I do not have a whole lot of photos from the day. I was more worried about not dying on the terrain.
We started out early; 7am. I figured I would head out a little bit early since I was not exactly sure how to get to the meeting point. I had planned to scout it out the night before, but that was the day I did all the walking, my ankle was hurting, and I wanted to avoid making it worse.
I left my room around 6:30 and headed to the elevator. The elevator stopped on the way down to pick up two more people; both of whom had inline skates and all the gear that goes with it. Perfect, somebody to show me where to go.
I am horrible at remembering people’s name. I spent a little more time with some people than others, and some of them I know their names, but mostly not…
The guy from the elevator seemed to know where to go. Nikki, the other person from the elevator, and I followed him. He definitely went a shorter way than I had planned to take, but his way left us at the top of a fairly big hill with the meeting point at the bottom. The hill was not terrible, but not the test of my skills I was looking to start the day with.
Counting Asha, I think there were 18 of us. We started with introductions; where we were from, how long we had been skating, our preferred stopping techniques. The reaction I got from saying I was from the U.S. was funny. One lady was like, “I have to get a picture,” and then jumped up to take one with me and Asha. The capitation she will use will probably be similar to, “Idiot flew around the world for skate lessons.”
The only other foreigners were Asha, obviously, and Javier who is from Spain. Javier is in the country to learn English though, so he is living here rather than flying here for skating.
Asha spent some time with us making sure we could stop. Ironically, she used the hill I came down on for practice. She started us a little way up, then a little higher, etc. Was a little funny knowing that I had just come down it from the top. She was mostly interested in my heel braking skills. She had me make a few adjustments (mostly the depth of my knee bend), but overall I passed inspection.
It was interesting to watch the other skaters. There were some obviously advanced skaters with us, doing power slides and lunge turns at high speed to stop.
She taught us a new stop and pretty much all of us did it poorly. Even the more advanced skaters with us had plenty to improve on which was refreshing to see (not be the only one who could not do it well). The stop was the stepping plow stop. Feet wide, wider than shoulders, toes pointed in, as your feet start to drive together you alternate picking up a foot and putting it back out wide. It was a little awkward to do, undoubtedly due to inexperience with it, but it actually works very well. Throughout the day as we got to hills she would ask us to try that stop going down the hills.
We started the skate with a hill, but it was mild. Her big warning with that hill was that the river is at the bottom, so if you cannot make the turn, you are going in.
Not long after that hill I fell. I was not exactly following the line of skaters and went a little wider around a corner, only to realize they were going down a ramp that had no access the way I went. I tried to turn around and fell on my face. It was more shoulder than face, but I felt it on my face. I don’t see any scrapes on my face, so I probably just bounced mildly. My left arm took most of the fall. I have a nice bruise on my inner arm by my elbow and my shoulder has some limited range of movement — just feels bruised/strained. Not the best start to the day.
Nikki’s problems started around here at some point. Her leg strap was not working on one of her skates. The teeth would not grip on the strap, so the skate was very loose. Asha tried to get it working for a while, but eventually Nikki just had to deal with it. The plan was to hack her a fix for tomorrow — somebody was going to bring a Velcro strap that would hopefully wrap around her boot and leg. That was early in the Saturday skate though, so she had a lot of loose-skating to go through.