28 Aug 2003 22:29:38
Ken Roberts
poling on inline skates

I finally tried some serious poling while on inline skates. Works fine for
me so far, some aspects even better than on rollerskis.

One thing I found was that I'm able to quickly learn technique variations on
inlines. Maybe with less resistance my muscles have more energy remaining
to focus on the new motion or timing rhythm. (I recall Nathan saying that
low-resistance rollerskis could be good for working on some aspects of
technique)

V2: I've trying to get a certain precise timing in my V2 skate
("double-dance", "1-skate"), and it felt much better on inlines. I turned
onto a road and saw a bicyclist ahead of me, and I was able to keep on
skating with no poles. Then I switched to V2 and passed him quickly. He
called out, "That's so cool." And I said "You're right" -- because it also
_felt_ cool to be doing V2 poling with my inlines.

This was a pleasant surprise, since I was pretty sure that poling would only
get in the way of the pleasure of skating (as usual, I have my inline skates
configured for easy ankle flex, _not_ the normal way for inlines)

V1: I tried the challenge of 350 meter hill with several segments at 10%
grade. Once it got serious, V2 wasn't enough, so I switched to V1
("offset", "paddle-dance"). I found that I was quickly able to pick up the
new rhythm that I had decided should work better, based on the physics. But
after 250 meters the hill beat me, and I stopped and rested a minute, and
then a couple of more short rests before I made it all the way to the top.

I felt pretty thrashed after that, but I unrealistically decided to go back
all the way to the bottom and try the whole hill again. To my surprise I
made it all the way up to just below the last turn, about 300 meters without
stopping. Along the way I passed a runner, and he called out that he just
had to get a set of gear like mine, what brand is it?

I guess my muscles had learned something about efficiency or pacing doing V1
up hills -- so maybe there's hope for me on my mountain-skating attempt this
weekend.

Double Pole: I also tried out a double poling session (no skate) up a long
hill (mostly 5% grade). Good workout, not as tough as it would have been on
rollerskis. Several sections of rough pavement which my inlines handled
better than my small-hard-wheel rollerskis. Haven't tried much pure
double-poling on the flats -- worked OK so far, but not sure what the
purpose would be.

Ken