Derby icon makes it in the ESPN Magazine Body Issue for 2011

How awesome is this??!!??

Suzy Hotrod, skater for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby.

Many other athletic bodies are featured. View the full photo set here. Issue hits the stands Oct. 7!

Advertisements

…and now for something a little different

This is what we do in our spare time…


I guess I should explain a little bit… every month the Dames and friends get together to celebrate the birthdays of the month. This one was a themed SPARKLE PARTY fashioned after this video

We decided we couldn’t look this fabulous without hitting up a local bar with a kick ass flash-mob-esque dance routine. This is our dress rehearsal. So there you go… something a little different.

This is WordPress’ idea for an April Fool’s joke… did anyone else get this?

Well played WordPress... well played.

I logged into my stats to find a huge bar indicating over 100 hits in one day! But I mouse over on the actual bar to find my real hits. What a bunch of comedians those WordPress people are.

And finally, the Cherri Cam!


I went for my first hard outdoor skate this evening. (STATS 9 km in 35 minutes, top speed 23.9km/hour) But just for fun I decided to pull out my video camera and record my favourite section of trail I like to skate on during my last 5 minutes. According to my GPS I was traveling at about 18 km/hour, hence the bumpy, jiggly video.

With the video reminiscent of being chased by zombies, I decided to pay homage to one of my favourite local Calgary bands, The Nix Dicksons and play one of my favourite songs, Curtis’ Zombie Movie. Enjoy!

To hear more the Nix Dicksons, go here!

Exciting things coming up the track!

Did you ever wish for something so hard that you’re afraid to even speak of it for fear of uttering the very words it will not come to fruition?

I have that problem right now. But hopefully I will be able to share some exciting news with you soon!

Onto other updates…

It was a great derby-filled and skating weekend. I attended a conference for work in Calgary, which allowed me to take in Lloyd’s Roller Rink Friday night with my family, along with my niece and nephews. It was busy, as usual, but I had a blast skating with all the kids and putting my 5-year-old nephew on roller skates for the first time. He did great!

Saturday afternoon I attended a practice with the Glenmore Reservoir Dogs, the men’s league in Calgary. Admittedly, I was nervous practising with boys, but they were so welcoming! Mamasita’s drills were very effective, focusing on 2-3 skills within a drill instead of just one skill.

Scrimmaging was a blast in that tiny gym, with the wall essentially being out-of-bounds. I was pleased to find that I could hold my own amongst some of the 6-foot players, though I suspect they went easy on me too. hahaha It was also a pleasure to meet some other gals involved in the Calgary Roller Derby Association! I hope to hit up another Dogs practice in the near future!

This was the slipperiest floor I’ve ever skated on, but came away with some great tips on how to help with that… I’m simply not leaning enough inside to make my wheels dig. More adjustments to my skates and strength training will help that a lot. I’m looking forward to pushing myself to really lean in hard.

Sunday was my first practice as a non-fresh meat coach. While I missed kibitzing with the fresh crew, it was awesome to practice with the rest of the gals in full capacity. We’re going to be going through skills evaluation soon, so we did some work on conditioning with urging from the coach to push harder every time.

The push-pull drill is now one of my favourites as it allows us to keep track of our improvement in endurance. We pair up with a similar skater in size and skill. Then we do laps… I push my partner for one lap, then she pushes me. Then I push her for two laps, then she pushes me. This goes on until the count of 5 laps, then we switch to pulling where the skater grabs your hips and is now dead weight behind you instead of in front of you. The goal is to have each skater do 5 sets of each in 8 minutes. Myself and Bones ‘O Fury completed our 5 pushes and got to 3.5 pulls in that time frame. I’m really excited to do more than that next time!

Overall, I was really happy with my skating performance this weekend. With helpful tips from the Dogs, along with some other tips I received from Kid Kickurass and Spaz, I’m cruising along with my personal goals on hitting and toe stop running.

I can also feel the effects my extra-curricular running and derby dryland is having on my skating. I’m not nearly as tired at the end of drills I used to be, even when I’m pushing myself. It makes me excited that days of sore muscles and days where I don’t want to work out, but go anyway, are paying off!

P.S.
A huge shout out to the gals who will be at tryouts for the Calgary Roller Derby Association this weekend on April 2. Many have been training hard, attending beginner skate lessons, boot camps and picking up extra practices with the Dogs to help claim on a spot in the league! Great job and good luck!!!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!!!

Time for outdoor skating! Here’s some tips!

With spring FINALLY arriving in my neck of the woods, I managed to get out for my first outdoor skate. I thought I would take some time to share my outdoor tips (and I encourage you to share as well) because this is how most of us Dames got our training last summer when we had no access to venue space.

Be aware of moisture

Be aware of wet areas on the paths and roadways. Not only does wet pavement cause your wheels to slide out when you push, moisture can ruin your boots and wreck havoc on bearings. Moisture inside your bearings can cause them to rust and stop spinning effectively. Avoid puddles at all cost and if you happen to hit the odd splatter, dry off your skates and bearings as soon as you are done your skate.

Get some outdoor wheels

When buying wheels at any time, look at these three characteristics…

Durometer (the “A” rating): Ranges from 74A to 105A. The lower the number, the softer the wheel. Wheel durometer affects durability, shock absorption and grip on surfaces. For outdoor wheels having a lower durometer helps absorb the little bumps in the pavement and also kicks little rocks out from under your skate. Ever hit a peddle on a harder wheel? Not fun. Lower is best.

Size or Diameter: This is the height of your wheel. Shorter wheels are slower and more maneuverable while taller wheels give a smoother ride and are a faster. Choose a size based on how fast you’d like to skate outside.

Love, love, LOVE these wheels! And I use them in bouts too

Width: The narrower the wheel, the more maneuverable it is. Also keep in mind narrow wheels are less stable for new skaters, so don’t choose something that’s too narrow for your skill level.

My favourite outdoor wheels:

Radar Pure
78A durometer
66mm high
37mm width

These glide SO smooth on rough asphalt and can handle minor gravel. These are wicked fast too.

Check out the Rollergirl.ca website, for many options of outdoor wheels.

Get some outdoor bearings

Switching bearings between your indoor and outdoor wheels can be a pain and you also risk damaging them over time. A second set of bearings to leave in your outdoor wheels is highly recommended. Some gals use their old bearings for outdoor skating so they don’t really care if they get them dirty or wet. But there are some bearings on the market that are fully encased, making it more difficult to for dirt and moisture to get in. These are pricey, but if you don’t like taking apart your bearings and cleaning them, it may be worth the money.

If you don’t have a roller skate shop near you, you can go to your local skateboard shop and talk to the crew there. Skateboarders are just as hard on their bearings (even harder because they almost exclusively skate outside) and they should know which ones will be best. Don’t forget, if you get your bearings from a skateboard shop, you’ll have to buy 2 boxes worth.

You can also buy bearing guards which can help keep dirt and debris from entering your bearings. Google that to find available options.

My oldest bearings go in my outdoor wheels and I wear them until they lose their spin. You can also purchase wholesale industrial 8mm bearings for a decent price. Surf the interwebs for a dealer near you.

When you go out… protect yourself…

Yes, you will get second glances when you go out skating in full gear. You might even get laughed at. Who cares! You are not skating on a smooth, predictable surface anymore. As some gals can attest it only takes a rock, a pedestrian or even a curb to get in your way outside. There is nothing worse than bashing your knee during a pleasure skate that keeps you from practice or injuring yourself in a way that keeps you from your job.

Don’t be stupid. Gear up. Especially if you’re going out to get your sweat on. But do your league a favour and wear your team shirt. You may drum up some new recruits or fans while you’re out and about.

Recommended: I have a summer set of knee, elbow and wrist guards. They are a bit lighter than my derby set so it’s not so hot to wear when it’s +30. I use these for casual skates. I often go without elbow pads for casual skates as well and on rare occasions, sans helmet. On days when I’m skating for training, I will do full derby gear, as I have had some pretty awesome spills when I get my speed on. You’ll get tan lines from wearing your gear in the summer. Just accept it.

Staying upright

Rookie mistake when skating outdoors (and in derby): coasting on two feet and locking your knees. There is nothing worse than face-planting in public. The best way to avoid falling is to always have your feet in motion by step skating. Why? If you’re on one foot and lose your balance or hit a rock that jostles you, you can put your other foot down to regain your balance. If you’re afraid to pick up your feet and coast down trails with intermittent pushing, your face will break your fall if you lose it. For the love of derby gods, pick up your feet!

Your knees are your shock absorbers and if you hit debris while your knees are bent, your body is in the perfect position to absorb and/or react if you stumble. Locking your knees or standing up straight impedes your ability to react and will cause your body to ‘tip’ instead of ‘absorb’ if you hit a rouge pine cone. Keeping fluid by bending your knees will keep your upper body relaxed as well. But remember to keep your hips and shoulders square and core tight to maintain your balance.

Your feet will feel “weird”

The vibration from skating on a bumpy surface will reverberate into your feet and up into your legs. It may cause your feet and/or shins to get tingly or even burn. Softer wheels will lessen the sensation. But the more you skate outside, the more you will get used you it!

Momentum is your friend

Skating slow on a bumpy surface will have your upper body lurching forward every time you hit a larger crack or debris because you don’t have enough speed to go over it smoothly. Always skate within your skill level, but understand that a sidewalk crack may cause you to stumble forward if you don’t have the momentum to go over it – like a car needing momentum to go over a speed bump. If you have a stable skating stance with bent knees and are picking up your feet, recovering from those stumbles will be easier.

As you skate on different outdoor surfaces, you will learn how to adjust your momentum to  surface with little lurching.

If curbs and sidewalk transitions make you nervous

Stop. Then step down/up from them using your toe stops to help stabilize yourself, then continue skating. Build your confidence in stepping on/off curbs at a stand still and work up to navigating them while rolling. Remember that roads are curved toward sidewalks so water runs off into storm drains. Be sure to compensate your body position to keep your balance. No matter your skating ability, always slow before entering an intersection so you can stop quickly if oncoming traffic doesn’t give you the right of way.

Finding places to skate

For the beginner, skating outside can be pretty intimidating. But I found my stability increased much faster by skating lots outside. Learning to negotiate gravel, pine cones and road intersections forces you to be aware of your surroundings and makes you pick up your feet… both good skills for a beginner. Plus navigating curbs makes you do little hops and steps that are common in pack work.

If you can find a clean parking lot or abandoned stretch of road to skate around on, that’s fabulous. For me, I really enjoy skating for endurance. The longer the path the better.

Try this: Map your favourite routes using a Google map or use an app on your smart device to record distance and speed of your outdoor skates. If you have kids, push them in a stroller/chariot or push them while they ride a bike to add fun and fitness.

Here are some of my favourite trails around Lethbridge. But there are many, many more. You can access the Lethbridge pathway map by clicking here.

My favourite skate routes. Google will map the distance as you draw the routes. Or use a fitness/motion app that tracks your speed and distance as you skate.

Orange route: Westside bike path loop – 3.16 mi or 5.08 km
Great for beginners. Very few intersections to navigate through. Gradual hill climbs and good opportunities for fast skating.

Blue route: Indian Battle Park riverbottom – loops range from .5 mi or .7 km to 3.55 mi or 5.71 km. Also has stairs for dryland training.
Great area for variety – lots of paths to choose from. Good for beginner/intermediate. Some short hills, but are easily avoidable if you’re not comfortable with speed. Surfaces vary from super smooth to bumpy. Lots of pedestrians, dogs and kids to watch out for. Debris from trees can cause hazards on windy days and is prone to flooding during rainy season. Great on hot summer days because of the shade from trees.

Red route: Pt 1 – Green strip to Henderson – 3 mi or 4.82 km
A nice cruise. Good for beginner/intermediate. Road intersections should be handled with caution, as some don’t have smooth transitions. Paths are generally clear but watch for gravel and pine cones. There are some sections where the path is terrible, but they are short-lived. Some short hills and opportunities for speed.

Red route: Pt 2 – Henderson loop – 1.76 mi or 2.84 km
A fun trail if you want to be seen by everyone! Make sure you take the trail furthest from the north side of the lake for the best ride (avoids most of the cobblestone path). Adjust your speed based on pedestrian traffic. These trails tend to be very busy. Keep to the right and announce to pedestrians what side you are passing on when you come up behind them. Cool air from the lake keeps you cool on the hottest of days.

Green route: Industrial trail – 3 mi or 4.83 km
Flat, smooth and few intersections. Great for a beginner. Very little debris except at intersections. Better on weekends due to decreased industrial traffic. Very little shade. Not recommended on hot days, great for early morning skates! This leads to new trails in the far north side of the city.

There are tons of new path systems in newer neighbourhoods that aren’t on this map. Go and explore!

Get skating!

So for those who are about to venture into the out-of-doors, I hope this helps a bit. I would love to hear from others about your favourite wheels, bearings or gear you use outside. No more excuses, freshies! Get out there and skate your asses off!

Go Nerd Power!

My nerd ladder... I know it's a staircase, but you get the idea

I tend to be a bit of a stats geek. It’s not my most prolific geek trait, but since starting roller derby and this blog, it’s slowly climbing the ladder within my nerdy personality. I pour over paperwork after every bout, connecting successful jams from my memory with the corresponding stats on paper and on occasion I dig through the stats page on my blog, to understand why people are chosing to read my stuff over others.

So in honour of a blog-viewing milestone, (and my impending one-year blog anniversary of March 6) this post is dedicated to my stats page. More specifically, the search engine terms people use to find my blog, which result in a click to one of my pages.

Some are obvious, some I have no idea why the search term resulted in a click to my page, but entertaining for me, nonetheless. Here we go…

Top Five Search Terms

Deathbridge derby dames – 108
Lethbridge roller derby – 57
Diary of a roller girl – 45
Skunky deathbridge – 15
Deathbridge dames – 14

Yup, a search for another teammate made it into my top 5 🙂

Top Five Posts/Pages

Home page – 2501
Reasons you should become a derby ref – 204
How I clean my roller skate bearings – 187
Hello world… we’re here! – 103
Derby’s unanswered questions – 100

Popular Topics with multiple search terms

How to clean bearings

I get hits on this topic daily. I promise to post some more informative-styled posts as there is obviously a need for it.

Space

Apparently our league isn’t the only ones with space issues. This one is another daily hitter.

Skate maintenance

Everything from how to take apart your skates to how to lace them to how to make them move faster.

Fashion

There are various terms for roller derby style, helmet decorating and whether you should wear tights or bare legs.

Skills

Searching Tomahawks seem to be the most popular. But other stops, transitions, jamming and hitting also come up.

Names

Everyone wants to have a great name, or want to know how to come up with one.

Skaters

Skunky – from Deathbridge
Baracougar
– from Terminal City in Vancouver (her proper spelling Barra Couga)
Mister Sister
– there’s a ref from Gas City named Mister Fister… maybe that search term was a typo
Mister Fister
– there we go… that’s the right spelling
Marilyn Monroadkill
– I thought there was a neighbouring team with this gal as a player but I’m coming up short in finding her local affiliation. There is a gal with this name in London, UK though! **Edited to add: Marilynn Monroadkill is from Gas City. Thanks Kid Kickurass!**
Cherri Blaster
– Hey! That’s me! Also spelled as Cherryblaster and Cherry Blaster
Estrogen
– should be spelled Estro Jen, but she’s from Long Beach Roller Derby
Maiden Sane
– from Pile O Bones in Regina
Quadzilla
– from Seattle. Coach, player, jam skater
Half Pint Havoc
– from Deathbridge
Nixxi Knox
– from Deathbridge
Sapp Ic Slammer
– spelled wrong!!! But she’s our Deathbridge girl
Kid Kickurass
– ref from Gas City
Andi Linquent
– from Deathbridge
Domino Brasco
– from Pile O Bones in Regina

And now… the weird ones…

(Because that’s why you’re really reading this, right?)

“diary about bored”
If you’re searching for a diary about boredom… get a life.

“facts why we should roller skate to school”
I just find this hilarious… because it’s awesome!

“questions to ask when interviewing a rollergirl”
Good on you, anonymous journalist, for doing some research prior to your interview.

“roller skating rink coatings mountain dew”
What?

“is roller skating hyphenated or two separate words?”
I’m glad I could help you out with my spelling tutorial.

“квады ролики купить”
I’d love to know what this says.

Then I have a whole series of arm wrestling ones…

“betty armwrestling”
“mixed armwrestling”
“bicep girl”
“diva arm wrestling”
“arm wrestling”
“armwrestling”
“bicep couple armwrestling”

As well as cowbell ones

“cowbell supertramp”
“cheer song more cowbell”
“songs with more cowbell”

The damn-you-auto-correct

“the eighties leg earners”
“neon leg earners for adults”

“fish nets and leg warmers Vancouver”
Okay… I get search for fish nets and leg warmers (not earners), but not sure where Vancouver comes into this.

The sexual/inappropriate/what were you REALLY searching for…

“wrists getting pinned”
“+girl on girl on skates”
“cyber playmate cheri from vegas”
“girls for knight”
“roller babe”
“lethbian girls video free”
“lethbian tails”
“nacked women wearing roller skates” <— Spelling dude, spelling
“boss girls around”
“major thigh and booty of the roller girls” <— Fetish much?
“girl poop desperation” <— I’m really fascinated by this one
“roller girl fuck on the bench”

And finally, the completely random

“suddenly click”
“i picked up a generator and my knee is killing me”
“girl games 1”
“cartoon gps”
“looking roller placement procedures and hairstyles wriiten information not pictures”

So, dear readers, if you’re clicky-clicking through my blog, I’m watching you. Yes, I will continue to base future posts based on popularity of previous post’s topics. And yes, I’m judging you by your search terms. 😉

Thanks for reading!

Spelling lesson – derby style

According to The Canadian Press Caps and Spelling textbook, the spelling of roller skate changes depending on the context.

Here’s your lesson. Now pay attention, children…

How cool is it that 'roller derby' is in Caps and Spelling?

What does this mean?

“I am going roller-skating.” The term roller-skating is a verb, and therefore should be hyphenated.

“Where are my roller skates?” The term roller skate is a noun, and therefore should be two words.

However…

Here's where it can get tricky, kids!

By this rationale, “I am going rollerskating,” is also acceptable when using the term as a verb.

In summary…

NOUN – two words
VERB – hyphenated or one word

Class dismissed 🙂

Something a little less serious… helmet decorating

For those who pay attention to the derby world, they know that it’s not only the derby name and boutfit that can show a player’s personality. For those who aren’t familiar, if you get a chance to catch a derby girl standing still, check out her helmet.

Many adorn their helmets with paint and stickers (both of the home made or manufactured kind) to enhance their derby persona or show personal convictions, political ties, social stances, sexual orientation or support of, favourite music, hobbies, etc. etc. etc.

According to my blog, March 14, 2010 was the first time I officially skated with the goal of becoming a derby girl and it took me until December 17, 2010 to mark my helmet. I don’t know the process that other gals go through when stickering up their helmet, but being a graphic designer, I took the decisions I had to make about what to put on my helmet very seriously; thinking about shapes, colour and spacing between all the paraphernalia I had chosen. Fittingly, I placed my first sticker with many of my dames present, during a Christmas crafting get-together. (Yes, we craft together. Don’t judge.)

My first sticker…

Back of my helmet: A little diddy I picked up at a Van Halen concert that I was just waiting for the perfect spot to stick it on.

For those not versed in the words of David Lee Roth, that’s a line from Panama from their 1984 album.

Swinging my helmet around, you see a couple familiar symbols…

Left side: A Rollergirl sticker where I have bought pretty much ALL my equipment from, the front of a Cherry Blaster wrapper and of course my number tucked in by my ear.

I used double sided carpet tape to get the wrapper securely attached to the helmet. Yup, carpet tape. We’ll see how that backfires on me…

And now the front…

My name, enhanced with a star.

The letters are cheap dollar store ones and they are kind of starting to fall off from jammer panties being put on and off over them. I may reinforce with clear tape over top, or I may see how my name evolves as the letters fall. (HER LAST would be pretty funny if the letters fell that way.)

And now swinging around to the other side…

Homage to my fandome of all things Mac and the back of the Cherry Blaster wrapper. I’m made of delicious ingredients and you could probably scan me too if your smart phone has an app for that.

Those present while I adorned my helmet with stickers would tell you I had minor panic attack moments before attaching my first one. Not only is it a big commitment, like choosing pint striping for your car (Do people even do that to their vehicles any more?) but the pressure to make those stickers move around a curve and stick without bumps or seams is very difficult. I failed on each and every one of them. Oh well. Adds to the charm, right?

So that’s my official helmet debut on this blog. But I’m growing tired of talking about myself. I want to know what’s on YOUR helmet and what made you choose that for your helmet.

I can’t be the only one who obsesses about this stuff, right?

RIGHT???!!!???

Derby’s unanswered questions

Dear readers, I’ve been neglecting my blog and I am sorry. Lack of time and topics has been a hurdle. (Do you REALLY want to know how long and fast I skate when I work out? Five kms in 15 mins btw hahahaha) So now I am opening up the panel for questions.

I put it out there on Facebook and Twitter:

If you could ask a roller derby player any question, what would it be?

Melissa B from Facebook asked me: “How much does it hurt to get knocked down in a derby?”

You’ll be surprised to know the bone-crushing hits that you see on most derby highlight reels aren’t the only way to stop a player, so they don’t happen all the time. But when they do you’re (hopefully) wearing hi-end knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards to keep your body safe from impact. Players are also taught to properly fall, to help stop injuries from impacting the floor. Players are also taught to properly hit, so you don’t dislocate your shoulder throwing a check. Plus during a game, your adrenaline is so high, you don’t feel a thing until about 3 hours later.

When you’re not giving/receiving bone-crushing hits, you’re booty blocking opposing team members and leaning on other players, pushing them out of bounds to make room for your jammer. This makes for lots of velcro burn from rubbing against equipment which often hurts more than bruising!

The rules of engagement are also there to keep players safe. There are legal hitting zones and you can only hit with certain parts of your body. Blockers can only hit within the area of the pack, jammers can engage each other at any time while rounding the track. But circumstances arise where the rules aren’t always obeyed, which often create the most crowd-pleasing jams.

If you’re a jammer, you’re on the receiving end of hits more often than not (did you watch that video on the link above? Watch the girls with the stars on their helmets) But it just makes you a faster and more agile skater 🙂

ka_vinc from Twitter asks: “How do you come up with your nick names?”

Believe it or not, no two girls can have a similar derby name, especially if they play in a city near each other. There is an International Rollergirls’ Master Roster to check if your name is already taken. In fact, my first choice, Barra Cougar, was too similar to another gal who plays for the Bad Reputations in Vancouver. I had to get in touch with her and ask permission if I could also use the name (hers was BaraCouga). But she declined my request, saying she worked hard to earn her name but encouraged me to keep trying. Cherri Blaster came about because of my love of that particular candy… practically lived on them in college.

On the fun side of things, there is a roller derby name generator that helps you pick a name. But many girls look at their skills, their names or nicknames, favourite movies, their heritage, their jobs or their physical characteristics to pick a name. On the Deathbridge Derby Dames, for example, we have Half Pint Havoc who’s short, but wrecks havoc on all she meets, Lili Von Schtopp who is known for stopping all who meet her and Attila Themum, who’s a mom, plus so many more awesome names!

Choosing a name also means figuring out your track persona, which is even more fun! I’ve seen some of the meanest looking, acting, named girls on the track, but off the track they are sweet as pie! You get to create a full package.

dylpurcell from Twitter asks: “Why not try leopard-print leggings? 80s-style neon leg earners warmers?”

Actually leopard isn’t really in my costume options. I try and leave the leopard print fashion decisions to Rebbles Flintstone and Nixxi Knox, who look way better in leopard anyway. As for the leg warmers, neon is usually worn best by Dream Whip, but I have a lovely pair of black-and-red striped leg warmers.

I do, however, sport fishnets every so often, as well as derby socks. I also own a pair of tights with cherries on them. But my favourite by far is sporting bare legs. Skating fast tends to raise my body temperature pretty high, I don’t like to cover up too much. Plus I have a decent set of gams to show off!

***

That’s all I have for questions right now. Thanks to the three of you who submitted! If anyone has any other questions, feel free to post them in a comment and I’ll answer them too!

Derby love to you all!