One fine day while skating in farm country, I found myself flying over a freshly plowed field of dirt clods at high speed. The cow grate across the trail had been a big surprise as I raced to catch up with another skater! That was my most memorable test of hitting the rough in a Scissors Coast. Fortunately, my helmet and an instinctive tuck and roll made this a non-event–except for the embarrassment!
Archive for the ‘Skating’ Category
Now there are two proven technologies to address “the stopping thing” at both ends of the inline skating skill spectrum.
My generation of serious alpine skiers can get pretty serious about cross-training on inline skates. In fact, that is now a sport unto itself known as “Extreme Downhill.” The Orbit newsletter has featured guest posts from two of my buddies who compete, George Merkert (what it feels like) and Scott Peer (what protective gear to wear).
Meet Craig Ellis, another avid skier and inline brake system inventor. Both George and Scott are raving about his Gravity Master(TM) inline brake, which I hope to test myself soon. Meanwhile, here are some tantalizing links to tickle your interest as they have mine:
Me: “You know how I react under the influence of endorphins, right?”
Him: “Yeah, phew, every morning after your workout!”
Me: “Yesterday I had another shower epiphany after spin class. I was like ‘Wow, I love how I feel so self righteous! I’m such a wonderful person! I’m all set for a great day! Exercise is so great for a person’s self esteem.”
Him: “Mmm hmm.”
Me: “And then I was sharing this thought with another lady in the locker room (poor thing), saying, ‘Man, if only I could bottle this stuff! It would be so great if I could share my overabundance of feeling good with somebody else who really needs it!'”
There are slopes I’d feel safer descending on my inline skates than on my fancy new road bike. My fears of falling are greater when biking than skating!
That’s why, every week I am devising new ways to live up to my expectations to become competent enough to get over my beginner fears and enjoy myself. The learning process is constantly reminding me of my own advice to beginning inline skaters: in the past 20 years we identified and drilled away dozens of issues related to posture and fear.
The martial art of Tai Chi offers many well-documented benefits. Now that I’ve been practicing the Guang P’ing form for a year, I can point out those I find specific to inline skaters:
- Balance – slow and constant motion, many one-foot stances
- Coordination – complex transitions involving every body part
- Strength – the knees are always bent, loading leg muscles
- Flexibility – everything from wide lunges to high kicks
- Mind-body – moving meditation, mindful breathing
I’ll be giving a lesson, working closely with a student who is making good progress. I’m beaming with pride, thinking to myself, “She’s almost got it!” But I can’t leave well enough alone: I love to watch what happens after I call out, “Now pretend you’re relaxed!” In an instant and without much thought, her spine and arms soften and she looks like she just added on a year’s worth of skating experience. What just happened? It’s not my powers of suggestion (don’t I wish!).
It’s been awhile since I produced the third edition of Get Rolling, the Beginner’s Guide to Inline Skating, but I have checked the links below and they are still good guides for anybody who is interested in writing and publishing their own book.
I am not the best person to ask about finding a publisher because, except for one case, my publishers found me or I self-published. The one time I got a publisher to take over my book was when I approached a travel company with my first edition of Get Rolling, and they signed me up to put together a skate trails tour book and I inserted my how-to section into the front pages. Out of print now, my work has since been transformed to an online database of skate tours, www.CASkating.com.
This may come as a big surprise the first time you join a group skate that rolls through the streets after dark: skating on a dedicated bike path using the basic stride and braking you learned in a parking lot just aren’t enough prep! The perils outside a controlled environment require a few defensive skills to help you safely manage real-world situations.
In a group setting, “sometimes the crowd is very dense and moving very fast,” pointed out Alex, a Get Rolling fan from Israel. “There are often light collisions, e.g., frame-to-frame contact.” He is so right! When unfamiliar terrain, motorists, low or no street lighting, unexpected obstacles, hills, and peer pressure are in the mix, the risk for getting hurt goes way up.
In-Line Workout Benefits
Fun as it is, skating contributes directly to improving the most sought-after exercise goals: improved aerobic fitness, strength, endurance and body fat reduction. Fast-paced skating has been proved to be just as aerobically beneficial as running; compared to cycling, an equal skating effort results in a better muscular workout for hips, thighs and shins. As long as you apply yourself to purposeful workouts with specific daily goals (as opposed to simply going through the motions), you are setting yourself up to enjoy the maximum possible benefits from fitness skating.
You should be relaxed and resting on your laurels after a long day on skates, especially if you managed to avoid getting blistered or bruised feet (see my review of eZeefit ankle booties for those complaints). But for some, tired or crampy feet or lower legs can be painful or distracting enough to ruin that well-deserved lounge time.
Listed in short- to long-term order, here are some tips to treat the most common foot-related after-affects of a long roll, and perhaps even head them off in the future.