By Kim Perkins
Skaters negotiate a puddle at the start of the 2010 Race on the Bace in Los Alamitos, CA.
If you don't mind getting wet, skating in the rain can be buckets of fun. But don't expect to set a new speed record or zip around corners with your usual dazzle.
Wet pavement provides less traction. And that means slower speeds and less control. So when it's wet outside, lower your expectations and skate more cautiously ... or rain may not be the only thing falling.
Most skaters know to avoid painted patches of pavement in the rain, and to use grippier (softer) wheels. But here are a few other things you can do to avoid "slip-sliding away."
1.) Keep your feet under you.
That sliding feeling happens when your feet get too far away from your body at the end of your stroke. Shorten your stroke to maximize friction.
2.) Use the double push.
It doesn't have to be perfect or a full out "Chad." You'll find that even a little under push can help compensate for your rain-shortened regular push.
3.) Strenghten your adductors.
Rain skating uses slightly different muscles than dry skating, putting more of a strain on your adductors. To toughen them up, do some duck walking in your skates (walking with your toes pointed outward) or step up your gym routine.
4.) Use more caution on turns.
The rule here is the same whether your driving or skating in the rain: Take the corners more gradually and at lower speeds. Remember: Everyone goes slower in the rain. Not just you.
5.) Give yourself more time to stop.
No matter what kind of braking method you use (heel brake, t-stop, etc.), it's going to take longer to stop on slippery pavement. So plan accordingly!
6.) Use protection.
If you are worried about wet feet or skates, buy a pair of boot covers, like the one's made by Ezeefit. They'll keep your precious equipment dry.
7.) Clean your bearings.
If you plan to use your bearings again, clean them promptly after skating on wet pavement. Otherwise, they'll rust ... unless they are ceramic or sealed bearings packed with engine grease.
8.) Use a little more protection.
Since falling is more likely on wet pavement, consider wearing some extra protective gear. Maybe some knee or elbow pads ... or even some crash pads. It's better to be safe than broken!
Oct. 20, 2006
Kim Perkins has plenty of experience with wet-weather skating. She trained for years in rainy Northern California and won the wet Athens to Atlanta Road Skate in 2004 to notch her third consecutive a2a victory. After retiring from racing in 2005, she moved to Southern California to pursue a master's degree in psychology at Claremont University.
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