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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old August 28th, 2017, 11:26 PM   #101
bjvircks
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we've got TONS of advice we'd all love to share... we just need to know what will be helpful for you!

Do you currently skate alone or in a group? Do you skate mostly indoors or outdoors? Are you comfortable skating around lots of people? Have you skated in a pace line? Have you skated on streets and roads or just park trails? Have you skated wet conditions? Do you know how long it takes you to skate 10 miles? 20 miles? Are you young or old? Fit or fat? Tall or small? Do you plan to actually RACE or be a social skater... or some of both?

From what I see on your other posts... you are likely to be on Bont Semi-Race with 100mm wheels.

I'd suggest getting the best wheels you can afford. "Best" for any given person on any given day is very dependent on so many factors. A good wheel can make NSIM very enjoyable but a wrong choice for the day's conditions can make you curse every mile and swear you'll never come back.

Many recreational skaters are on 'stock' wheels that are comfortable to be on for short bits of time but do not do well on long skates... kind of like riding a bicycle with tires half flat. Great if all you want is a really hard workout but crappy if you are trying to go fast.

WELCOME TO THE PARTY ! !
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Old August 29th, 2017, 05:03 AM   #102
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What area that people often mess up is wave selection. With large packs, a point to point course, and smooth pavement (not always, but definitely this year) you easily shave ten minutes off the time you achieved on a slower course.
That's my dilemma - from the results it's hard to see which times came from which wave. Should I expect the lead pack of A3 to be going any faster than the 1:25 A2/A3 dividing time?
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Old August 30th, 2017, 12:52 AM   #103
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That's my dilemma - from the results it's hard to see which times came from which wave. Should I expect the lead pack of A3 to be going any faster than the 1:25 A2/A3 dividing time?
Probably, assuming identical conditions, but I don't know the algorithm used to create the divisions and back computing it requires data crunching like bjvircks's chart. Unfortunately, no such analysis has been done for 2012, the year the divisions are still based on. (And the chart that was done is lost to the Photobucket monsters)

My hunch is that anyone who finished with the A3 leaders would be moving up the following year and thus, should be noticeably under the A2 cutoff time.

To make matters more confusing, 2012 was a tail wind year resulting in cut-offs that significantly faster than typical. As mentioned in my post two years ago, no one who raced in the advanced waves in 2014 qualified for A1 in later years based on their 2014 time. Only a handful qualified for A2.

My hunch is that if you think you might be able to meet the stated times for A2, then you are much too fast for A3. You may want to consider going A1.

Are you basing your choice on prior Northshore's (if so, which year?) or other races?
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Old August 30th, 2017, 06:31 AM   #104
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Don't give the Northshore cut-off times too much weight. They take all the times from ALL skaters in ALL divisions and say the top 5% of times have to be elite and work their way down the chart based on fixed percentages of finish times. They don't make any effort to make a chart determined by ability or placement. It is a stupid system and I can point to it as one of the reasons Northshore started shrinking in popularity about 15 years ago. Just thinking about it irritates me.
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Old August 30th, 2017, 07:59 AM   #105
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This will be my first Northshore, so I have free choice of wave. I haven't done a marathon in recent years that wasn't some combination of hilly (NYC), twisty (DC), hot, crappy pavement, or all of the above (Chicagoland) so its tough to predict from that. Aside from your "subtract 10 minutes for flat course, large pack, and no wind", which ends up 1:25-1:30. Thus A3 seemed right. But if the cutoffs are based on a tailwind year, assuming a tailwind might move me to the slow end of A2.

Looking at 2015, bjvircks was 1.5min ahead of me at Chicagoland, so I think whichever wave he's in is probably a reasonable choice for me

Also, the split times say most people's first half is much faster than the second. Is that due to the first few miles being slightly downhill, or because everyone is trying to hang on to the lead pack for as long as they can, or both?
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Old August 30th, 2017, 01:15 PM   #106
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Looking at 2015, bjvircks was 1.5min ahead of me at Chicagoland, so I think whichever wave he's in is probably a reasonable choice for me
I don't think so, buddy! You need to be way out front!

I've been having a bad stretch lately... threw in the towel halfway thru Chicago '16 and time for Chicago '17 was 2:09. (My only goal for 17 was to finish. A big shout out goes to kufman for keeping my spirits up on the last two laps.)
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Old August 30th, 2017, 10:33 PM   #107
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Looking at 2015, bjvircks was 1.5min ahead of me at Chicagoland, so I think whichever wave he's in is probably a reasonable choice for me

Also, the split times say most people's first half is much faster than the second. Is that due to the first few miles being slightly downhill, or because everyone is trying to hang on to the lead pack for as long as they can, or both?
I think you will find (if you can get the data) that most races are like that, just on account of fatigue. For the case of A1 at Northshore, the race typically begins with several long parallel lines that eventually coalesce down to one. In the intervening period there is a lot of adrenaline as everyone tries to push forward and not be caught out. Once the main pack forms, there is still a lot of pushing forward trying not to fall off the back or be behind someone who falls off. The pace is crazy fast during this time but it is kind of OK as you aren't at the very back subject to the accordion.

In 2015 the lead pack fractured into three just short of the half way point. The pace slowed significantly after that, at least from the perspective of pack 2. As I recall, bjvircks ended up in pack 3 and finished somewhere in the bottom half of A1.

If you are 1.5 minutes behind bjvircks then you should be a solid A2 with possible stretch to A1.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 02:56 PM   #108
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This is my first marathon and my first race. I have been skating recreationally for 30+ years on streets, parks, paved trails, and occasionally on closed roads. I am a fit competitive 6' tall 62 year-old. I skate alone, once in awhile with a bicycling companion. I have never skated in a pack, pace line, or large crowd. I have done 20+ miles before but with road crossings, bridges with wood surfaces, etc. I skate 20-30 miles/wk, 30+ in the last couple of months training for Duluth (mostly following one of those free training regimens found on the web, ...mostly.) I have been caught on damp but not really wet roads. I have registered for Rec Wave 3. My goals are to "race", finish in <2.5 hrs, then train towards qualifying for Rec Wave 2 next year. I have not had any formal instruction. I am using 100mm Bont 84A wheels; wondering if 85A would be better for Duluth. I'd like to work my way up to 110's (see post about transitioning with 105's if possible.) Due to the hills where I live, I have a brake on my skate. I'm practicing t-stops at higher and higher speeds. Not quite there yet.
That's me. Any advice for this marathon newbie?
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Old September 1st, 2017, 02:58 PM   #109
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Correction, skating for ~40 years.
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Old September 1st, 2017, 05:56 PM   #110
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Thanks all, I guess I'll try to switch into A2. From the videos, I might be able to handle the average pace of the later packs in A1, but the combo of speed and paceline aggressiveness at the start is a bit too much for me. I'm definitely better off not going crazy at the beginning and saving something for the 2nd half.
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 01:15 AM   #111
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@a-cut-above

You might want to start a new thread, but I'll respond to your heel-brake vs t-stops comment.

I'm the resident heel-brake guy - one of very few here who use a heel-brake on race-style equipment. But I skate places where I'm braking quite a lot, and I'm not willing to sacrifice wheels - so I've continued to use one.

If you like t-stops and don't mind sacrificing wheels, that that works. But a heel brake is just fine for nearly all outdoor skating, especially if you're not anticipating participating at high levels in races. I'm using one now on a 3x125 setup, and while it's not a super-aggressive stop method, I doubt that t-stops would be better. Nothing is going to be great with the higher deck-heights as you get larger wheels.

TLDR; Don't stress about heel-brake vs t-stop. Both work reasonably well on most anything, and if you can live with the non-steeze factor of a heel-brake it's fine.

-Greg
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 03:01 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a-cut-above View Post
This is my first marathon and my first race. I have been skating recreationally for 30+ years on streets, parks, paved trails, and occasionally on closed roads. I am a fit competitive 6' tall 62 year-old. I skate alone, once in awhile with a bicycling companion. I have never skated in a pack, pace line, or large crowd. I have done 20+ miles before but with road crossings, bridges with wood surfaces, etc. I skate 20-30 miles/wk, 30+ in the last couple of months training for Duluth (mostly following one of those free training regimens found on the web, ...mostly.) I have been caught on damp but not really wet roads. I have registered for Rec Wave 3. My goals are to "race", finish in <2.5 hrs, then train towards qualifying for Rec Wave 2 next year. I have not had any formal instruction. I am using 100mm Bont 84A wheels; wondering if 85A would be better for Duluth. I'd like to work my way up to 110's (see post about transitioning with 105's if possible.) Due to the hills where I live, I have a brake on my skate. I'm practicing t-stops at higher and higher speeds. Not quite there yet.
That's me. Any advice for this marathon newbie?
Brakes are minor nuisance in a pace line but in Rec 3 you probably aren't going to get much of pace line anyway. You also won't be using the brake. There is no reason to stop before the finish and if you have have any hill experience at all, you won't be intimidated by any of the hills.

84A vs 85A is too small a difference to notice. You can't even be sure the 85A is harder than 84A given imprecision in the way wheels are tested and categorized.

Given that you are on 100's, have hill experience, and are even thinking about gear choices for higher speeds suggests that are already overqualified for Rec 3. The only section that is remotely technical is the finish. It is a downhill on choppy cement leading to non-uniform slabs in the final stretch to the line. You can get a look at it the night before but not really skate it.
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Old September 2nd, 2017, 06:41 PM   #113
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Thanks everyone. I'm comfortable with the brakes so I won't worry about not having a T-stop perfected. I'm sure my adrenline will be high so I want to make sure I don't go too fast in the beginning and not have anything left for the second half. I also don't want to get into that lazy state where I lose form and concentration as I get tired in the middle. I hope the excitement of being in my first marathon/race takes care if that. And the there is not embarrassing myself by falling and taking skaters around me down like I've seen first-time bicycle racers do!
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Old September 7th, 2017, 06:47 AM   #114
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Well, looks like I missed the wave change deadline, so I guess I see a lot of pulling in my future

Thanks bjvircks for resurrecting the tactics thread - it reminds me that the paceline behavior in the giant pacelines in the video seems weird to me compared to the <10 person lines I'm used to. The back half is content not to pull, yet is also reluctant to open up a spot for someone rotating off the lead to drop in in front of them. But if they don't open up a spot, then eventually everybody in front of them is going to have rotated off. The front half, on the other hand, doesn't try very hard to lose the wheel-suckers despite there being no upside to keeping them around, only the downsides of the extra effort it costs to rotate in front of them, and having to sprint against them at the end.

a-cut-above, I wouldn't worry about the brake either - I (and most of my teammates when I started) would use one when traffic or serious hills were involved - the cost in wheels would be prohibitive otherwise. I haven't found it any more difficult to follow someone with a brake, nor can I recall having clipped the person behind when I have one. Everyone else is going to be tired in the middle, too, so they might do something embarrassing first.
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Old September 7th, 2017, 02:12 PM   #115
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a quick word about brakes, pace lines and being around folks you do not know... In the words of the character Phil Esterhaus from the tv show Hill Street Blues "HEY... HEY.......... BE CAREFUL OUT THERE"

during the settling in of the first few miles, adjusting to the novelty of such a big race, when coasting on the downhills... it is possible to inadvertently get too close to someone and when they 'stop coasting' and (unanticipated by you) they start pushing again you can get tangled. This can be especially dangerous if the person in front has a stroke with a lot of kick-back from the recovering leg. You might gage your feel for separation distance based on non-brake people and get in trouble. I draft with my wife and another skater. Wife has short wheelbase 105s, other skater has 13.2 wheelbase 125s with a brake. I really have to watch out to make sure the brake doesn't clip my shin as we swap pulls.
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Old September 12th, 2017, 06:51 AM   #116
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For the record, I think I've worked out the first finisher from each wave, based on bib number and gun time:

2016: split, finish
A1: 41:11, 1:23:52
A2: 45:33, 1:33:09
A3: 44:08, 1:31:26
R1: 47:46, 1:37:07

2015: split, finish
A1: 38:09, 1:20:38
A2: 42:57, 1:30:02
A3: 44:30, 1:32:33
R1: 45:57, 1:35:21

In both years, I skipped a couple people with implausibly fast first half times - I assume because there's a mismatch between which wave they actually started in and what the timing company thinks they started in.
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Old September 13th, 2017, 04:37 PM   #117
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Thank you all for the advice.
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Old September 13th, 2017, 06:17 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shafeeqs View Post
For the record, I think I've worked out the first finisher from each wave, based on bib number and gun time:

2016: split, finish
A1: 41:11, 1:23:52
A2: 45:33, 1:33:09
A3: 44:08, 1:31:26
R1: 47:46, 1:37:07

2015: split, finish
A1: 38:09, 1:20:38
A2: 42:57, 1:30:02
A3: 44:30, 1:32:33
R1: 45:57, 1:35:21

In both years, I skipped a couple people with implausibly fast first half times - I assume because there's a mismatch between which wave they actually started in and what the timing company thinks they started in.
Interesting. I would have expected a smaller gap between A1 and A2. Some of the A2 leaders are quite capable of hanging with A1. They race A2 for reasons of personal safety.

Bring your rain wheels.
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Old September 13th, 2017, 06:56 PM   #119
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Bring your rain wheels.
if it does rain... be ready to either service your bearings right after the race or protect your bearings until you CAN service them... or throw them into the trashbin. When expecting rain I travel with a sealable small glass jar containing mineral spirits. After race I pull bearings and rinse well to get water and grit out.

today I'm rummaging thru stuff trying to find my boot rain-covers
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Old September 13th, 2017, 08:06 PM   #120
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OK, admittedly, with some reservation, we re-booked our tickets and cancelled this yr after seeing the forecast. Hubby had fractured his jaw bone in a fall earlier in July, which has kept him (and, myself to some extent) away from skating and training as much as we normal do in summer. I had a few stitches in the calf muscle after having been bit by a dog while skating in July, it took near a month for that wound to really heal and close up. That said, we will plan to make it next yr to skate that new, sweet paving!!

Happy Rolling everyone, we'll be there in spirit!!

PS- meant to answer to issues with water and bearings - you can use vaseline or phil's bike grease on the outer shields to create a water barrier to help ward off water penetrating into the bearings. And, if you do get water into bearings, you can still bring life back to rusty bearings with CLR - mix it 50/50 with water, and be patient. then flush them out with hot water, dry them, and re-lube.
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Last edited by shesk8; September 13th, 2017 at 08:09 PM. Reason: ps comment
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