Guest author, triathlete and long-time inline skater Joshua Delucca Colon agreed
to share his experience learning to skate with Nordic poles after excitedly
watching the winter Olympics cross country events.
I wanted to try
an endurance activity that would divert from my usual swimming-, biking-
and run-focused triathlon training. I knew cross country skiing was a
highly aerobic activity and I wanted to feel it myself.
My new poles are
a middle-of-the line Exel
Nordic Blader B 3 model. I also bought new
S 100 inline skates. Before trying the poles, I devoted several occasions
to become fully acquainted to my new skates. My old full-plastic skates
were very different from my new ones, especially in braking and boot
cushioning. My new Roces S 100 model is half soft and half plastic. Once
I was comfortable on them, I took to the street.
Growing New Nordic Skills - a journal
First day: Flats, rough
asphalt - First impression was how easy it was to get going and
how stable I felt on irregular surfaces. I Saturday, August 20, 2011 2:47 PMed to place the tips too
close to my skate's front end when preparing to thrust back.
After 30 minutes, I became
quite used to the basic two-pole arm thrust and
felt a nice sweat. At first it was hard to get used to the wrist strap
and learning to push with the strap rather than with the grip. Body lean
became progressively forward as I learned how to coordinate where to
land the pole tips safely in front of my skates. I took several stops
for readjusting the straps until comfy.
Second day: Park, smooth concrete
and light hills - The tips of the poles work beautifully in asphalt,
but definitely not on smooth concrete. I was unable thrust hard at all,
slipping back all the time; settled down to just planting the poles and
letting a slight amount of thrust propel me forward. I was happy to employ
30 minutes on my skates with the poles. I also began to recognize the
help they would give me on the slightest grades by taking away the burden
of the power from the legs and sharing it with the upper body. Still
had some pole plant issues, but was able to coordinate better than the
day: Same park, smooth concrete, moderate grade hill - Before
always struggled on this hill because it was steep enough to make my
legs burn near the top. With poles, even when keeping my thrust very
slight to avoid slipping, my legs felt a welcome relief and didn't burn. Mmm,
interesting. Forty five minutes and several downwind runs later, I started
to combine the basic two-arm thrust with an attempt to gain speed by
tucking my arms in front while keeping the poles snug and horizontal
against my body, tips projecting rearward. I noted that top speed was
hard to attain because the arms were tucked in front with the poles and
unable to swing freely. Also, I tried a two-arm thrust
with skates coasting parallel whenever the concrete had enough traction
for the pole tips.
Fourth day: 10 km of bike trails, two lanes, smooth asphalt,
several medium hills - Finally I was going to the park I wanted
to skate all along! I put my heart rate monitor, aiming to find out how
aerobic this activity really was. Even at a moderate effort, my heart
rate climbed steadily to a rate similar to running at the same perceived
effort, without the pounding. Mmmmm, my feet were in heaven. I was able
to use the basic two-arm thrust, adding upper body weight to it, and coast
the downhills tucked like the pros. After 10k, my legs throbbed, my face
smiled and my arms, core and upper back felt nicely worked. I also
established a new personal record for that 10k route.
Four tries skating with the Nordic
poles and I was really enjoying myself, getting a great workout, and
working both legs and torso. Despite the fact that top speed was not
attainable because the lack of arm swing--at least at my current level
of practice with the poles--it was a great experience.
are that for me the increased stability of Nordic poles helps in the
uphills wherever the surface has enough traction to use the tips and
get the upper body more involved.
Down side is my inability to attain
top speed as easy as without them (this may be a technique issue for
a neophyte like me) and the slipping of the metal points extending
from the poles’ rubber
tips when thrusting on smooth surfaces.
Raising Awareness for Skating and MS
JD contacted me again about 3 months after sending me the above journal.
all my fitness endeavors: mountain biking, ocean kayaking, swimming,
running and yes, inline skating-poling. Today I will be the escort for
a Multiple Sclerosis patient of mine who's hand cycling a 10k foot race.
I'll escort her on inlines and Nordic poles. We've had several training
sessions on my favorite, undulating 10k route.
And at press time, JD says:
I have talked some of my triathlete friends into inline skating, and we
are planning to be on several
local 10ks, starting with one on August 20th, skating to raise
awareness of and interest in Multiple Sclerosis. After our persistent
presence convinces more
people to join us in these events on inline skates, we plan on talking
with the organizing committees to open a category for skaters.
Left: Rita and her support team, JD and husband, after the Multiple
Sclerosis duathelon; right: Rita on her handcycle