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Old January 27th, 2020, 09:18 PM   #22
Cookn Frog Legs 'n Greaze
Mobjack's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Somewhere in the mountains of NC
Posts: 107

After a few good sliders after falling at 25 mph on asphalt over the years, I've trained my brain and legs to remain upright no matter what. It hurts too much to fall without a bunch of pads all over the body.
Just a helmet does the trick, now. No protection other than the thin spandex or whatever. I really believe that a skater becomes better at judging the surface and imperfections in front of him/her if not wearing all sorts of gear intended to reduce skin abrasions/broken bones only if one falls. Otherwise, all that gear is useless. Yes, I can hear your objections all the way from here, already. Why not skate then without a helmet? Silly. My brain is my most valuable part. Everything else is secondary. And when my brain and eyes and proprioception are working well, I have zero worries. Just keep low, double-push and go faster. The more upright you skate, the more apt you are of falling, further. Remember the adage: the taller they stand, the harder they fall.
When you are skating in the proper speed-skating position (low to the ground!), your feet have far more of a range to move back and forth, side to side, to counteract the instant imbalance that you may find yourself in after hitting a stone, twig or pavement imperfection. Just the other day I was advancing rapidly on a tight curve on the paved path at +22mph. Just as I was crossing over, my inside skate hit a small stone or something that I somehow hadn't detected. Luckily I was in a very low sitting position in preparation and I had both hands behind my back. My inside skate started to slide outward, but because I was in a very low sitting position (picture an olympic ice short track skater in a turn) it was a simple matter to correct that skate's slide with the other now-crossed-over skate and carry through with nary a bobble. If I had been more upright, things would likely have been far different and my practice session would not have been as fruitful.
I haven't even come close to falling in quite a few years now. But rest assured, now that I've said this, the polythane/urethane gods may want to correct their oversights. I'll just have to get the antibiotic cream and saran wrap out again and deal with a little pain for a couple short days. Far better than dealing with all the ridiculous padding and protection gear. Also, while training with an indoor team years ago (somehow getting skates mixed up and sliding on me butt forever on the hardwood surface) learned me well on avoiding bony parts from impacting hard surfaces during a crash. If you're the kind that is apt to fall (we all are in the beginning of our careers), you had better learn how to automagically fall on your softer, sturdier parts, not on your hands, knees, elbows, or noggins.

Indoor tracks (especially varnished wood tracks) are awesome for team speed skate training, but even better for fall (crash) training.
Somehow a friend would go home with bloodied elbows and/or knees every once in a while, while I (having nearly the same amount of sliding faux pas) didn't have any physical evidence of crashing-out. He wondered why. I told him that I always made it a point to land on my side or directly on my butt and back, preferably my back because the impact would be absorbed by a very large area as compared to say an elbow or knee. Also, once I was on the surface, sliding, I'd make it an immediate point to keep all my appendages up in the air where they couldn't catch and rub and snag on the wood flooring. My faux pas were more like a controlled, sliding landing rather than an instantaneous, tumbling crash. Land on your arse or your back. NEVER try to brake a fall with your appendages (knees, hands, elbows, shoulders, head, etc). It will ALWAYS end badly.

Repair Tip: If you do find yourself with a nasty-assh bloody skin abrasion from your ankle to past your hip (many times!), clean it well (no alcohol!), apply a triple antibiotic cream, and wrap it in saran wrap. NO GAUZE or other traditional medical dressings... they will scar you and make dressing-changes VERY difficult. Saran Wrap (if you can still find the good stuff) will flex with your skin, and allow the wound to heal from the inside out without making scabs. Scabs suck! Glad Wrap or other stretchy food wrap will do in a pinch.
The interesting thing about a clear, stretchy, food-wrap dressing (one layer only) is that you can see the skin repairing itself from the inside, rather than having an inflexible scab layer forming. The view through the clear wrap looks gnarly, but it heals so much faster without as much scaring. Hospitals have been using thin silicone sheets for just this purpose, but those are very expensive. Saran Wrap is only a couple bucks and works just as well.
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