As I approach the dreaded 50, the physical side of my life seems harder to maintain. So many challenges like feeling the cold more, work commitments, friends injured, my injuries, kids, dogs and energy levels all seem to yell louder for my time. So many people I know seem to fade away from the social exercise group, but I guess there is never a choice for me. My health status and fatigue levels mean that I don’t want to become a grumpy, sleepy old man, so I have to keep a decent fitness level. There is never going to be a single solution to these issues for me. Winter is coming on, and knowing that I really want to ski for fun and with my kids means that I need to keep pushing to train as much as possible.
Winter is coming on, and knowing that I really want to ski for fun and with my kids means that I need to keep pushing to train as much as possible.
So my solution this year was to go back in time, relive my youth and start rollerblading again. My old skate broke about ten years ago, so off to my buddy Bill at Skater HQ, and I discover so many changes in the skating world and technology. Just like mountain bikes, the wheels got bigger, lots bigger. In the 90’s the biggest wheel you could buy was 80mm, and now you can get 125mm! It doesn’t seem that much on paper, but when you look at a skate next to each other, it is amazing. Bigger wheels hold speed better, go over bumps better and also last lots longer. They also meant that I needed to make some longer crutches.
But the ’90s were my golden age; to be honest, I would live them again every day of the week.
So work had me in Sydney for most of the summer, and I discovered lots of old skiers like myself still skating and joined them for a 9 pm skate each Wednesday night around the city. Up to 40km from the city to the Airport and back or just mucking around some fun areas. With a focus on fitness and fun, and man, was it cool! Skating past people at the pub who were amazed that rollerblades still existed and laughing at us for living in the past. But the ’90s were my golden age; to be honest, I would live them again every day of the week. Lucky for me, the skills haven’t dimmed yet, and I was pretty comfortable as soon as I was back skating. Maybe not doing as many jumps but skating good pace, distance and finding some uphills for fitness and downhills for fun.
My favourite hills are around the Rocks and Barangaroo in Sydney. There is an elevator at Barangaroo that takes you up two levels to a nice downhill next to the harbour bridge and a switchback bike path that is super smooth and just the right gradient to develop good speed and make some skiing-like turns.
I went skiing for the first day of the season last week and am very happy that my fitness is not too bad, and rollerblading has helped make that happen. One of my main issues as a recreational skier these days is the foot fatigue that I get in a ski boot from standing on one foot constantly. Thanks to rollerblading, I got none of that, Yippee! Watch the video, and you can see how much fun I am having and if you want to come out and relive the 90’s again, let me know!
Watch the video, and you can see how much fun I am having and if you want to come out and relive the 90’s again, let me know!
There are skate groups that meet up in most capital cities; Canberra has a couple of active skate groups that regularly meet up around the lake or at the Stromlo crit track.
Michael Milton official Facebook page
Mont Ambassador, six-time Paralympic gold medallist, ski speed World record-setter (213kph)
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Earlier in July I went for an overnight Ice Climbing trip at Blue Lake in Kosciouszko National Park.
I setup camp with my Moondance 2FN tent in a nice sheltered spot that I often enjoy under Mt Twynam.