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Inline Skating Hill Climbing Video

andrewinnc's picture

Being one who is always trying to improve on my skating technique, I keep an eye on the skate forums for help and tips from those more experienced than myself. I ran across an entry on hill climbing and seeing as how this is an area I can always use improvement on I checked it out.

There is a video "Monte Brutalo" on the following page http://www.skatetrix.ch/Visuals/Clip-Download_index.html#mtb that shows the proper technique for climbing hills. If you watch closely the man in the front is bringing his knees close together and taking shorter strides. His knees are still bent when he is finished with his push. For a long time I have been trying to get the most glide out of each push, when going uphills, but when I tried this I found it to be much easier and faster. Your stroke frequency increases but you use much less energy to go up the hills. This also goes along with what Eddy Matzger said about shifting into a lower gear when going uphill. Also keep your arms moving and your legs will follow.

There is also an excellent article by Kim Perkins on the site that contains some valuable info and tips on climbing hills. http://www.inlineplanet.com/2006-06/09/hills.html .

Now if I could just get over my fear of going down hills. If anyone has any tips on getting rid of high speed wobble I would be greatly interested.


Neat Video!!!

Thanks for the post. I also enjoyed the double-push on the "Fastest in the Alps."
andrewinnc's picture

re: Downhill inilne skating tips

Thanks for the tips Eebee, I will definately practice them. I have been on a couple fast downhills and know it is possible, but the mind can play tricks on you when you are standing at the top of a big hill. The adrenaline starts pumping and fear tries to take over. I too am constantly scanning the horizon for obstacles that could get in the way or a soft landing just in case.
eebee's picture

Fun Hill Video! Weight Back, Knees Bent, One-Skate, Brain On!

Thanks for posting that, Andy. Watching it I could almost remember what it felt like to be at the end of my tether, climbing a hill on skates. It's been a whole 5 weeks now :-(

I noticed those guys in the video doing what I finally realized helped me this year - reaching uphill with the set-down skate, and pulling oneself up the hill with that stretch. I think I had been too focused on the 'easy' part of the stroke extension, and neglected actually trying to get up the hill.

Downhill fear & speed wobble: I eliminated mine way back when, with 4 things.

1) Weight back on your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes freely inside your skate. Your weight should not be forward on your toes. If it is, your feet will wobble and you will feel - and be - unsafe. Try getting the hang of 'weight on your heels' on flatland or slight downhill first, in case you overdo it and go over backwards (been there, done that).

2) Knees bent. I'm much more stable in a tuck than standing up with the wind hitting my chest. With bent knees I can handle uneven surfaces much more easily. You need to get the feel of being in a tuck AND having your weight on your heels at the same time.

3) Be able to skate and glide on one foot or the other, for as long as you want to. This gave me confidence that if I lost one skate to something on a fast downhill that I wouldn't lose the whole lot and go flying. After I learned how to do this (you'll learn that one at the Eddy workshop), I could hit rocks, sticks, holes, other skaters' frames, the curb and still stay vertical without much ado. It took me about 6 months of doing the one-legged drill 3 times a week for an hour in a park before I reaped the benefits of that skill.

4) Psychological confidence. With each fast downhill you conquer without chickening or wiping out, you gain knowledge that it can be done. You can breathe, relax and enjoy it without being so tense you cause yourself to wreck (I've done all this, by the way!). There's nothing wrong with braking down a hill until you feel safe that you can let yourself go freely the rest of the way and stay vertical. There's nothing wrong at all with being cautious. I believe in heel brakes. Having said that, when I'm going down a steep, fast hill, I've always got 'Plan B' going in my mind, and if necessary, 'Plan C' too. For example: "Is that car gonna pull out of that subdivision, and is there something coming the other way, or will I hit someone head-on?", and "What does the grass look like? Is there a huge ditch, or sharp and rusty farming equipment?", and "Can those 3 cyclists across the road catch those other cyclists to the right fast enough to need to go around them, and will they swerve into my path?". Get your yelling voice ready, and the loudest whistle you can find.

Having said all that, each year in March or April when I start going out on longer, hilly roadskates, I get the inevitable downhill-fear, which I have to push through. This year it was at Tour de Kale. I found myself at the front of our 2-person pack, going down a huge hill that was steep enough to not be able to see the bottom of it ahead of time, even though it was on a straight road. At some point we blew past a cyclist on our left, who yelled out "38mph!!" from his speedometer (so maybe add 5mph to that?!). I realized at the top that I was not really awake, and totally out of practice from that kinda downhill, and having missed the 5 second or so bail-out window, I had to give myself a massive pep-talk on the way down: "You've done this before, you can do it again. Just keep your center of gravity low, knees bent, weight back, head up, plan B handy, breathe, and you'll be fine!".

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