Getting the Band Back

My passion for ice skating has melted. I haven’t stepped into the rink in weeks. I miss it. I’ll get back to it someday.and continue to learn the jumps.

I have been rollerblading with my sons on a regular basis, thanks to Xuân. I am so glad that he has been asking me to take him to the skatepark. I am dragging Đạo and Đán along too. It feels like getting the band back together. The vibe is there. Xuân is getting his chops on the scooter again. Đạo is gaining more confidence. They both can drop in from high ramps. Đán is a natural skater. He dropped in with one foot. How crazy is that?

As for me, I haven’t learned new techniques. I am just taking it easy and enjoying spending time with my sons. It’s nice to get them off the screen and out of the house. They used to protest, but my wife made them go with me. It’s their benefit to have a routine and to get some exercise. I don’t set any goals or expectations. We just skate for fun. The skatepark is always free and usually not crowded. All we need is a good pair of skates, a helmet, and protective gears. We’ll continue to hit the skatepark as long the weather permits.

We can’t wait to go skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The boys have all the gears. Vương will be using his skis from last year. My wife got Xuân and Đạo brand new twin-tip skis. We rented a snowboard package for Đán for a whole season. I now have two pairs of used skis I had tuned up and ready to go. My wife can use one pair if she wants to. She just needs to buy the boots. I also bought a used snowboard to learn. I want to give it another try this season. I’ll learn it on my own from YouTube rather than getting lessons. We’ll see how that goes.

Still Skating

After the summer hiatus, I stepped back into the rink for the first time last Wednesday. Needless to say, my chops have become rusty. I went back to the basics and tried my loop and flip jumps. I still need a lot of practice, but I am just taking my time. I am not in any rush. As long as I don’t lose interest like my kids, I’ll just keep going.

Aggressive skating is going well for me. I hit the skatepark everyday. I haven’t done anything too crazy, just learning to stall on the quarter pipe and to grind a bit. The progression is slow, but I am enjoying it. Aggressive skating is a good exercise for an old man like me. The skatepark is always free and if I come at the right time, I get the whole part to myself. My sons joined me sometimes, but their hearts aren’t in it like they used to. My second son is such a natural skater. Even though he doesn’t practice everyday like me, he surpasses me. He can just skate with effortlessness.

I can’t wait for the winter to come so we can hit the slopes. Fortunately my sons are still interested in skiing and snowboarding. We already bought the Epic pass for the three old kids and myself. My youngest is still free and he will be reusing his skis from last year. Xuân is all set with brand new boots and a pair of twin-tip skis. We’re still searching for a snowboard for Đán and a pair of twin-tip skis for Đạo. My wife isn’t sure what she wants to do yet.

For me, I bought a new pair of ski boots, Lance RX 120, to replace an old pair of Lance for junior I bought last year for $40. I’ve worn them out already. I also bought a pair of Head XENON Xi 5.0 for $50. I didn’t know what the heck I was purchasing. It turned out to be such a fantastic pair of skis. I went from green to double black diamonds in them. I only started to do some research yesterday and this pair was made in 2008. It is still in great shape after 14 years.

Over the summer, I bought a pair of K2 Apache Sabre (119-72-103) for $75, which came with poles and a bag. I thought it was a good deal. It turned out this pair was also made in 2008. As much as I love my Head skis, I wanted to let my wife use it to learn on the bunny. It might be a bit too long for her. I tuned up both my K2 and Head skis; therefore, they will be ready to hit the slope in the winter.

Two months ago, I picked up a used Burton White Collection snowboard for $35 for my second son, but it is a bit too big and heavy for him. I am thinking of giving snowboarding another try. I didn’t do too well last season, but I gave up after I bruised my thumb when I stuck my hand in the magic belt. Đán, my second son, took the lessons together with me, but he advanced so quickly. He went from the bunny slope to double black diamonds in a month or so. My hope is to get to the blue slopes on snowboarding.

Them Wheels

I finally replaced the Flying Eagle wheels (66mm/90a) with Them wheels (58mm/90a). The original wheels were badly out of shapes when I learned to do the power brakes. They were to the point where I could feel the wobbling, which made dropping in a bit scary. I took a while to do the research because I didn’t know if all the aggressive wheels were compatible. In addition, aggressive wheels were so expensive. A pack of 4 wheels cost $40. For 8 wheels, I would spend $80 and I didn’t know if the wheels would be any good. I was also contemplating on getting a new pair of aggressive skates for $150.

A few weeks ago, I found special deal on Roller Warehouse: $20 for a pack of 4 Them wheels. With free shipping, I ordered 2 packs. Replacing the wheels were easier than I had imagined. I am loving the new wheels. They are smoother. The wheels are also smaller, which made skating more stable.

With the new wheels I am holding off on buying another pair of aggressive skates unless I find a good deal. I still am loving my Flying Eagle Enkidu even though the H-block is a bit too small, which makes grinding and stalling harder. I am just going to spend more time working those skills.

Saved by the Helmet

This morning, I tried jumping into the quarter pipe, fell down, and hit my head on the metal ramp. Fortunately I had my helmet on. I still felt the impact. I left the skate park and sat on the bench to make sure I could drive home. I took off my helmet and realized I lost my glasses. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. I can’t recall what I did with it.

I had been rollerblading almost everyday for about half an hour. I used the quarter pipe the most to pump forward and backward. I also got a hang of the 180 turns on the pipe. I learn how to stall as well as how to grind. I still have a long way to go, but I am taking my time and being more cautious. I just want to use aggressive skating as a form of exercise.

I haven’t set my foot in the ice rink for a long time. I need to pick up figure skating again. Once the summer is over, I hope that public sessions at the ice rink near my workplace will change so that I can take my lunch break and hit the rink.

I can’t wait for the winter to ski again. I bought a used snowboard. I might give snowboarding another try. It looked fun, but I couldn’t get a hang of it. We’ll see.

YF YouFu Three-Wheel Skates

I bought a pair of three-wheel YF YouFu skates on Amazon to replace my four-wheel Rollerblade Zetrablade. I want a comfortable pair of skates for skating on paved bike trails and boardwalks. The last time I skated on the boardwalk in Wildwood with the Zetrablade, I felt the pain on my feet.

I took the YF for a spin on the bike trail yesterday and it felt smoother. The big wheels were intimidating because they sped up. In addition, the skates have no heel brake. My T-stop isn’t so good. I need more practice. My power stop is decent, but I am not sure if I can do it at a fast speed.

I need to spend more time with the YF to get a grip on it. I spent $90 for it on Amazon Warehouse and I’ll definitely put it to good use. I am still searching for an affordable aggressive pair of skates.

No Motivation

I haven’t stepped into an ice rink for at least three weeks. I guess I am taking a break from ice skating. I don’t when I am going to pick it up again. I am stuck at the loop and flip jumps.

I only rollerblade for half an hour each day. I am not learning anything new. I just keep doing the same things over and over again. I am not making any progress at all. I am losing my passion for rollerblading as well. I felt intimidated when I met much better aggressive skaters. I used to be the only rollerblader at the parks, but now there seems to be more. They were super friendly, but I just felt embarrassed.

I am not sure where I am heading with these sports. I guess I am showing my age after all. I still want to skate recreationally though.

No Progress

My ice skating progress is stalling. I still can’t accomplish my flip and loop jumps. I am about to hit the reset button and go back from the beginning to relearn all the techniques the correct way. I just plowed through them the first time and now I am stuck. It’s time for me to let it go. My kids have moved on a long time ago. They don’t even want to skate around the rink for fun.

I am not making much progress in rollerblading either. My power stops were good, but they caused my wheels to worn out. I can’t find the wheels for my Flying Eagle aggressive skates to replace. I might just look into getting a new pair either USD Sway or Roces. I am learning to do fakies and turns on the quarter pipes. The other day, I watched a guy skated effortlessly around the bowl. He just jumped into the ramp without coping and he did a fakie from the high bowl with ease. I was in awe. I’ll get to his level one day. For now, I am just enjoying what I have accomplished up to this point. My kids aren’t interested in rollerblade anymore despite my attempt to get them to the skate parks.

My kids are looking forward to skiing though. My wife and I started to buy gears for them. Since I can now tuning up our skis in our basement, we can get used skis that are still in good conditions. I have sharpened, fixed the bases, and waxed our our skis. Once the winter arrives, we’ll be able to hit the slopes.

I bought Đán a used snowboard. The board and the bindings appear to be in good shape; therefore, I am not sure why the seller only listed it for $35. All I need to do now is tuning it up and getting him a new pair of boots. The board is a bit heavy. I am not sure if Đán can handle it. We’ll see!

My Shoe Size

I have discovered that I have been wearing the wrong shoe size all my life. Since I preferred to have some room in my toes, I had always pick size 8 (US), but my actual size is 6.5 (US). Now that I am used to skating shoes, my regular shoes feel weird. A few weeks ago, I bought a new pair of Adidas running shoes size 7 to replace my size-8 pair. Even then it still feels roomy. Recently, I took an audit of all my shoes and here are what I have found:

Shoes

  • Adidas Running Shoes: 7 (US). The actual size should be 6.5
  • Flying Eagle Aggressive Skates: 39 – 40 (EU). This pair fits perfect.
  • Rollerblade Zetrablade: 8 (US). This pair is way too big for me. I only use it to skate on bike trails or boardwalk.
  • Bauer S29 Hockey Skates: 5.5D (US). This is a junior pair. It felt tight on me. I haven’t skated in it ever since I switched to my figure skates.
  • Jackson Ultima Ice Skates Freestyle Fusion: 6.5 (US), 39.5 (EU). This pair fits really well. I still wear this for ice skating.
  • Lance RX 120 Ski Boots: 25.5 (Mondo). I just bought this pair. It is brand new and I have not used it yet.
  • YF YouFu 110mm Three-Wheel Inline Skates: 7 (men), 25 cm

Skis

  • Head XENON Xi 5.0 (2008): 149 cm. I love this pair. Despite its used condition, it took me from green all the way up to double black diamond last season.
  • K2 Apache Sabre 2008 (119-72-103): 153 cm. I also bought this one used. Will see how it will perform next season.

Snowboard

  • Burton White Collection (2008): 143 cm

Protective Gears

Protective gears are very important for safety. I love these sports, but I can’t effort to take the risk.

  • Helmet: 22″ – 23″ (56 – 58 cm)
  • Wrist: 7″ – 8″
  • Knee: 14″ – 16″
  • Elbow: 10″ – 11″

Wish list

I will purchase these when the prices are right.

  • 187 KILLER PADS
  • USD Aeon Aggressive Skates
  • Three-Wheel Rollerblade

Wakefield Skatepark Renovates

On Wednesday I went to Wakefield skatepark to rollerblade around and to do a few drops before it would be closed for renovations. The skatepark has been in a bad condition for a while. Since it was built in April 2004, the woods are aging and the screws are popping off everywhere. A major renovation is a must. I will miss skating there over the summer, but I can’t wait for the new park to complete. The new design looks pretty sweet. In the mean time, I’ll just go to Van Dyck or other skateparks.

I still enjoy rollerblading. I try to skate at least 30 minutes a day. I still drop in and pump out. I try not to push the power stops too hard because my wheels have been worn quite a bit. I am learning to do fakies as well as jump turns on the half pipes. I have not worked up the courage to drop into the deepest end of the big bowl at the Powhatan Springs Skatepark. At my age, I no longer wanted to take the risk. I am just taking it easy.

As far as figure skating, I am still stuck on the flip and loop jumps after months of learning and practicing. I am starting to straighten out my landings, but I often landed to a stand still instead of checking out nicely. I still have a long way to go on both of these techniques, but I am in no rush. I am going to take as much time as I need. The ice rink is close to my workplace; therefore, I have been using my lunch hour to skate. Spending $15 for an hour public session is a bit too pricy, but the trade off is that the rink is usually empty. Sometimes there were only three or four skaters.

At home, I had set up my tuning station and I have been tuning up our skis to get them ready for the winter. I am taking my time with them. I just work on them when I have a few down hours on the weekends. I sharped the edges, removed burrs and rust, and repaired the bases. I am going to try waxing next when I have free time. Somehow I find tuning up skis satisfying, especially seeing the end results. Because I take my time with them, I do more thorough job in the details than the ski shops. They have way too many skis and snowboards; therefore, they have to plow through them quickly and their prices aren’t cheap. I can’t wait for the winter so we can take these skis for a run.

Stuck

My figure-skating progression has come to a halt. I am stuck on the loop jump and the flip jump. Taking off and landing on the same foot have been a challenge. I can’t maintain the balance to check out. I am thinking of hitting the reset button to spend more time relearning all the basic skills to build a stronger foundation.

Last night I went back to Fairfax Ice Arena to see how my old colleagues were doing. I spoke to two of them and they struggled with the loop and flip jumps as well. The other two colleagues had dropped out of Freestyle 4. There were only four students left. The struggle is real and I am not alone. They encouraged me to keep going. I am going to keep trying for a few more weeks to see where I go.

As for rollerblading, my pumps have improved a bit. I’ll just keep pumping more. The drops are now solid. I am still working on my power stop and T stop. I want to get these techniques down first before moving on.

Đạo and Đán are rejoining me at the skateparks. Xuân is also picking up his scooter again. It is nice to hang out with my boys. We just enjoyed the rides. We don’t need to push ourselves into doing things beyond our comfort level. Of course, we get to have boba tea afterwards. Skating life is good.