Freshmeat, and more fresh meat

It is Sunday, it is valentines day and I am attending Fresh meat…with a bag full of fresh meat.
It’s a long story, well it’s not, it’s a birthday gift, a bag of steak, how is that not an amazing gift? Especially from a veggie.

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This week I got a lift to training, which left time to enjoy the full grown leopards scrimmage session before us wobbly baby leopards were let loose. I tried to explain the rules of the game to him indoors but I think he had his over protective husband hat on and was busy panicking and mentally risk assessing.
Not really done much mid week training completed this week, so my legs were fresh at least, I feel like I’m improving, we did some more competitive stuff like relays and a version of “tag” or “it”, which was enormous fun. I was surprised by how seriously I took it and how well I managed.
Because this week was a little more hard core we had been advised to get out mouth guards ready for this week. I had been warned that the shaping progress, in which you soak your flat guard in warm water then shape it to your upper teeth before it cools down could be “fun” however I didn’t anticipate quite how much dribble this process would involve, grim. What is more grim thou is taking out your mouth guard at the end of training and finding stray bits of breakfast your teeth have been busy collecting, mega grim, ugh etc.

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Anyway; I am starting to feel much more staple on my wheels and thus less likely to fall on my arse, however I still need to improve, so I think I’m going to have to find time to practice during the week this week, even if it’s only the basics.
My skates are getting trashed from all the falls already so this week I duck-taped up the ends of my skates, I was I little worried this would peel off and stick me to the floor by my skates but it did in fact stay on and do the business, as you can see I think it’s going to be a weekly job, good thing I brought all the pretty duck tape! I do love stationary, and leopard print tape is so… relevant.

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Roller Derby: Skate noose tutorial

I first encountered skate nooses in Double Threat Skates in London. It struck me as a useful but simple derby themed make. Skates are by fair the heaviest part of your kit so carrying them across the body makes sense.

 

I started by doing a little research, to decide on the style I wanted, there are two main styles, those which are a more literal noose which tighten over your skates and the style I decided to go for, with stitched loops as shown.

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What you need: about 2 metres of webbing tape or strong grosgrain ribbon 1inch or wider two d rings with the flat side measuring the same or wider then the tape you are using, a sewing machine or a needle and thread.

 

I could not find any webbing in my stash, I did find some vintage pure silk grosgrain ribbon from about 1920, and it’s beautiful but perhaps a bit much?

 

I’m using pure cotton grosgrain tape from Merchant and Mills, it’s not cheap but it matches my new kit bag

 

I normally have d rings in stock but I could only find one, so I brought some more on eBay, you can get them in a wide range of colours and sizes

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Making instructions:

 

1, The first thing you need to do is establish the length you want it to be, you can do this on a mannequin or on yourself by working out where you want your skates to sit and then measuring the distance from skates to skate over the shoulder, add a little extra for turnings, say 10cm and cut your tape to size

 

2, Loop the d rings over both ends, turn the raw end in and pin allowing enough space to stitch a reinforced square shape

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3, Next you need to establish size of loops at each end, you can do this on your skates making sure it is big enough to loop over two wheels, but not so big they could fall out, cut two lengths of tape once you have established the size, again adding extra for turnings

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4, loop one end through the d loop turning it back once, so the raw edge is left out.

 

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then take the other end and fold it over the top so the two raw edges are now covered.

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so it looks like this;

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5, Check the size is right before you stitch it by trying it over your shoulder, being mindful of pins!

 

6, Next hand or machine stitch a crossed square as shown

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Finished! Now off you pop with skates in tow

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Nose over knees over toes or arse over tit?

1, I didn’t fall on my arse for the whole session, I was super proud of myself, however while walking back home through central Cambridge I managed to fall flat on my face, not even sure how I managed it, I think I need pads in real life…

 

2, You can not scratch your head while wearing your helmet, I know, I tried.

 

3, I do not currently have a bag I can fit all my kit in, I do not even have a bag I can fit most of my kit in without spending a good deal of time thinking about the order in which items go into the bag, this is too much work post skating, I need something I can just chuck items at before crawling home.

 

4, Skating makes me as hungry as running, passably even more so. Although I always have breakfast, by the time I have got to training and skated for two hours I am beyond hungry. This week I came out of training and wandered into a shop which sold food, I struggled not to just fall into the first display and polish off the whole thing through osmosis. I don’t remember anything touching the sides on the way down, never mind chewing, gah, I’m hungry thinking about it!

 

5, I am OK at falling (to be fair I have had quite a lot of practice) I really need to work on gliding (skating round on one leg) and my balance generally. I struggle with “sticky skates” an exercise in which rather than pushing with your feet to move along, you keep moving by using your leg muscles and foot movements, keeping your skates in contact with the floor the whole time, it may just be that I struggled so much with this as my leg muscles hated me by this point.

 

6, I need to spend as much time as possible in “derby stance” (nose over knees over toes) both on and off skates, right, arse (halfway) to grass! Let’s go!

 

Apparently next week we need mouth guards…

This is Roller Derby

At the very crack of dawn on Sunday morning I am up and cycling to town, I see no one, arriving at Peterborough train station I don’t have to queue to get a ticket or fight for a seat, it’s starting to feel a little post apocalyptic, but no, this is the start of my first day of roller derby training.

 

My new years resolution this year was to try new sports activities, things I have always wanted to try, however the main reason I haven’t done this before is that Peterborough just doesn’t have a wide range of alternative exercise options, it’s great for rowing and running and cycling and has all the normal clubs rugby, football etc. but when it comes to something just a little bit different, nothing.

 

So to try roller derby, I must travel, the nearest club to me is in Cambridge* and I managed to get a ticket for their fresh meat course (this is the roller derby term for beginners) despite, as I understand it an unprecedented demand for tickets.

 

So here I am on a two-hour train ride to Cambridge via Hitchin, a trip which takes 30mins by car and 45 by direct train, however apparently no one wants to go to Cambridge before 1pm on a Sunday so Hitchin it is.

 

I did wonder if perhaps Hitchin have a roller derby team but the husband informs me it is quite small and so all ten people who live there would need to play and thus quite unlikely.

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However as I struggle around in the dark for the plus points of this situation I reflect that I can at least blog about my experiences, catch up on my reading and on an apparently empty train and perhaps do an early morning core session, living the dream and planking between the luggage racks.

 

Before I get to the bit on skates let’s talk a little more about kit, roller derby requires quite a bit of kit and I have Double Threat Skates to thank for getting me kitted up.

 

Naturally the first thing you need is skates, I spent a good deal of my childhood and teenage years on skates but the little I remember about buying skates is quite useless for roller derby, I remember buying skates a size larger than your shoes (I guess this might just have been mum aiming for maximum value) however for roller derby your skates need to be super snug, not cut your circulation off snug but damn pretty close, to ensure your skates are snug rather than just too small you need to stand for a few minutes in them and see if you can still feel your feet, this is enormous fun when you haven’t been on skates for years in the middle of a room full of pros, however I discovered a trick, using a skate tool you can adjust your wheels so they don’t move, ha! Once you have found the right level of snugness, enough to ensure your feet don’t move around when you skate you are ready for pads…

 

One other thing I should say, skates make your feet look really small, tiny even, you want small (looking) feet wear skate! They also make you almost a foot taller, this is obvious but I forgot and I love being taller without the heels bit. Bonus.

 

Padding; Again very different from my early skating years when my mum would tape nappies to the bits I may fall on, it’s all quite high-tech in comparison. You need wrist, elbow and knee pads, wrist supports will stop you braking your wrist if you fall, but if you fall badly you will just break your arm a little higher up, I am told, you can’t say they aren’t honest.

 

Also you know shoes before corset? (when costuming put your shoes on before you lace up your corset or you will struggle to get them on without help) well skates before wrist pads; wrist pads make your hands nearly useless so they go on last and come off first, only when I said “oh like shoes before corset” I just got a funny look…

 

Knees: I went for the biggest knee pads I could scrimmage, I like my knees and apparently I’m going to fall on them a lot, there are a lot of straps involved in my knee pads, four? And they all need to be tight enough that you can’t just pull the pads off, my shins need to fend for themselves no stealing the knee pads!

 

Elbow pads: the knee and elbow pads keep your arms in a bent position, it’s very odd but I’m sure it works out once you are skating…

 

Apparently I have quite small arms, as I had to go down a size from the first pads I tried on, gutted is not the word, all that work and my gun show is disappointing at best, size SMALL 😦 sigh.

 

One more thing about pads, they have a left and right: I foresee this being one of the most challenging aspects of the sport for me…

 

Helmet! Skid lid, this is much more hardcore then my cycle helmet which can only take one crack before it needs replacing, this helmet can be dropped multiple times an take up to three proper crashes before I needs replacing, lets hope the same can be said about me, I restrained myself when it came to colour going for shiny black rather than sliver glitter-ball, no need to make any more of a fool of myself than necessary. Perhaps if I make it to being good…

 

I have also brought a mouth guard, I’m not sure that I will need it for the non contact bits but, hey ho, you get to chose a colour, I went for red, grrraahhh! I am warned they are a pain in the arse to shape, oh SUCH fun awaits!

 

Wheels: you can buy different wheels for different surfaces, one thing I remember from my former roller skating days is being told we can not skate outside then skate on our community centre wood floor as it will ruin it, skating little stones into it, apparently a lot of venues dislike people skating as they worry about the floor, however roller skate are not any more damaging then any other indoor gym activity. That’s all good and well but if I’m going to get any practice in during the week I’m going to have to face up the fact this will have to be done outside, as I don’t have access to any suitable indoor spaces near my house, but I am surrounded by parks with paths, the main reason I need to change my wheels for this is to make it a nicer ride, outdoor wheels are softer and make the going less bumpy. To change my wheels I need a skate tool, this is the rigger jigger/ multi tool of the skate world, gosh I do love new tools, anyways…

 

Carrying all this kit even a short distance I am struck by the weight of it all, it’s going to be quite hard work just to move in it. Once I have it all on (not correctly to start with I had to stop and swap my wrist guards which I swore I had on currently dispute the fact they are marked with left and right and these markings did not correspond to my hands) the moment of truth came, I had to get up and skate, ideally without immediately falling over, that was quite scary it has been a good ten years since I last did this, however I did quite well, going round in little circles trying to improve my technique, pushing out to the sides not back (ten and two) bending my legs so if I fell it would be towards onto the pads.

 

Naturally sooner or later I was going to fall over, I did so twice, once for no good reason, straight onto my arse, oh my poor coccyx, the second time, in front of everyone while trying to purposely fall forward on both knees, I again for no good reason feel back again but this time I took on board the advice from the last fall and choose an acre cheek to landed on, less painful, but not really what I was meant to be doing.

 

We had a go a few different skills, gliding on one leg, falling on to our knees that sort of thing, I wasn’t the best, but I wasn’t the worst, it was hard work and after two hours I had a proper bead on (I was sweaty) but I loved it, I literally crawled back home, stopping only to stuff my face, I arrived home, had a bath, made a lot of pained noises then went to bed at 3:30 in the afternoon. However when I woke up and hour or so later the husband had cooked tea so I might try that trick again!

 

I have spent the rest of the week paying for falling on my arse, I’m sure It didn’t used to take this long to recover from falling on my arse…it has much more crumble zone now, but it is higher off the ground… however nothing will stop me from returning next week, I literally can’t wait ( My tailbone would like to point out that it can and will wait.)

 

* turns out Borderline Brawlers are based just down the rod from me in Stamford, but no matter, its not like it’s a two hour trip to Cambridge on a Sunday morning…