“Yer all wet, kid.”

In a naked attempt to ride in my blog traffic draft, we’re revisiting the subject of wet bearings–a topical subject that gets people talking. Sounds like a lot of us are in pursuit of a quick, tailgate solution to saving our bearings after a long wet roll. 

Clean trails are for sissys.

Since the skating out at Boyd Lake State Park with John the day before wasn’t so bad, I figured the Loveland Recreation Trail would be skateable too, so off I went. There were some pretty deep puddles, but this was day two of balmy 50° temps – it was 55 when I head out, with just a hint of a breeze – so I expected the water. At least it wasn’t thick icy water. So far, so good. 

You've really got to want it.

I got about a mile into the trail when I found the first “Whoops!” in the plow pattern. The trail suddenly veered off into the muddy grass, and because my wheels were wet and I was going too fast coming out of the turn so did I… 

Never put the green-horn on the John Deere.

Makes me long for my LandRollers or a pair of used Rollerblade Coyotes.

…at least I stayed upright and dry. At this point my inner genius piped up and I started to have doubts about the rest of this trail. It goes on for 10 miles out to Boyd Lake, and I wasn’t sure I’d get my heart-rate up long enough (in a good way) to make this a very productive workout. Sure enough, just up under the first overpass, the first of three, the ice and snow and water made it too much to want to deal with. I turned back, and since I had my camera with the timer on it, grabbed a couple of shots of myself winter skating…

People usually smile as I pass them. Turns out they're laughing at my sweatshirt.

At this point a couple of new moms and their strollers came along and I heard one of them say, “Don’t laugh, neon is actually coming back.” Bamn… 

"Say Jim! That's a baddd out-fit!"

Here’s a shot of the Big Thompson River. Comes straight out of the heart of the Rockies. It’s one of the reasons this is my favorite trail to skate. 

Crystal clear, Rocky Mountain fresh. You could reach down and drink that...and end up with pathogenic microorganisms like protozoa, viruses, bacteria, or many other intestinal parasites. A pretty picture though!

Rode hard, put away wet.

So as I sat on the tailgate I started to think of all responses I got when I asked friends and Skatelog.com Speed Skating Forum users to chime in with out-of-the-trunk solutions for stowage of wet skates. Here’s their short list: 

1. Many agreed on WD40. The “WD” stands for “water displacement.” Hit your bearings with this right after the skate to remove the water from the bearing surface. My problem with it is the industrial odor combined with the foot-funk. I drive the family truck, so this just won’t do. Can’t blame that smell on the dog. 

2. Pack your bearings with Mobil 1 synthetic automotive chassis grease. Here’s the narrative from skaterdog: 

“A few years ago I wanted to slow some bearings down (add resistance) so I packed a set full of Mobil 1 and the bearings didn’t slow down a bit. They actually maintained speed better than they had prior to the greasing. This grease is a high temp grease so you won’t have to worry about it melting and running out of the bearings even in hot weather.” 

I’m going to try this one. 

3. Skate on ceramics. $$$ 

4. Put the skates on the dashboard and turn on the defroster to dry them out. I did something similar in Duluth a few years ago with the heater in my hotel room. Let’s just say my skates have fit a lot differently ever since. Again too, I’m afraid I’d create a lingering stench that the next owner of my truck will have to call Click & Clack to try to describe and figure out… 

Caller:…something like the smell of a dead field mouse that’s been eating the salty neoprene liner out of a pair of inline skates or some such thing coming from the ventilation system. It smells worse than Staten Island in August.” Tommy: “Aw geezzee, that’ll cost $1,000’s to get rid uh dat stink! HAHAHA!” Ray: Do yourself a favor, just get a bottle of Fabreeze and a small fan! HAHAHA!” 

4. Micro-ShamWOW inserts! (O.K., I just made this one up.) 

I used to work with an old-school guy named Vinny. He was known as The Beast of the East. He used to tell me I was “all wet” when it came to new ideas and “dat outta-da-box crap yous guys is always talkin’ ’bout.” He was a believer in hard work and being slow and methodical; the tried & true. In Vinny’s world, I’d be breaking my skates down after every roll, and cleaning ‘dose bearings good. Well, I’ve no time for that at lunch Vin, and I’m rolling on Buck Bearings, so I’ll rest easy knowing that if some of these tips don’t work, I can call Glenn Koshi and get another set on ‘da cheap! 

1/15/10 Training: 10 miles out at Boyd Lake after aborted attempt at skating the Loveland Recreation Trail. In five years I’ve not seen the Loveland Trail this unfriendly. It’s going to be a long winter. 

1/16/10 Training: Rink Rabbits ran me around good for an hour. I’ve been skating on the borrowed 110’s to lead these classes, not comfortable enough to roll them with the big dogs at a full Sunday practice yet. But I’m getting there. It’s been great, because I’m running though these foundational foot drills slowly, building flow and speed on the bigger wheels, getting the feel and overcoming mental barriers at a no pressure pace. A hidden benefit to giving my time to the kids program!

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