Monday the 30th of September was a public holiday here in Canberra (Families and Communities Day), so a bunch of us took advantage of a beautiful spring day and did the 5km Bridge to Bridge loop around the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. Outdoor skating was a nice change, I haven’t had much of a chance to do any since I started training regularly with the league (winter means it’s dark too early after work, and the weekends vanish before my eyes! Plus changing out wheels is a pain and wears out the threading on the nuts, I look forward to the day when I will have dedicated pair of outdoor skates!). The path around the lake is lovely, smooth and wide in most places. There is no handrail which is a little nervewracking for new skaters, but skating clockwise keeps you to the left (away from the water) for the most part and the path is approximately 3m wide so it’s a good gap. The most difficult parts of the skate involve the two bridges. Commonwealth bridge has a steepish hill on either side (moderate on foot, considerable on skates!), going up needs a bit of speed and a lot of power and then getting down is a very good motivation to practice your plow stops! Kings bridge is much flatter, but the challenge lies in the particularly irritating pattern of gaps between the concrete slabs (they’re too close together to be able to step over them in a balanced stride, and the gaps are quite wide which reverberate through your skate when you roll over them) and it ends with a crossing on a busy road. There was about a dozen of us, and it was a nice chance to talk to some of the more experienced League members. Because we haven’t been rated to attend all-league training yet, we’ve really only met the Freshie trainers and the last intake of Freshies/ White Stars.
I also had the week off on leave, so I wanted to get as much skating in as I could. In a fortuitous turn of events, Doc’d Marx and Jamme Slamister hired a basketball court at ANU for themselves and their three kids to do some practice for an hour and put out a shout on Facebook for anyone to join them. I ended up being the only one to take them up on this, but it was lots of fun. Chasing energetic young boys is great cardio, I got to practice my crossovers on a much emptier track than usual (feeling much more confident now!), and we looked at Star Test skills such as weaving, jumping and knee taps, as well as truck and trailer and some tag-based games. I also enjoyed the opportunity to experience skating on a different surface. The Woden courts where we train each week are coated wood, but it is an older building so they are rather dusty and a section has been water-damaged which has made it all ripply. The ANU court was also coated wood but appeared much newer and felt slicker. I almost lost my footing on the corners a few times, especially when trying to turn sharply. But it made me really think about my balance which I think helped me with my crossovers. By the end of the 90 minutes my arches were on fire, my thighs were aching and I was exhausted (my body was definitely questioning the wisdom of going skating 4 times in 5 days!) but I really enjoyed it.