Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breaking new ground

It's been a strange last few weeks for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, who are scrambling to get everything in order for next Saturday's scrimmage (see previous post) against the Quad City Roller Girls.

This means more jamming during practices --Woo!-- and more challenging pack drills. But what's most pleasing is see the "fresh meat" (i.e. newer girls) really blossoming. They're getting so good lately that it almost seems unfair to keep calling them fresh meat. They're faster, more cognizant in the pack and just all around hungrier these days. Several of them will be making their debuts in the upcoming scrimmage and they sure are training lights out. Not to turn into a total cheeseball, but I am really proud to have them on the team.

Half of our practices lately have been back at the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center, which might be for the best as we are getting reacquainted with the newly polished hardwood floor there.

I was particularly excited about last night's practice as my new skates --Riedell Black Widows (695)-- had just come in the mail the day before, and I was eager to break them in. The 695 boot was designed for fast-twitch or jam skaters, and I even upgraded them with Swiss Bone bearings and new Sugar wheels. But it was simply not to be.

I was able to get three wheels on each boot but the fourth wheels simply would not slide all the way down on the axle. In fact, they were stuck because it turns out that both trucks had defective axles that were too wide for my bearings. So two roiled phone calls later I was resigned to skating in my old boot and waiting in the mail for my new trucks to arrive.

Once I did calm down --patience has never been my strong suit-- I was able to appreciate the smoothness of the Swiss Bones, and the 'grippiness' of the Sugar wheels. Now I don't expend more energy than necessary when cornering, since I am no longer fighting drifting out and losing ground.

Case in point: The Women's Flat Track Derby Association requires that all skaters be able to complete five laps in under a minute. We did five timed 5-lap sets nearly back-to-back. I averaged 37 seconds for my (5) five-lap sets. It's a bit striking to think back how, many moons ago when I first started derby, I could barely shade under a minute for five laps.


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