Berlin with Skate-A-Round

27th - 29th of september 2002

Composition, text and photo's : Jan Feijes copyright, October 2002

Language support:
Nederlands English


I did subscribe with Skate A-Round Lex for the trip to Berlin with the Marathon pretty late. That late that I was placed on a waiting list. At first I didn't have much hope that the trip would eventually come true, and I could rage over the asphalt in Berlin.

A few weeks before departure I received an e-mail which gave met some hope of me actually going to Berlin. I was asked if I still would like to go to Berlin. Of course I still would like to Berlin! The following weeks more confirmations rolled in that I could actually join. On the 27th of september, after a speedy car and bus ride I was in Berlin. On the friday night the asphalt was being cleaned for the days to come. Therefore the friday night skate was substituted by a fridaynight walk through Berlin.

Flaeming Skate

The next day; I rose pretty early, and hopped on the bus to the Flaemins Skate. It was not the first time for me to visit this skate site. But then again, nice spots like this one ask for it to be visited more than once. The asphalt which they layd down over there is simply to good not to be missed by my skates. My skeelers (those five wheel thingies) enjoyed themselves very much on their home ground (I bought my skeelers in Berlin on my visit to Berlin earlyer this year). We enjoyed a pretty good speed, but we still were holding back a bit, because the next day we wanted to ride the marathon. Time enough to enjoy the nature, the trees, the autumn or the mowed corn fields. Or you could just sit down low and gaze into the depth whilst, stroke after stroke, pushing yourself forward across the supersmooth asphalt.
After about 25 kilometres we arrived at the skate hotel or youth hostel. There I enjoyed a nice meal of pasta. You can't start early enough by building a bit of reserve for the coming events. Out there we enjoyed the sun and the sights, roled a bit through the hotel and checked out the internet. After that it was back to the bus.
In the bus the people were humming around. There were quite a number of speed fanatics in the bus. The bottles of lubricant and oil soon emerged from all the bags. Lessons were given how best to maintain and to speed up your bearings. Even a demo was given how to open a bearing and how to lubricate the thing. Also the expected times that the people wanted to skate the marathon in flew across the bus. The busdrive to the Berlin Halls where you could collect your starting number and your chip was pretty swift.

Collection marathon Starting numbers

Collecting your starting number is quite a job, because you have to navigate your way through all these giant halls where there are quite a lot of nice distracting things like new skates, outfits and a lot of people. After collecting my starting number, my chip together with Cathy and Toine, we dove into the "pasta-fest". We enjoyed our spagetti in the sun outside on the grass of the park adjecent to the halls. After the bite we dove into the halls to take a look at all those skate goodies to check out if there was something nice hidden away for me. I fell for a speedy skate outfit, I would use that to ride the marathon. (Did anyone take a picture of me in the outfit ? During the tour I did not make any pictures).
Of course we went to sleep quite early, because the next day, on sunday, we had to be fresh and ready for the big event.

The Marathon

The next morning everyone rose quite early and everyone was wearing their fastest and most colorfull outfits. Some went to do some training to warm up the muscles, the others, mostly still sleepwalking, dove into the bus to be dropped in the neighbouwhoud of the start.
After having dropped my dry clothes, towel soap and so on in the appropriate tent, I searched my place in the starting session. I had the strong opinion that I should be able to finish somewhere around 1.30, so I talked my way into this section, which actually was quite an easy job. Then I waited for my skate buddy Cathy. But my fast outfit in combination with my Red helmet with the White cross made it easy to find me.

Section after section was fired away. On the second or the third shot it was my turn. We soon shaped into a train and made set a firm pace. In the beginning things were going quite fast and furious, but then again, when you can ride a long 2 times four lanes, that simply sucks you forward and makes you want more and go faster. Soon I had a train formed behind me of about 10 to 15 man and woman and could set a good speed lured forward by miles and miles of smooth asphalt and beautifull sights. In the beginning everyone was a bit close to each other and got tapped a few times, but I could remain at a good speed. The ride under the Brandenburger Thor was pretty neat, there was some sand underneath, but that posed not a real problem, and the train went on. More wide roads, we'll pass the bunch on the left four lanes.
The first few kilometres wend nicely with a great smile on my face and a firm speed was maintained. The field of skaters grew slimmer and at a certain moment the only thing you saw were trains passing you by or you passing another train. The best train I enjoyed most was the train with Cathy, a german guy and me leading in turns and we were followed by a group of Scandinavion people.
After having led the way for a few times my first blow came at about 17 kilometers. You know that is the place when everything starts to hurt. I went to the first class coupe of the train stretched my back and all the other limbs for a while and at 20 or 22 kilometres I was reborn. Enjoying all the trains, the adrenalin which rushes through your when a few long ICE trains overtake your own Intercity train in a corner we pushed forward. Also enjoying the speed, the wind and the people which shout you forward and of course the many music bands which play drum songs along the way we were able to stay together all the way long. At about 35 kilometers the route slowly starts to descend and it becomes increasingly more fun to look forward and pushing along forward, going and going.
At this point Cathy was leading the group followed by me and the German guy. A pretty neat sight to big guys with a small girl up front. The spectators also enjoyed this sight. Our train was getting pretty popular and it did grow to about 15 to 20 people, mostly danish. With this international train we raged into the direction of the finish.
You notice that you are getting near to the finish because in all the trees next to the route speakers were playing musig and shouting stuff that you simply do not listen to and the number op spectators along the rout does grow. So the more you approach the finish the more everything starts to tingle. What really gave me the chills were the church bells of the Gedachtniskirche, wich rang like never before. My finish time was 1.31 and something. I was quite pleased with this result, my first marathon where I really went for the speed.

After the finish you run into a lot of people and start to chat about how it was and start to glow after the race. After the finish you also start to feel everything which you have pushed away during the ride: muscle ache. The massage facilities were a very welcome surprise to me. There were lines of massage benches. They did a pretty good job on my lower back and my legs which were pretty aching. After the the massage it was not all cleared but it was a whole lot better. A hot shower set up by the Bundeswher was also quite welcome, a good thing to enjoy the warm water and some dry clothes.
Freshly dressed up in clean clothes I went back to the bus (on skates of course). First taking a snack and then SMS-ing to the Netherlands in order to retreive the end times from internet (in the netherlands). And also a lot of chatting went on how nice it all had been and comparing end times and walking around proudly with the medal everyone did earn.
After everyone (including a lost one) was back in the bus, we took off, back to the Netherlands. The trip back went smoothly whilst enjoying some movies. After this trip soon I could look forward to the next skate trip.

I placed more pictures on my site.

I made a wonderfull movie of the marathon. It is a great memory which has got a good place in my memory. I told you something about it and I can only show you some pictures I made with my photo camera. You have to come along yourself next time in order to have such a great experience.

Berlin links

FEIJES.COM : My collection of pictures of skate trips and voyages
Skate-A-Round, the travel organisation who organised this trip
Site of the Berlin Marathon
100 kilometres of superb asphalt : Flaeming-Skate
Pictures by Toine Andernach
Pictures by the TNS skaters from Frankfurt (thanks for the photo)

Remarks ? Mail me!