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Old September 11th, 2013, 02:17 PM   #21
gopherfan
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Average age: 40.6. That's a problem.

I was 22 when I put inlines on for the first time. My college friends thought I needed a midnight study break so they showed up at my dorm room with a pair of skates. I had never heard of skating a marathon and never would have except a few years later one of them skated Northshore and told me about it. It sounded like fun so I bought a pair of K2 skates and started skating by myself in Boise, ID. I showed up at Northshore and fell in love. I started looking and found races in Long Beach and Niagara and Tucson and Napa and the list kept growing (and shrinking - only Northshore and Napa survived from that early list). What does that mean? I don't know exactly, but if more people are exposed to skating marathons, maybe I'd be hopeful. At this point, I expect someday to become a runner, but for now I attend the races that remain.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #22
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I think the reason Minnesota is doing so well is because they have great trail systems, a large base of skaters, shops to buy speed skates, an outdoor ice oval, hockey rinks, etc, etc. The exposure is there, the facilities are there, the people are there.
A few years ago, I was in Duluth for the marathon and I casually stepped into a skate shop. I chatted a bit with the staff member minding the store, mentioned that I was in town for North Shore. He dimly acknowledged and revealed that he had never actually skated on inlines, only ice.

That, is why I think Minnesota does so well with inlines. It isn't the trail system which is nice, but doesn't do much good when the weather is bad. It is has an entrenched ice skate culture and inline skating just piggy backs on that. Remember, Rollerblade started in Minnesota as a warm weather alternative to ice skating (hockey, as I recall).

When the inline skating fad retreated, the North Land still had an entrenched skating culture to keep things going. Some may go back to ice but they easily come back. Shops likely carry more ice specific gear and less inline but they stay in business.

In other areas, when people stop inline skating, they stopped skating at all. There is no ice culture. Shops just close or they shift to sports that have little in common with inline skating.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 08:37 PM   #23
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A few years ago, I was in Duluth for the marathon and I casually stepped into a skate shop. I chatted a bit with the staff member minding the store, mentioned that I was in town for North Shore. He dimly acknowledged and revealed that he had never actually skated on inlines, only ice.

That, is why I think Minnesota does so well with inlines. It isn't the trail system which is nice, but doesn't do much good when the weather is bad. It is has an entrenched ice skate culture and inline skating just piggy backs on that. Remember, Rollerblade started in Minnesota as a warm weather alternative to ice skating (hockey, as I recall).

When the inline skating fad retreated, the North Land still had an entrenched skating culture to keep things going. Some may go back to ice but they easily come back. Shops likely carry more ice specific gear and less inline but they stay in business.

In other areas, when people stop inline skating, they stopped skating at all. There is no ice culture. Shops just close or they shift to sports that have little in common with inline skating.
I entirely agree with this. Hockey and Figure rule in the southern part of the state. Farther north gets into speed. I would be interested in a natural ice marathon for the winter... Since I am here just south of the tundra, I am probably going to transition into ice to supplement inline training in the winter. Why not, when it is bitter cold here for 7 months of the year, and we get snow in May (ok maybe that was a fluke...)
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Old September 11th, 2013, 09:12 PM   #24
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I entirely agree with this. Hockey and Figure rule in the southern part of the state. Farther north gets into speed. I would be interested in a natural ice marathon for the winter... Since I am here just south of the tundra, I am probably going to transition into ice to supplement inline training in the winter. Why not, when it is bitter cold here for 7 months of the year, and we get snow in May (ok maybe that was a fluke...)
If you're fortunate enough to live near ice, then you should do it. All inliners should do it. I don't know whether or not ice will make you a better skater. I think it probably does. But, if nothing else, it's a new challenge. It allows you to skate without doing the same thing for 12 months straight. For me, ice skating and inline skating are totally different. Sure, both sports require similar "motions" (and look similar). But, they are different. I don't care how great you are on inlines, you can't just cross over right away and be stellar on ice. Joey Mantia is one of the best inline skaters in the world. But, last year, he was relatively average (at best) in the ice world. That says a lot. Even the best inline skater in this country cannot be a superstar overnight on ice.

And, I think the same goes for the ice community. That group needs to be on inlines way more during the summer months. Inline skating is a great way to train. I almost go crazy when I hear local coaches and young kids say that they don't want to inline because they are afraid of messing up their ice technique. The more you can be on a pair of skates, the better. If you play hockey, do short track ice, outdoor inline, and even figure skating, it can only make you an all-around better skater. The thing that has always held me back is my skating. So, I personally, try to find as many ways to be on skates as possible (and as much of the time as possible).

Ice, like inline, is not something you can just pick up right away. When I first started, I went from being a respectable inline skater, to getting embarrassed by 10 year old kids (on ice). But, after a lot of practice, my ice is catching up to my inline...and my inlining is only helping speed up the process. And, I think ice has taught me things about how to be a better inline skater.

I was at ice practice last weekend and a guy said, "You can learn something from everyone. Even that six year old little girl right there, you can learn something from her too." And, it's so true. Whether you're on ice, doing an inline marathon, skating around a long track ice oval, you can watch how other people skate and learn something from it. There are people with "bad technique" who actually skate very strong just because they are doing a couple things really, really well. And, if you watch closely enough, you can disect the good things from the bad and try to understand why the good elements of their technique work so well.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #25
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" I almost go crazy when I hear local coaches and young kids say that they don't want to inline because they are afraid of messing up their ice technique."
Ha! SkateMO, ya'd think I wrote that line... so true. (so, I will digress a bit into this) I am just not sure where that attitude comes from. We've seen it loosen up more and more as top inliners' come over to try their hand on the ice. And, you nailed it - inline talents do not all fare equal when transitioning to ice, no matter if you're 50 x world champ or not. Along with the humbling experience many have coming to ice is self-revelation of their skills, and it becomes a game of patience. (which is where I see Joey, trying to be patient and hone perfection, a bit like serving no wine before it's time). No top elite skaters wants to look like Bambi on ice, they want the fast-track path that Chad took, though it's rare for any to go that course. Freakishly strong played into Chad's favor, and as a good student, Chad did his homework and listened to his coaches. The irony here is that even Chad's ice coach, Bart, eventually had to succumb to the idea of double-push on ice. Bart was a very traditionally trained ice coach, with non inline background, so now imagine when he had a world champ of inline, 'the king of DP' as we all know him, land in his midst. You don't teach a guy like Chad traditional push - rather you take his talent, style, & strength and hone 'em! Back then the conversations of DP and differences in technique on ice vs inline got deeply engrossed. To this day I laugh at how hubby (my partner, who was also training under Bart at the time) would banter with Bart back/forth for hours in seemingly never-ending conversion to the Big DP on ice debate: "yes, you can" - "no, you can't". And, the answer: yes, you can. But, it's not really a Q of whether you can or cannot DP on ice, but the more important skill to posses is to know how to physically and technically move back/forth between the 2 different technical disciplines, and to find what works best for you. Roger Schneider comes to mind as a skater who executes shifting his DP between ice & inline technique very well, his ice style almost verbatim mimics his inline style. While other skaters posses clearly 2 different styles between ice & inline.

That said, and to circle back to SkaterMO's comment - those who whine that they will ruin their ice technique if they cross-train on inline probably don't posses very good ice technique as it is. There is a lot of 'muscling' of ones way thru it there. At some point strength & power are head-walled and all that is left is technique to pull you thru to that next level. If one cannot change up technique then they won't progress. Inline may benefit those nay-sayer ice skaters reluctant to try inline. While there are differences between ice & inline, in just engaging in both sports their awareness of those differences become heightened, and in turn their awareness of their own ice skills may start to be perceived differently, and just maybe that helps them progress forward to break thru technical issues they may be having. It's always worth the try, they just have to take that step onto wheels. The more we see ice/inline skaters like Michel Mulder, of Netherlands as a champion of both ice & inline, the more folks will come around and engage in both sports. And, with increased participation in both sports we would hope to see resulting growth in both disciplines. So, while events may come/go - though we'd like to see them stay - I think bringing more people into both ice & inline sports gives opportunity to help increase the # of events in years to come. Skating has certainly not gone away, but it has taken backseat to many other sports. From grass roots perspective, as skaters, we simply need to make commitment to attend events to support them.

Now, because this is always on my mind and Duluth is coming up... That Chad's Duluth course record still stands to day blows us all away. How can this be in the age of faster, technically advanced dual density wheels, carbon frames, and state of the art bearings and equipment? The one we joke we make with customers is that what we do not sell is the equipment needed to break those records. Now, will somebody please, please go to Duluth and squash that darn record!!
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Old September 13th, 2013, 02:01 PM   #26
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I entirely agree with this. Hockey and Figure rule in the southern part of the state. Farther north gets into speed. I would be interested in a natural ice marathon for the winter... Since I am here just south of the tundra, I am probably going to transition into ice to supplement inline training in the winter. Why not, when it is bitter cold here for 7 months of the year, and we get snow in May (ok maybe that was a fluke...)
Ice will improve your inline technique, IMO. If you are a toe pusher on inlines (like I am), skating on some short track ice blades will fix you right up. Just try to toe push on fixed blades and see what happens, lol!

Snow in May is no fluke for that area. When I was at school in Houghton, MI (in the U.P.), we had snow in May a couple of times.
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Old September 13th, 2013, 04:00 PM   #27
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Ice will improve your inline technique, IMO. If you are a toe pusher on inlines (like I am), skating on some short track ice blades will fix you right up. Just try to toe push on fixed blades and see what happens, lol!

Snow in May is no fluke for that area. When I was at school in Houghton, MI (in the U.P.), we had snow in May a couple of times.
My ice set up will be a fixed blade but for long track. Bont is selling an entry level package, and I am not interested or in a position to invest a significant sum on new skates after upgrading my inline package this time last year. I though I would get started and learn on fixed, and if I like and want to keep doing it, switch to clap. I am not planning on competing, just skating, with the hope of helping my inline technique.

As for the record in Duluth, don't get your hopes up this year because the weather yesterday projected an 18mph head wind.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 03:28 PM   #28
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Skating is Skating - End of Discussion. Ice Compliments inlines.. just like you can take things from inlines (somethings...) And Apply to ice, there are of course, a few adjsutments, naturally


The biggest thing I think we need to learn how to do as a skating community is come together. Everyone has their own agenda - Yeah, there are people that are into competing, and thats great

But we also have people masquerading around as coaches who keep secrets.. or do nothing for the sport except blab on about how many people they had who made team (and might I add did nothing after that point)

Where we lost the ball was the Elite section of the sport has gotten bigger and bigger, not number wise.. but in sheer density. The Game has gotten faster

Thats intimidating to "average" skaters, where is the fun in it? Thats the real struggle. Conveying this is something fun - Many people dont start out in this sport saying "Man..I could be the next world champion" - Rather they see the grace, and the speed.. and want to do it because its fun.

Yes there was an Inline Fad.. but that was only in our eyes - When in reality there was a "Roller Blade" fad - And instead of embracing that.. we tried to make it an evolution to quads -

That did a couple of BAD things - One it soured the Rink owners.. and the Old Quad speedsters.. because roller speed.. was different on quads. Many people will also claim that the racing was different.. and I would agree. More strategic as the top end and moving speed just werent what they were on inlines

Once you lost the rink owners, you lost the biggest backing speedskating had. I know from many owners I have talked to in the area on this. they just lost interest in the sport because of inlines. A couple, who I wont mention by name.. were even past national quad champions. one was even the 500 meter record holder one year

We need to EMBRACE skating as a whole. Just get people on wheels in general - thats where the real challenge is - How we get there I dont know.. but in training I have a crawl before you can walk mentality, and that applies to this as well. Again...lets get people skating first.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #29
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Where we lost the ball was the Elite section of the sport has gotten bigger and bigger, not number wise.. but in sheer density. The Game has gotten faster

Thats intimidating to "average" skaters, where is the fun in it? Thats the real struggle. Conveying this is something fun - Many people dont start out in this sport saying "Man..I could be the next world champion" - Rather they see the grace, and the speed.. and want to do it because its fun.
Exactly!
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