Trials and tribulations of a beginner skate skier
Firstly, to set your minds at ease: I finally completed the Lazy Bunny Loppet and returned home safely. I have had time to recover so I no longer look as haggard as I did in the photo Steve posted of me.
Regarding skate skiing, I just started about a month ago and progress has been fairly slow. Today though, I think I had a bit of a breakthrough.
After skiing several loops of the oval with my poles against my butt – parallel to my butt, (not perpendicular like a fussili Jerry - for those of you that don't know the drill) and something finally clicked. I could finally get my ankles close between strides without falling over :)
Now, you know how they say the biggest mistake newbies make is skiing with their feet too wide apart. Well everyone kept telling me to try clicking my ankles to get my feet closer together. I think the good skiers like to keep a secret about that process. Maybe I'm a little slow, but I pictured clicking my ankles with my skies parallel – which I now believe is near to impossible. The trick is to keep your foot at about a 45 degree angle and click your heel to your ankle (bending you knee a little helps too).
Those of you who have been skating for a while are probably thinking “Duh” right now, but I just want to help any of the other newbies who are struggling with this concept. I'm hoping in a couple years all these minor points will be instinctive to me, but right now some of the smallest details help in figuring out how to skate.
Maybe now I'll be able to finish the next race before it gets dark :)
(PS. I'd like to thank Jacek for his pointers today as well.)