Sep. 2nd, 2011

fatgirlskates: (Default)
Soooo I have had this crazy idea for while about incorporating some elements of longboarding into my roller skating, mostly because these cute hipsters look like they are having a lot of fun. :) Plus one of my biggest challenges in outdoor skating is controlling my speed downhill. I have a lot of mass and not a lot of skill, so I go from zero to WTF-how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-stop?!?! in about 2 seconds. Some longboarders wear gloves and kneepads with sliders on them to do cool tricks. One area where I am somewhat talented is falling without seriously injuring myself by sliding on my safety gear. Combine longboard sliding and roller derby falls... and I think I've figured out my technique for handling hills. ;D

I put this idea to the test this morning. With some old, cheap elbow and knee pads, a pair of work gloves, a helmet, my outdoor skate set-up, and a whole lot of Gorilla tape in tow, I set out for beautiful Oglebay Park. It was my first attempt at tackling actual West Virginia hills instead of flat wimpy river valley trails, and boy did Oglebay chew me up and spit me out! Maybe it was my fault for looking for the highest, steepest hill I could find on my first try. I had to hike up that thing on my toe stops, it was so steep! And going down -- WOW!! I went into a very low stance, made it 20-30 feet down, felt my speed getting out of control, and did a single knee fall, grinding to a stop on one knee while gently steering myself on the narrow trail with my hands. Another 20 feet, knee stopped again. Rinse, repeat. When I made it to the bottom of the hill, I discovered that my right knee pad was completely demolished. The strap had broken, the styrofoam padding was coming out, and I had a nice bit of road rash through my jeans. And my poor right skate! The asphalt burned right through all four layers of duct tape I put on the toe, and then ripped apart my laces.

But I can't wait to do it again!! Those short bursts of amazing speed were totally exhilarating and yet I never felt out of control. Stabilizing and steering my high-speed knee falls with my hands worked really well (even though I could hear my derby coach in my head yelling at me -- "Quit putting your hands on the ground! Someone's going to roll over your fingers!") I think with some equipment adjustments, downhill skating could be my new favorite thing!

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fatgirlskates

April 2012

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