The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Longest Day

This was a day of extremes. I woke up grumpy, a night of tossing and turning and interrupted sleep didn’t bode well for a day in which I hoped to skate close to 70km. Coolgardie, I felt, could be reached in two hard day’s skating and although my rough schedule gave three days to get from here to there I wanted to push a bit harder and therefore grant the team a well-earned extra rest day.

“It’s my birthday!” Kate’s wide eyes signal the second BoardFree birthday in a week, later we’ll give her presents – some bubbles and beads and a skipping rope - all packed neatly into The Birthday Box, which will be used on every BoardFree birthday.

On the road before 8 and on and on and on. Although the sun was out when we woke up it had disappeared behind clouds which always threatened rain but never quite delivered. Instead, a cold wind blew from the north east, right into my face.

Going was hard. It was one of those mornings when I got angrier and angrier with every push. Why hadn’t the team woken up when I asked them to? Did they have no respect for me? Why were some of the documentary team still back in camp and missing some outstanding scenery? Why wasn’t anyone waving from their cars this morning? Why did it feel like I wasn’t making any ground despite hard pushing? Horrible moments, these, and they always pass. But for a while they’re poisonous and just expend more energy. After 15km I pulled the jeep over and sat on my board, hugging myself. Just exhausted. Kate gave me some food and a hoodie, Dim and Dan tried to make things better,
“Mate, it’s all been uphill today, you’re doing really well.”
I hadn’t noticed any uphills, I just wanted a nap.

“I’ll go another 5km and then go for a sleep in George,” I told them, and we moved on. A parking place, usually a wide lay-by marked by yellow waste bins, was signposted for a kilometre up the road and I pushed on towards a sleep. Then a white ute pulled up alongside me. Two men with beards inside. The driver leaned over and said, “We’re working on the pipeline about 3km up the road, when you get to us we’ll sort you out with some bottles of water.”

At the lay-by I delayed my nap. “Let’s push on until we see these pipeline guys, they’re only a couple of k’s down the road,” I said to the team, “after then we’ll have a break.” So we pushed on, but it was almost 10km before we reached the worksite. The effort was well worth it, a box of water and a bag of goodies awaited. Steve, the guy in charge of traffic control and one of the chaps who drove alongside me earlier, was a really nice bloke. “Man,” he said, “all I can say is man, you’re hard as nuts.”

After a short tour of the pipeline work we continued on, passing an emu and four chicks which scurried into the bush at the roadside. A long overdue rest came at a lay-by around the corner, and I was just about to get my head down when Steve drove up in his ute again. We chatted for about half an hour, he told me stories about road trains and the wildlife and life as a traffic control worker in the outback. Really interested, very generous bloke. Emptied his cooler of drinks and handed them over, even gave me a stray orange from the passenger seat. He told me about a place to stay tonight, “About ten k up the road there’s a beautiful look-out spot, a small version of Ayres Rock, the views from up there are incredible.”

And so it was. I pushed on another 20k from the lay-by to finish a 66km day, the longest yet. Just before the day ended came a highlight. A black car sped past, no return of my wave or honk of the horn, then a couple of hundred metres up ahead it stopped in the middle of the road. I saw a figure get out, rush to the side of the road and then jump back in the car and drive off. I was so confused and had no idea what was going on. Had they put a small bomb at the side of the road?!!!!!!! Just in case I pulled to the opposite lane and gingerly skated along. No sign of any bombs and just when it seemed there were no clues to the strange incident I came across a stone in the road, which weighed down a ten dollar note!

We stopped by the 70km to Coolgardie sign and then headed back to the camp, already set up by Becs, Holly, Kate and the others. The site, which I like to call Kangaroo Rock thanks to a magical moment when a roo jumped across the top of the rock at sunset, was magnificent. From the top of the rock we could see bush for about 30 to 40km all around, it was a breathtaking place. For Kate, a wonderful spot to celebrate a birthday.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to Dave's Blog by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner