It's been over a month since I last skated Hamilton Beaches Trail and I was excited to go back. Actually, come to think of it, I haven't really done any trail or road skating in a long time! KN and I arrived at the trail just after the main pack left the starting point ten minutes prior. It really didn't make much of a difference to me as the main pack consisted of guys who skate much faster than me anyway. I went for a lap with RA which we took turn pulling for long stretches. It was a good warm up and I eventually picked up my speed to a steady 25km/hr (ha, the joy of finally skating with a GPS!). The whole lap was under 36 minutes. I can still remember my rec skating days less than two years ago when it would take me 50 minutes to complete the lap. That was such a long time ago!
I started my second lap with the guys, tucking in between GN and EG. GN pulled for about three kilometres and he made me work hard. His cadence was slow with what I call a "perma-glide". We would be gliding on one skate for what seemed like forever before each set down. It took me a while to adjust to his skating style but once I did, it was good practice for me to lengthen my stride. However, I had to swing my arms hard to keep up and I was getting tired. I pulled for a short distance and had the best dropback I've even done. My strides synchronized with the pack as I dropped from the front to the back and I merged with the pack without an acceleration. It felt great. I got dropped shortly after due to fatigue and eventually packed up with EG (who was moving a picnic table out of the way from the trail) for the rest of the lap.
JS, KN, and I went to EG's home for dryland after skating in the morning. We did some drills on setdown and recovery which placed emphasis on body alignment and a snappy recovery. It was very helpful to see the video feedback as I saw how my shoulder tilted slightly in the opposite direction and my foot pointed outside when I reached forward. Pushing with my left looked pretty solid but I have much work to do with the opposite side. Next we worked on a sensation drill. A rope was fasten to my waist on one end and a tree the other. I leaned away from the tree and did one-leg squat using both the outside leg and the inside leg. It was tiring but I can't really relate this drill to actual skating yet (I mean, I can visualize how it relates but body is not processing this information yet). Slideboard was the last item on the agenda and it was fun. I have yet to get comfortable on the slideboard and I need to work on much deeper knee+ankle bend! On the bright side, I didn't fall off the slideboard which means I don't really push back.
Phew, I was exhausted!