Via Facebook I got a message from someone about a skateboard contest in Nice called 'Le 20 Bornes'. The message was meant to be a joke: 'if you leave now by skateboard you will be there exactly on time'. The event was quite big and it had my attention, I decided to do some research. My calculations told me that a return flight would cost me 70eu (go there Saturday, return on Monday). I would have to pay 50eu for passing the nights and some extra costs for food and drinks. The money and taking a day off wasn't the problem, but to find somebody crazy enough to join me was. After asking a couple of people Stan wanted to join me. We were a bit late with booking our flight so we had to pay a lot more money. But we went nevertheless!
On Saturday October 10th we left at 12:55 from Rotterdam airport. I skated to the airport with all my gear, it was an 18km ride, piece of cake! I disassembled my board and put it in my snowboard bag. After this I got myself some coffee and waited for Stan who was a bit delayed to due to some issues with public transport. After disassembling Stan's board we checked in and boarded the plane which was delayed for one hour.
After two hours of flying we arrived in Nice. It was a lot warmer in Nice than in the Netherlands, about ten degrees. We changed our clothes in the middle of the street and assembled our boards. We went to the hotel which was only one kilometre from the airport.
We went to supermarket almost straight away and ate our dinner at the promenade. After dinner we skated the bicycle path in the direction of Cagnes-sur-Mer, there was a longboard meeting from Newrider over there. There was a hippie jump contest, the winning jump was an impressive 1.22m. After the hippie jump there was a 1km sprint race. We joined the open class (there was also a paddle and pumping class). The start was a little though, I was lagging behind already by quite a lot without even passing the 500m turning point. De skater in front was allowed to choose the side of the turn and took a right turn. This was in my disadvantage because I had to take a heelside turn, this did not work out to well and I had to step off my board. I decided that it was now or never and made a sprint for it. I passed numbers one and two at about 100m for the finish line. I finished in a time of 2 minutes and 11 seconds. Stan took fifth place.
The next day we needed to skate 10km to the contest. A local skater saw us and offered us a ride. We were pretty early and the guy bought us a cup of coffee, how nice! The race had a strange start, we had to follow a mountainbike which showed us the starting line. After that we started skating the 20km. With a small group we started skating the public bicycle path, we faced some headwind. The pavement was good but there were a lot of pebbles. After three kilometres we passed the infamous tunnel were a lot of accidents used to happen. There was some sand in the tunnel so we continued with caution.
After another tunnel and passing a small bridge I decided that it was time to crank up the pace. At this moment I was leading the group together with Tristan, the current record holder of the race. This was at about 4km from the halfway turning point. At 10km there was only a sign and not a line or anything, but I turned around for the last ten. I was in the lead by about 30 seconds at this point. This was the moment to go all in, because of the tail wind I could reach speeds of 30km/h while pumping. Everything went perfect except near the end where I had to pass some folks by running through the bank next to the path. I finished in 47 minutes and 38 seconds, which was almost four minutes faster than the old record. Tristan finished in 51:20 and Stan finished third in 51:43. It wasn't fun for everyone some people fell and hurt themselves. The organization eased the pain a little by handing out fruits and drinks. There was a prize ceremony and a group picture after the race.
After we had a chat with some of the guys, Emmanuel brought us back to the hotel. We enjoyed a full day in Nice. We went to the beach and in the evening we went partying with local skaters because one of them was celebrating his birthday. But all nice things come to an end and we had to take an early plane the next morning. We had to adapt a little bit when we got back, it was only 4 degrees Celsius in the Netherlands while it was 23 degrees back in Nice. It was an unforgettable weekend with sport, making new friends, going to the beach, partying, fun and new experiences. We spent around 250eu which makes it worthwhile. Next time we could save money by booking our flight earlier and sleeping at the locals.
- Rick Pronk
Edit and translation by: Lennart van de Peppel