Tag Archives: pace line

Thank you sir. May I have another?

It’s Friday. I don’t know how it got here so fast. I started this post Monday. I intended to finish it on Monday. Damn, guess this week has been one long…Monday. It sure felt like it, and since “I Don’t Like Mondays” is in constant rotation on my iPod, I think I know what a “Monday” feels like. F’N’A, TGIF.

Tell me why they thought these outfits were cool enough to be on the album cover.

And there’s nothing like a good butt kicking on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to make a Monday just *that much better.* I was in a clouded world of hurt on Monday. I was sitting at my desk blurry eyed. It was a busy weekend. Lots to do, and lots of skating. It also doesn’t help that HorseyPants and I have been staying up late fulfilling our desperate need to catch up with the housewives of Wisteria Lane, which we’ve been doing every night for the last two weeks thanks to NetFlix streaming content. We’re now done with Season 5.

Season 7 will start with a long shot of Saturday morning passing drills on Wisteria Lane. 1 man, 5 desperate housewives, 48 hot wheels!

Last weekend I took my outdoor training up a notch for the start of the season, and in doing so I was reminded that it don’t come easy. Most weekends during the season I’ll do a session or two of between 26 and 32 miles and keep a moderate pace, just enough to feel like I’m working and keep my heart rate at 70% max. But every couple of weeks I’ll go out for time, and try and break my “Colorado PBR” – my personal best time record on the course I skate here in Loveland. That’s what I did on Saturday, and I’m off to a good start.

But I’ve got to qualify these times as “Colorado times” because we’re nearly 6,000 ft. above sea level here, so the air is a *little* thinner, the hills a *little* steeper, and I’ve yet to get anywhere near the times I can hit in Duluth. I’m about 13 minutes off my best time in Duluth on the course in Loveland, about 8 minutes off on the course in my neighborhood, which runs a little faster. If I didn’t qualify these times I’d be fighting an ongoing mental battle. It’s not worth it!

So I’ve been tracking these COPBR’s for a few years now, and this is the strongest season opener to date. I call this my “TX Road Rash Symp-a-thon” – to coincide with the “running of the rash” which all of my friends attend without me  – and it was also my first hard skate at distance on 110’s, which was an eye-opener. The legs didn’t have a lot left at the end of the 28.2 miles. That may have had something to do with the fact that the day before I had engaged in my “super-secret” workout too. It was the worst uphill experience I’ve ever had. But anyway…

The big take-away from the effort was that I need to start hitting the hills again. At the end of the course, the last quarter mile or so, is one of the steepest hills you can imagine. I originally plotted this as a training course for the Saint Paul Inline Marathon, which used to finish up the hill to Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. I’d forgotten how intense the last uphill sprint can be on this Loveland course. I was practically crying as I was reaching the top of this hill. My legs were like lead, my back was on fire and I could barely breath. Gee, it’s good to be back home!

Over the long haul, I really feel like I got a lot out of the 110’s. My stride really felt comfortable – longer, smoother and with a lot less effort once I got up to speed. I couldn’t help thinking about how it will be in that paceline in Duluth. Out here on my own I’m pulling non-stop, so these big wheels don’t have time to slow down. But when they do, when I coast, it takes just that little bit more to get back to where I was. I just wonder what it’s going to be like with the ebb & flow of the pack in Duluth. How many will be on 110’s? Will it be difficult to be behind someone on 100’s? Will I be forced to take more pulls than I should just because I’m more comfortable out front with no one in front of me? I want to think I’ll be ready to handle whatever happens out there, and this year I’ll be smarter about pulls and fliers. But when it’s all on the line I know that everything I train for, all that I learn and think about while training, will go out the window once I’m out there on the course. I’ll just be skating for my life. But I like it that way – it keeps it exciting for me. All this summer I’ll be thinking about the one race in Duluth in September. No matter how hard the COPBR sessions get, they always leave me begging for more.

4/29/10 Training: Mandatory day off.

4/30/10 Training: Super-secret workout, no skating, lots of pizza.

5/1/10 Training: 33 miles on the trail in Loveland, 28.2 at marathon speed. Didn’t beat my buddy TASII’s time for TX Road Rash this year, but I was close and I’m at altitude. I’ll take what I can get – which after this skate was a good crying towel.

5/2/10 Training: Rink Rabbits practice followed by 2 hours of quickness. Quick plyos, quick drills, quick relays. One of the better practices even though I was dead tired.

5/3/10 Training: The Monday I referred to above. I did manage to get 16 miles in at lunch, attacking the hills I know I need to beat before September. It’s going to be a long summer going up these hills on these 110’s.

5/4/10 Training: Rink Rabbits practice. I’ve been getting into the race action a little more for the benefit of some of the kids at the back of the line. We have a couple of new kids who’ve only been skating a month and are already keeping up in drills and races. Working with kids is a highlight of my skating career.

5/5/10 Training: Super-secret workout. Shhhh…..

5/6/10 Training: Mandatory day of rest. I think I need to write about resting.


I’ve become…um, thrifty as I get older. I struggle with the word “thrifty” because it conjures up images of early bird buffet lines, the Ford Focus and reused coffee filters. Yuk. But OK, I admit it, I’ve become a cheapsk8.  

"On your left! The tuna casserole is mine baby!"

Last night I was in Wal-Mart looking for MightyBeanz for my son (whatever the hell is the appeal of these things, and Bakugan for that matter!?) and I came across Razor scooter wheels on clearance – 2 packs of 98 mm wheels with bearings for $5.88! Well heck – it’s winter, my outdoor wheels are shot, so this looks like a really good deal. Schweetttt!!!  

Laugh it up fuzzball - the set cost me less than twenty-five bucks.

ABEC 5 bearings, 98mm wheels and aluminum spacers. Nice little package. And cheaper than the dirt in my current wheels. But the wheels have these little plastic tabs in the core of the hub that take the place of a stronger core incorporated into a normal spacer. That little aluminum “O ring” in the picture is the spacer these wheels came with.  

I've got a bad feeling about this...

The little plastic tabs in the hub are flimsy, so I can snap them out if I need to. We’ll see, no rush there. In deciding to give these wheels a try, I rationalized that a.) my kids have beaten the crap out of their Razor scooters for years and the wheels are still in pretty good shape. They’ve got to be durable. They feel pretty stiff. And b.) with the fine-threaded axle on my skates, these hubs and spacers shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Out of the box there isn’t a lot of roll, but that could change once I get rolling. (Or it could be because of these spacers. Dunno.) Nonetheless, they’ll be good for training.  

The way I’m looking at this, even if I have to pop off the tabs and swap out another set of spacers, I’ve scored a good find cheap, and I feel like Mr. Furley scoring digits on line at the Wal-Mart pharmacy waiting from my prep-H refill. But still, there are all of those other considerations about flex and stress. Hell, I really can’t speculate on that stuff. Here’s what I do think…if these are going to work on inline skates as is, they have the best chance outdoor versus indoor, because there should, in theory, be less torque. But really, what do I know? I don’t even remember being in a single physics class let alone any of the governing laws of the universe! As if…  

Anyway, if I think too much about it, I’ll end up returning the wheels without trying them out. So I’m just going to do it. Unfortunately, it snowed again last night, so I have to wait. I hope it melts quickly because if this works out, you know who is going to be skating a B-line to Wal-Mart to stock up on them crappy training wheels real quick.  

Now, back to the buf-fay for some of that sweet looking jello log.  

1/28/10 Training: Did indoor practice with the Rink Rabbits. Introduced a few more new games and the kids continue to have fun. We’re rolling with it!  

1/29/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical. Was pretty tired before the workout so I tried a LiftOff tab and felt pretty good through the workout. 6.8 miles, level 7.  

1/30/10 Training: 1 full hour on the slideboard. Worked on keeping my tail tucked and nose, knees, toes alignment. Wow – the burn is exquisite. Then did an hour with the Rink Rabbits playing Schitzo-coach, getting the kids good and wound up. Fun!  

1/31/10 Training: Indoor speed practice. Last week of the 100 lap drill. I hung on till lap 98, then finished third as coach and “the fast kid” pulled it out to fight to the death. From here on out, the practices are going to get progressively harder. Had another run-in with a skater in the pace line but we talked it out during the next drill. Hopefully we’ll get this right one of these days. It makes things unnecessarily tense when we’re not courteous to each other.  

2/1/10 Training: Did 10 miles out at Boyd Lake with John. The run off made for a very wet experience, which wasn’t good because I was on borrowed wheels. And boy – 110’s in a headwind just, well, if you’ve done it you know.  

2/2/10 Training: Indoor practice with the Rink Rabbits. I’m very impressed at everyone’s ability to get down low. They have an advantage being only 4 feet from the floor, but still, they’re skating low, and we all know how hard that can be! And they’re all coming along really well on their cross-overs. Progress!  

2/3/10 Training: Day off. But did spend a couple of hours with the coach and his family at a planning commission meeting to discuss the Medical Marijuana clinic they want to open across the street from the rink. More on this later…

Skaters do it in-line

Opinions are like bearings for inline skaters. We’ve all got them; we push them hard and they’re a part of what makes us roll. Some are smooth as swiss chocolate; others have been cracked open and squeak like a mofo. In the end, they get us to our point, and online inline skaters like to make their points loud and clear. Pace line etiquette is a topic that sparks some excitement as it turns out.


I set out to get some feedback from dedicated skaters on rules of decorum for indoor pace lines to create a short list of “Do’s and Don’t’s” that could be used to make “practice” pace line skating safer and more civil. Well, the trail to hell is paved with good intentions, and there ain’t no stop signs or speed limits when you turn some topics loose on the online, inline skating community. Anything goes in the ether, and it usually does. Fringe fanatics like us with narcissistic tendencies thrive in online forums, where we’re free to be our inner Emperor, only a flaming post away from imposing our dogma on the inline faithful.

What follows is a compilation taken from a hearty discussion on the matter at hand, use it as you see fit. Or, not.

“We’ve upped our manners, so up yours!”


Pleasant words, agreeable manners and safety for indoor inline skaters.

  • It is good form to announce your intention to pass someone in the line ahead of you. “OVER!” works most of the time. “MOVE IT FAT ASS” is only a last resort.
  • If you have dropped from the pace line, wait until you are lapped and join in at the rear of the pack. You don’t try to jump into the middle of the pack.
  • If someone who has dropped tries to jump back in line in front of you, and you have not dropped yet, kick their skates out from under them and roll right up their rear.
  • Regarding the previous point, another alternative is to use your arm to block their re-entry by laying it up on the skaters back in front of you.
  • If you are going to quit then get out of the way.
  • Don’t go wide on the corners because the pace slowed.
  • If you make a bad pass move to the back without being told to do so.
  • If it’s a pace setting pace line, keep a steady pace.
  • If a “move” has the potential of causing you or someone else to fall, don’t do it.
  • Have and show respect for yourself, your sport and your teammates.
  • Shut up & skate.

If you haven’t yet read the post that led to this list, it’s here. The online discussion was…interesting to say the least, like a game of telephone gets interesting when the last in line needs to spill the beans and reveal the collective retard in the room. Some highlights, somewhat edited:


  • People who consider themselves to be exceptions to the rules won’t obey any rule you come up with. Just block them out.
  • Anyone that is struggling or already been dropped/quit from either an indoor lapping paceline or overtaken by a passing outdoor paceline should be viewed as someone to be in front of.
  • Even if you’re hanging on for dear life sometimes you need to push yourself and make that move as long as you can do it safely and intelligently.
  • As soon as that gap opens just a little it should become second nature to just take it. If you’re wondering, “gee whiz, I wonder if they’re gonna close that back down” then you’re thinking about the wrong things and letting someone else race their race instead of you racing your race.
  • Anything that would be called foul by a referee you should not do, anything else is a good practice.
  • This is not a tickling competition, this is speedskating now PICK IT UP!
  • You workout hard to make your competitions easy.
  • You have to put in the hard work to achieve excellence. There aren’t any shortcuts.
  • If you are faster and stronger you belong in the front, if you get dropped, you don’t belong in between the people who haven’t got dropped yet.

Thank goodness I have a thick skin, or I’d be as tender as a rink-rashed hiney with all of the inference and innuendo of some of the more colorful replies to my simple, humble query. If I were that kind of crybaby, I know just how I’d handle it…

Hammer time.

…and it’s all legal till a ref calls you for it, right?!

12/23/09 Training: Late afternoon practice, spent an hour rolling the 110’s indoors. Wow – that was brutal. So this is what everyone else is rolling these days, huh? Seems like a lot of work to get them going, but once you do, there’s a definite pick up in speed. They’re a lot heavier than my other set up, so being aware of lazy steps is absolutely critical. I don’t know if I’ll stick with this. Lot’s more to feel out with this.

12/24/09 Training: Day off. Get my Christmas cookies on!

12/25/09 Training: 40 minutes on the slideboard at the invitation of HorseyPants. I guess she can see where I’ve been hiding all of the Christmas cookies she made.

12/26/09 Training: 2 hours at the rink on Saturday morning with David, John & the kids. Took it easy, working the 110’s indoors.

12/27/09 Training: 2 hour indoor practice – 100 laps, plyos, isolated pushes. Was a tough practice because of personal reasons, some of which will be making it into a future post on how to keep kids interested.

12/28/09 Training: Day off. I’ve taken more days off this month that I have in like three years.

12/29/09 Training: 1 hour indoor practice. Sessions cut short because the rink is open for extended Christmas Vacation hours. Was a good practice. The kids help me find ways to keep them interested in coming back!