2016 has become the year for me to stretch and grow beyond my comfort zones. I’m trying new things and trying to get better at some old things. Pushing my boundaries to discover what makes me feel alive. Since 2016 starts in the winter, there have been some things I’ve wanted to try, but haven’t been able to attempt. One of those is longboarding. The other four people in my house can all skateboard and I love the way cruising looks. Sunday was the first day of sunshine, no rain, and temperatures above 65. The trails were still too muddy to go for a hike, so we decided to go the Roanoke River Greenway so they could teach me to longboard.
My 16 year old was driving to get some city driving practice. The road we turned down (Wiley Dr SW) had parallel parking (I don’t even do that-Floridian here), but it was in the opposite direction with no place to turn around and go in that direction. This section of the greenway sits between Franklin Rd and S Jefferson St, so we turned on Franklin and found a parking lot beside the River’s Edge Sports Complex. Parts of the lot said private property, but there was a row that didn’t so that’s where we parked. The rule follower in me was a little antsy about whether this was allowed. City parking is very foreign to me. I didn’t come from towns where parking is such a tight commodity that there are all these crazy, stress me out, rules.
The first thing I needed to figure out was which way felt most comfortable to skate. I’m left handed so I figured that I probably would skate goofy. This is where you skateboard with your right foot forward on the board and push the ground with your left. I also wasn’t sure if I skated mongo. This is where you prefer to add the pushing foot to the front, thereby starting with the other foot farther back on the board. My left handed daughter skates goofy and mongo. Mongo was not for me, I like my control foot in the back.
I was still definitely nervous, but also liked the feel of the cruiser. After a few times in the parking lot, we headed over to get on the greenway path.
The greenway is usually pretty busy and the first sunny day of winter was no exception. In fact, I’m sure everybody had the same idea to get some Vitamin D. The bridge was flooded in one direction so we headed the other way. I was nervous about the bikers. Some will come up saying “passing on the left” and others just pass without saying anything. All of it made me hyper conscience. They are usually flying along and I’m just a novice trying to stay atop the board. I went very slow….intentionally. When I would need to shove off again, I could push once and cruise a little ways. If I tried to push off twice to gain a little more speed, the front of the board would end up angling off of the sidewalk and into the grass, thereby stopping all progress.
You never know what strange sights you might see. This doll body was definitely the strangest of the day.
My sons are pros so they just cruised along. My daughter preferred to stay close by, but I’m sure that I was slowing her down. My husband was coaching me on foot placement and encouraging me past my freaking out.
We took some little inclines where you would pick up speed. Each time going a little further up the hill to get a little more speed. Under bridges and walkways, I enjoyed the ground passing under me. There was a sense of freedom as I made the board curve to the left and to the right.
We drew a lot of attention. Some people were saying to me and my husband that we were brave and others that they were impressed. It felt nice to be out there challenging myself with something new.
The last run was heading under this bridge. The incline was was steep enough that I picked up a good amount of speed. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to jump off the board. I could picture the board going careening into the river. Since I was borrowing it from my son, this would not have been a good scenario. I managed to to get all the way to where it slopes back upward and you slow down. I’m sure that I had a giant smile on my face. I had conquered fear and challenged myself beyond what I thought were my limits.
Let your light shine!