Battle Balm® Exclusive Interview with Andrew Andras, Ultraskate World Record Holder
7 min read
Battle Balm®:Hi Andy! Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today. First off, congratulations on breaking your own world record in the Ultra Skate this year! You were already in the Guinness Book of World Records for pushing your longboard 261.8 miles in 24 hours last year. How does it feel to have pushed yourself to go 283.24 miles and break the record a second time?
Andrew Andras:Hi BB, happy to talk with you. In 2013, when I broke the record with a 261.2-mile performance, I felt like I gave a good, hard performance… but deep inside I knew I had more in the tank. A few friends said it looked like I could have skated another 24 hours. I’m not sure about that, but I definitely knew there was more to give. My style of performing at Ultra-Skate is a very planned out race. It’s a methodical and conservative style. It’s very easy to blow it by starting fast because you feel good, only to fall apart 12 hours into the race. It’s essential to stick to your plan and aim for the distance you conceived. In the last couple of hours you can turn it on — but not before. This year, I planned to go 275 miles and adhere to that same approach. In my last couple hours, I decided to just go for it and really add some miles. It was agonizing and painful. Not just physically but mentally too. I purposely made it that way, envisioning that if someone in the future wants a piece of this record, they’re going to have to suffer tremendously to get it. I want them to think I must have been crazy when they attempt to keep that pace and speed for 24 hours. I finished with 283.3 miles, completely surprising myself.
BB:You've skated for 24 hours straight. Here's a burning question that we must ask! Do you stop for a pee break?
Andrew:Ha-ha. Everyone has their respective goal and distance to reach, which may include breaks. Unfortunately, for me to set a new world record, it meant never setting foot off my board — to never fall below 11.5 mph the whole 24 hours. So, pee breaks would happen on turn three of the racetrack, where it’s a little secluded from the crowds in pit road. Thank god for inertia, ha-ha. Getting up enough speed to coast while I take care of business. Luckily I’ve never had the urge to do a number two.
BB:24 hours is a long time to ride a skateboard. Heck, it's a long time to do any one activity, especially a strenuous one. You must have had thousands of thoughts during that time on the longboard. Give us a glimpse of what was going through your mind while you were out there skating for the record.
Andrew:Well just think of everything you do in a day. You have ups and downs, times when you’re happy and times you get tired and sad. It’s all the same out there on the race course, but just gets intensified in the later hours. The toughest part is surviving the late night and longing for the sun to come back up. The night seems to last forever in Ultra-Skate and in that dark night, lots of self doubt and mental demons rear their ugly head. All you can do is talk yourself off the ledge so to speak, hold your head up and push through it. Once the sun peeks its head over the horizon, you feel your energy rise and the skeletons go back in the closet. The only thing better than those sunrays hitting your face first thing in the morning is the clock striking 24 hours.
BB:This sport of distance skateboarding is still in its infancy. It’s definitely growing. The organization that is putting together many of these competitions is the International Distance Skateboard Association (IDSA) and many riders from all over the world are gathering to compete. Tell us about IDSA and what they are doing to promote this new sport.
Andrew:The longboard “push scene” had a very grass roots start, friends getting together on longboards and testing each other to see who was the fastest. This spawned outlaw races in many urban cities. It was fun and crazy but ultimately dangerous as riders would dodge traffic and run red lights. IDSA took that spirit and put it to organized racing. Now we have a safer environment with rules, set distances and record keeping. I’ve really enjoyed learning race strategy and the technical side of organized racing. IDSA is spreading and promoting the sport of “push racing” by providing races in all corners of the United States. But truthfully, the longboard push scene sells itself. Come to any of these events and you will find some of the coolest people around. I have met and made friends with people of all ages. You will keep hearing people refer to us as the distance push family, that’s because of how the vibe feels when you come to an event — open and friendly riders that are quick to chat about their longboard set ups. Kids, adults and everyone in between come with smiles on their faces. Yeah, we get competitive when the race starts, but it’d be hard to find a friendlier group people around. The make-up of a long distance rider is part athlete, part free-spirit hippy. Everyone has a great time and leaves saying, “Can’t wait until this event comes back next year”! I mean, come in first or come in last in the race, it’s hard not to have fun when your gliding inches off the ground with a bunch of like-minded people.
BB:What's the skateboard scene like in your hometown of Miami Beach, Florida?
Andrew:South Beach has a great amount of people riding longboards. I truthfully see more people on longboards commuting around than you see on bikes. We are definitely a longboard town.
BB:You're a real-life superhero. When you're not pushing a board around Miami, you're out saving people from burning houses and cats from tall tree branches. You're a firefighter. Plus, you're a family man with a lovely wife and two beautiful girls. They must be extremely supportive of you. Do you sleep? When do you have time to train?
Andrew:Ha-ha, wait till you see my cape and mask! No, my family is super supportive and my girls love riding on the longboard with me. My wife is my anchor and without her, these records would have never happened. Robin stays up all day and night at the Ultra-Skate and hands me my food and waters every hour. She even did a few laps with me in the hard dark night when the tough times hit. The work schedule of a firefighter allows a good amount of free time so I can train during the week while the kids are in school. But once they get out of school, I put the cape and mask away and its daddy time.
BB:Battle Balm® is a topical pain reliever specifically designed for fighters and contact sports. That's a huge aspect of our product line, but not the only one. You and I both know that Battle Balm® is great for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and reducing warmup/recovery time from an intense training regimen. Tell us how you have used Battle Balm® and how it has helped you push the limits of human endurance.
Andrew:With the many miles and hours I log in training, recuperation is the name of the game. Battle Balm® was an instant hit when I started using it. I found even my chronic aches and pains resulting from years of beating myself up, got better. I’m very big on natural foods and supplements in my diet to help in recuperation and Battle Balm® fits right in with its make-up of natural herbal ingredients. I used Battle Balm before, during and after the Ultra-Skate this year and something remarkable happened. For the fist time after such a grueling endurance race I had no leg swelling or inflammation. I’m usually laid up for a couple of days with fat, swollen feet and calves. I was ready to do a “before” and “after” picture of my legs to showcase Battle Balm’s incredible anti-inflammatory properties. But the usual swelling just never happened. I was up and walking the next day to everyone’s disbelief. I may have been covered head to toe in Battle Balm®, but none the less…
BB:So what's next for you? Are you going to break the 300 mile mark? Are you going to ride off into the sunset? Or do both?
Andrew:I’m going to let the mental trauma of pushing my limits fade away before I even start to think about a training and race plan that can get me to the 300 mark. I know its only 16 miles away at this point but I still feel it unattainable at this time. It’s going to take a very special person to get 300 miles in 24 hours and I know it’s not in my ability right now. If I can stay healthy and keep up this level of training, who knows. Only time will tell, my friend. So maybe I sit back and let the next generation chase it, or maybe I’ll give it a go. All I know is it will be a big commitment and an all out mental and physical effort to prepare. My legs are hurting just thinking about it. Where’s my Battle Balm®?
BB:We want to get you back here to maybe do some guest posts and articles on our Battle Balm® website. We'd love to give you a platform to help you and the endurance sport of distance skateboarding gain more visibility. How does that sound?
Andrew:That would be awesome; I’m a pretty open dude and love to share if people are interested in the crazy things I have to talk about. Bring it, buddy.
BB:Before we go, we're opening up the floor. Is there anything else that you'd like to say?
Andrew:Should I mention the things we did in our neighborhood when we were kids? Ha-ha. No, I would love to share a piece of this world record with Battle Balm®. A big part of those 283.3 miles are yours too now. Cheers!
Stay tuned as we try to get Andrew here to guest post and keep you updated with the ultra skate and distance push world!
The guys over at Evolve Skateboards were nice enough to link us to a YouTube video on the 2014 Miami Ultra Skate: