Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Week 33: The Ol' Wheel Switcheroo

So, revision week! The week in which we go through everything to see what we've mastered and what needs working on before sign offs. I knew my one huge weakness was plough stops. I cannot do them. Not even a little bit. I still just keep on rolling. I asked for advice from other skaters and my wheels kept coming up a lot. There was a little debate as to whether I needed softer or harder wheels (I'm currently skating on 92s) but I decided to try out the softer wheels first and swapped with a friend who was skating on 88s.

With the new wheels on, I hit the track only to find that everyone was queuing up behind cones instead of skating round. This was different. I skated up behind my wife "What's going on, wife?" "I don't know, wife...but stay with me." We were then told that our warm up was going to be a race. The race involved skating up to three separate cones, performing a skill, and then returning. All the while holding a kitten ball with a bell in it. The skills were one knee taps, double knee taps and then a plough or t-stop. The team who came last in the race had to do 10 push ups. We came last. We did the 10 push ups. My shoulders are still hurting from a dodgy one.
We then stretched and were told that we would attempt to cover everything and, bonus, we weren't going to be doing any squats! That's right! No squats! It's funny, though. You don't know what you've got til it's gone and I actually kind of missed the squats. But there was no time for reminiscing as it was time for weaving! Gah! The dreaded weaving! Surprisingly, I managed to get all but one cone on both times I went round. How good is that?! Ahhh, weaving! I haven't lost you after all!

Next was sticky feet. We all had to line up on the outside line and sticky feet round it like one giant pace line! It was great fun, although those 88s certainly made me work for it! The extra grippiness was working my thighs overtime - I bet the lady who I swapped with's thighs thought they were on holiday! The giant pace line then moved onto the track to practice track movement. On the whistle, we had to skate from the outside to the inside, and visa versa. There was an awful lot of us again, so there were a few close calls but that just made it even more fun!
Look how many there were of us!
Next on our whistle stop tour was 15 second balance. I did over balance a few times, put my toe-stop down, wobble a lot, and occasionally roll, but I managed to stay one foot for 15 seconds the majority of the time! Woohoo! 15 second balance - check! (I did however find out that the lady I swapped wheels with couldn't do it in my wheels. So it may have been my sticky wheels. I'm trying to be optimistic about it...) We then moved on to practice some lateral hops which I think went pretty well. So lateral hops - check!

Onwards, to 20 in 5! This seemed a little ambitious for a session that we had to fit all of the skills in, plus the one skill I so desperately wanted to practice hadn't come up yet. I was hoping for a one-on-one session with a team skater so I could see what I was doing wrong, but there were so many newbies at the bottom (yay!) that there was no room. That was fine. We would do stops. So I then tried to decide what to do about 20 in 5. Skaters who hadn't been signed off on it yet were going first, as was fair, so I had some time to think. The lady in my wheels was in love with them, so she wanted to see if they would help her with her endurance skating. I said it'd be interesting to see what I get in her wheels then, but she gave me a concerned look and told me that I probably shouldn't as they're stickier and would likely hinder my endurance thus disappointing me. I told her I'd been signed off on it already so it was out of curiosity and surely I should know if these wheels hinder my endurance - I had to know if I should buy a set. She still looked concerned and told me not to get my hopes up too much as I prepared myself for my 5 minutes on track. I managed to do more crossovers than I usually do, which is good, but I didn't know if that was slowing me down. My spotter was telling me my laps as I skated past "That's 6...that was on 14...." But I didn't know how many minutes had passed. Once I got to 20, I was expecting the whistle to go. It didn't. 21...22...23..and the whistle goes! 23 and a half I managed on the sticky wheels. A personal best! Woohoo! (Bizarrely, my wife who got the same laps as me last time also got 23 1/2. This inspired her to invent the word "wifestrating".)
Legs shaking and completely shattered, I got back up on the track for pace-line and pack work. Pace-line went well, as usual, as did pack work. I even got a few cheeky whips as I was recycling round the outside, it was fun but completely failed it's purpose as I ended up about 10 feet in front of the pack! We then tried a drill I'd never done before. We were in a pack and had to recycle, but then a coach would skate behind us and hold up a number of fingers. We then had to silently mirror it back to her while staying in the pack and recycling. I think the pack work disintegrated a little, but I'm sure we did well! We then moved on to focus for a bit and then stopped, ready for the next skill.

By this point, I had discovered it was now 9:15pm. Our sessions finish at 10pm and we've got fit in cooling down, stretching, and de-kitting in that time. We still hadn't practiced stops so I was starting to come down from my high after the 20 in 5. One of my fellow skaters asked if we could please practice stops, and we were told to get on track. T-stops were first which I can pretty much do, although I fall over a lot, and the new wheels took a while to get used to. Plough stops, there was no difference. I thought my legs were getting wider, but I was still just rolling to a stop. So with about 10 minutes of practicing that, where no improvement was made, we were told to have a cool down skate and start stretching. T-stops - semi-check! Plough stops - no hope in hell.
Needless to say, I was bummed out. I did like the stickier wheels and am considering buying a set as they were fun to skate on but they just didn't help with my plough stops. Looks like it's me, my ol' 92s and a tonne of practice before Sign Offs next week. Sigh.

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