|Summary: Skate-a-Round Barcelona 29-9
t/m 6-10 2000: (click the small images for an enlarged one)
Barcelona is an excellent city for skating, within a two hours distance by plane from Amsterdam. The travel agency Skate-a-Round arranged for inline-skating holiday in this city, a whole week long. In the town's centre it's easy skating since it's all flat. There are nice boulevards with asphalt cycle-tracks, nice tiles in the old part of the centre and along the beach. Unfortunately, there are a lot of badly "skatable" pavements elsewhere. For advanced inline skaters, there are spectacular downhill posibilities outside the centre! You prefer to relax? There is the beach (and the beautiful weather) and numerous places worth seeing, scattered throughout town. Almost all of the participants did book individualy, so you could always find someone, or several people to hangout with. The three night skates are really cool :-) Not to mention the warm welcome by the Spanish inline skaters :-). Lex from Skate-a-Round had contacted them in advance. Excellent. Next year again!!!
|Extended report: (click the small
images for an enlarged one)
Monday October 2nd: Touristic skating.
Tueaday Night Skate (not for beginners!)
In the evening, Skate-a-Around and the local skate teacher Carlos are organising a skate-clinic at the boulevard in Port Olimpic. Only Paul, Egbert, Peter and I decide to go to Plaša de Catalunya for the Tuesday night skate. This event is only advisable to very experienced skaters (seriously!). With 13 skaters in total we "take off" and are racing at full speed through narrow streets, crossing small squares, paying no attention to traffic lights (they do not use blockers to stop the traffic, as we do in Amsterdam!). You have to be careful about cars, mopeds and pedestrians coming from side ways.
Of course, the Spanish know each flowerbox, lid of wells, etc. in the streets. Alas, the speed gets interupted by breaks at water taps. Don't drink it if you'r not a local, it contains chlorine and is not very tastful. Buy bottled water. We are heading for Carmello. This is even higher uphill than Parc GŘell. The hill is pretty steep to climb. Some skaters are "slowly dying" during the climming ;-). To be in good form is handy ;-). After the Elfstedentocht (eleven cities tour: 235km in two days in Holland) I am in good shape and mange to finish on top of the hill first. The downhill is really great!! Doing the zig-zag movements keeping your skate parallel just like skiing is the best way to descend. This enables you to controll your speed. When cars show up, you just pull over. If you go down in a straight line you will reach 70km/h (44 miles/h) easily (measured using a GPS). This is not recommended within the city ;-)
Only participate when you are an advanced inline skater and are in good shape. It is their party, and not their job to guide you home savely. (it is not comparable to the Amsterdam Friday Night Skate, or Paris Rendez vous Vendredi Soir). This tuesday the total distance was 18km (11 miles).
Thusrday October 5th: Thursday Night Skate.
Yesterday I catched a cold and spent the whole day in bed today. Though, I didn't want to miss out on the Thursday night skate, so in the evening I got out of bed and strapped into my skates again. Since this was our last night in Barcelona, we had a dinner together with the whole group in the Hard Rock cafe. At Thursdays the speed is not very high and about 80 skaters join the group. Our entire Skate-a-Round group will take part, except for John who got robbed and spent a lot of time arranging things (blocking his cellphone account). Again, we gather at Plaša de Catalunya. The start is a bit chaotic: Amalia gives the start signal and crosses the intersection. Before the last skaters can follow the cars are driving already. They don't use blockers. Nor do they pay much attention to traffic lights :-). The speed is good. Pedestrians have to jump aside as we pass. At the most unexpected locations, they know to find water taps, and wait there for the people lagging behind. This is a really social evening skate here in Barcelona. Next to the railway station "Barcelona Sants" we fetch soft drinks and candy from machines and have a chat. This evening we will climb Montju´c. From Plaša d' Espanya till the Olympic stadium it is easy to skate uphill (3 ß 4 %). Here we split in two groups. The majority decends via the Avinguda de Miramar. (Watch the U-turn in the Carrer de Miramar!!). Togeher with Paul, Mark, Peter, and two Spanish skaters (Javier witht a GPS on his shoulder), I climb all the way up to the castle. The downhill ride from here is spectacular: in the middle of the night, no traffic, the road all for ourselves and a slope of 10%!! When you lift your break, you will be launced. Carefully using the slalom technique like skiing we go down the first stretch. At the more flat part and with less curves we just let it rolling. This is speed! Javier measured 67km/h (42 miles/h) using his GPS. At Port Olimpic we meet again with the others at a cafe for a aprÚs-skate. This was really cool!. I shot video of this night skate. May be it will show up on the web at a later time.
Friday October 6th: Going home :-(
Drinking thee at a sunny terrace and prepare for the fight back. In the airplane, Paul managed to get the stewardes skating the aisle in the plan (her first time on skates!). Maybe she was the first one to skate at an altitude of 10km :-) Unfortunately we arive from a sunny 23 degrees Celsius in Barcelona in a cold and wet Amsterdam at 18:15. So there is no Friday Night Skate :-(