Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vineyard Hill Fast Corner

6.23 In my explorations on skateboard around West Linn I kept noticing the big hill behind town, in fact, it kept showing up in the background of several of my shots. Check out the last picture on this post.
There is some very orderly greenery up there, and I discovered in a car trip to Corvallis that there are some vineyards on the hill. DM says they are mostly decorative, and not producing any great wine. Someone has definitely gone to some trouble, whatever the use, because the vineyard's texture and splashes of red color behind red brick retaining walls make the hill a jewel that overlooks the village.

I walked up the hill and was surprised at how much effort it took. It was really steep and gruelingly long. It took close to a half hour to mount the hill up to the flat crest. For the first time in a long time I was wearing a cotton shirt and not my synthetics and it made me feel sweaty and heavy. The hill didn't look skateable at all. The road was rough and traffic was heavy enough to make me not interested in the steep part of the hill. It probably would have taken all my remaining shoe leather to slow down. My boots soles are really worn by the way. I'm looking for a chance to resole, repair, or replace them.

Finally the hill leveled off and the single road up turned into a network of streets and cul de sacs, like in the lower hills, but these neighborhoods seemed a bit more ritzy, not surprising given their vantage point. First I walked up and traversed a steep hill and kept going up driveways. It was fun but I thought of it as a warmup and didn't skate seriously or shoot any pictures.

Near the road by the vineyard I finally found a hill worth skating and shooting. It was a steep and smooth section that curved and banked around a left turn and ran out straight. There was someone working in the garden or washing their car or something, and another guy mowing his lawn. I was pretty blatant about skating their street and taking pictures, but it was obvious that lots of people take pictures of the vineyard at that corner as it faces the vines perfectly. I may have been the only photographer shooting the pavement and sidewalks on the hill.

I worked out a good line to skate the steep, the corner, and the flat. I only walked half way up, because it seemed like I'd just be traversing if I went any higher and there wasn't that much width. It was enough height to generate a lot of speed on the drop. I carved really hard the first two turns instead of traversing and then let it go around the corner. It was some of the fastest I've skated lately. There was no way not to go fast. I was carving into the runout and I felt on the edge of wobbling. I just concentrated as hard as I could and got my arms in a big wide stance. I had the wrist guard on, but if I'd come off the board I'm not sure I could have run it off. I skated the corner three times and really enjoyed the skating and the view of the vineyard across the fence and road beyond.

Clothing Tip: Again and again I find that cotton underperforms. It is only good when you want to have a little moisture in your shirt to cool you off. That is not that often. Usually you're going to either be too sweaty or too cold wearing it, at least on your upper body. I really noticed the cotton on the climb up the hill.

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