Skates Get A Makeover!
When I started derby earlier this year, I started off with skates from the local sporting goods store. Those quickly became inadequate. On weekend trip to Houston for a John Mayer concert, made a quick stop to Montrose Skate Shop. He hooked me up with a nice starter pair of skates. I started off with Riedell 126 boot, Powerdyne Triton plate (stock cushions), Qube 8-ball bearings, and Radar Flat-Out wheels (88A). This set up was great, starting out. I was just learning how to skate and stay up, they gave me enough support/grip to build confidence. Since then, I totally wore out my wheels. They had ZERO grip and I was slip and sliding all over the place. I was limiting my speed around corners because I couldn’t stay on my skates otherwise.
I’ve been researching wheels and really skates in general for months now. I’ve learned a lot from SkateLogForum.com. If you need any of your skating/derby/equipment questions answered, check them out. There are peeps from all over the world on there that really know what they are talking about! (not all of them though) There is a forum on there that has questions you can ask Doc Sk8, the king of all things derby skate. 🙂
After lots of research online and asking chicas on my league, I made the purchase a couple weeks ago. I ended up buying Atom G-Rods (93A). These have a higher durometer rating (harder urethane) and sport a hollow core. So far I am VERY happy with them. I’ve skated on them 4 times and one bout last weekend. They are a lot faster than the Flat Outs and grip like crazy.
First night I skated on them, I was happy to feel the grip was not a sluggish kind, still rolling very fast. Then I got to the turn… WoW! I have not been that sore in a long time! See, with the old wheels, I had to moderate my speed and do a lot of gliding in the corners to keep from going horizontal (not an ideal derby position). These suckers just stuck to the ground and waited for me to command them to go faster! Well, because of my really lame conditioning, allowing my legs to just chill for a couple seconds on those turns with the flat outs really hit me hard. My legs were screaming at me, “Where is my two second break!?”.
So, yeah, I have some work cut out ahead of me. The good news is that equipment is not hindering my progress, just my muscles. I can work with that, build more strength, endurance. I know its really bad, but I’m already thinking of the next wheels I’ll get. I think I might go up to 98A… not sure yet. Maybe narrow wheels? We’ll see! 😀
Part two of the skate makeover consisted of a somewhat functional yet admittedly vain upgrade. I ordered some toe guards from BabyBitch on Esty. She has a really fantastic design and does custom work. Basically, she has a design that wraps around the entire toe of your skate, then
goes up functioning almost as a lace cover. I liked this design for a couple reasons. Most toe guards, including my old monkey home made toe guards, will shift at times exposing the toe or side of skate to the floor. Also the old design does pulls on the first few lace loops causing friction and ultimately wearing the laces in that spot to the point of breakage. The new guards connect with laces up higher, close to your racing strap (if you have one). The amount of friction and pull on that area of the laces is minimal. She also makes her toe guards with nice thick leather that is super reinforced in the stitching. These suckers are not going anywhere! As far as the design, she’s really talented. I sent a pic of my helmet and asked if she could do something along the lines of what I already had. She blew me away by creating a simple but cohesive design that was bright, fun, and really spot on! So happy with the workmanship and service. I highly recommend her!