Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Going from 2 to 8 wheels...

So I finally got my speed skates. After the 1994 series of skate races held concurrently with the twilight criterium in Boise, I vowed to return the next summer with speed skates.

Okay, well, 14 years later and one state over and I've done it.

Getting ready to head out to PIR I had the nagging feeling that I was forgetting something. My bike! It felt really strange heading out fully kitted for riding but no bike.

I went out for only one skate last week. The streets around home are terrible and my street in particular is not even paved! I felt like I had never skated before-- all wobbly and feeling like I was just going to keel over. I was rather shocked! My experience on the speed skates was nothing like I had imagined. It wasn't even fun! I had always imagined myself just gliding along-- a good strong push and I'd just coast along... then touching down with my other foot and pushing off again. Instead I felt terribly uncordinated and kept overbalancing on the outsides of my feet. After a pathetic 15 minutes I went back home worried that maybe I had wasted my money.

Silly me. First, the frames weren't even lined up properly on the boots. Thanks to some helpful skates on the Inine Planet forums I was able to get my frames in a good neutral spot. I practiced in my living room by standing on one skate at a time. After the adjustments, I could easily stand on one stake and not feel like I was tipping over.

When Monday came and it was time to head out to PIR to meet up with the other skaters there I was just beside myself.But I was worried that I would just flounder around out there. Would it be a horrible ordeal? Whould I remember how to skate? After my first test run around the neighborhood I wasn't sure. I also hoped that I wouldn't fall and lose any skin or shred my shorts.

The asphalt track at PIR was awesome.

It was everything I had dreamed of all these years. It was exactly like I imagined that speed skating would be. Unless you've skated -- really skated, tucked in and just sailing along -- you have no idea how incredible it is. I guess it takes some work to get there and I'm glad my body remembered what to do (mostly) but the payoff is totally worth it. I love bikes and the sensation of movment and the wheels spinning, but this is totally different.

I had a fantastic time out on the asphalt. The time we had to skate just flew by and before I knew it it was time to get off the track and make way for the cyclists. I wanted more skating but my back was complaining and my legs were all noodly feeling. Altogether a very pleasant sensation-- let's you know that you've had a good run.

. . .

I took a few minutes and I can't really properly describe it. The sense of movement while skating -- of pushing with one leg and gliding on the other is, I think, the core appeal to me. The speed, too. That's important, too.

Sadly there's just two more sessions out at PIR until the skating's done there for the summer. Then what? Maybe indoor this fall?

I'd better cut my reverie short and get back to work.

1 comment:

William said...

Hey Beej! I've only got trick skates but I've been so curious about racing at PIR. Sounds like you're having fun. We should definitely skate indoors this fall!

-will