Sunday, July 24, 2011

So pretty much this whole post is a good advertisement for skating with protective gear.

Let's see, in the past nine days, I have

-been to 3 rollerparades
-gone ice skating and tried ice slaloms (!)
-tried out speed skates for the first time
-messed around on quad skates at a rollerdisco
-practiced lots of slides
-enjoyed & practiced lots of slalom in several places
-gone to yoga, of course

Oh yes. We hung around a bit in a skatepark as well, but I'm not really counting that because I was too chicken to drop in on the quarter pipe there, because of the fact that it's more concave than anywhere else I've dropped in before, and also, I didn't have any guidance from Vicky Denissen, who taught me how to do it in the first place and has a good eye for when I'm about to do something dangerously wrong, and a knack for reassuring me to go ahead when I'm doing something right.

But anyway. We went to a "roller disco" night last night, which was really fun even though there weren't a lot of people. I played with some quad skates for awhile, and they are really great for dancing, because of the stability they afford, and also the way your foot is applied to the ground. This was maybe the second or third time I've been on quads (not counting any birthday parties at the roller rink I attended as a small child), and I really got a feel for them last night, even though I didn't keep them on too long. It's brilliant (and a novelty) being able to shift your weight to the outside of your skate while keeping your foot flat on the ground, and vice versa. Instead of outside and inside edges, you have outside and inside wheels. Sitting tricks are ten times easier (in a straight line, anyway!) because of the fact that you have a stable little platform to roll on, and dancing moves look and feel very, very cool. Slalom is much more difficult with quad skates, of course, but it is possible, and I could manage some tricks quite well, but only up until the moment that I would forget I was on quads instead of inlines, and then I would screw up fantastically. :)

Also, here is what I've learned about downhill since my last post, which is actually embarrassingly obvious, but I just didn't think of it myself at the time:

As slalomer on a rockered setup, we are only riding on two wheels. Therefore it's much less stable and more difficult to get speed than if we were on a flat setup going downhill. It's also scarier. :) The solution? Duck down low (duh). The scary feeling is gone, you go faster, and your wheels make more contact with the ground. I should have thought of it last week, because I've done this many times during the rollerparades. Anyway, this time was WHEEEEEEEEE! I'm still not as fast as I'd like, but then again, I'm also not really ever satisfied with anything about my skating, so there you go.

However, the rollerparade in Brussel this time didn't hold a candle to the one the week before. We took a path that didn't include the huge hill from the last time, which was disappointing. :(

One of the coolest parts of the night was at the end of the tour when we kept barreling down the entrance ramp into the parking garage, ducking under the arm of the parking gate (I was doing footguns underneath it), and looping further and further down until the very bottom level, leaning left the whole time and feeling the centrifugal force. We kept taking the elevator back up to the top and doing it over again.

Let's see, in other news, I bruised my tailbone at the first Brussels rollerparade I attended, thanks to going for a parallel slide on a tiled floor and getting my blade caught in the tiny gap between two tiles and suddenly BAM! I was down. I'm still sore, but luckily that's not a fall I've experienced ever before and hope not to again. I think surfaces for sliding are just like for slalom...if you're strong at what you are doing, you can manage almost anywhere, but I'm definitely not good enough at sliding to be pulling off parallel slides where the ground is not forgiving. By the way, they do make such a thing as butt padding, and it would have literally saved my ass had I been wearing it at the time.

Within the same ten minutes of that happening, I also had a head-on collision at a good speed (I was gearing up for another slide) with another skater, who was also getting ready to slide. We had been skating in the same direction but maybe six feet apart, which was probably a little too close. Then he turned unexpectedly and we pretty much ran into each other at full speed. It was like playing a game of chicken where nobody chickened out.

In the moment before impact, though, I realized what was about to happen, so I reached out to absorb the energy rather than try to deflect it, which worked pretty well. Neither of us were knocked to the ground, and I only ended up pinging the bone above my right eye on his helmet (Helmets: Great if you are both wearing one. Not if only one of you is.). At the time I worried that my eye would be black the next day, but it never got beyond pink and a bit puffy, which was fine by me, and it didn't really hurt after the fact, unless I pressed on it.

This other skater was actually really cool to skate with (which was why we were running around sliding in the first place), and he was doing something which I would be tempted to call heel-heel cobra (!) as we were skating along with the tour. There was another guy cruising along seemingly endlessly, and REALLY FAST, doing back toe-wheeling (!), and at one point he also busted out an impressive back-flip from practically a stand-still.

So yeah. A lot of the Brussels guys can already slalom pretty well because they are such good skaters, but they don't seem to prefer the cones, which is too bad for slalom! Because they can really SKATE.

Well, that's all I'll say for today, and the title of this post kinda says it all. However, to be fair, much of the skating I've described here is not really slalom-related. I've been wearing wrist guards and sometimes knee pads when practicing slide, although I have to say, they only place I've fallen down hard is on my butt. I did wipe out rather poorly on ice in a hockey slide and bruise my leg, but that was due to the fact that I was still figuring out the mechanics of sliding on ice again, as opposed to on concrete.

I never thought there would come a day that sliding on asphalt would be easier for me than sliding on ice, but hey, look, here we are.

Thanks again for reading and HAPPY SLIDING!

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