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Profiles of the top skaters in the National Roller Cup


Chad Johnson

Age: 34

Team: Aloe Up

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Family: wife, Amy; two daughters, 4 and 6

Day job: IT consultant

When did you start skating?

About five years ago, a friend and I were talking about what we could do for exercise. I had played football in college. And both of us used to run, but we didn't want to run anymore. He suggested we sign up for an inline race. I hadn't even heard of inline racing, but it sounded fun so we both went out and bought some big 5-wheel skates with full boots. I called them the War Wagons. And then we started skating.

I had roller-bladed in high school, and I had played some hockey. So I knew how to skate. But I didn't know anything about speed skating.

That fall, we did the NorthShore [the large inline marathon in Duluth, MN]. I signed up for the advanced division, and it was a little crazy. I was just trying to stay upright during the first part of the race.

But I had a great time and ended up finishing in the front part of the advanced pack. After that, I was hooked.

I went out and got molded for custom Bonts and got more serious about my training.

The following year, I did a lot of skating and competed in the Str8Sk8 race series. Then at the end of the year, I was asked to join the Body-Glide team [which become the Aloe Up team].

Since then, I've had lots of top-3 finishes in races; and last year, I won the pro senior division at Duluth.

How do you see yourself in the inline racing world?

I see myself as one of the older guys. I will be moving into the master division next year.

I try not to take myself too seriously. I race because it's fun. I love skating, and I've met so many great people at the races. Skating is my No. 1 passion.

What do you work on when you're training?

When I skate, I focus on maintaining a nice low position and I try to always feel my edges. I also try to have good strong ankles so I'm not wasting energy. Another important thing to remember is to drive the knee forward [on your set-down after your recovery loop]. If you drive your knee forward, your body will follow.

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard is that you have to go slow to go fast. That basically means that you need to relax and stop trying to go fast. The harder you push, the less you get back. Instead, relax; let the weight transfer do the work for you.

Probably the best thing I have done to improve my technique was to start skating long-track ice. Ice forces you to have good technique, and that transfers over to inline.

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