Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You can help 2N1 Skate Shoppe!

I know I promised you a continuation of the Outdoor Skating article, and it is in the works!  I just wanted to let you know that 2N1 Skate Shoppe is entered into a contest to win $5,000!  Please click the link below to vote - you don't have to sign up or anything and you can vote once per day until May 6th.  More money means more giveaways!

Also, keep the haikus coming!  They are creative and entertaining.  If you submit one, you might be the owner of some new Heartless wheels!  See how to enter in the Outdoor Skating post.

Until we skate again,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tis the Season...for Outdoor Skating!

Spring is finally here! (For us in the Northern hemisphere that is...) and that means Outdoor Skating!  So other than the wind blowing through your hair and getting a nice dose of vitamin D from the sun, what does that mean for us?  Well, when trail skating you have to hop over obstacles, stop quickly, skate up hills, and deal with different skating surfaces which helps you to become a more confident and skilled skater.  Here are a few tips for those brave enough to hit the trails on eight wheels.
I've heard from a lot of skaters who are upgrading from their first pair of skates that they are going to use their old skates as "outdoor skates."  From my experience, this rarely actually happens.  Once you get used to your awesome new skates it is quite difficult, and often unnecessary, to go back to that old pair. 

If you are bouting, scrimmaging, or doing some seriously heavy practicing on asphalt where you are going to be falling a lot, then I could see wanting to wear your less expensive boots...but if you are just going to be doing some trail skating or practicing on smooth concrete there really isn't a need to keep those old skates around.

What you will need, however, is some outdoor wheels.  If you haven't had a proper set of outdoor wheels and have only tried skating outside with old indoor wheels, you are in for a treat!  Outdoor wheels are about 78a hardness, which is super soft and will roll over cracks and rocks with ease.  I recommend either Pulses, which come in a variety of colors, or Kryptonics, which not only come in a variety of colors but also 3 sizes to choose from.  Here are the details:

Atom Pulse Wheels
Atom Pulse Green, Pink, Smoke, Blue, and Purple Wheels
  • 78a durometer (super soft)
  • 65mm x 37mm
  • Pink, Blue, Green, Purple, Smoke
  • Weight-2 lbs for 8 wheels

Pulses are popular for a reason, not only will you roll over cracks and pebbles with ease, but they are also available in 5 sweet colors-they look like gummy Life Savers!  They are shaped like regular indoor wheels (not slim or micro) so they are nice and stable for long trail skating sessions.

  • 78a durometer (super soft)
  • 62mm x 37mm available in Red, Black, Blue, or Clear
  • 65mm x 40mm available in Red, Black, Blue, or Clear
  • 70mm x 42mm available in Red, Blue, or Clear 
  • Weight-Route 62's 1.6 lbs, Route 65's 1.9 lbs and Route 70's 2.65 lbs

Kryptonic Route 62, 65, and 70 Wheels

I have been skating on Kryptonics for years and love their unique shape which not only makes them lighter in weight than they would be with a normal edge, but pebbles ping out from under your skates instead of getting stuck and making you go flying (not fun!).  The Route 70's are a bit on the heavy side, but they are super stable and nice for beginner skaters.

If you are used to slim or low wheels for indoor skating, the Route 62 or 65 wheels will work well for outdoor skating and shouldn't feel too different in terms of width or height when switching from indoor to outdoor and back again.

A few skaters have asked me what I think about skating outside with hybrid wheels (usually about an 84a durometer wheel).  These wheels tend to lose their stickiness ability once you skate outside on them so I prefer to keep them really clean and use them for super slick floors; however, if you only have a choice between hybrid or indoor wheels, go with the hybrids...your feet will thank me when they don't go numb from the vibrations!

Cheezeballs Gouda Bearings
Now that we've gone over wheels, let's take a second to talk bearings.  Personally, I prefer to use cheap or older bearings in my outdoor wheels, such as Qube Pink bearings.  That way, if I skate through a puddle or get caught in some rain and the bearings seize or rust, I won't feel bad about tossing them.  It is also helpful to use bearings that have dust covers on them to help keep them from seizing.  The other alternative is to get some ceramic bearings, which won't rust, but they will cost you a pretty penny.  If you're going to go the ceramic route, I highly recommend Cheezeball Gouda bearings-so fast and smooth! 

If you are a new reader of the G Spot and would like to learn more about bearings, here is a post you may find helpful...Get Your Bearings.

187 Lock-In Recaps

All we have left now is protective gear...you can (and probably should) use all the same equipment as when you skate inside, but will probably want to either use some old knee pads or get some that have knee caps you can easily replace such as the new 187 Pro Derby knee pads.  Not only are the Lock-In Recaps easy to replace, but they lock in place (these babies are never accidentally falling off!) and also come in tons of colors.  Before ordering, make sure you know if you have the old 187 knee pads or the new ones, and pay attention to the sizing chart because they come in two sizes. 

Lastly, I'd like to give you a few tips I have had to learn the hard way...keep your knees bent when going over rocky or uneven terrain, keep one foot in front of the other when going fast (helps to keep you from doing a Superman), tuck-and-roll when you fall since it's hard to slide on asphalt, and always yield to vehicles, even if you have the right-of-way.  You are now ready to get out there and start skating on your favorite bike trails or back roads! 

For the next blog post I'm going to continue this topic.  There are a few more items to discuss for outdoor skating such as: what to pack for long trail rides, what to wear, and helpful changes to your skates.

When you're hitting the trails, why not contemplate the great sport of Roller Derby and compile a haiku?  You could win a set of Heartless wheels for your trouble.  Just leave your poem in the comments between now and May 31st and you could be skating around on some of the slimmest (and sweetest) wheels in the Derbyverse!

Edit: I need a name (real/derby/whatev) to keep track of entries into the contest. 

Until we skate again!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Slip of the Tongue...

Probably not the type of tongue you're thinking of...I'm talking about when the tongue of your boot slips, which can be more than just annoying.  Over the past few years, I've had to deal with my weirdly shaped ankles causing the tongues of my boots to shift, creating callouses and blisters, and I have figured out a few tricks to keep these things from happening that I would like to share with you.  I'll be happy if I can help at least one skater prevent heel slippage or blisters.

But before we get to these nuggets of wisdom, I'd like to congratulate Emily Joy for winning our Nutcase helmet contest!  She gets an awesome new Nutcase helmet for submitting her helmet story in the comments of the "One Hit Wonder" blog post.  Our next give away will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

And now for the ankle issues and possible solutions...

Lacing Loop
If the tongue of your boots ends up sideways by the time you are done with practice, you may be able to prevent this from happening by lacing your skates a little differently.  First, check to see if the tongue of your boots has a little slit or loops like the boot pictured to the right.  If so, make sure both laces are running through the loop, which will help to keep the tongue in place.

If your tongue doesn't have the slit/loop or if lacing through it still doesn't help, you can try lacing from the outside in until you get to the last eyelet, then lace from the inside out to make tying your laces easier. 

Do you have issues with your heels slipping?  Try this little lacing trick.  When you get to the last 2 pairs of eyelets, skip the 2nd to last pair to lace the very top pair of eyelets first, then lace the skipped eyelets.  This should help your boot fit more snugly.  This can also help prevent blisters around your ankle and heel. (Sorry for the photo quality...tried my hand at taking pics with my phone.)

Finished Product

Lacing Skipped Pair

Skipping a Pair

Ezeefit Booties
Speaking of preventing blisters, have you tried Ezeefit Booties?  I was skeptical at first, but after getting a couple hot spots on my ankles from my new boots I was willing to try anything.  My feet tend to sweat quite a bit so I was curious as to how the neoprene booties would do...and was pleasantly surprised that they indeed preventing any more rubbing.  I didn't notice them during practice and even forgot I had the booties on by the end.  There is no reason for anyone to get blisters when breaking in new skates ever again!  These also helped my skates fit more snugly so they could be another option for those of you having heel slipping issues.

Have your own trick for preventing blisters/heel slippage?  Let us know in the comments...

Until we skate again,

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Knees, Elbows, and Wrists, Oh My!

First, I'd like to give a huge awkward hug to the NOVA Roller Derby league!  Not only did they give me an awesome show, but they also graciously let me attend a couple practices (more like invade!).  Seriously a great group of sweaty athletes.  They are also the reason I was not able to get a post out last week, sorry.

Second, congratulations to the winner of a new Atom backpack, Tamara Dameron! She stomped a huge "2N1" in the snow that was probably visible from space, and I appreciate the effort to advertise to aliens.

Onto this week's topic: knees, elbows, and wrists (oh my!).  Now, there are so many brands and types out there that I just want to start with the basics.  I will get to reviewing products soon so if you have any specific ones you would like me to test out, please let me know!

When fitting knee and elbow pads, you want them to be pretty snug, but not tight enough to cut off your circulation.  If it feels just right then they are probably too big.  These pads will stretch out after a few uses so if you get them where they feel great at first, they will end up falling down once they break in and that means they won't be in place to protect your pointy parts when you need them.  Wrist guards don't need to be super snug as they generally don't stretch as much as the other pads and tend to stay in place better even when loose.

187 Pro Derby Knee Pads
Out of the three items we're discussing, we use knee pads the most (especially when first starting).  There are a couple different designs out there but for the most part they either pull on or wrap around.  Some skaters like the snugness of the ones that pull on, but after seeing a few skaters break legs I would rather not need to have my knee pads cut off of me if that unfortunately occurs.  The most common type of wrap around knee pads have a butterfly strap system like the ones shown here on the 187 Roller Derby Knee Pads.

It is important to check your knee pads every once in a while to make sure the hard caps haven't cracked and that the "stuffing" hasn't squished down too far.  Some knee pads can be recapped by putting double-sided tape on the old caps and sticking the new caps on top.  Other knee pads (like the 187's) have removable knee pad caps which makes it easy to replace or change colors.  Since you use the straps so much, you will probably notice any tears as they develop, and if you do please replace the pads before the strap ends up breaking during your championship bout.

Elbow pads are not used as much as knee pads in derby, but it sure is nice to have them when you are suddenly flying through the air and unexpectedly land on your belly.  If possible, try on as many different types as possible because there isn't a standardized sizing convention and every body is different.  That being said, the majority of my customers who end up trying on all of our elbow pads end up liking the Atom Elite Elbow pads the best.  Not only do they fit well, but they also have a strip of silicone along the top and bottom of the pad that keeps them in place.  Most elbow pads have a hard cap, just like the knee pads, but I haven't seen any that can be replaced so if the elbow pad cap cracks or starts coming off, you will need to replace it.
Triple 8 Roller Derby Wrist Guards

Just like knee pads, wrist guards either pull on or wrap around and generally are pretty much the same.  Two specific wrist guards do stand out from the pack, the Atom Armor and Triple 8 Roller Derby wrist guards.  Both have wider coverage of the palm area than other wrist guards out there, which helps when you slap your hands against the track, but that is where the similarities end.  The Atom Armor wrist guards have an open back which can freak skaters out, personally I like having the wind blowing over the backs of my hands.  The Triple 8 Roller Derby wrist guards are made out of neoprene, have a red loop that helps pull them on (see pic), and the wide strap makes your wrists feel nice and secure.

Since we are talking about pads that we wear whilst sweating, I should mention the wonderful solution to smelly pads that is Stink Out.  Just two sprays on each piece of equipment after practice, then letting it all dry at home makes Shocker smell sweet.  If I'm practicing more often and can't get my pads dry between practices, I will end up having to eventually wash them in the washing machine then lay them out to dry.  Some people put their pads into the dishwasher, but this can ruin some pads and personally, I feel icky about putting sweaty stuff in with my dishes.

Lastly, there is still time to tell us your helmet story for a chance to win a new Nutcase Helmet.  Just tell us anything about helmets in the comments section of One Hit Wonder? by April 15th to enter.

Until we skate again!