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Blake's Athens to Atlanta A2A 2006 Journal 1 of 5

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The Friday Night Pre-A2A Skate in Atlanta 

I can't say that I remember much about Friday on the way to Atlanta from Greensboro, but I remember a major traffic jam and detour at the SC/GA border. I decided to take the detour, whereas a lot of folk stayed on the Interstate. I think they won, but I can never be sure of course.


I did fire up the Garmin Etrex Vista once I took the detour, and at one point after a left turn in this massive line of cars, I decided to U-turn and go left and get further off track to get back on track. I may have saved time or may have lost time, but I had clear driving after this point at least, so it felt better to me.


I met Elizabeth outside what used to be Galyan's at the Mall of Georgia. Artem had given me a gift certificate for my birthday, so I bought over $25 worth of goo and sport beans for A2A and beyond.


In the parking lot, I knew we were set for major skate stuff and we did it there because we knew that once I got around people I would not be able to think clearly about skate repairs and would not be able to focus on the people I was saying hello to either! I had brought some special bolts with extra flat heads for Elizabeth to try with her frames, as I thought she should move them in some and she wanted to move them backward some. This worked and whichever thing made it better for her--in or back, or both--she later found she was happy again with how it felt to be on the frames.


The other nasty item was that she had felt a resistance and heard a pop noise when she put her rear bolt in the night before. I brought my metric thread tap kit which I had bought for my own repairs the week before at AutoZone. I had seen an auto mechanic use a tap set to just “refresh” the threads on something, so I told Elizabeth it was worth a shot and better than trying a thread insert if it worked. So I used the 6mm x 1.0 tap and T-handle to gently spin down into the threads on the rear of her boot, keeping the boot upward so that any carbon, epoxy or aluminum would fall out rather than wedge between her insoles and the footbed of the boot itself. We tried the bolt again and it was all good, so she was set, as long as it survived a test skate in Atlanta on Friday night.


I had been making major boot repairs for at least a couple of weeks, starting with repairs to the threads, ending with repairs to some cracks that showed up near the mounting blocks on the rear of the sad skate. I'll have photos and stories of these repairs later, I hope, after posting the summer's Tour to Tanglewood Training Ride photos and other stuff.


So as it was in the parking lot, I had used a thread insert and Zapagap CA+ gap filling super glue to repair the front thread, but the back thread wasn't done as well and I abandoned that method for using what Mark Farnsworth had recommended, a T-Nut, to repair the rear. A T-Nut is a flat washer-like item, in this case about the size of a silver dollar, with a hole in it that has 6mm x 1.0 threads extending downward through it. You have to put the flat part inside the boot with the threads pointing downward, finding a way to glue it in and pad it above for heel comfort. I'll cover this repair more later.


All that was left for me was to reassemble my kit, as I had used some RTV black gasket maker material (in a squeeze tube; I used to use this to fix the roof on my old 1979 FIAT Spider 2000 convertible) to pad underfoot. This felt very good and I was not worried about the thread insert up front, as I had tested the feel of that, or so I believed.


After this, we drove our cars down to ATL with the idea of leaving one there for the weekend, so we could skate to the car after A2A then drive to the ceremonies and dinner then back to Grayson.


Mark S called to say where are you guys and he knew we'd push it to the limits, but we actually thought we were way ahead of schedule until we hit the glowing red lights that mark highways in and out of Slowlanta. It was looking as if we might not even do the Friday night skate, but we kept pushing, and as we knew a basic plan of attack, this was helpful. We parked up in the Ansley area and booted up and headed down for Skate Escape, arriving as people were disembarking. This had me in a bit of a tizzy and we skated up the hill saying a nervous hello to Ann E late of Athens later of Rockville (which is an REM reference in itself).


As we went up the hill and entered an intersection, me with camera in the right hand and who knows what in the left, I clacked with Elizabeth as I was probably trying to pass her, not that I'm competitive or anything, not that I was focusing on photos or anything, not that I could be to blame or any such stuff. So I landed on the flesh between the two endmost knuckles of my right ring finger, plus my camera, plus my palm sliders, and took a rollover on my shoulder, but not damaging the jersey or shorts, yay!


It took me until just AFTER A2A to realize that my camera body had split open and there was a gap there wide enough for at least a few m&m's to pass through, or water, coffee, skaterade, &c. This is why ALL of my A2A photos had a shadow in the top left corner before editing, and some may have the hallmark of this fall still evident. I was able to snap the case back together on the grassy knoll just after the A2A finish line.


Anyway, it was only the next day we discovered the rest of the story.


So off we went and happily we saw Roadskater.net and Tour to Tanglewood jerseys on many of the skaters, creating warm fuzzies in my soul, thank you very much all. We are building a family from around the country and a nice family of skateyloves it is.


The night skate went pretty well but I felt off balance on the right foot, thinking my frame must have shifted. It was only when I went outside edge at all that I felt this strangeness, and that was not very often I admit. We saw Eddy (at the height of my confusion over frame matters) then having had a few calls from Marcia W along the way, we saw her and her posse early in the route and settled in to do some catching up, as much as can be done amid so many interesting folk!


One of the most important advantages to doing the Friday Night Skate in Atlanta before A2A is that you get to recon the last part of the route off Dekalb Ave. onto Moreland, then down through across the sidewalk in Little Five Points to Highland, then the usually tricky left turn on often bad pavement onto Virginia and beyond.


After the skate, Elizabeth and I skated up to our cars, because we had forgotten our money for burritos at Willy's, so once again we got there late and we missed some people. It was a bit chilly outside so we stayed inside the restaurant. Before long the place was full of other skaters who decided they had too little clothing on for conditions as well, I guess.


I was still a bit out of it from driving all day, falling, then not really figuring everything out with the frame. Eddy noted that I had been looking down a lot during the skate.


So we decided to skate back up to the cars and try to figure what we'd most love to see Sunday after A2A, and leave that in the trunk of the Atlanta car! Of course, we also knew we'd have the Athens luggage in Piedmont Park. Another hot tip we figured out later was perhaps to leave the Athens luggage on the truck to go to the ceremony at the high school and pick it up there with the car, rather than getting it at the finish and skating it up to the car after skating 87 miles.


In any case, Friday night we left my car and made it back to Grayson in Elizabeth's. I had said earlier, “You know, we really need to get everything ready tonight instead of tomorrow, right?” and Elizabeth agreed, but now we were both talking about rest being very important. We have that theory that Tim and Mark have espoused as well, that you'd best rest in the days 2 days and more before an event, because you're not that likely to get a lot of rest the night before. This is almost always true for us!

Continued:

http://roadskater.net/index.php?q=blakes-athens-to-atlanta-a2a-2006-journal-2-of-5

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