deal with passings. I try very hard to share some of my own life to be able to help others, I can relate to lots of issues life throws our way, been through or seen a lot so anytime I can I help & love to help others. I'm told I inspire, show heaps if inspiration & I'm glad I am able to show the world these things. I value what money can't, I feel good about my work, even when sometimes I'm poor with money, cause I feel rich in spirit. I found my happiness, I feel blessed for my life.
10. How are your trips funded and how can others support your trips?
My trips are funded all independently through me, CrtSkates, my support- CertiNation. By showing my Faith, hard work, dedication to my craft of Skateboarding Distance through my support system, good humanity I share stories & receive, all through donations. Gofundme.com/skatetheworld-part-2 for online donations, cash when on roads & routes pushing.
I do work un-skate related jobs when at home in between trips to help keep my skating going. Also when in Hawaii, I worked other jobs to be able to afford to get island to island. In Alaska I worked jobs through friends to be able to afford my flight home. I will always find a way to do what I want to be able to go where I want I put everything into this life. I do follow dreams while after dreams my end goal & dream is to open up my Skate Shop/Pizza Place named Certy's. It will be themed off of my CrtSkates trips showing pictures, post, miles, hours, all the good stories on how everyone is involved in my story. I like to show my thanks as much as possible so this way everyone has a story in my shop & get to see the impact they made to help me get my shop. I kickflipped 15 stairs at the age of 15, 3 years into skating I really thought I go Pro till about 18-20 that was always what I worked towards, by 18 I started my own company Crt(Certified Respected Talent) Skateboards since I was in my prime & wasn't getting sponsors, I knew if I wasn't getting noticed I wasn't goin give up & I was goin make people notice me. I never made a full living off Crt it's on the side thing to where I worked 14-25 in the cooking field, I knew if I wanted to take my cooking & skating into one it be a Skate Shop/Pizza Place I want. So I decided to take my own roads & routes to get my shop. This is how I turned skateboarding distance into a living, a Professional Skateboarding Distance Man, Street Style (short board hard wheels), I compete in Amateur level contest for skating skating, so Am for street skating, Pro for Distance. Skate The World to be apart of The Skate World. CrtSkates. MtW
During my time putting together Luchaskate, two books were produced. The first was called Common Criminals. It was a collection of skate related essays. Skater written. Skater published.
The book was a pleasure to publish, and includes an essay from one of my favorite skaters growing up, Kent Senatore. The rest of the essays, as the name implies, are the common criminals of skateboarding. Skaters not gaining fame from riding a board, but loving the ride nonetheless. but now only a few copies remain.
Jump ahead a few years. As I wrapped up the Luchaskate journey, I decided to take my essays from Common Criminals, combine them with essays written for the Luchaskate blog, and mix them with some new work to have Nobody: Essays from a Lifer Skater. Why call a book nobody? Because, in the overall scheme of skateboard culture, I am a nobody. Never pro. Never on the cover of a magazine. A Never Was.
Those of us never were skaters have stories to tell. We make up the vast majority of the skateboard world. We travel to locations. We meet other interesting people. We see what is happening in our culture through individual eyes. This is my unique story from getting my first board in the late seventies to becoming the parent of a grom.
Both books are available on the Merch page.
Rainy days used to get me down.
Not anymore! At least not as badly anymore.
With a little effort and some Eastside H2O wheels courtesy of Sanders Skateboards, I was able to put in a four mile ride on wet streets today.
Let's face it, rain and pebbles are two of the biggest enemies of skateboards and longboards. Heck, even the smallest wet spot on a road can cause a wipeout if it catches you unaware. Add in that water on wood and metal bearings causes decay and rust and even the smallest downpour can cause you to miss a session to protect your board and your body.
It has been raining a lot around here lately, and it has caused me to miss multiple days of skating. I was looking for a way to stay skating despite the weather. So, I set up a rain board. A rain board generally consists of equipment you don't mind getting wet. You can use an old, worn out or cheap trucks, some throw away bearings (old or cheap bearings), some stock bushings you've upgraded from on your other setups, and a previously retired deck.
I put on some 110 mm Bullet trucks I had used on my first pumping and slalom setups before I moved to using Bennetts as my front trucks. Bearings? Bearings will rust, of course, which is why I used an old set. My plan is to watch them and, at the first sign of rust, I'll take them apart, clean them thoroughly, and see how much life I can get out of them. Finally, I helped waterproof a previously retired deck with clear flex seal (yeah, that stuff from the TV commercials). I sprayed it down, top and bottom, giving the entire board several layers of rubberized coating to help seal out water. I'm not sure how long or how well it will last, but it seemed like a good idea to add another layer of water protection.
The wheels are the biggest deal in setting up a rain board. The last thing you want to do is slide out on every turn when skating in wet conditions. This is why Eastside Longboards, out of Portland, OR, has created H2O wheels. As you can see in the picture, they have two grooved insets in each wheel that displaces water just like a tread on a tire. And they work very well for general carving turns.
Now, I would not suggest trying to pump on them. The grooves help, but they don't replace dry ground completely. I tried pumping this set up very briefly, and it did not work. That said, it was the only time I slid out on the entire skate.
The only downside I see to the wheels is that, if you ride through a lot of areas with gravel, pieces of gravel will stick inside the groove giving you a sound similar to a flat spot. Thankfully, when you're done skating (or if you stop for a minute), you can easily get those rocks out of the grooves.
I have to say, I'm very pleased with my rain day setup, and the fact that I can log miles despite the weather not cooperating with me.
David Thornton is a lifer skater and national award winning writer. He has been skating for over thirty years and is the author of Nobody: Essays from a Lifer Skater.