Swedes mess with technique (again) and mine improves

22 Jun

Oh Sweden, what are you up to now? You’ve already nearly singlehandedly perverted classic style skiing. Under your influence it has gone from a feast of the most beautiful, graceful and efficient movements man has ever produced into the sad spectacle of a mass of bobbing, double-poling penguins. Worse yet, now that I know how technical the art of double poling is, you’ve made me appreciate the sick sight of current classic ski racing. But all that means is cross country skiing has gone from a sport that anyone, skier or not, can instantly appreciate the beauty in to a niche obsession for the “specially interested” few like me.

And now you’ve started to attack skating. What is up with that hop in the video? Have you hired in a Monty Python silly walk instructor for technique development?

You know Swedes, here in Norway we don’t talk about different skating “gears”. You people invented that, probably just to promote your floundering car industry. Here in Norway we talk about different dances: dobbeldans, enkeldans and paddling. Well, the latter isn’t a dance, but at least canoes are environmentally friendly. So it’s supposed to be graceful, not goofy.

Still, I have to admit that your nightmarish video did make me think about technique as I rollerskied to the gym today. The hop looks like it’s at least in part a product of over-exaggerated pelvic thrusting. This leads me to think that maybe Elvis really is alive, and coaching the Swedish Ski Team. But seriously, I tried to work on hip thrusting today. That, however, was disrupting my leg pushing. My hips were going forward, pulling my kick leg with along with them on each V2 step. That really didn’t help it push backwards (or, more precisely, sidewards), did it?

Once arrived at the gym I got to change my mind from technique by doing an hour of hard spinning. I didn’t get the overtly sadistic instructor today. The one who always repeats “sterke beiner” / “strong legs” in hammer-like, percussive syllables. But they’re all cut from roughly the same mold. None of them ever fail to add the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” song about S&M to the workout soundtrack. So I got me a nice ass-kicking and then rollerskied home.

Tired, with a less active brain, the Elvis Pelvis thing clicked. It was just a matter of timing. The kick leg then poles initiate, compressing and building up power. Then, when all that propels your trunk forward, the most natural thing is to follow through with the hip. And you can help the movement by throwing a little hip thrusting oumph into it!

The counter-intuitive thing about skating is that the more power you throw into it, the more stable you glide. Tonight I just floated home over Oslo’s rough pavement.

Thank you Sweden. You people are sick. But useful.

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