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Saturday, September 22, 2007

100 Mile skate - Rosh-Hanikra to Tel-Aviv

Five skaters, myself included took advantage of the closed roads during "Yom-Kippur" and skated from Rosh-Hanikra to Tel-Aviv. I continued to Rehovot, setting a new Israeli continuous skate recored at 100 Miles (160 Km).
Watch the video:


Sunday, September 9, 2007

21K race in Jeonju, Korea

Today was the much anticipated 21K race - the peak of the 5th annual Jeonju International Skating Festival.
When we arrived, the atmosphere was amazing. The amount of skaters was incredible, and even more surprising was the fact that nearly all of them had speed boots and skinsuits.

As part of the Foreign group, we got to start at the very front of the pack, alongside the local champions.

I had a great start, and hung on to the pack. After I got comfortable, I started joining in attacks, and improving my position. At first I was shifting around within the first 20 skaters.

As opposed to my competitions at the Worlds - this time I was in a pack of skaters with similar ability to mine, and was able to hold my ground among the leaders. This being the first time I was truly in a high level pack - every second was a valuable lesson.

I learned a lot about how to join the paceline properly, how to prevent people from cutting in front of me, when to rest, when to attack and how to anticipate attacks. Gavin Pullocks advice of using the momentum of a skater pushing you from behind to initiate an attack was especially useful. During the downhill sections the pack would really compress, and if you chose the right moment - you could slingshot out right in to 5th place or so, on the push offs momentum alone.

15 Kilometers into the race, the pack seemed to accelerate (or I might have lost power) and I began to lose it. I tried to catch a few attacking groups and get back in the game, but only ended up zig-zagging along the track and losing more power.

After a minute or so on my own, I fount a "late train" and joined in, keeping the pace, and sometimes leading until the last kilometer, where we all broke out into a sprint.

 All and all, it was a great race, and I learned a lot. I think I finished 30th or so, clocking about 36 minutes for the 21K (average speed of nearly 35). Official results are not yet in, but I'll be sure to update when they are.

After the race, we toured the local expo, and saw the Style-Slalom finals - which were amazing. There was also a friendly slide and jump competition - those guys had moves!

Pictures and videos will come soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Korean culture and track races

Stone PagodaThis morning our hosts took us for a tour of Jeonju and the nearby area, in order to sample some local culture. First we visited a Buddhist temple just outside the city - it was absolutely amazing. be sure to check out the pictures.

Next we had lunch in a Korean restaurant - they seem to be very fond of "do-it-yourself" type meals. We had raw beef, vegetables, noodles and seasoning served to us on a metal plate, and then cooked on a gas stove installed right in the middle of the table. The food is very odd (acorn jelly - need I say more?), but also very tasty.

After lunch, we toured the "Korean cultural experience" and saw traditional housing, made Hanji (hand made paper), learned about Korean medicine and visited the last emperors grandsons residence.

Finally, we head out to the skating track. Located outdoors, in a large sports center, and alongside a hockey rink - we found a beautiful 200m banked track. After a short skate, we found that it was a bit bumpy, but nevertheless had great grip.

Roi decided not to risk injury on the banked track and decided not to race today. I, on the other hand, raced for 500m, 1,000m and 3,000m Elimination.

I had a bad start, and couldn't catch up. I spent the entire race (all 2.5 laps of it...) trying to get back in the pack rather unsuccessfully. I burned out during the last lap and finished last and far behind.

This time I had a good start, stayed 3rd or fourth for a few laps, and managed to take the lead for the 4th lap. While I led for nearly the whole lap, I didn't notice the attack brewing behind me, just before we started the 5th and final lap, the whole pack just whooshed by me. By the time I got my act together and accelerated, I was left fighting for 5th place.

3,000m Elimination
By far my best race. I got into the center of the pack right from the start, and kept my position for a long time. at some point I started fading back - but managed to sprint up to 8th place or so. Unfortunately I was unable to cement that achievement, and was quickly pushed back to the rear of the pack. After about 7 laps, the back of the pack began to thin out, and elimination became a real threat. I lasted for three or four more laps, until finally losing an elimination lap sprint to a skater that was behind me.
All in all I had good races. Roi caught everything on Video, and I even recorded my point of view with a helmet camera. I'll be sure to post the videos soon. It was really great to get some more pack experience - I'm sure it will help me in my upcoming races.

It's very late, and the half marathon tomorrow is early in the morning, so the rest of the pictures and videos will have to wait... be sure to check back tough!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Opening Ceremony

International TeamsTonight was the opening ceremony of the Jeonju Inline Festival. There were quiet a few guests of honor, including the Mayor of Jeonju. All the international delegates were presented - China, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), India, Great Britian, France and of course Roi and I from Israel. We were personally introduced to the Mayor, and recived a small gift from the federation. The interviews were not to late to come.

During the coming days we will compete at 500m, 1000m and 3,000m track races. a 21K road race and will watch the Slalom and Hockey competitions. I'm preparing an extensive video report, wich will probably be prepared a few days after my return to Israel.

Toto, I don't think we're in Incheon anymore...

After landing in Incheon, were were greeted by a very courteus Mr. Kan. The latter informed us that the event we came to participate in will not take place in Incheon as we thought, but rather in nearby Jeonju. Just how nearby? a four hour "express" bus ride away...

Finally, after over 24 hours in transit, we arrived in Jeonju. The local federation greeted us with open hands, treating us to lunch, and hooking us up with the event organizers. We were later chauferred to our hotel - the Jeonju Riviera, wich is quite nice.

Tonight there will be the official dinner and opening ceremony, tomrrow there will be slalom qualifications and track races. Roi and I will probably participate in the track races as well. In two days we will race the Half marathon, the race we travelled so far to participate in.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

En-route to Incheon

Roi and I just landed in Bangkok, Thailand. En route to Incheon, Korea where we will be participating in a skating festival and marathon - courtesy of Gyro Wheels and Endless-Roll Israel.

The event is part of the KIC - Korea Inline Cup, and I am quiet sure this is the first time Israeli speedskaters will be participating. The race is on the 9th of September, so be sure to check back for results and reports!