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Hello All, and I Hate Ice

Cat Brother's picture

Hey, y'all, nice to be here, and to find some support for my first A2A effort!

I've been skating since '91, but this'll be my first organized event. Not looking to place, just finishing 55 miles will be plenty for me. I have absolutely no idea how feed stations or any of that stuff works, so anyone who can direct me to a nuts'n'bolts webpage or something with basic 'how to do a race' stuff would be appreciated. I've watched Youtube vids of people doing the race, how (apparently) you can send food ahead to be waiting for you...how cool is that? You kids today. I'm really looking forward to doing that thing where you just toss a cup of water in your face, and keep going. Have to make sure it's not Cytomax or something sticky, I'm sure.

I own a studio where I combine strength training with traditional Chinese medicine. My focus is on trauma medicine; my first exposure to acupuncture and herbs was as part of Chinese martial arts ("Go hit that wooden dummy for 10 minutes!") I work a lot with our local roller derby team, and see a lot of sprained/injured ankles, knees, low backs. I think a majority of these can be prevented via correct strength training, and injuries can be healed much faster using a combo of flexibility work, soft tissue work (if you're on this board, you should have a foam roller!), internal/external herbs, and (except possibly in the first 24 hours of a hot, red, swollen injury) heating therapies rather than ice.

I've worked on I don't know how many ongoing sprained ankles where the person kept putting those frozen peas or whatever on it, which kept the injury from ever healing, that cleared up in about a week with mobility work and moist heat. Yes, this goes against orthodoxy. No, I don't care. It works. Hydrocullator pads are the bomb.

On the subject of strength training, for A2A, I'm using a combination of free weights, bodyweight, kettlebells, and bands. I feel that skaters, like most athletes, need to focus more on the 'posterior chain,' hams rather than quads, butt, low back, and abs from a standing position. I can go banging on and On and ON on this, depends if anyone wants to listen.

So, pleased to meetcha.



roadskater's picture

Welcome and we'd love to help and have help

Hey Cat Brother. Thanks for signing up and posting. I assume you're planning to do the 52 miler at Athens to Atlanta, rather than the 38 or 87. Is it too late to talk you into 87? It's awesome! However, the 52 is a nice skate though we've never done the first part of it as it's not part of the 87 route. Regardless, you are smart for doing A2A as it is the grandskatey of them all (tm) as I say, ha. Yes we'd love to have you share your expertise as well as your questions. I have some site maintenance to do, but I'll come back later to say more when I can. Meanwhile ask away because there are people out there wondering if they can do it. Let's show them they can and teach them how to get rolling. Thanks again, and that's coming from a dog brother.
eebee's picture

Ice-Haters Unite

Hey Cat Brother and welcome! I'm pleased to hear you'll be doing A2A this year! I'm looking forward to it again, myself. Hmm...87 miles isn't that much more than 52, eh?!

Seriously though, you're right to want to skate within your capabilities and I skated the 38 distance for about 4 years before going the whole hog with the 87. The 52 wasn't available back then. But if you can skate 45 miles and know how to skate safely on hills you can do the full 87 mile Athens to Atlanta distance.

Thanks for what you said about ice. (TMI warning) - After childbirth everybody told me to put ice on whatever was hurt/injured, which frankly made the pain way worse. So I stuck to heated aids instead. The same went for nursing.

I told you it was TMI. Sorry guys. Since then I have always used heat because, well, it just feels comforting and cosy :-). Not that I needed anybody to endorse my decision but I was glad to read what you said about ice.

But back to A2A: Cat Brother...skating is of course great sport-specific exercise. Your weight training sounds good, but how is your skate-training going?

Obviously everybody is different and different skaters have different A2A performances depending on how they train. For me I have found over the years that a combination of lots of long-distance hill training (4 x 1 hr weekdays, + 1 or 2 x 30-to-40 miler on the weekend), plus once or twice a week skate-specific plyometric jumps, static squats and lunges help me more than only doing one of those, and make the whole A2A experience more enjoyable.

Some folks seem to train well for A2A by skating twice a week on a night skate, for example, and cycling with a local road team the rest of the time. Others (er, the younger ones) seem to be able to stay in the gym all year and get out on the road in July for their first roadskate and blow everybody else away.

Do you have some local nightskates where you are, or do you have some local charitable bike rides you can pay to take part in?  This would be the best training for A2A, in my opinion.

If you have some 30, 40, 50 mile skates under your belt this year, how much and what type of sports nutrition/calories did you need and at what intervals? On A2A you can eat whenever and wherever you like, as long as you have it! If you're only doing the 52 miler, you are not likely to be out in the sticks any more thanks to the urbanization of Metro Atlanta. You'll be in Suwanee pretty quickly where you'll pass plenty of gas stations if you find you've forgotten something. So keep cash/credit cards on you. A2A has provided water and bananas in past years but do not count on that. Bring your own sports nutrition and drink. They have done all they can to keep the complimentary sandwich going at the finish line, but really most of their funds have to go towards Police support along the way in 5 counties at busy intersections, since it's an open-road event. So I'm not sure if there will be any sandwiches this year at the finish.

I'm not familiar with the 52 distance mileage, but there are 2 official rest stops and two smaller 'water stations' from that point to Piedmont Park. One of those water stations I have gone flying past EVERY TIME since 2002 and still am not sure where it's supposed to be!

You can put your 'rest stop' goodies into a cooler bag or whatever, and throw them into the corresponding rest stop cardboard box at the start line. The volunteers will transport them to the rest stops for you, as long as you put them in the right box! Put your name in big letters on the outside of your cooler bag(s). I have known people's gatorades to go missing by the time they reached the rest stop but I think they probably only put them in a transparent ziplok bag or something and another skater thought it was his/hers. There is no official 'feed zone'. For me the entire 87 miles is a feed zone :-)

Make sure you have a cue sheet with you at all times because even though the volunteers have been out three days beforehand painting the yellow "S"'s on the road, doesn't mean the local authorities didn't decide to repave a section before A2A Sunday! That happens almost every year. 

Happy to answer any other questions...mostly from my perspective but also from what I have read and heard from others over the past ten years of doing this event. 

roadskater's picture

A2A Logistics

Oh yes. Here's a link to some info on the site. It's just a search so it'll show you how to craft a search phrase if you don't like using search boxes for some reason! http://roadskater.net/search/node/logistics+AND+a2a or for a more general search that includes Tour to Tanglewood (T2T)... http://roadskater.net/search/node/logistics
skatey-mark's picture

Consider Tour to Tanglewood also

TTT is a great "warm up" for A2A, and benefits a really good cause. (MS Society.) Something else you can do to get a feel for the event is read some of the reports that people have written over the years. I can't seem to figure out how to get to the list of all reports - maybe Roadskater can point that out... - SM -

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