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September 24, 2013

Xenan Inline Skates by Andy Lundstrom: The best ever


I ordered mine (above and below) in the late 1990s.


They were so far ahead of anything else on the market it's not even funny.


Totally carbon fiber monococque construction: the boot and frame are one.


Lightest racing skate ever.


And — by far — the most comfortable.


I flew out to Denver where Andy made made casts of my feet in his studio/workshop, then hand crafted my skates from sheets of carbon fiber successively layered around the casts, then baked and cured in his bespoke machines and devices.

I skated the 87-mile full Athens-to-Atlanta marathon in them several years running: best days of my life.

At the end of the race my feet were intact: no blisters, no blood, no cuts, no hot spots.

Looking at other racers' feet after the race, with blood and gore everywhere, the difference was profound.

Andy's skates cost $2,000 (including custom molding) in 1997.

Cheap at twice the price.

These skates are the apotheosis of great industrial design, as good as anything ever created by Apple.

Maybe better.

September 24, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


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I'm comfortable at speed on a bicycle. I have no issues with fear of heights or falling. I don't have any unreasonable concerns about travel across, or climbing, glaciated terrain. I can skate and have enjoyed ice hockey (at a rank amateur level) and I have enjoyed Alpine skiing trails that resorts mark with their (highly subjective) black diamond / double diamond signs. I've had immensely enjoyable ski mountaineering outings that lasted up to ten days in December and January in the Sangre de Cristos - but:

I'm a bag of bones. If I were to take a fall from those in-line skates at 60kph I don't think that a helmet and gloves/knee pads would do much to protect me during the dispersal of all of that kinetic energy. It's the same rationale that I apply when rejecting donor cycles as modes of transportation.

Still, it must have been a fantastic rush to move that fast, in rhythm, in your zone, for eighty-seven miles! Multiple times!

As for the price of tech gear - as with most things that are designed to function at a high-level of performance for extended periods of time - the price is cheap given the cost to the user of an acute failure. Also, the quality/design of the gear has a direct bearing on the performance - see the changes wrought by the adoption of the Clap Skate in speed skating competitions - leading to the slew of new world records established in the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano, Japan (the first time in my adult life that I was able to watch the entire coverage of the Winter Olympics - thanks to my limited motion due to having had a small wedge of crushed L-4 disc removed).

Your skates are/were no more expensive than a moderate performance range racing bike, or gearing up to climb at the Ouray Ice Park. http://www.ouraycolorado.com/ouray-activities/winter.php

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Sep 25, 2013 3:35:32 PM

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