Get Your Swole on

I’m into fitness…Fittin this whole pizza in my mouth

New year, means new derby resolutions! If you don’t have a resolution, I’d consider making some. Perfecting a new juke, fine tuning your hockey stop, or making the charter roster. Doesn’t matter if you call it a resolution or a goal, it’s important to have an end state that you are working towards, so you can focus your energy. That being said, whatever your goals are, being comfortable on your skates is only half the battle. Strong body is the other piece.

A lot of top derby athletes have incorporated lifting and cardio outside of practice into their weekly routines. A great way to do the same is by joining a gym; however, we all know gym memberships aren’t cheap, but don’t let that be your excuse for not becoming your best you. Buy or make your own hand weights. You’ll be surprised the workout you can get from lifting a freezer bag wrapped in duck tape and full of dirt. Even household items can be used as weights. You just have to be creative.

Don’t think you’re ready for weights, but still want to get fit? There are endless body weight exercises you can torture your body with. Planks, push ups, sit ups, crunches, air squats, lunges and other exercises you can research online. Again, getting fit is only limited by your imagination and effort.

The hardest part of getting fit, is staying motivated. We all lead busy lives and lot of us fill what little spare time we have with derby, so adding a workout routine may be hard to keep up. However, always remember you are not alone. Get a workout buddy and hold each other accountable. And if you don’t know where to begin, don’t be afraid to pick the brain of a workout junkie within your league. Start small and grow your workout plan from there. Who knows, you may find you really enjoy adding exercise outside of derby to your routine.

Question time: What are your goals for the 2018 derby season? How do you go about adding exercise to your weekly routine? Does your league have a workout group that meets outside of practices? Leave a comment below!

-Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…


Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at jukes@derbylisting.com. Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

Goal Struggles

We must look in the mirror and honestly evaluate why we have failed.

We do it all the time. We see something and say to ourselves, “I wish I could (fill in the blank).” We wish, we want, we desire, but we don’t act. Why? Because acting is the hard part. It’s so fricken easy to sit on our rear ends and WISH for things, but it’s a whole different story when it’s time to apply ourselves and actually WORK for what we want. So how about we stop wishing and wanting and put forth the effort for what we desire.

I have been a jammer since day one of my derby journey. I watched my first bout and fell in love with the gals rocking the stars and decided then that I too would be a jammer. I accomplished that goal, and I’m darn proud of my jamming abilities. However, I let myself get type cast. I let my desire pigeon hole me into being a one trick pony. The way I see it, I am not as valuable an asset as I could be, for any league I am in. What happens when I show up to a new league over flowing with talented jammers? I sit on the bench, that’s what happens. We should ALL strive to be triple threats. We should ALL be willing and able to go pantyless, rock a stripe, or star with ease. We do a disservice to our teammates when we look at our bench coaches in horror when tasked to do something outside of our comfort zone. With this realization, it became apparent that I NEEDED to become a blocker.

We must fail then keep fighting if we are to ever succeed.

I’ve gotten no closer to fulfilling that need than the day I first voiced it. Why? Because I haven’t made a plan and quite frankly because its damn hard to block (I give blockers mad props). We must look in the mirror and honestly evaluate why we have failed. Did we put forth the necessary effort? I can give every excuse in the world for why I suck at blocking. I’m short. I barely have three digits of weight behind my hits. I can go on. However, what it really boils down to is lack of discipline. Blocking is hard, so I avoid it. I don’t like failing, so I avoid it. I’m not good at it, so…I…avoid it. I think we can all see that this vicious cycle of avoiding is not going to get me anywhere. We must fail then keep fighting if we are to ever succeed.

So here, on this public forum, let it be known…I WILL BECOME A BLOCKER. I will stop being embarrassed when I screw up. I will stop giving the excuse, “I’m not a blocker.” And most of all, I will make a plan and actually work for what I want. I’m going to start this journey by signing up for blocker clinics at Beat Me Half Way. As much as it kills me, I’m going to do a lot of failing in front of a lot of people, but it will be worth it.

Lets hear it, what are you all working towards in your derby journey?

-Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…


Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at jukes@derbylisting.com. Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

Roller Skate Maintenance 101: Part Two

Welcome to part two of the skate maintenance series! This week we are going to cover items 7-13. Check out part one for info on items 1-6.

The various bits and pieces:


Bushings:

These little guys are also referred to as cushions, and that is exactly what they are. They are spongy rubber pieces that absorb shock and allow the truck to pivot. They also spring the truck back to neutral position. There are different hardnesses for Bushings just like there are for wheels.

*Keep an Eye on – Permanently compressed bushings. If they lose their springiness they will no long provide shock absorption which can lead to a broken truck or kingpin. It also means that they may not bring the truck back to neutral position which results in having to put more effort into skating in a straight line.

Bushing/Cushion Retainers:

These are metal separators that assist in holding your Bushings in place. Nothing too fancy when it comes to these.

*Keep an Eye on – Not much goes wrong with these so long as your Bushings are still healthy. Just give them a quick once over to make sure they aren’t cracked or rusted.

Bearings:

Healthy bearings are very important. Inside of a bearing are a bunch of little metal balls. There are various types of bearings. Some allow you to remove the front and back and others have a plastic backing that makes it so only one side opens.

*Keep an Eye on – Noisy bearings. If you’re crunching around, you’re losing speed from friction and when they get really bad you might find yourself stopping with minimal effort. A sign that they desperately need to be cleaned. Since there are metal balls inside of bearings, water is their worst enemy. If you end up skating in the rain, it’s a good idea to take your bearings apart, then clean and oil them.

Wheels:

We could talk on this topic for a wheely long time. Lots to learn and think about when it comes to wheels. When researching new wheels consider the durometer, diameter, and width.

*Keep and Eye on – Dirt build up and flat spots. It’s always good to give your wheels a nice wipe down. Soap and water does the trick when your wheels are particularly dirty. Check for flat spots as well. To promote even wear shuffle your wheels around if you can.

Lock Nuts:

We don’t really think much of the nuts on our wheels. However, these little guys are pretty darn important and they are a pain in the butt when you lose them. So treat them with kindness.

*Keep an Eye on – Tightness. You don’t want them so tight that they are causing friction against your wheels. Do check them often. If you can hand spin them they definitely aren’t tight enough. Few things are scarier than a loose wheel in the middle of game play.

Toe Stop:

This rubbery piece of goodness is how I stay in bounds and prance through packs.

*Keep an Eye on – Holes in the rubber and bent threading. Hit the breaks y’all and show your toe stop some love. If the metal is starting to poke through buy a new set because one it’s no longer going to work properly, and two you’re likely to damage your venue’s floor. And skate venues are precious. Also check the threading. Just because your toe stop never loosens doesn’t mean everything is going well. The forces we exert on our toe stops has the ability to slowly bend the threads which will result in your tow stop popping out and possibly altering the threading inside the toe stop hole on your plates. This requires rethreading to fix your plates (I unfortunately know this from experience).

Hex screw or Toe stop Washer/Nut:

These are two different methods for keeping your toe stop in place. Which one you have depends on your plates. Hex screws are built into the plate of the skate and require a hex tool for tightening. While the nut and washer are on the stem of a toe stop and require a wrench to tighten.

*Keep an Eye on – Tightness. Few things are more annoying than losing a toe stop mid game. The washer and nuts have a tendency to loosen more often. Toe caps (material used to protect the front of skates from damage) make it worse. I highly suggest putting the toe stop through a toe cap and then adding the washer and nut so that they rest against the plate instead of having a layer of fabric in-between.

How often should I clean my gear?

The cleaning suggestions are very much dependent on your skate environment and how often you skate. Sport court is the devil when it comes to making your skates dirty. I once skated in a place with permanent sport court and the amount of dirt my wheels collected was gag worthy. So individuals who skate in a sport court environment will likely have to show their skates more love more often.

I usually give my wheels a spin and listen to my bearings. When they start sounding a little noisy, that’s usually my cue to clean them. I also like cleaning my wheels and bearings before a big tournament when I know I’m likely to skate several times in one weekend. It’s a nice way to get mentally prepped for kicking butt. If you like having a predicable schedule that’s okay too. Feel free to slap some reminders on a calendar for cleanings and inspections. All that really matters is that you take the time and actually clean and inspect your skates. Don’t let your quads become a danger to you or anyone else around you.

So that about wraps it up folks. Thanks for making it to the end! I once again, hope some of the info here was helpful. If you all want me to make videos showing how I clean my bearings or anything else I mentioned here let me know in the comments. If you want another blog that goes into more depth on any topic also comment below. I’m happy to share what knowledge I have to help you all in any way!

-Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at jukes@derbylisting.com. Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

Roller Skate Maintenance 101: Part One

Love your skates and they will love you back.

Do you hear that crunching noise coming from your skates? It’s your bearings crying for love and attention. Its so easy to neglect our skates. We just assume they’re going to do their job no matter what, but like any tool they need to be maintained. We derby folk must clean and maintain our quad skates.

If our skates are so important, why do we neglect them? The most likely answer is lack of knowledge. If we don’t know the bits and pieces of our skates, then we can’t be expected to identify problem areas and fix them. Conducting skate maintenance will 1) increase the life of our skates, and 2) prevent an injury in relation to a skate malfunction. So join me on a Skate Mechanics 101 lesson. We’ll go over the names of the various parts of a skate, what each part does, then how to show each area some love. Since there are a lot of parts to a skate we are going to break this guide into two sections. Today we’ll cover items 1 through 6.

The various bits and pieces:


Parts of a roller skate

Boot:

The home for your feet. The boot can be made from lots of different materials; leather, pleather, and even vegan options. They come in narrow, wide, square toe box, etc. Your feet are gonna live inside of your boots for many hours a week. So take your time, do your research, and find what makes your feet happy.

*Keep an Eye on – The sole separating from the boot. Also want to make sure there are no massive holes that allow your toes to hang out. Skates are expensive. Whether it be tape, toe caps, or tuff toe. Do what you need to do to protect them from holes.

Plate:

Excluding the boot, the plate is the largest component on our skates. I would liken the plate to our spinal cord. It is the part that all the fun pieces connect to and branch off from.

*Keep an Eye on – The little nuts that help hold the plate to the boot. If you lose one don’t replace with a regular nut, they have a tendency to fall off very easily. Buy mounting nuts or lock nuts. Lock nuts have plastic on the inside to keep them in place and mounting nuts or k-lock nuts have little teeth that lock them in place.
The nut crew

Kingpin:

The King of all pins (sometimes called the action bolt) is very important. There are two of them. They are the largest bolts on your skates and home to several smaller but also very important pieces.

*Keep an Eye on – The nut that keeps the kingpin flush with the plate. Not all skates have this nut exposed, but if your’s does it’s easy to spot. If it’s loose the kingpin will have room to wiggle.
Kingpin nut

Truck:

Your trucks are what you manipulate to make your skate more responsive to your movements. Tight trucks make it hard to execute tight turns while super loose trucks makes it near impossible to skate in a straight line. Every skater has their ideal truck tightness.

*Keep an Eye on – Weird bends and metal integrity. Not super common, but trucks can break. They can also become bent during a collision or wild skate park adventures. Just give them a quick once over every few weeks.

Axels:

These guys extend from the truck and are the home for your wheels.

*Keep an Eye on – Bends and debris. A bent Axel makes for a bad day. They’re pretty hard to bend though so shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, axels are great for trapping hair. Be kind to your axels and remove the randomness that gets wrapped around it.

Pivot Cup:

These little guys are so easy to forget about. Honestly, a lot of people don’t even realize they exist. Pivot cups keep the truck stable while also giving it a smooth plastic surface to rotate or “pivot” on. They are extremely import! They are actually made pretty strong, but they endure a lot of punishment.

*Keep an Eye on – Cracked pivot cups. Since they are a combination of plastic and rubber (or sometimes just one material) they can crack and break into small pieces. A cracked pivot cup means a less smooth surface for your trucks to pivot on. Also, as the plastic crumbles and falls out it means that your truck is going to start grinding directly on metal which can cause permanent damage. If your trucks seem to have more freedom of movement than normal and you haven’t adjusted them in any way, it’s likely your pivot cups have gone bad. Uncontrolled trucks can lead to broken ankles, so please check your pivot cups.

Damaged picot cup

What’s Next

Okay, I just overloaded you with knowledge on 6 parts of your roller skates. So how often should we be checking all of these things?? Honestly, most of these checks are a visual inspection or a quick touch and you’re good. After practice, give your skates a brief once over before you pack them away. Doing that simple act can help you spot problem areas long before they become major issues.

I appreciate you all making it to the end. If there are any topics that you want me to go more in depth on, just let me know in the comments 🙂

-Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at jukes@derbylisting.com. Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

Do you smell that?

It creeps up on your nostrils when you’re least expecting it and latches onto your nose hairs for dear life. What could be assaulting your nostrils with such vigor?? It’s Derby funk. Not the down in the dumps kind of funk. I’m talking about the, you just knocked yourself out by smelling our own gear, kind of funk.

It happens to the best of us. We have all, on occasion, forgotten our gear in the car or have allowed it to stew over night in a zipped bag. However, there are those who proudly flaunt their well curated derby funk. Some leagues even present end of year trophies to the smelliest of derby folk. But derby funk is like farts, you might be cool with your own odor, but no one else is. All kidding aside, if you’re gear is smelling funky, and is against your skin, it can actually lead to infections, rashes, or break outs. And heaven forbid a skin issue gets in the way of derby time. Has anyone ever wondered what is really making our gear smell bad?

No? Just me? Well, I’m a self proclaimed nerd so get ready for some nerdy talk. We’re all aware that we have sweat to thank for that awesome odor. Sweating is the human bodies cooling system. So, sweating is a good thing. And if you’re working hard and putting forth full effort at practice, it’s very likely that you will end up sweating. So I’m not hear to bash sweating, or to pick on the extra sweaty kids on the track. What is interesting about sweat, is the bacteria that is attracted to it. Did I just say bacteria?

Yes, yes I did derby fans. When your gear is extra funky, it means you’ve got yourself a bacteria party getting down against your skin. Sweat is mostly water, but a small percentage is a mixture of ammonia, urea, salt, and sugar. This combination of inorganic and organic stuff happens to be what the bacteria, on our skin and gear, loves to…dare I say…EAT. When bacteria such as Micrococcus (commonly found on polyester) and Staphylococcus (commonly found on cotton) start feeding, all you can buffet style, the byproduct is the wonderfully pungent smell, we call, derby funk. So basically, when our gear smells, we are smelling bacteria farts.

So there’s the science behind derby funk, now how do we minimize it without washing our gear after every use? Bacteria enjoys hot, wet, and dark environments (i.e. derby bag in a hot car). However, it still multiplies fairly well in cold, dark and wet environments (i.e. derby bag in a cold garage). So here are some ways to stave off the funk:

1. Air out your gear after every use. Getting rid of moisture slows down the bacteria orgy.
There are lots of cool ways to dry your gear. There’s the old fashion, lay your stuff on the floor option. You can also use a fan, or if you’re looking for something a little more fancy, there are shoe dryers and sports equipment dryers that can cut down the drying time.

2. Spray it down.
Spraying stuff down works well if you combine this with airing the gear out. There are lots of things you can use to assist with the killing of bacteria, but keep in mind nothing is a 100 percent solution. White vinegar is a good natural bacteria killer along with rubbing alcohol. Better yet, both are natural and easy on the skin. There are also sprays that neutralize odor, but not all of them kill bacteria. If you’re a little more adventurous, you can also make your own sprays using a combination of essential oils that deodorize and kill bacteria.

3. Don’t forget, washing is a good thing.
Hand washing is easier on the pads. You can toss a medley of deodorizers and disinfectants into hot water. Good start, is to mix in detergent, white vinegar, and really anything else you think will help. Make sure everything gets nice and soaked then just let it sit for 30mins or longer, depending on how funky they were. Then, when it’s done soaking, rinse all of your gear under running water to get any soap out of the pads. Finally, use your favorite drying method. Of course, you can use your washer; however, it’s a little rougher on your gear and you’ll want to control the velcro parts to avoid them catching to other items. If you’re washer has this option, it’s a really sweet deal to let the pads sit and soak in the washer before it begins to go through the wash cycle. Usually, if I go the washer route, I put all of the pads into a pillowcase and close if off with a hair tie. I don’t suggest drying your gear in a dryer. Air dry or any of your other favorite drying options will do the trick.

So we know what’s making the smell, we know what makes the smell worse, and we know ways to combat the funk. However, what I really want to know is, what are you all using/making that works to fight the funk? Share in the comments below, so together, we can make derby just a little less smelly.

-Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at jukes@derbylisting.com. Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!