Quick, I’ve been Poisoned!

Call somebody!!!

Yesterday I tried out Atom’s new Poison Slim wheels. Just a little recap: I’m about 130 lbs, 5 ft 7 inches, and skating on ridiculously slippy and often dirty elementary school flooring. This meant that on my getting-worn flat-outs I was slipping out around the bends, and even with my purple-blue new fugitive mids I was spending a lot of time restablizing myself. So, after hearing that maybe softer wheels would actually be benefitial and might even *increase* my speed, I sought out  soft wheels with a narrow profile. I found Atom Poison Slims and thought they sounded like they would fit the bill. They measure in at 84a on the durometer compared to my 87a purple Fugitive Mid pushers with 90a blue Fugitive Mid combo.

So typically, when you think “soft wheels” you think, sticky, sluggish, gonna-make-me-work-hard-and-slow-me-down wheels. And often, that’s probably true. But if you find that you’re spending a lot of time readjusting after sliding out on a slick surface, then you might want to consider moving to a stickier wheel. I can say that two neat things came from using the Poisons last night.

#1) I didn’t slide AT ALL. Not once. And we did timed speed laps (1 lap = 8.6 or 8.8 seconds for me.. can’t remember)

#2) I made a point of doing a t-stop for every water trip and nailed it every.single.time.

SO YAY POISONS! I’m going to keep them on for my next practice at a slightly less slippy gym and I’ll let you now how it goes.

Maybe at this point you’re expecting me to tell you how things went at my first league practice too? Hmm… well my first league practice was really emotional on a whole bunch of levels. First, I’ve lost some buddies in my move to league practices and I really missed having them there. In some ways I also felt guilty for being there, and that was hard. Second, I realized that I was probably gonna be on the receiving end of some pretty good hazing from the vets. I spent the first half hour on-skates feeling like I didn’t belong there and wondering why I hadn’t come in with an exit strategy… that is so unlike me. But then something pretty cool happened. First, my adrenaline kicked in so most of my anxiety went away. Then, I started getting comments from other skaters that I was doing things well. I was able to get out of my own head and remember to *just go*. Also, because it turned into a pretty small practice I ended up getting a LOT of feedback and instruction, which is good because remember that this *actually playing the game* part is so new to me, and I need to work out a lot of the mechanics.

I was pretty proud of myself by the end of practice. I took and gave hits, and I think for my first practice I held my own pretty well. Saturday’s practice should be a bit more hardcore so if I come back feeling like a turd in the rain, at least I’ll have this post to remind me that last night, I was a derby girl.

Taking off my training wheels: Review of Fugitive Mids Purple/Blue Combo

If I’ve learned anything from reading online wheel discussions and talking to coaches, it’s that wheel reviews are only really valid within a narrow context. First, you need to consider the type of flooring that the reviewer is skating on, and second you need to consider the weight of the reviewer. There are probably other factors to be considered (i.e. style, skill level etc…), but I’ll just preface my short review by saying that:

1) I’m skating on a dirty, slick, elementary school floor.
2) I’m about 130 lbs and 5’7.
2.5) For the sake of comparison, I’m upgrading from Flat-Outs

That said, I found the combo pretty interesting. As soon as I took to the track I noticed that the new wheels were speedier than the old ones. It took less leg effort to propel myself forwards, especially at slower speeds. The narrower profile, made me *feel* more agile, but based on my skating performance last night I think most of that was in my head 😉

Now the big test was performance on speed laps. On the speed laps, these wheels weren’t really my favourite. I felt like I sacrificed a lot of stability and control for speed. Again, consider the slippery-flooring here. Also, I had the odd feeling like I was going to fall sidewise into the center of the track…. not sure what this is all about. All in all, I think that I will like these wheels for general skating, or if I ever find myself on a grippier surface. However, for speed drills I think I might need softer wheels, at least while I’m learning to skate efficiently. Once I’ve gained more skill in this area I think I’ll enjoy the added speed.

I’m expecting new grippier wheels to arrive in about a week. You’ll be able to read my review of Atom Poison Slims then.

Celebrating 1000 views with 100 hits!

I’ve now been blogging for one month and 3 days at the present wordpress address, and I’m happy to announce that sometime today this little blog reached its 1000th view. Actually as of this writing this blog has been viewed 1013 times. Kinda fun.

Okay so hits… last night (maybe premature for an actual celebration), the Darkside came over so we could practice our hits. We put our skates on and hit each other in my basement…gotta say, the added stability provided by the berber carpet really let us hit with all of our (stationary) hitting potential. Felt pretty awesome 🙂 And I definitely needed to feel awesome yesterday after failing in the Roller Derby Workout Challenge on two counts. First, the Darkside brought over some homemade lemon meringue pie. It would have been insulting to both the friend and the pie not to eat it, so I had to. And I enjoyed it. Second, I learned that I can’t do a derby practice on one day, follow it with the RDW video on the second day, and then expect to be able to do a proper workout on day three. At least I know this for next week’s planning… but it meant that I did lose one workout this week. Although maybe some of that basement hitting kinda sorta makes up for it?

Also, I’ve been making it part of my natural state of living to walk upstairs doing crossovers or practice hits. When I’m feeling lazy, I just position myself so that my hip is facing towards the stairs and do little crossovers hitting every step on the way up. When I’m feeling a little more enthusiastic, I skip a step. When I think I should be practicing weight transfer/hitting more than crossovers, I again position my hip so that its facing the staircase.. then take the leg closest to the step and put it on the second step up (always skipping a step this way), to lift myself up to where that leading foot is, I put all my weight on that foot and hoist my body up. Try it… and picture tensing your quads and butt muscles.

Okay, last point of interest for this post – some upgrades to my skates. Firstly, if you find your laces looking like this, please note that it is a safety hazard and it’s possible that you might want to change them.

Being the lazy girl I am, I actually didn’t change my laces when I first noticed that this was happening. Instead I waited until I purchased new wheels in order to coordinate my colours properly. Thing is, remember how I’ve been complaining about my skates getting looser… actually I think my new fat (and unbroken) laces are going to help A LOT.

So now wheels. I’m proud to say that despite being petrified to tinker with my own skates, I single-handedly removed all of my wheels, took out the bearings, put the bearings into my new wheels and put the new wheels on my skates last night! Woohoo. So I’m going to use purple fugitive mids as pushers and blue fugitive mids for speed. Depending on the night we usually skate on either pretty dirty wood highschool flooring, or slippery as all hell elementary school flooring. So the combo may or may not work awesome for me.. but I’m definitely all for trying as many wheels as I want/need to figure out what I like. I think as a Freshie this is definitely my perogative.

Here are my new suped-up skates. Um, they’re dirty from skating around my living room 🙂

That’s it for now – Happy Friday.