Ok, so I am really starting to like my new equipment. It still takes me a while to get settled into them (they don’t feel quite natural yet), but I think overall in the lessons today they performed pretty well.
After two more sessions on the figure skates, they are starting to feel a bit more normal. Having a lesson on them helped a lot – my coach was able to help me fix my body positions, which helped me focus on the feel of the new skates. We are still playing with the tightness of the adjustments, but overall my edges feel a lot better than the first day I wore them. Also, I loosened the action quite a bit more for loops this weekend (nearly all the way loose) and it was much better. I think I had them too tight on Tuesday, because the loops felt quite a bit easier today. I am also liking the feeling of pushing in them quite a bit more than my old ones, which was something I had struggled with quite a bit last year. I feel like my weight transfer happens much more quickly than before, which helps me feel more secure. I think I still want to test out the rubber/urethane and rubber/rubber combos for the figure skates, but I think the clear/blue combo could be a nice match in terms of stability and responsiveness. Although I think the urethane still feels weird, it seems to be reacting well enough that I think I would be able to adjust to the feel quite nicely in a few months if I decide to go with this set up. Overall I am growing to like these plates more each time I skate in them, and now I will just be testing a tweaking with the different cushion set ups.
On the other hand, I tried out the blue/grey combo on the dance skates, but I did not like it. As much as I tried to adjust it still never felt quite right. I think perhaps because the dance plate is longer so the pressure is a bit more spread out over the skate, so when I press it isn’t quite the same response as the figure skate. I think if I had a shorter plate like on the figure boot the blue/grey combo might have been good, but after practice yesterday I went back to the grey/grey. I played on them a bit and I am slowly adjusting the action, one click at a time. One thing I have noticed is that the urethane seems to “puff up” as I skate on it. The skate will feel a bit loose, but after I skate for about 15 minutes it will start to feel much more solid and secure. I originally had my dance skates tightened quite a bit, but by the end of practice I have them nearly loose. I will see how they skate over the next few practices. If I keep loosening them then I might perhaps go to a grey/green urethane combo (green is the softest urethane), but I don’t think I will try that unless I keep loosening the dance action a significant amount. Right now I am very happy with the dance plate, but I need to re-work my pushing technique. Since this plate is a bit longer than my old one the push is on a slightly different part of the foot. When I do it correctly I get a lot more power. I have to think about it though, because it isn’t natural yet. Overall though, I am really liking the dance skates, and they have taken much less adjustment than the figure skates.
Overall I am quite pleased with the new set up. I think there still need to be some tweaks and minor adjustments (and I still want to play around with the figure skate some more), but I do quite like the new skates. I still think the Atlas plates were good skates to learn on, because you have to really learn to press your edges to get a good curve, but I would have to say that for the more advanced dances and figures, Roll Line is more fun to skate on.