Annie Hart: The Three C’s of Rollerski Safety

A sample from Annie Hart’s blog at Annie-Hart.com.

Up until Saturday I had never taken a big fall roller skiing.  I had seen it happen to other people (the most horrifying being Erika’s fall in Lake Placid a couple years ago), but I myself had only had minor encounters with pavement.  A series of unfortunate events led to my first high-speed meeting with pavement but also along with it a couple of learned lessons!  I think that having a big fall is probably the gate way to life as a full-time skier, so I’m pleased that I got this rite of passage out of the way sooner rather than later 🙂

I was pretty excited that I was wearing something on my torso, or else my tummy would have been all road-rashed as well.  The worst part were my shorts, but Patrick did a great job picking the lycra out of my leg-Yuck! 

Lesson One:  Always be aware of your surroundings

Roller skiing is inherently dangerous–we fly down paved roads alongside cars, motorcycles, bikes, runners, and other roller skiers at high speeds with no braking system.  As such, we need to do everything in our power to minimize the risk.  This includes wearing neon colors ALL the time, making sure helmets are in good working order and fitted properly (this is a no-brainer unless you want to become a no-brainer), ensuring other equipment (skis, boots, poles, bindings) is functioning to the highest degree, and being acutely aware of everything happening around you.  This means never EVER thinking you can out-sprint a car, remembering that no matter how correct you think you are the car will always win in ANY collision, and looking out for where other roller skiers are in respect to yourself.  Communication, common sense, and color are really all you need when roller skiing, so just remember the three Cs!  

Look at all the neon!  And all of those helmets!  SMS does a great job ensuring that we are as safe as we can be while roller skiing!  This picture is from a workout where we did some “silly starts.”   

Lesson Two: If you fall, make sure you have a person to help you out

I would like to think I had a pretty well executed and graceful fall, as I didn’t break anything but skin (and my pole grips).  That said, it came as a bit of a shock to all of a sudden be on the ground.  Thankfully I had some great teammates to get me right up and out of the road, and an awesome coach to drive me back to school and take care of my wounds.  Simi came in really strong with the reeses peanut butter cup, and Coach Patrick did a great job cleaning out my wounds despite my protestations and squeals (and lots of tears).  Cleaning out wounds is probably the most important (and painful) part of the fall, as infection can be a real pain in the butt (literally a pain in the butt if isn’t aggressively fought off!)  I discovered I was really bad at dressing wounds by myself, and it really helped to have someone there do it for me.  I drove to Hanover for a couple nights (I am a little incapacitated when it comes to training for a couple days), and thankfully Thomas isn’t squeamish and did a great job helping me dress my wounds (repeatedly).Neosporin, non-stick pads, adhesive tape, and Good and Plenty.  All that's needed for a speedy recovery!

Neosporin, nonstick pads, adhesive tape and Good & Plenty.  Thank you Thomas for getting me the necessary supplies for a speedy recovery.

Lesson Three: Take the Time to Heal!

After some quick internet research, I figured out the most important thing was healing.  The body is an amazing thing, and with the proper care the wounds will heal themselves.  So I’ve taken a couple days off to make sure my body is fully rested and ready to get back in action.  I’ve had an extremely productive first couple weeks at Stratton, and truly feel like I’m getting stronger and better (I actually have biceps.  I noticed these when I was flexing in the mirror  carrying some very heavy dumb bells).  I think that a couple days of rest probably aren’t the worst things for me right now, so I’m taking full advantage of them!

Thomas and I went mini-golfing Sunday afternoon, and needless to say it is a good thing I didn’t take up golfing as a full time sport.  As you can see, I managed to get my ball onto the next green.  Unfortunately this is pretty indicative of my general skill as a mini golfer.

I’m excited to get back to training in a couple of days, and until then I’ll be focusing my energy on getting road rash to scab.  This is almost as exciting as watching grass grow or paint dry, but at least there is World Cup soccer to watch.  And at least I didn’t let a goal in with 20 seconds to go to secure a spot in the round of 16 (looking at you team USA).  It’s only a flesh wound!

This is exactly where you don’t want the ball to be when (1) your goalie is on the ground and (2) there is 20 seconds left in the game.  Time to at least tie the Germans! 

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