What makes a board good for traveling long distances? The entire genre of skating has not been fully explored, and much of what would fully answer this question is up for debate, but there are definitely some qualities which lend one board to be more comfortable over distance than another. With the Chief Ladiga Silver Comet Challenge coming up on May 20th, a 180-mile trek over 3 days, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what setup I’m going to ride for this serious endurance challenge.
My pick is the Subsonic Century, and here’s why:
1. It’s pumpable. The built-in wedging of the board, the width, lack of concave, and the intended setup make this board excellent for distance pumping. It doesn’t get the same leverage over the trucks are a standard top-mount pumper, but it pumps very well. Pumping is just one more form of locomotion, and when you’re on the road for 8 hours during a day, you want to be able to mix it up as much as possible, because by the end of the day, every muscle in your body will be wasted.
2. It’s low to the ground. The board has a 2.25-inch drop. This means BIG wheels and stacks of risers for pumping at no expense to the height of the board. Low boards are easier to push, and your legs will feel a difference during those really long pushes. The lowness also make the board quite stable at higher speeds.
3. Low Concave – Already stated above for pumping purposes, low concave is much more comfortable for your feet over long hauls. Having a bunch of concave will likely cause foot cramps as the day wears on. This is why any deck designed specifically for long distances will usually be flat or very close to it. Your feet will thank you later.
4. Flex – This one is up for dispute on whether it is good over distance or not, but my thinking is that flex helps the board soak up road vibration–vibrations that, over time, will wear your legs out.
5. Wheel Clearance – When properly set up, the Subsonic Century will very easily support 75 or even 85mm wheels without bite. This means lots of rolling inertia, no problems rolling over rocks and bumps, and lots of traction…all good things over the long haul.
6. It’s durable – This deck is sealed on the bottom with Carbon Fiber and sealed on the top with Fiberglass. This makes it very weather resistant, which is great for this race, because it’s happening rain or shine. The last thing I want to push around is a 5-pound maple deck that just turned into a 7-pound waterlogged maple deck. Even if it doesn’t affect me physically, which it probably would to a degree, I’m going to be pissed about it, so I’d prefer to have a deck that I know won’t have that problem.
Just about any deck will work over long distances. It ultimately comes down to your legs, lungs, heart, and will power and what your body and mind are capable of overcoming. But there are definitely some physical obstacles of a long trek that can be minimized to make that journey both more fun and less physically demanding with the magic touch. I am Merlin and the Century will be my elixir.
My likely setup for the 180-mile stage race:
Subsonic Century Deck, 139mm INDeeSZ 8mm fixed axle front truck, Airflow 110 (spaced out to 130mm) rear truck, Atobe Wiggler 82a front wheels, Atobe Bonneville 78a rear wheels, Biltin Bearings, Khiro wedges, Reflex and Venom SHR bushings.