On November 25, Danny Cisneros set two (unofficial) world records for doing a handstand on his skateboard. He traveled .8 miles, nearly doubling the previous distance record, and was clocked going 35 miles per hour -- establishing a speed record that had not yet been set.
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The day started out with a firm breeze, which often isn't ideal for setting handstand records of any kind, especially not ones that require nearly grazing your head inches from the pavement at high speeds. The weather settled, though. And around 3 p.m., Cisneros took off from the top of Candelas Parkway overlooking Standley Lake, with a miniature downtown Denver in the distance.
There were six orange cones set up along the side of the road, in one-tenth of a mile increments. The final cone, set at the bottom of the bending road, was the half-mile marker. Knowing the previous distance record was 2,255 feet, Cisneros aimed simply to eclipse the half-mile marker -- but he ended up sailing much further, as the incline became more friendly after he passed the sixth and final cone. By the time he dismounted from his skateboard and stood upright, Cisneros was approaching exhaustion.
"I pushed myself to almost unconsciousness," he recalls. "I was pretty delirious. At the end I didn't know where I was. I was just thinking, 'Man, I hope this ends soon.'"
Aside from dealing with the rush of blood to his head, Cisneros had to concentrate on maintaining his balance while traveling only ten miles per hour less than the designated speed limit on Candelas Parkway. He remembers how he "hit 35 miles per hour and the skateboard started to wobble back and forth," at which point he "started to feel a little bit nervous" but "just tried to keep calm and hope that it all worked out in the end -- which it did."
Following Cisneros down Candelas Parkway was a small crew of cameramen documenting the record-setting event. Two rode skateboards while the third man drove in front of Cisneros, monitoring his status. Lynn Cooper, whom Cisneros describes as "a legendary freestyle skateboarder" and "friend of the family for a long time," will be sending the video footage into Guinness for verification. He will also be placing it on his website, SkateLegends.com.
Along with video evidence, Cisneros must submit two signatures from witnesses as proof that the record was in fact real. Eight years ago, Cisneros submitted a distance record that Guinness rejected -- but he's confident his scrupulous documentation will pay off this time. "As long as we have people out there measuring with distance markers, witnesses and GPS to determine the distance and speed, that's all they need," he says.
Cisneros was born in California in 1964; seven years later he moved to Colorado. It was around that time that he says he first fell in love with skateboarding. And not much after that, he found a similar fascination with doing handstands. He put the two together when he was about ten. "I used to do handstands and skateboard, then one day I just combined the two," Cisneros remembers. "I kept eyeballing bigger hills and testing myself."
Cisneros has been married to his wife, Laura, for 25 years; they have five children. He owned a construction company that remodeled bathrooms in the Littleton area for over twenty years. But he's since closed the company, and now that his children have all entered or passed through their teens, Cisneros says he feels like he's entering a new chapter of his life -- one that involves exercising his body (and skateboarding passion) before time runs out.
"I am focusing on my passion of skateboarding while I still can physically," Cisneros says. "I am training a little for strength, endurance and mental awareness. After two broken wrists, a separated shoulder and numerous other injuries over the years, I feel great now."
Prior to completing his (still unofficial) record-setting stunt, Cisneros pondered what he was really trying to prove from such a daring feat, one he'd contemplated for eight years, maybe as a way to "go through my midlife crisis." Ultimately, he decided, it was more than a simple thrill ride. It was a statement about how to "be an example of older people being active with vitality," he explains. "I wanted to prove to myself what I am able to do, and then of course, prove to my family and the rest of the world what a determined human being can do when they have passion, hopes and dreams."
Although he doesn't have plans for future records -- not now, at least -- his skateboarding aspirations will "keep evolving," he says. "I do this all the time and I like to give people a show. My goal is to pretty much travel around the country doing this and pushing myself on really nice hills with beautiful scenery. That would be my ultimate dream come true."
But in the meantime, he's finally achieved a goal eight years in the making.
Skateboarding mission: accomplished.
Midlife crisis: avoided.
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Keep reading for more photos of his feat.