On 16 April 2015 at 21:04 | updated on 29 April 2015 at 21:39

Meeting Michael Seitz, the organizer of the 2015 Ultra Skate Challenge

Meeting Michael Seitz, the organizer of the 2015 Ultra Skate Challenge

The organization of a 1.800 km raid isn't to be taken lightly, especially when you drag along with you a whole pack of skaters coming from different countries. We met Michael Seitz, the organizer of the 2015 Ultra Skate Challenge...


Interview with the organizer of the Ultra Skate Challenge

Hello Micha, it is not the first time you organize the USC, what will be on the program of the 2015 edition?

Ultra Skate ChallengeThe idea is not new anymore. During the Ultra Skate Challenge Germany in 2013 and during the 'small' Ultra Skate Challenge of 2014, five skaters went from Göteborg to Koblenz. The 2015 adventure promises to be demanding.

There will be a few more kilometers than the previous years... for a total of about 1.800 km! The participants will have to cover almost 140 km per day. It is quite a challenge! The first day of rest is scheduled after the first 8 stages!

How did you have the idea of taking this route?

The 2015 route was born from the idea of skating from my current place of residence in Fribourg to my birthplace, Aachen. The asphalting of the Vennbahn two years ago made the initiative possible! It is now possible to cross the Eifel mountain. The scouting I did on the spot confirmed it. On the other hand, the Fribourg-Aachen route is of (only) 600 km which is a bit short for an Ultra Skate Challenge.

The second inspiration to the USC2015 came from an invitation to the 2014 Rondje Ijsselmeer Markermeer. I couldn't come for schedule reasons. That 350 km skating journey around the Ijsselmeer is unfortunately not renewed in 2015. This route would probably have been a precious stage of the USC2015. We will discover this extraordinary region by ourselves. The lands along the North Sea, reclaimed form the sea over the centuries, offer a sensational contrast with the valleys of the French and German rivers that we will cross to reach them.

The starting point is the capital of the Gauls...

It is indeed. In order to make it a real USC, I chose Lyon, France, as the starting point. The city is easily accessible and quite close to roads suitable for skating. They lead to already known tracks that will guide us towards Germany. The stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 will mostly unfold in charted territory with beautiful landscapes.

Apart from those of the last two stages, the routes of the USC2015 are final. There are dream parts and some less pleasant ones that will force us to a short hike by foot...

Is group skating safer?

Thanks to the experience gained over the previous years, I know how it works. The most impressive is to realize that there are other crazy people who share the same ideas. Although we are all individualists, in one way or another, this experience remains more intense, rich and pleasant when you are altogether. It is a safer solution. There are always situations during those types of projects where you realize it is far easier when you can help one another. Sometimes it is just about getting in the stream of another skater or simply feeling their presence in the middle of nowhere to be reassured.

I know from my own hard experience that after uninterrupted skating days, it gets harder and harder to focus and your senses tend to wander. And it is always better not to be alone when a farmer happens to show up on the road with his high-speed harvester!

Do you have fallback solutions in case of bad weather?

In the case we could not skate a stage because of bad weather, we could all get on the assisting buses to reach the arrival of the stage. That is why everything can be planned in advance.

Generally speaking, it is not necessary to tell experimented long distance skaters how to gear up. Moreover the buses will be accessible every 30 to 40 km. The drivers will have a detailed road-book with all the meeting points.

How did you determine which skaters could join you?

Ultra Skate Challenge 2014The previous raids on distances of 1.000 and 1.600 km showed that participants to such events were to be found amongst experimented speed skaters and long distance skaters —not necessarily competitors.

In 2012, German, Swedish and Dutch marathon champions joined us, they could skate a marathon in 1 hour 10 at the time. But there is no reason to feel impressed, both profiles can meet in a good atmosphere. If someone feels like showing off with their double push, lopsided smiles are probably all they will get, because they will probably end up amongst the bus passengers on the third day or so, with swollen legs and cheeks. Using fitness skates on such long distance courses is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of the time the average speed is lower than 20 kph so that you skate in a relatively upright position. It is very far from a speed skating stance!

Thanks Micha, and have a good journey!

Ultra Skate Challenge 2014

Useful links

Our page dedicated to the event

Page of the Ultra Skate Challenge

By Sigrid Melanchthon
Translation: Chloe Seyres
Photos : organization 
Released  on 16 April 2015 - Read 8220 times

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