Last week-end I got a first taste of speed skating at Le Mans 24 hours thanks to the nice people at AstraZeneca who kindly invited me to be part of their team. I took a few pictures of the event from my point of view as a first-time racer.

I ran the 4.18 km lap in 9’22” on average. Even after my fastest lap in 9’01” I was far from exhausted… I discovered that the secret behind fast racing is not so much physical performance as tactical choices : riding with the right pack changes everything ! I knew that in theory but finding out in practice was an epiphany. The tactical dimension makes speed skating much more fun than I thought it would be.

I achieved those results on my pair of 2004’s FSK Crossmax with 237mm chassis. From what I understood, I did quite well considering the limitations of my hardware. My large T-shirt and baggy shorts were probably also a significant drag. So next year I’m getting proper racing skates and tight fitting clothes… Only pushing below 9″ shall satisfy my need for speed !

I’m glad I found an excuse to splurge on exotic hardware but I’m afraid my progress may have as much to do with improving my skating technique… Double push here I come ! Meanwhile I recommend the excellent howtos published by the highly competent LondonSkaters.