Fancy Italian Footwear, Part XI

Subtitles for this post run along the lines of “The Grass is Not Always Greener” or “Trust Your Instincts.”  Throughout my original posts on switching skating equipment from Atlas to Roll Line plates, I was constantly whining about my loop skates feeling not quite right.  And, for the most part, though I was trying different cushion combinations, I thought the problem was me.  And though I did eventually find a set-up where I was comfortable, over the past few months I couldn’t help but notice that I wasn’t improving.  In fact, I was working really hard to maintain skills I thought I had solidified in years past.  So, after a few months I finally listened to the nagging voice in the back of my head and had my old Atlas plates put back on my loops skates.

Old boots, old plates, old wheels = good times.
I am using the hard rubber cushions.
Boy, am I glad I did!  After just a few minutes on my old equipment I was skating great – easier and better than things had been in months.  I finally felt like I could do outside edges again.  It was a pretty marvelous feeling.
So, now that I have skated loops on both the Roll Line Rings and the Atlas figure plates I have a few notes and comparisons:
*As I noted in previous posts, it is easier to get deeper edges on the Roll Line plates.  I still think this is true – the Roll Line plates definitely have more side-to-side action.
*The Atlas plate wins out in front-to-back motion.  This is where the big difference comes in – on the Roll Line plate I felt like I was skating between the wheels, with a lot of side to side action but I also had a lot of stability if I rocked my weight forward or back.  Too much stability, in fact.  This inability to rock the weight forward or back made it very difficult to get a smooth continuous placement of weight during the loop where the curvature of the skate changes the most.  While I could get a decent curve and skate the loops, I just didn’t have the fine control I that I could get with the Atlas plates.
*I think this front-to-back stability on the Roll Line helps a lot with the large figure and dance skating.  I still have the Roll Line plates on my dance and figure skates, and I still really love them.  Interestingly, I took to the dance and figure plates right away, but I never quite felt right on the loop skates.  Guess that after skating for over ten years I should trust my instincts a bit more.
So, now I really do think my skates are pretty well set.  I put some new cushions in that Atlas plates – they are so much easier to change than the Roll Line plates.  Of course, it does take a while to break in rubber cushions, but even still the improvement over the Roll Line plates is easily noticeable.  I don’t regret the experiment with the Roll Line Ring plates – better to know than to wonder – but I do slightly regret taking so long to follow my gut and put my old skates back together.  And I learned my lesson – sometimes the newest shiniest thing isn’t necessarily the best.  And I should trust my instinct to tell me when things are right or wrong with my skates – I have enough experience to know.

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