Lauren Rains: Microadventurer
How are you?
I’m great, just relaxing at home for the holidays and then headed back to Boulder, Co tomorrow where I now live.
What’s the skating like in Boulder?
There are a lot of college kids that skate to and from class, so it’s definitely apparent there. I’m still trying to recruit some twenty something ladies to join me though!
What are you recruiting for?
I’d like to get a group together to go on skate trips around Colorado and it’s surrounding states. There is such beautiful scenery and some amazing paved roads out there for skating.
Right now I pretty much am a lone skater, so I’m on the lookout for some people that want to join me on future skate trek microadventures.
When did you start skating?
I didn’t start skating until I was 23 years old. I had just gotten back from a year living in Beijing, China and moved down to Saint Augustine Beach, FL. By the beach, skating is simply how people get around, and I fell in love with it immediately. It was only about 2-3 weeks into skating that I went on my first 30 mile skate trek!
What were you trying to get away from?
I don’t do too well sitting still. I always have to be on the go, doing something, trying new things, experiencing new things. In some ways, maybe I am trying to ‘get away from things’, but I think mostly, I just love the journey and the chase of new destinations.
The other big part of it is I am a traveler at heart. I’ve lived in China, Argentina and France – its my reason for living! So, when I’m home in the US, going on microadventures like a skate trek gives me that taste of travel. There’s just something about the open road.
What made you fall in love?
I think it started with my hair blowing in the wind haha. I just feel a sense of ease and freedom when I’m skating. Push by push, you’re gliding through the air, and whether it’s a 30 mile trek or skating a mile to the grocery store and back, its liberating.
Where did you go on that first trek?
I titled the first trek “From Sea to Marsh”. I started at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and didn’t stop until I hit the Saint John’s River 30 miles due west from the coastline. It was an extremely tough skate trek being that Florida is the flattest state in the US. There were no hills to glide down – it was one push after the next, through the morning, afternoon, and night. It kicked my ass, and I loved every moment of that day!
What inspired you to make that journey?
Well, the reason I decided to skate from Boulder to Denver was three fold.
1.) I had just moved to Colorado, and I wanted to do something exciting to introduce myself to my new stomping grounds. Skating between the 2 most famous cities of my new home state seemed like a great way to do this.
2.) I’d been living in the US now for over a year without overseas travel. The itch to travel was getting to me, and I needed to get that sense of exploring into my life again.
3.) Just to have a freaking blast that would challenge me!
How big a challenge was it?
It was actually more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Sure, my legs felt like jelly by the end of it, but what was tough was going 12 hours on a solo mission skate trek. I remember at around 3pm, the sun was beating down, I was tired, I was hungry, and I knew I still had 15 miles to go. I wanted to turn back, and the only one there to tell me to keep going was me.
I think moments like those are very important though – when you face a challenge and you and you alone must get yourself through it. It builds our life muscle.
What impact has skating had on your life muscle?
Skating has taught me how to enjoy the process of getting from A to B. And I don’t just mean this in terms of 2 cities, but in terms of going after the things that I want most in my life. Sometimes, we get so focused on our final destination and outcome, that we forget to enjoy the ride, and to focus on the steps we need to take to get there.
For the Boulder to Denver skate trek, I was so focused on getting to Denver before the sun set. Around 5pm, the sun was fading and I still had a ways to go – and so I realized at that moment to stop rushing, to take it in, to let this be MY day, and to enjoy the process.
Have you done many treks since then?
So far, I’ve done 2 skate treks. I do other micoradventures as well (SUP across Lake Tahoe is coming up in the spring!) but I plan to do many more both in the US and abroad. For instance, next year I’ll be traveling in Spain as well as Thailand, and plan to do skate treks in each of those countries. I’ll also be heading out to California this year and plan to do one out there.
What are you coming to do in Spain?
I’m going to spend 2 months there doing the Camino de Santiago. It’s always been a dream of mine to do since I was a teenager, and I’ve decided this is the year to do it! I read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho years ago and fell in love with it.
Do you plan to visit Madrid?
After doing the Camino, I plan to sleep for a few days and then tour Spain. Madrid is definitely on my list!
Where in Thailand will you be skating?
I once spent a week on the beaches of Phuket during the Chinese New Year when I was living in Beijing. We rented a moped and traveled all around the winding roads – it was beautiful. I want to do the same thing on a longboard. I’d also like to head up to northern Thailand and do some crazy downhill skating there as its a very mountainous region.
What other types of skating do you do?
While I’ve mostly focused on long distance boarding, I’m just now starting to get into trick riding and downhill skating. I need to get myself some better knee pads so I can really hit the ground hard! If only there was more time in the day, I could practice all the time! I’m not going to lie though – speed skating kind of scares the crap out of me! But that’s all the more reason to give it a go!
What do you ride?
I’m currently riding an OZ Longboard, who sponsored the Boulder to Denver skate trek. They are based in Evergreen, Colorado just a stone throw away from where I live in Boulder. I’m a big proponent of supporting local business and entrepreneurs so I feel great about using their board. Also, each of their boards are handcrafted to create a concave base with an offset full camber and use exotic wood veneers so every board has a really cool unique design.
Wheels – Abec 11 Flashback wheels. Bearings – ABEC 7 – board is 40” and Randall R-11 180mm.
How do you prepare before setting off?
Well, I got a good night sleep! The most important thing really is the ability to be able to push with both legs, so I made sure to practice this plenty a few days ahead of time to make sure my skill was fresh and fine-tuned.
Is there a longboard community in Boulder?
There’s definitely a lot of people – especially the college kids being that Colorado State University is located in Boulder – that longboard. I’m not sure, however, how many of them are into anything more than just getting to and from class. The skate culture in the mountains is definitely a little different than the skate culture in the beach, but I love both of them.
Who do you skate with?
Right now, no one! I only just moved to Boulder, so I’m still looking for some fellow skaters. I do have a few friends that want me to teach them though, so once it gets a little warmer, I’ll be out there showing them how to push!
The skate trek I did was a blast to do as a solo mission – it was a great test of self-will and motivation – but I’d like to do another one with a few partners in crime, so that way when the going gets tough, we can push each other to keep going, or at least look over at one another and say “What the hell were we thinking?” and then just keep pushing.
Do you have any distance skating inspirations?
There are a few adventurers out there that I truly look up to and admire – Alastair Humphreys, Sean Conway, Dave Cornwaithe – these people do all types of expeditions and microadventures. Dave Cornwaithe who is from England once skateboarded for 90 days across Australia. How badass is that? I plan to draw inspiration from his amazing feat by either doing something here in the US like skating from Colorado, through the Rocky Mountains and across the desert to the coastline of Venice Beach, California. I suspect that would take about 1 month to do.
How do you plan to get more people to skate with?
There is a great website called MeetUp.com – where people make groups in their local area and you can join them and create events. It’s a very popular site and well run. When its a bit warmer out, I’m going to reach out to some of the group organizers that run outdoor meetups and try to get something together.
Any plans to compete?
Maybe one day. I’m much more into competition against myself. I’m competing in a rock climbing competition in February and will see how much I like the rush of it. I’m much more about just having a good time and testing myself, but then again, I never say never!
What do you do when you’re not skating?
I work a lot, but I love my work! I run Outdoor Minded Mag, which is an online digital magazine for world travelers that love outdoor adventures. I also run my own web design / media consulting company called Wild World Creative that caters to the travel industry. And when I’m not working, I like to just have a cold beer with friends. And when I’m not in the US doing that, then I’m traveling around the world and exploring. I also love rock climbing.
How does skating tie in with the professional in Lauren?
I’ve actually put a fair amount of strategy into combining my professional life with my “everyday” life. For instance, with microadventures like this skate trek, I get to talk to other publications and skaters about this personal adventure, but also it bridges a connection for opportunities to maybe even one day work together on future joint projects.
I am a firm believer that it is so important to do work you are passionate about, so my professional life is also part of the fun in my life. You can’t go wrong there!
It’s been really fun hearing about your adventures, all the best in your journeys this year!
Thanks so much LGC! It’s been great talking with you too! See you over in Europe and we’ll go skate together! Tell people I said to skate more!
Any thank yous?
A big thank you to John Byler from Oz Longboards (http://OzLongboards.com) and Matt Sala from Solepack (http://Solepack.com) for Sponsoring the Boulder to Denver Skate Trek!
And to my roommate who lent me her Camel Pack for the skate – I would have been screwed without that thing!
http://OutdoorMindedMag.com ← The online mag I run
http://LaurenRains.com ← My Blog
http://twitter.com/LaurRAINS ← personal twitter
http://twitter.com/Outdoor_minded ← OMM’s Twitter
http://facebook.com/TheMadToLive ← find me on facebook!
Lauren@TheMadtoLive.com ← email me! :)
Oh here is the link to the YouTube video I made about the trek: