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Joy Revisited: Skating the Silver Comet Trail

eebee's picture

So many times as an adult I have longed for the joy I felt during childhood. At times I find life as an adult to be a challenge as my own fears collect and hinder over time like pine straw in a skate brake!

How to recapture the giddy hysteria of childhood antics without the aid of mood-altering pharmaceuticals?! Should I go back to Bournemouth and find a white/blonde-haired kid with which to play hide and seek in the bleached stucco stair wells of the grand houses near the Winter Gardens? One of my sisters might oblige these days but they'd secretly think I was just a sad remnant of a previously well-adjusted person. I could say hang it all and move to the beach...any beach...and hope to recapture the magic of simply standing on the sand, enthralled for hours by the sun-sparkles on the water surface.

Thankfully these emotions from paradise reside within me and can be reawakened in landlocked activities. Many skates on the Silver Comet Trail have brought me an inundation of pure joy and euphoria. Depending on my state of physical and mental fitness at mile zero, it happens at varying points along the way. I will see a particular plant or field and instantly remember my Grandfather's garden in Hampshire, and along with that my Grandmother's face and the smell of percolated coffee. Happy days! Even though the plants, birds, bugs - and God knows, the weather - are different between Georgia and Southern England, they are similar enough to seem to welcome me back to life again.

With the blustery breezes blowing every which way around my face as I skate down the trail, I am not only reminded of larking about in the dunes with my sisters at Sandbanks, I am transported internally back there again, as if time hadn't passed and we had never left. The Cobb County sunshine becomes the Dorset sunshine. I'm the same peaceful person now as I was then and bring the optimism of a ten year-old from Poole to Paulding County, Georgia. What a wonderful gift! All that just from training for the fall skate events. That's worth all the entry fees right there!

I'm pretty sure nobody spiked my hydro-pack.

I generally do not feel this way skating road-events like A2A. Close, but not quite. That the trail is devoid of motorized vehicles seems to make all the difference. There were no motorized vehicles on the beach, in the Winter Gardens, or in my Grandfather's garden, either.

A cheery footnote: there's a new bridge on the trail! For 7 years or so I have not really wanted to relax until we had the fast downhill into a busy 4-lane road at mile 10 behind us. So many times I crested the hill before it, straining my eyes to see whether the authorities had actually bridged the very small gap over the road to join both parts of the trail finally, which would have eliminated our need to dip down, cross the busy road, and swoop back up to the trail again. I think after all this time I gave up hope. But last week we discovered there is a new bridge there! I couldn't believe my eyes! If, over the course of these past 7 years, there had even been crude wooden planks joining the path high above the road underneath, I would have skated over it. Or taken my skates off and walked across it. Such was my dislike of this particular road-crossing. So big thanks to whomever got the ball rolling on installing the new bridge! A very happy event.  

 

 

Location

Silver Comet Trail
Mavell Road
Smyrna, Georgia 30082
United States
33° 50' 40.5024" N, 84° 30' 59.5404" W

Comments

roadskater's picture

Silver Comet and Long Trail Skating is Special

That's a really fun collection of images from various locations and times of life! I have some of the same responses to seeing and feeling misty mountain scenes...and the beach too, of course.

You're right that while long distance roadskates can be great fun, they require some focus and interaction that typically inhibit relaxation. This is proper, of course.

What is great about really long rail trails is that despite some areas requiring special attention, there are typically sections of trail remote enough to allow long periods of relatively relaxing exercise for the mind and the rest of the body.

There's something really fine about the Silver Comet in that it changes as you go along the trail so it doesn't get boring even if visited often. More importantly, it changes for the better over time with improvements that make sense for trail users and automobile traffic as well.

But what is key is that the trail goes for such a long distance that it provides the opportunity to spend a day with yourself, with a friend or friends, or meeting people along the way, enjoying a brief, simple vacation of sorts.

The new bridge is a huge imrovement in terms of safety and enjoyment for skaters, bikers, walkers and the automobilists nearby, and it feels good to take the straight path the Silver Comet train took across that road for so many years. The Silver Comet is great, and over the years, unlike so many rail trails, it keeps getting better.

Thanks for sharing your private thoughts from a day out.

silver comet 2012?

i am brand new to this site and just back to skating after several years off, besides the occasional skatepark for laughs.  I am not a beginner, but need some work getting my back used to this again. i skated a very relaxing 15 miles on Silver Comet the other day and plan to do 27 thursday.  I do not have professional skates, but my 4 year old rollerblades are decent fitness skates with abec 7 and 80 wheels. I just lost my job so no plans of upgrades...  Any how I heard someone speak at a good Friday service the other day about how they rowed a boat across the Atlantic ocean to raise awareness for "Human Trafficking/slavery."   She kept saying you don't have to row, just do something..   So I thought I would apply for jobs in the morning and train to skate 72 miles for freedom for the 27 million victims in the late mornings. 72 days because of the website www.72daysforfreedom.com   Given my lack of skating over the years I know its a bit crazy, but #1 its the some what flat silver comet; so a good place to start #2 Its for freedom!! #3 I can't sit around the house all day looking for jobs. #4 i saw a few roadskater post about rolling is faster than sitting

 

Anyone out there want to help or skate? My plan of training was one 17 mile at the cedartown area to see the terain, 3 sets of 27 miles, 2 sets of 50, and then 72. Most days I will start between mile markers 0 and 9.5

roadskater's picture

welcome wanderer

Hey un.retired.skater: Thanks for rolling in. Any reason to get juiced up on skating again is great, and the Silver Comet is a lifeline of spinspiration to us all. We have some site readers who are in your area, and you could try to hook up with the aprr.org and a2a.net websites and emails lists. The first of these, Atlanta Peachtree Road Rollers, have an email list that is active on downtown and Silver Comet skate linkup times. One of our pals on the site here, tomb, lives essentially on the trail between 0 and 4. Hopefully he'll notice your note here. Regardless, please know that we're interested in your progress and questions and what you discover as you skate your way through and beyond your 72 days.

I'm getting started very late this year, but feel it's about to happen. We'll be out there on the Silver Comet as the summer comes along, certainly. We love it. We've done parts or all of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga often, and some of our comments are here and photos are on RSN1.net.

We look forward to meeting you.

eebee's picture

Welcome to the site, and back to skating!

Hi un.retired! Thank you for joining the site and posting! This is a great place to tell of your plans, for a chance of other skaters to want to join you. It has been a long Winter, and a painful spring of flu and colds for me, so all those miles in the hot sun don't seem like they were ever mine, and even less that they may be again in a few months' time! 

Hearing about your plans makes me want to get started on my own training schedule again.

I started skating in 1999 with the aim of raising funds for the Leukemia Society by training for and taking part in the Athens-to-Atlanta Roadskate. I did it, and have been skating every year ever since. I like your cause. I haven't looked into how funds are used to try to nix human trafficking, but it's certainly something the world could do without, and the sooner the better.  

I liked your comment about going to skateparks for laughs. I go to them for anxiety and nervousness. Anybody who can just 'drop in' has my admiration. I can do long, straight lines for a hundred miles at a time, but am not too agile on skates otherwise. 

I find my lumbar region limbers up even more each time I skate, if I can train 4 times a week. If I go more than a week without skating, it locks up again. I think there's something about strengthening those lumbar muscles through having to support my upper body.

At the rec/long-distance level, I don't think wheel size matters so much as having boots that don't turn your feet to minced beef after 20 miles. Finishing, and preferably with a smile on your face, feels so much better than crying in the ditch with raw heels a quarter of the way through. The roadskater crowd usually wears whatever helps them get maximum enjoyment out of skating, striking the balance somewhere between speed, comfort and energy economy. Oh, and economy economy, too, as you mentioned yourself! 

Please keep us updated on your training and progress! Perhaps we will get to skate with you later this year!

eebee's picture

Silver Comet Terrain

Forgot to say: yes, it's a great idea for you to check out the terrain between Cedartown and Rockmart, as the trail deviates from the original railway line bed. So it gets a lot more technical. We have described it here a few times in our 4th July Smyrna-to-Anniston write-ups (94 miles), and Roadskater posted photos. I'd like to say 'Sure! I'll be there', but I don't get to the SCT side of town very often, as I can't afford the gas! Perhaps we can get over there soon, though. 

Thanks

Thanks eebee and roadskater.  I have actually written an updated detailed blog that is being reviewed by the organization that proceeds will be going to.  RSN was the first to hear the idea!  I have a friend who is buying wheels and bearings for the event. Which is great news, however my skates only allow 82 mm max.  I have been searching through past post for an hour and have checked into the links to www.backstreetinlines.com and others.  But, it looks like most everywhere carries 90 mm and up??  Which wheels and bearings do you all prefer for outdoors?  What would be a fair price for wheels and bearings?

 

Or should I look to spending money on a complete skate setup like the powerslide r4's?

 

thanks. I'll let you know when the blog is ready.

 

roadskater's picture

Should You Buy Replacement Wheels or New Skates?

Hey un.retired.skater...

Glad to hear from you again! OK. Here's a quick take on it.

If you think you're ready for new skates, they usually include frames, bearings, spacers, axles and wheels along with the boots. Sometimes used skates include old stuff of course.

If you LOVE your boots or have an event coming up soon that is VERY important, then you might consider sticking with what you have. Usually new (or used new to you) skates take some time to get used to. They will likely feel different, even if ultimately better, but may take some time to get used to or to heat mold.

 

IF YOU DECIDE TO GO FOR WHEELS

So for a quick fix, I'd look for

  • 80mm outdoor wheels with hardness of
  • 82a to 85a on ebay...lean toward 82a if you're lighter weight and 85a if you're heavier.
  • I'd look for some Hyper, Labeda, Kryptonics, K2 or something from seller TGM skateboards.
  • I'd stay away from clear wheels and would favor white, but many other compounds work great in other colors.
  • Again be sure they're for outdoors.
  • Sometimes you can get a setup with bearings included.
  • I'd lean toward race or speed wheels and away from hockey wheels (which tend to be grippy)
  • (help out roadskater.net by using the ebay search box at the top of the page if you'd like, any time you buy anything on ebay).
    • I recommend buying from someone with at least 100 positives 
    • (at least 20 as a seller rather than buyer) and
    • 98% or better feedback.
  • For bearings, we don't think there's a huge difference among the ABEC ratings especially once you've used the bearings outdoors for a few minutes. We might be wrong but that's what I think now. Brands might matter, but at this point, probably not so much for you.

IF YOU DECIDE ON SKATES

I trust K2 and Powerslide to make good skates. There are others who make some good and some not so good skates. The Bont Semirace and Jet have many happy users too. I don't know what your current setup is, but if you're used to high boots you might go mid-height or higher. If you're used to low or mids, you might go for something low. I've seen lots of people happily doing Athens to Atlanta and other long distance skates on the above. I've use Powerslide C4 for the last few years (low carbon boot) and I am testing some Bont Jets now.

If you get new skates you might want to go up to 4x100mm or another size where you can readily find wheels. But on ebay it seems there are lots of wheels still available.

CAREFUL on getting into new skates right before doing a 72 mile event! Having said that, if you COULD skate on your current setup with current wheels and bearings if you had to, then maybe risk it for the biscuit and get a new kit.

BTW we like Sports Authority as a face to face place for skates in our area at least. Others might be fine. Try them on at home on carpet for an hour or two before going outside if you hope to return them. The wheels have to look brand new to have a hassle free return.

CAREFUL buying skates on ebay just in the sense that some sellers don't allow returns. On wheels that might be ok, and even with barely used skates maybe, but be careful to buy from someone with great feedback, ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE bidding, and be clear about whether or not you can return them.

Well I'd better stop but I hope this helps and that others will pitch in.

BTW backstreetinline always treated me right for wheels.

eebee's picture

Are your frames riveted on?

Are your skate frames riveted on, or screwed to the boot (i.e. removable)? I'm not familiar with your boot set-up. If it's removable, perhaps you can simply buy a new frame that uses larger wheels, for those boots. 

great idea

it looks like i can remove the frames!! Great idea. I forget that there are options these days. My street skates could do that, but i always used same frame and 45mm wheels. ha.

 

 

 

so here are two pictures of the frames and rollerblade aero 9 skates.  how can i measure?  Hopefully, in the picture you can see there are only one bolt in the center of the heel and toe of frame.

 http://72milesforfreedom.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=20

 

IF FRAMES ARE NOT AN OPTION.  I have found Atom One 80mm and Elite 80 from Bont skates. I am thinking ILQ-9 pros for bearings.

 

I just also posted the blog to www.72milesforfreedom.wordpress.com

 

thank you very much.  i am about to leave to the silver comet now.

roadskater's picture

Measure the Distance Between Frame Bolts

Hey. If those bolts are 165mm apart (the ones under the boot) you should be able to find a frame to fit it. I'd say 5x84, 4x100, 3x100+84, 4x110 might be good options.

If buying new wheels and bearing and frame though, how close is it to what you could get the Powerslide R2/R4 setups? They sound fun too.

Glad you got your blog going. Don't forget to invite the APRR.org people on their email list. It is a great bunch of skaters and some live out near you.

Atoms and Bonts are good wheels usually, too.

Good luck. Keep us posted on what you do.

frames and aprr

Depending on the distance between bolts, you may have a number of choices of frames.  I would say that if you can get a frame with the right bolt distance, a 90mm frame would probably be best for boots that weren't originally designed for 100s.

 

I'm assuming since you're talking about skating the comet, you live in the Greater Atlanta Area.  I would second the recommendation to join the APRR e-mail list and/or facebook page to recruit some local fellow skaters to skate and train with.

 

You can join the APRR e-mail list at http://aprr.org/mailman/listinfo/aprr-list and the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/70724523657/

 

We have regular weekly skates on Sunday-Wednesday for your enjoyment.  See the skate schedule at http://aprr.org/index.php/group-skates.html

roadskater's picture

Why 90s Might Be Better; Plus Out and Back

Jayssss is saying that some fitness boots in particular were just made to handle the stress of 80s or whatever. 100s and 110s act as a "longer lever" and can put too much stress laterally on the bottom of the boots. 90s will do the same, but not as drastically, and it should be OK. 5x84 should be good if you can still find wheels. It makes for a nice long frame that is very stable. I've always wanted to try 5x90 but that'd be a long frame! 5x80 would be an inexpensive frame these days most likely.

The two typical setups are 165mm and 195mm, the latter referred to as longmount often.

BTW if you're doing 72 I'd start at mile 0 and turn around at 36. Out past the baseball field in Rockmart it gets a bit rougher but is still OK. But starting at 0 at Nickajack school Mavell Rd you'll also get more asphalt and less concrete.

I'm assuming you're talking about an out and back. If not, there are some sections out past Cedartown that require more skill and attention.

New 100 mm Skates!

Well. Sorry for the delay I was out of town. But, still skating.  Joined APRR also.I just picked up some Crossfire 100's for $100 via craigslist. they still had original center tread on them!  Any how in the process I found a pair of Rollerblade Tempest 100's for $199 on REI OUTLET! If you buy the membership you will get $20 back! They have many sizes.  thank you all for the tips and I will be against your advice breaking in new skates before the 72 miles.  I couldn't resist the skates being the same price as new wheels and my sponsor paid... I will be on the silver comet on Wed and Thursday 9-11 am. Starting mile 8 and going to 0 and back... at least if the new skates don't wear me out.  These 100's are really different than 82 mm. 

 

Talk soon

roadskater's picture

Somebody Got the Skate Mojo Fever Back in Bigger Size!

Awesome! This is an ignoring of my various advice that I can applaud. I was actually hoping you'd go for a new set of skates as best bang for buck but afraid to advise that before the event. But I thought if you got the new ones and then couldn't deal, you'd still have the old kit to kick with in an emergency. 

I'm really glad you got Jimmy Blair and some of the team out there. This is very impressive how you are buzzgening rapido. Did you know those guys before?

Doing a2a this year? Carolina Century (we have distances from 21 to 102 miles with 10 hours of support for ye up here in Greensboro, NC)? Also we have the Tour to Tanglewood in September, 90 miles in 2 days but with shorter or longer options (check out the roadskater.net team on their site). 

Anyway no pressure on any of that, and when do you go out for your skates in the next little while? The big day approaches soon, eh? 

We hope we've helped and that you will share your experiences with the skates and skating here for others who are coming back or starting out or just need some inspiration or consolation. "Failures" are just as great as "successes."

Other events...

Yeah I am getting the bug again to skate for sport!  No I haven't met Jimmy yet. God worked out the details in advance.  Yes on my first post I gave Road Skater props! and put a link back to your page.  Seriously, I am so glad I found your blog and was able to read all the post about the comet and study the pictures. 

 

Other Events?  When is Carolina Century?  That would be something to think about.How much is the roadskater jersey shirt?

 

As you know I am looking for a job in Social Work, so it may take me out of state. However, A2A is in the back of my mind. I thought the Texas Road Rash looks like a good skate for my current level of skating also.  Of course I don't have a way to these events at this time... But, I enjoy the lower body workout that inline skating has given me.  Meaning that I now keep ice packs on hand.  I really never understood why inline skating fell to the wayside in the fitness world.  I wasn't wearing a heart rate monitor, but I can tell you that my heart rate was way up yesterday and during the 50 miles. I probably ate 3,000 calories that day just to keep my body going from all the calories burned.

 

Just in case there are others out there new to skating. Make sure you give time to break in new bearings. My old skates had good bearings and I don't have time to break in the new ones so I switched them out.

 

speaking of work. I better get out and do some yard work before it gets up to 90's.

 

roadskater's picture

Roadskater.net Jersey, Carolina Century, more

The jersey price is not set yet, and the project is a few weeks from starting up, but we'll put the word out here and on APRR and other email groups like InlineNC yahoogroup. 

Carolina Century is after A2A and we'll have a date set on that soon. We'll put the word out here and at CarolinaCentury.com. 

Yes that's right about bearings. Some say 40 miles does the trick. The other trick is to clean them and get all the original lube and replace with one of your favorite formulae (we have tried lots o'stuff, and that might be a good article if we haven't already writ one). 

Oh yes thanks for the cred and linkback! And thanks for letting us KNOW about someone who read and viewed and has gotten something from the work of many friends on this site. 

eebee's picture

New Skates

Congrats on your new skates, and whole new wheel height! Did you get out there today, and how did it go? 

You still have three whole weeks to go, so that should be enough time to see if you're getting any major blisters or bone bruises. What's the longest distance you are going to go between now and the actual event? 

Distance

I went 50 the other day on the "old" skates. But only 16 on the new ones today with two skaters from Precision Race team. I plan to skate 30, 50 and 60 again before the day of event. Do you want to join me on one of them?  I am not that fast yet on these huge wheels! but, should be used them soon. I think 8-10 mph.  also our facebook event page to RSVP is https://www.facebook.com/events/314471978622804/  We just had Jimmy Blair of Pinnacle Racing and some of his Precision team join this week!

 

thanks for encouragement.

 

email me Gentry at 72MilesForFreedom@gmail.com or comments on this post are fine also.

eebee's picture

Not quite there yet

Sadly, due to illness, I'm even more behind than usual this year, and even though I feel sure I will be back up to speed (or rather distance) a month or two from now, I don't even think I could do 30 miles right now :-(. However, if we know when you'll be out there we can perhaps join you for some of the miles. And 8-10mph sounds great for me right now too. 

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