The Great EsSkate 2014 in Miami Beach, FL – Adventure, Fun & Sports
“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
Nowadays it is becoming more popular to do some sports. Some do it for building better physique, some – for improving health, some – for developing self-discipline, and some – just for fun! I tried a few sports: running, cycling, horseback riding, going to gym or bootcamp, training at home with dumbbells, doing yoga and pilates… Some sports require more investments than others – into gear and rigorous training sessions. Some require specific places or weather conditions. Living in Florida prompted me to try inline skating. I started doing it regularly – each week, no excuses – since November 2013, and it really grew on me! I am blessed to live near a beautiful wilderness park where I come to skate and enjoy nature. I have met several people there who run, cycle or skate as well – and they are all very persistent in exercising, which is very inspiring. There are plenty meetups, that can suit your particular hobbies, and it is worth trying. I joined one (Skate4Fun), from where I found out about the skating event in Miami in February 2014.
The event is called The Great EsSkate in Miami Beach, FL. It is held each year in February, and it lasts for three days, which fall on a long weekend. It is open for anyone who can skate or ride a bike, but you will mostly see skaters. It is a great escape for anyone surviving winter in the North of US or Canada or in Europe. Some participants do come from Europe. The early registration starts in November each year, and this is when the price is the lowest ($99 in 2014). Then the price goes up to $140 (as of 2014). At this time it is better to book the hotel room and the tickets. But let the cost not turn you off! The Great EsSkate is organized and produced by a non-profit organization, that raises public awareness about in-line skating and supports the Miami Beach Police Athletic League (PAL) and the families they help. It feels great to contribute to a good cause while having fun!
It was my first event of such type, and being a regular Miami visitor, I was impressed. I saw Miami from a different side! Normally exploring it leisurely from the comfort of my own car or a taxi – I was challenged by the hilly roads and the traffic, and the speed of other skaters! I am adventurous by nature but even I thought that I had overestimated myself. If you are a beginner skater, and consider something like this – make sure you skated in the streets before! You have to be able to stop, feel comfortable skating on an uneven terrain and be prepared to cross the roads at the traffic lights. Even that it is Miami Beach and there is no need to resist the beach, the primary goal of the event is to skate – as much as you wish and can endure. You will see best skaters and athletes who come there annually. Besides, it is one of the safest organized events of such type for skaters: there are always volunteers who perform National Skate Patrol (NSP) duties. In simple terms, no one will be left behind. If you get tired, you will be picked up by a car or a bus. During a Marathon skating event (normally 2nd day) water and bananas are provided from a van that follows the skating crowd.
Every day consists of a few skating events and social events. Depending on your level, you can enjoy an organized day tour (Art Deco Skate) during the day (under 10 miles, from 2 to 4 hours). Then take a break, and continue in the evening with the Police Escorted Skate (around 10 miles, 2 hours). If you need even more, you are welcome to join midnight skaters! Late night skating outings are better suited for advanced skaters. The routes may change, but it is pretty much in Miami Beach or Downtown Miami. More precise announcements and details are given closer to the date. One of the highlights of the event is a 26 mile police escorted skate (Marathon), that can be a real challenge due to hot weather, pavement conditions and higher pace of other skaters. However, it is not a race, so everyone should decide for themselves when to continue and when to stop.
I am glad I made it to the event, as I satisfied my desire for adventure and participated in two venues. One was an Art Deco daytime tour which was a 4-hour skating tour along the main streets of Miami Beach crossing the roads, cruising along picturesque districts and passing along beautiful beaches. It was not fast, neither was it long – no more than 10 miles. We stopped at various famous areas, nooks and buildings of Miami, and honestly speaking, less heat would have made it more pleasant. The second day I joined the skaters to the Marathon. I did only around 9 miles. The heat and speed got me, so it was not easy to catch up with other skaters. I am still proud of myself! It was a great experience, which I would love to repeat next year! After the Marathon we enjoyed a picnic right on a famous Ocean Drive.
When I returned home to Tampa, I did the Marathon (26 miles) in my park for the first time just to prove myself I could have done it. The event inspired me to continue exercising. For anyone who skates, it is one of the best events to try! It is a great combination of an adventure, fun and sports!
Here is the official website of the event: http://www.thegreatesskate.com.
I took a few photos with my iphone, as I decided not to carry my big camera. Other photos and videos in this blog were provided by other skaters. All rights belong to them.
Photo/video credits: Alexander Biringer (www.biringer.eu) and Gustavo Adolfo Martinez Hidalgo. Thank you, guys, for your input!
Below are the photos from my first skating day – Art Deco Tour in Miami.
You can also check a video of the event:
On vimeo (for mobile devices):
So, will you join me and other skaters next year?:-)
The Amateur Expert.
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Author: Elena White