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August 9th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China (Gansu)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 37.3 miles / 60km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.9km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 4h 19m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 5871mi plus 377mi (?) / 9449km plus 606km (?)
Ascent / ??: 700m
Descent / ??: 360m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N35° 47′ 49.00″, E104° 17′ 16.80″

10,000km on a skateboard. Done.

I remember sending an email to Matt Windsor, an old friend from high school who is also galavanting around the globe these days, and telling him that if I made it to 10,000km on my longboard, I would be happy. This was in Shanshan, a town in Xinjaing Province in China, in the middle of the desert, where I spent 3 weeks recouperating from travellers burnout. That was about three months ago. At that stage, I was not confident that I would make it.

And here I am in this little internet cafe in a town whose name I’m not sure I am spelling correctly, and I have recorded 10,055km on my skateboard. As much as this journey is not about distances, but the things I learn along the way, it is pretty darn cool.

I left Lanzhou late at 11am this morning after spending some time updating the blog. It didn’t take long to get out of the city, and the first thing on my horizon was hills. Marija Kozin, a cyclist from Slovenia, has cycled this route through Gansu Province before. In an email to me, she said “it will be interesting to see how you handle the hills in Gansu…”. I now know what she means.

The hills are not Qinghai material however, and the most I climbed non-stop today was about an hour. Long uphills interspersed with short exhilarating downhills. And the ever preent uber-smooth roads of China. Luverly.

East of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China

Lunch was stir-fry noodles with beef, prepared fresh on the street for me. This reminded me of the fast food I had last night at the Dicos fast-food joint in Lanzhou. Whereas you have no idea where the ingredients come from in the fast food, here on the street, you can be sure that it’s all local, and all fresh.

Street-side cooking in Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China

I continued to enjoy the fresh seasonal local fruit all along the roadside today also. Rock melons, peaches, massive fat plums, grapes…no wonder I am feeling 200% stronger than I was in Xinjiang Province. I am eating so much better here. I am amazed at how incredibly easy it is to travel here in eastern China. Distances between towns is minimal, and great cheap food is in abundance. Covering distance has never been easier…ever.

Curious locals east of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, China

After 10,000km, you’d think that certain bits on my skateboard have worn a little. The only thing that I have never touched in those 10,000km are the trucks (the axles), save from adjusting the tightness of them.

The trucks are Holey Trucks, and they are a fantastic piece of kit. They have been so reliable. Support from Holey is second to none, also. Emails have been responded to promptly, which is a massive bonus when you are on the road.

The trucks, understandably, have now worn to the point of being a little unpredictable on fast (25km/h plus) downhills. Due to wear on the pivot points, the trucks will ‘twitch’ when I am trying to keep them running straight. A bit unnerving at speed.

Holey Trucks after 10,000km (Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China) Holey Trucks after 10,000km (Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China)

Holey Trucks after 10,000km (Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China) Holey Trucks after 10,000km (Gantsaodian, Gansu Province, China)

The top left photo shows the wear on the pivot on the hanger of the truck (for an explaination of truck terminology, see this link). The hanger should transition smoothly to the pivot, with no edge. In the photo, you can see a prominent ridge. That is the wear that is causing the twitching.

For now, I have wrapped a couple of layers of tape around the pivot point to reduce play, and this has stopped the twitching. They are now very stable, as they once were.

Holey Trucks has offered to send me some new trucks, so hopefully I will have some new trucks waiting for me in Xian when I get there in a couple of weeks. Another reason to use Holey Trucks. I never imagined that I would be able to get some replacement trucks in China!

I am now feeling a welcome feeling of pressure. I have just under 2 months to skate 2,100km to Shanghai to make it on time for my flight to New Zealand. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving!

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    Permanent Link     Comments (9)

Comment by Damien — August 10, 2008 @ 6:45 am | post a comment

Hi Rob,

I just arrived in Lanzhou today from the East on G109. Too bad we missed each other, I was hoping we would cross paths on the road.

Gansu is hilly indeed. I've also found that the roads have got a little worse as I head West into poorer provinces. What is the overall quality of G312? I'm sure your journey will get a little easier from here.

Have you had many encounters with police and staying at hotels that aren't supposed to accept foreigners? I had a lot of police visits to my hotel at night in the North East.

take care,


Comment by matt windsor — August 10, 2008 @ 9:05 am | post a comment

hey congrats on making the 10,000 mate. i knew you would do it; youre not one to give up. awsome work the other day on 121km. you are THE skate boarding machine!!

Comment by andrew morgan — August 10, 2008 @ 1:18 pm | post a comment

congrats rob! 10,000!!! woohoooo!!

Comment by Mum — August 10, 2008 @ 9:25 pm | post a comment

Congrats on getting to the 10,000km mark!! I bet sticky tape makers would be surprised at all the uses you made of their stuff. mechanical repairs would probably not be on their list of uses!

Comment by John & Karen Poo — August 10, 2008 @ 10:29 pm | post a comment

Love to hear you up-beat! Thanks for the prompt and insightful blogs.

Comment by Eric — August 10, 2008 @ 10:52 pm | post a comment

STOKED!!!! congrats

Comment by maki — August 11, 2008 @ 5:42 am | post a comment

10,000km on a skateboard!!!OMEDETOU!!!!!

Comment by Chris J — August 12, 2008 @ 2:36 am | post a comment

Congratulations Rob on another milestone.

Hope that the deadlinbe serves as a good motivator, while still allowing you to enjoy the journey.

Comment by Aunty Les — August 12, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | post a comment

I wonder how long it will be before anyone else surpasses your world record on a skateboard?

I'm glad for you that the downhills are on nice smooth roads. It must be fun zooming down them without much effort needed to be put in muscle-wise.

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