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Skate FAQs: Techniques - Speedskating and Racing

Techniques - Speedksating and Racing

Table of Contents: (last changed Sunday, 03-Sep-2006 09:02:49 EDT)

Road Rash

From: (Andy Hill)

Not a cure, but lots of Neosporin will help keep the rash from getting infected (a big problem with large-area road rash). Makes the scabs look really nasty, 'tho - be prepared for some really grossed-out looks if you don't gauze it over.

From: (George Robbins)

There is no "cure".

The traditional treatment is to wash the area, let it scab over and wait for it to heal. If there is a lot of imbedded dirt, glass or gravel you want to see a doctor for extra pain and cleansing.

The underground remedy (for small spots) is to use "Bag Balm", a vetrinary product for soothing cows udders, found at your local farm supply outlet. It provides a waterproof covering for the wound, which apparently prevents the formation of a thick, inflexible scab. Actually Vaseline does pretty much the same thing, with people asking you what breed of cows you prefer.

In either case, the overall healing time is simlar, however the latter may cause less interference with skating, scarring and hassles with scabs cracking or being torn off.

Another possibility is to use a "Newskin" type product, the one I've seen comes in a bottle, you put it one, the alcohol (sting!) evaporates, leaving a thin, flexible membrane, which seems to work on the same idea as above, but it's dry on the outside, not gooky.

Please treat such wounds with respect, infection, scarring or prolonged healing periods are always a possibility, especially with larger area's of damaged skin or contamination.

From: (Matt Hicks)

Well, I checked out what everyone else suggested and I didn't see this one exactly, so here goes. I have a friend who is a (semi?) pro speed skater and has taken some nasty spills at high speed. Last year he ripped up his right thigh/buttock when he hit a wet spot in a turn--it was uuugly. Anyway, he used either neosporin or a burn creme (road rash is 90% burn anyway) and he covered the wound completely with plastic wrap held on with medical tape. There was nothing special about the wrap--just Saran Wrap or the equivalent. I've had a lot of rash from bicycle racing and I've never seen anything heal as quickly or as well as this lump of hamburger did. He never got a scab going; the wound just got smaller and smaller until it was gone. The main thing you need to do with this treatment is clean the wound really well--I'm guessing he probably cleaned it thoroughly twice a day (morning and evening). The next time I get scraped up I'm going to try this treatment myself--if nothing else it will keep the wound from oozing through my clothes--yuck!

From: (Steven Malcolm Nichols)

Finally, on the subject of road rash. I've heard people advocate both covering the area to try to keep a scab from forming and airing it. I have tried both and don't really have a preference. I believe that the most important thing you can do is keep it clean (i.e. wash/clean it a couple of times a day) and of course, keep it from getting infected. 3M makes a product called second skin, I think the original application was for burn victims. Second skin is something like 96% water & 4% miracle plastic that acts as a skin. A couple of people mentioned Neosporin; I was told by a paramedic that Neosporin in large quantities can be toxic -- he couldn't really be quantitative about what this means, but just be aware. I have found antecdotally (and maybe I even read this somewhere) that sunlight seems to encourage pink shiny scar tissue (dang! I'll never be a swimsuit model now!), so you might want to let the rash heal up before you go tanning at the beach.

From: (Adam Pratt)

I do not have any quick fixes for road rash, though I have had a lot! I mean a lot! Nine days ago I launched off a 4 and a half foot ledge from one parking lot to another. There is about 12-15 feet of mulch and bushes slanting between the parking lot I jumped from and the parking lot below I was jumping into. It was an awesome jump, but at the bottom, I did not quite make the pavement. My skates hit soft mulch at the botom, dug in an inch, and my 10+ mph threw by body on the pavement. Most of the weight hit my wrist guards and the front of my helmet. If I did not have wrist guards on, I would have shattered by hands, wrists, and forearms. It was intense! I could not hold all my weight aand slid out on my right elbow and right hip (OUCH on the hip!)

Anyway, I just wanted to share my awesome spill with you friends. It was one of the most intense spills I have seen. Now back to the road rash part...

I already had a scar on my right hip from a previous spill. Now I have a bigger one. The way to get rid of it is to COAT it with vitamin E oil. Do not wait for it to heal, then use it. Scrub it hard, ointment like crazy, let it scab, and then DON'T pick! As soon as it is starts to get hard, keep vitamin E oil on it constantly!

I have had two major surgeries on each shin and the cut me alle the way up and down. I did not use Vitamin E the first time and the scars were nasty. I used it the second time and you can barely see them! I really believe this stuff helps! You can buy it at GNC and other health food stores.


After my first crash, where the Fire Department guys had to clean me up, I started to cary first aid supplies (each crach statistic is a statistic in favor of baning inline skating). I have the following in my bag:

Large bandaids (2 in.) Gauze pads (for covering wounds and for cleaning wounds) Anticeptic wipes Neosporin ointment

I even found use for these at the ice rink this past winter, when I cut my self on my blades. Yes, I have goten road rash from the ice rink although, I think it was where the elastic underwear band abraded my skin.

From: (Jim Aites)

: Anticeptic wipes : Neosporin ointment

DERMABLAST - a spray-on topical anesthetic. (smaller container required)

How about something for the 'shockies'? I hate seeing black-n-white (with stars)! I know, "sit down and put your head between your knees", but I was thinking of something more along the line of Asperin, a shot of scotch, or some other good analgesic. ;)

From: (Mark Ginsberg)
Date: 12 May 1995 03:00:03 GMT

I race and fall off of bicycles far too often, and now to increase the departure of my skin from my body I race skates too. so for road rash there are a few things you can do.

1. Keep it clean, the day it happens take a bath in some anti-bacterial soap (aka Laundry detergent -seriously!)

2. then thre are two theories I have seen:
2a. keep it dry. Let cuts air dry and scab up. yummy
2b. Moisture (buddy) keep covered with neosporin, or the like then cover with saran wrap (sorry for all the name brands) and a big bandage to soak up all the oozey stuff. Change dressing 2x a day or more. I use both methods depending on where a cut is, I keep my hips moist b/c they will heal faster that way, but be messier for the first few days. my knees, they get to scab. keeps my mom upset 3000 miles away!

Also to keep them moist you can by these product that look alot like pre cut saran wrap with vetilation slits which you place over a cut and leave on for 7 days, does the same thing, but looks a lot cooler, so if chosing bandaging for looks check those out.


From: Sir Erick (
Subject: Re: speed skate laces

In <3p69o0$> (Michael
Kin Wong) writes: 
>Is there anyone out there who has a method
>of making laces slip less as you are tightening
>them up?  I've heard of waxing the laces...does
>this work and more importantly how do you do it?
>Other suggestions welcome...
>                                -mike

I don't know if this is even relevant but, when you tie your skates at
the top, you know, the crossover tie before you make the little bow? 
Well, instead of doing one crossover, do two.  This is called a
surgeons knot and it will hold tight while you make the pretty little
bow at the top.  Get it?  I hope so because without this knot, I'd
still be asking people to "put your finger here while I tie this

From: (GRamsey887)
Subject: Re: speed skate laces
Date: 14 May 1995 21:50:20 -0400

>Is there anyone out there who has a method
>of making laces slip less as you are tightening
>them up?  I've heard of waxing the laces...does
>this work and more importantly how do you do it?
>Other suggestions welcome...

While you might be able to wax laces, most people buy laces that are
pre-waxed.  You won't find them at the mass merchants, but most of the
decent rinks or skate shops should have some.

Subject: Re: speed skate laces
Date: 15 May 1995 07:26:20 GMT

Try the following lacing style if you haven't already.

 -------o-    +0++++++
          \ +
            + \
         + \
            + \
         + \
          +   \

Two points to keep in mind...

1. The diagonal laces are always underneath the laces going 
   straight across.
2. The laces that go straight across are always on the outside 
   of the lace holes.

      ======|==           ==|======
        ----+               +----

To tighten, start at the bottom and pull each straight-across 
lace tight working your way to the top.  This pattern keeps 
the tension on previous lace while you tighten the next.  
The laces also tend not to come loose as easliy.

Hope this helps,

From: (R.Manes)
Subject: Re: speed skate laces
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 08:55:04

I just wanted to second the notion of the waxed laces- my Raps boots came with 
them, and they work. Another trick taught to me by the guy who sold me the 
skates is to lace with the laces going down into the holes, rather than up 
through them, as is conventional. This way you can adjust each lace crossing 
to the tension you like, and it'll stay there since the down lacing sort of 
locks it in place. Try it- you'll like it.

From: Glenn Rasmussen 
Subject: Re: inline laces
Date: 15 May 1995 16:11:33 GMT (Michael Kin Wong) wrote:
> Is there anyone out there who has a method
> of making laces slip less as you are tightening

Try lacing your skates by putting the lace in the top of each eyelet. It
locks the lace down as you pull it tight.  This is a trick I learn from
ice speedskating. I find it a very effective technique.


From: (Michael Rainone)
Subject: Re: Simmons Boot sources
Date: Sat, 13 May 1995 13:47:51 -0400

In article <3nrt9m$se1@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU>,
(Mark Drela) wrote:
> I'd like to get the Simmons boot, so...
> 1) Is there a local source near Boston?
> 2) Does anyone have the phone # for Simmons?
>    I heard that you can order from them directly.
> 3) Is there a mail-order place that has them?
>    I know you can get them from Team Paradise, but it's 
>    been over a month since I called for their catalog
>    with no results.

Simmons fax # is 816.454.2668.  I've heard that the Twister model is very
backordered.  The most popular boot through Paradise is the Typhoon whic
is a lower cut, more like the Viking.  I was lucky enough to have gotten
my Twisters last season.   They are excellent boots, High Quality
materials and superb craftsmanship are Daves trademark.  It's money well

From: (Kimon Papahadjopoulos)
Subject: Re: Viking Boots
Date: Tue, 04 Apr 1995 11:54:58 -0800

In article <3lqsgs$1qb@darkstar.UCSC.EDU>, (Adam Katz )
> What are people's opinions of the Viking boots?  The bont boot looks
> like it would give more ankle support, how much difference would this
> make?  I would most likely get the non-moldable Viking boots, how should 
> they fit?  

I would definetly not recommend the Viking Marathon or Thermo for that matter
as a first racing boot because they really do have minimal ankle support.

This means that if you have never skated on racing skates before, it could
be a good long while before you will be able to skate faster than in your
four wheelers.

Also, because they have so little support and because they expand over
time, you should try to get the smallest size possible that will fit your
foot.  Which means that unless you happen to have just the correct shape
of foot, the break-in time is both long and painful.

Furthermore, the Vikings use a variable distance mounting system which for
most sizes means that the frame you will buy will be incompatible with
other racing skates like the Bont.  So the frame you buy for your Vikings
will probably not work for the next pair of skates you buy unless you buy
Vikings again.

On the plus side, Vikings are very well made and very precise skates.  They
give you a lot of control (as long as your ankles don't get tired) and
because they have such low ankle support they will make you a better
skater, because you can't rely on the boot to hold your edge for you.

But even once you learn to use them, for most people they leave something
to be desired for the sprint (you know, the most important part of the
race) and in tight turns.  I know several people who once they switched
away from Vikings say while they loved their Vikings, they are faster in
other boots.

In my opinion, Vikings are still useful as a training boots, but I think
you will see fewer and fewer Vikings on the starting line as boot building
know-how gets better.  After all, Vikings are long track boots, and there
are finally some boot manufacturers that understand the subtle differences
that an inline boot requires.

For your first racing skate, I'd try the K2 Extreme Speed.  It's being
sold in modular components, and the boot seems to sell for $200-$300 vs
>$400 for the Thermo.  I saw several of them at the last race I went to
last week, including a friend of mine who was previously skating on the
Marathon.  He likes them a lot, and had no trouble with them in the 27
mile race, and I think he got them last week.  Now that's an

From: (Wonsup Song)
Subject: Re: Viking Boots
Date: 5 Apr 1995 21:54:00 GMT

In article <3lucof$>, (Marc Abrams) says:
>Unless you are really going to be training 3 hour a day, I doubt
>whether you will develop enough ankle strength to skate competitively
>in Vikings. Look at the Fitness Fanatics Veloce or K2 Extreme Speed or
>2 Extreme boots. They fit much nicer than Bonts, are made better, and
>are less expensive. Give me a call if you have questions.

If you decide not to get Vikings because of the low-cut, I would not buy
2 Extreme boots either. 2 Extreme has no cuffs, and it took me for a while to 
get use to it (I used to skate on Bont Hustler boots, now I use it for 
In-doors). Go for Extreme Speed. They give you better lateral support than 2 
Extreme (no support).

It is true (at least for me) that K2 fits better than Bont. But it does not
mean you should get K2. There are other fine boots such as Simmons(Great Boots).
Everyone's feet are different so some brand boots fit you better than others.

About the price of K2 2 Extreme, I paid $199(retail $339.95). It is the best 
boots for that price range ($300-450 racing boots). I can buy Extreme Speed for 
$189. So shop around.

From: (Martin Sripan)
Subject: Re: [INL]  Narrow Feet
Date: 11 Apr 1995 13:07:28 GMT

When I bought my ski boots (later returning them) the specialists
at the shop told me that they could expand or contract the plastic
in the boot, specifically fitting it to my needs. When I bought
my Roces CDG '94 the booklet that came with it gave information
on a RPF [Roces Personal Fit] which is essentially a system to
inject silicon(e) into the boot liner, which later hardens.
There is also the ThermoFlex which can be used in some boot shells,
but it costs about $150.

Racing Frames

From: me

Some people have asked what the difference is between the various types of racing frames. Here's all I know (which may not be 100% correct). The frames tend to be made in three ways:

Most of the mid/high-end frames out there tend to be extruded. As far as I can tell most of the pros use extruded frames, so they ought to be fine for most anyone. You may see the term "triple-extrusion". I'm not sure what this means. Maybe they have some sort of 3-step process to extrude the frame.

General Race Stuff

From: (Eric Simmon)
Subject: Re: [INL] Race question..
Date: 6 Apr 95 20:25:01 GMT (Amy Ryan) writes:
>I have only participated in traditional distance races, but they are 
>going to sponsor a criterion (sp????) locally.  They say its 25 minutes
>and then 2 laps... I read an article about a similar race at the PanAm
>games..  can someone explain exactly how these races work?

A criterium is (originally) a type of bicycle race.

The course is usually .6 to 1.5 miles long (ie. short)
with sharp corners (usually around a city block or two).
The races are usually fast paced, with a lot of body contact.
There can also be preems (sp) (premiums) which are prizes given at 
different points in the race to whoever is first at that
moment (usually given at the halfway point).  they are 
great spectator races because the cyclists come around once
every couple of minutes instead of once (as in a road race).

As far as  the 25 min + 2 laps goes, this just means you race
for twenty five minutes, at which point you have two laps to 


Stay near the front of the pack drafting as much as you can, while 
keeping the leaders close by.  If one or two people make a breakaway,
let them go (unless you KNOW they are strong enough to stay out front
the rest of the race).  If a larger group makes a breakaway, and
you feel good, jump on it, just be prepared to do your share of pulling
(skating in front so others can draft).  Try to conserve strength 
as much as you can.  Criteriums usually come down to a sprint finish,
so your best chance of winning is to stay fresh and be in good 
position for the finish.  Unless you feel strong enough to just 
break away and leave everyone in your dust.  One other thing: turning
is key!  I was in a inline race where the eventual winner was a beginner
ice track skater (the rest of us where distance skaters).  He got out front
near the beginning of the race and because his speed was greater in the
corners (and he didn't have to watch out for people around him) his
lead just got greater through every corner.


From: (Wonsup Song)
Subject: [INL][SPEED] Skin Suits for In-line skating?
Date: 18 Apr 1995 05:06:04 GMT

I have been speed skating for a while but, I was never concerned about what I
wear. I usually wear a Lycra/Nylon tight shorts and a bycicle jersey (I bike 
too).  It worked fine for me so far. My friend Dean who races for Team K2 wears
this cool purple skin suit. He told me it was made especially for K2 racers by 
Pearl Izume.  He said that, what you wear makes a big difference in air 
resistance and dragging. 

Out of curiosity, how many non-profesional skaters out there wears skin suit?
O.K. what do you speedsters wear? I know all these professional skaters from 
team Rollerblade, K2, Hyper, etc all wear these skin suits. I heard it reduces 
about 5% of the air-resistence than normal tight clothes. Does it make a big 
difference? or would it give me about same effects as wearing Lycra tight 
shorts and bike jersey? 

Where do people get one? I am talking about skin suit especially made for 
In-line skating because these bike skin-suits have pads in the middle and I 
don't like it. How much do they cost? I know bike ones cost about $99. Who 
makes one?

Do they have back pockets like bike jersey, to put watter bottles, keys and 
stuff? One thing that I don't like about bike jersey is that I can't put my 
water bottle in the pocket. Everytime I go up hills or speed up(swinging both 
of my arms), the bottle in my back pocket would swing left and right and 
through me off rhythm (because it moves left when I move right, and right when 
I move left). So I ended up holding the bottle in my hands all the time. Does 
skin suit has same problem or they hold stuff better? (All the skin suit that 
I have seen didn't have back pockets though)

Where do professional skaters put their watter bottles? ( I guess for long 
distances such as N.Y. 100K and Athens to Atlanta 85miles,etc ) Or maybe they 
don't carry ones around? I saw Eddy Matzger holding these watter bottles in 
his hands and racing for pretty long distance/time.

From: (Erik de Haas)
Subject: Re: [INL][SPEED] Skin Suits for In-line skating?
Date: 18 Apr 1995 14:21:50 +0200

>	Out of curiosity, how many non-profesional skaters out there wears skin suit?
>O.K. what do you speedsters wear? I know all these professional skaters from 
>team Rollerblade, K2, Hyper, etc all wear these skin suits. I heard it reduces about 
>5% of the air-resistence than normal tight clothes. Does it make a big difference? or
>would it give me about same effects as wearing Lycra tight shorts and bike jersey? 


Here all (even remotely) serious ice speed skaters wear skin suits, at
least in the races. For marathon
and very long distance there are even skin suits that have pockects at the
back (approximately in the place where the pockects are on cycling clothes).
In summer, with nice wheather, on inlines, these suits are a little too warm,
I would think. That is where those skinsuits you mentioned come in handy
(short sleeves and legs). Here (in Holland) I only saw those suits at
races. But almost all the racers wear them, (we do not have any proffesionals
here, only some good inline skaters get sponsors for cloathing and
equipment). When on ICE I changed from 'tight' cloating to a skin suit, I
instantaniously smashed my personal records. It does make a difference.
In summer, on 5-wheelers, I never squeezed myself into a skin suit. But then
I do not race on my inlines; I only use them in summer for training, for
remembering how it should be done on ice in winter. 

Erik de Haas
Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science
University of Amsterdam
The Netherlands

From: (SticksSk8s)
Subject: Re: [INL][SPEED] Skin Suits for In-line skating?
Date: 19 Apr 1995 00:09:31 -0400

Skin suits are alot more comfy that bike shorts! Also, they DO keep you
cool in the summer, since your sweat will evaporate off the lycra pretty
quick. Most custom made suits can be made with a pocket in the back for a
water bottle. I've gotten suits made by a place called Young
Originals...517-688-4860. Call them and they'll send you a catalogue, all
you need to do is pick out a design (one of theirs or one of your own),
the colors, and send them your measurements. An inline suit with short
sleeves and legs cost from $50-70 depending on the designs. Right now I
get them made by a woman in the area who also makes artistic skating
outfits, you might want to check out local skate rinks to see if they have
anybody who does the same. Good luck!!


From: "K. S. Manning" 
Subject: Re: [INL][SPEED] Skin Suits for In-line skating?
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 1995 19:56:55 GMT

Don't steer clear of cycling clothing entirely.  I'm coming
off a long period of bike racing, so I have lot's of shorts.
I have found it little trouble to take the chamois (the "pad")
out of the shorts using a seam-ripper (available at any fabric/
sewing shop).

I now wait for Performance to have a clearance sale, get a pair
of cheap cycling shorts or a skinsuit, and take the chamois out.

BikeNashbar's sales seem better but less frequent.

Performance  800-727-2433
Nashbar  800-NASHBAR

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