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A2A - what went right, what went wrong

Cat Brother's picture

What went right –
1.    Knee and hamstring insertion rehab – man, I was sure, 3-4 months ago, that this was going to trip me up. Never hurt. Yay me.
2.    Low back – Never hurt once, all day. Thank you, kettlebells.

What to change –
1.    Overall speed – This was my first race and all, but the pack just BLAZED away from me. It wasn’t strength; I’m (pretty) sure I would’ve won a deadlift contest on that bus. That German girl had legs like pipe cleaners, but she moved like she owed God money. I’m not sure how to rectify this, other than trying to make a speed camp or something. I honestly think I had no idea of how fast competitive skaters move. A bunch of the guys on that bus to Dacula looked like my kindly uncles, but sheeeeeit. I have to get used to going 15+ MPH, or forget about it.
2.    Equipment – It’s kind of a loser move to blame one’s skates, but really, I want to do the next one on 100’s. I have no problem saying 90+% of the others skate faster than me, but I’d have a lead, and people would pass me going downhill in a tuck. Now, I haven’t mastered the double push, but I can tuck as well as anyone. WTF?
        That one super-cute girl said that I was a rock star for doing it in 80’s. OK, well, I want hundreds.
I found out last night that the K2’s with bigass wheels that I now wish I’d been wearing are for sale new on Ebay for $100 less than I paid for those racing skates I didn’t use. Sigh.
3.    Rain – I’m sorry, but at the moment, I’d rather jump on a bicycle with the seat missing before I’d do that course in the rain. All respect to those who’ve done so.
4.    Hills – Did I mention, Charleston has none, N-U-N, not one hill, besides the bridge. Then again, that one guy with the big ‘stache said he didn’t have problems with the hills, and he trained once a week on some bridge in Miami that all the endurance athletes use. Hm. I am now officially ready to drive out of town once a week (reasonable distance) to train on one or more hills. The one dude who did the 52 in cotton shorts and a t-shirt said he was an indoor-only skater, and he finished, god bless’m, but I want to train on hills.

  If anyone has video of me crossing the finish line + 1 yard later burning in, please post it, I have many interested viewers.


eebee's picture

Power to Weight Ratio

It was great to meet you at A2A, CatBrother. Now, knowing your personality somewhat, I know for a fact that not only would you have an absolute blast at a speed-skating workshop, you'd soak up all the info like a sponge. Technique rather than strength is a huge component of speed skating. And big wheels. Yeah. We watched people who didn't weigh much, roll away from us downhill at Tanglewood. And Bruce from APRR who skated across the A2A finish with the women's 89 mile winner Marcy Turek, told me 100 to 110s were where it's at if you don't want to be left on the downhills. But I'd say the biggest factor in being fast, after acquiring all the technique, skills and equipment, is having a favorable power-to-weight ratio. This is how the pipe-cleaner people disappear into the horizon. Sure, muscles help, but if a chicken-legged skater knows how to ride the wheel edges, and doesn't have much upper-body weight to lug up a hill, he/she is all set! What I would like to know is...is it possible to have a 5 hr 30 A2A full-distance time, and have skated safely? Maybe Skatey-Mark can weigh in on that one. I have always assumed that you'd have to blast through intersections to achieve that kind of finish time (as well as be in superior shape of course!).
skatey-mark's picture

5:30 A2A and safety...

I'd have to go back and look at my race report from last year, but I don't recall any instances where we were unsafe. But police coverage was a lot more prevalent last year, too. This year, we did have to stop (or nearly stop) at several intersections... So that added some time on, but certainly no more than 15 minutes. And realistically, it's probably more like 5 minutes. I agree power-weight ratio is key... Although I certainly got beat by some heavier guys. I think technique can make a difference. And, of course, some people can still be very strong and fit, but still carry some extra pounds. Personally, I don't think the 110s make that much of a difference. If you're tucked in behind someone on a downhill, you're not going to get dropped. If you were side-by-side, then I can see the 110s having an advantage, but there's no need to optimize for that scenario. That said, my two fastest A2A times (last year and this year) were on 110s... So who knows? If I were buying new skates, I'd get ones that could accommodate 110s. But would I shell out the money to upgrade from 100s to 110s? That's a tough call. I suspect some skaters will do better on 110s, but others won't. Of course, you can always put 100s on a 110 frame -- which worked well for me when I made the transition. My goal for next year is to be back down to my 2008 weight (or maybe even a couple pounds lighter.) I've put on 10 pounds in the last month (!!!!) so I'm now 20 pounds heavier than I was in 2008. 5 of the pounds have been in the last week, in my post-A2A gluttony... :-) Those should come off pretty quickly. Then over the winter I hope to chip away at the rest of it. If I can lose a pound a week, I'll be back down by spring. Even 1/2 pound per week would be good. I just need to be more disciplined about what I eat... - SM -
Cat Brother's picture

Both the toenails on my big

Both the toenails on my big toes, which was where all the pain was, have turned purple. I'm kind of wondering if I'll lose 'em. Building more leg power is no problem, I'm actually looking forward to doing the kind of program I now wished I'd been doing, starting in a week or 2. all those dwonhills where I got dropped, I wasn't behind anyone, but neither were they. Looking hard at a pair of Intensities, pace John. I think a couple months working hills will also make a sea change.
roadskater's picture

Did somebody say toenails on my big toes?

I found this... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/fashion/22FITNESS.html?em using fastflip... http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/view?q=cyclist#sWPjHMLP3OBM0M Hmm. I had a fingernail removed as a kid. Didn't hurt, but was pretty freaky. Mine was cut down the middle then yanked twice...once for each side. Those silly ultrarunners. Don't they know they are going to hurt their feet? (I'm kidding, you know.) Here's another one to try... http://fastflip.googlelabs.com/search?q=skater
eebee's picture

What a great idea!

This sounds like just what my pinky toes need! Just get rid of the toenails for good! I'm glad other people have this problem too. What a shame that people need to hide toenail removal for fear of being judged as even more weird than they already fear they are.

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