The Course...  

The Event...  

Your skates  
Rain gear  
Hydration system


Training Tips (5)

Updated November 23, 2003



It should be obvious that your helmet and wrist-guards are essential protection, no matter what your level of skill, nor whether or not you plan to go fast. Falls happen to the best of us, and when they do we're taken completely by surprise. With helmet and wrist-guards on you can survive a dramatic fall with nothing more than a few scrapes. Without wrist-guards you can not only seriously damage your hands, which is painful indeed, but incur injury to other body parts because you didn't have wrist-guards to slide on. And without a helmet a trivial low-speed fall can put you in a coma or worse. Make sure this essential equipment fits you securely! Some other items to consider:

 Equipment -- Your skates 

Your skates...  Are your wheels and bearings in as good shape as you are? If fine weather is forecast, you may want to outfit your wheels with oiled bearings for the speed advantage. On the other hand, if there's any chance of rain, you would be wise to use greased bearings. Bearings with the original factory grease will keep you rolling through anything. Many skaters will switch to cheap greased bearings (ABEC 3 or an old set of ABEC 5) when they know it's going to rain. That way they can just throw them away afterwards.



 Equipment -- Skate-tools 

Skate-tools.  Be sure to bring whatever tools you need to tighten the bolts on your skates: not just the axles, but the frame-bolts if you're on speedskates. If you use a heel-brake, make sure it isn't badly worn or in danger of coming loose. Far too many skaters get into trouble because of wheels falling off or frames coming loose; in the 1999 Défi, one skater's heel-brake was loose only an hour or two after starting.



 Equipment -- First-aid supplies 

First-aid supplies.  Antiseptic pads come in very handy when you need them, if not to clean an injury then to wash your hands after a visit to some decrepit toilet. A small, ziplock plastic bag with pads or towelettes moistened with alcohol fits easily into your fanny-pack. You could also carry a couple of bandages just in case.



 Equipment -- Rain gear 

Rain gear?  In cold weather with a chance of rain, it could be a good idea to carry protection from the rain. Some skaters carry a simple garbage bag with holes cut for the head and arms, sometimes even with duct-tape applied to taper it to the waist. You can carry this folded up tight so you don't even notice it till you need it; then it could help keep you warm at least.



 Equipment -- Clothing 

Clothing.  The Défi takes place in mid-October, when you never really know what the weather might do. Usually it's Indian Summer, mild enough for some skaters to wear shorts and even a T-shirt, though others would find that cool. At this time of year you could get the equivalent of a fine summer day, but you could also get snow! If you are travelling some distance to take part in the Défi, you should come equipped for everything and pay close attention to the evolving weather forecast. Here are some other tips to consider:



 Equipment -- Hydration system 

Hydration system.   If you don't already own a Camelbak (or any similar system with a capacity around 1.9 litres or 70 oz), do consider investing in one. Camelbaks have a tube that extends from the reservoir and clips to a shoulder-strap, letting you sip a little at a time whenever you wish. This is far, far easier than using a bottle, particularly one carried in the hand or stowed in a backpack. The Camelbak is also perfect for carrying Gatorade or a liquid fuel such as Cytomax.


Training for the Event Ü Þ The Taper