This week I have had brought home to me the importance of having your blades set and sharpened by a specialist. After buying new blades a few months ago my skating was instantly beset with new difficulties. I put my it down to adjusting to the new blades and persevered.
After 3 months, things were just getting worse. Weren’t these new blades meant to improve my skating? The blades had a death wobble at speed, fell in and refused to lift in my loop jump, and my one foot back slaloms would only go in circles. My spins were gone, and along with all that went my confidence and trust for my skates, which before the change had just started to feel like natural extensions to my feet. My boots now had so many holes in the sole, filling was needed. One screw became fixed in the filler. The blades no longer were sitting flush with the sole of the boot. In places there was a gap between. I could feel movement and creaking even off the ice standing still. Time to take action.
I am fortunate that near my home lives a semi-retired skate technician. This man, an 89 year old ex engineer and professional skater, is a perfectionist and takes his blades seriously! It is where I should have taken them to start with….but time constraints prevented it.
After an hour of painstaking (and vocally colourful) work, my skates were in perfect alignment, and sharpened beautifully. He showed me how woeful the rink sharpen was, how the angle of my blade to the boot and to the ice looked like a year 7 geometry lesson gone wrong, and made me feel lucky to be still in one piece!
The proof was furnished on taking them for a spin yesterday. No wobble, no creaking, no falling in. Safe as houses, they felt solid as a rock.
The morals of this story:
* make the time to get your gear sorted by an expert.
* the set of your new blades is more important than any fabulous features they may have. Like a car, crooked wheels will not drive true no matter how expensive they are!!