What is Technical Gearing?
The focus is on going faster in Berlin, 4 or 5 months out and just enough time to really make a difference to your Berlin time. The concept of 'Technical Gearing' is very important in inline speedskating.
When you ride bike, you have gears. You change gear according to the resistance you feel and the speed you are travelling. (and the power left in your legs). Inline skates don't have mechanical gears, they have technical gears. In other words, the angular direction of the skate creates a gear; If it points more directly forward then it is an effectively 'bigger gear'. If it points more outward to the side, then it is effectively a smaller gear.
That is to say, that if it points forward, you travel further with one push. (Just like a bike gear) If it points out, to the side, then you travel less distance forward for each stroke. In the bigger gear, the resistance is higher, so the foot cadence is often slower (unless you push harder with greater power).
However, unlike cycling, it is not efficient to "spin your legs" (fast) like top cycling pro's. This is mainly due to the fact that we carry our own body weight when skating, whereas cyclists are sitting down. And also because it takes time to use the body weight transfer and gravity combined.
Generally speaking (for most 'intermediate skaters' at Berlin/Northshore/LIM/P2P etc) then they should work on using a bigger gear. All to often their skating is inefficient because of using too small of a gear. i.e. fast short strokes whilst not pushing through enough resistance. A bigger gear takes more power, but gives better results (i.e. more distance travelled per stroke = longer stride length. Click to read more about stride length ).
So for cruising at high speed, then a bigger gear is necessary. This is all the more complicated when you factor in the double push effect, body weight lean, gravity (the fall effect), and stroke length.
Other situations, such as accelerating, sprinting (where gravity can not power our motion quick enough) or track skating (or indoor) where tight corners are key, demand other skills, lower gears intermittently, and a real "feel" for which gear is best to use.
Unlike a bike, we do not have a limit of 24 gears. We have infinite gears, depending on how we use the skate precisely. And we can switch between gears every single step, and much quicker than any bike gears. The gearing is also different between 125's and 110's, and application of it changes in different situations.
Much of this is learnt innately on wheels when we are kids. But if you didn't learn to skate as a kid, then you are probably stuck in one gear most of the time you skate. In Sk8skool we have many drills to help you develop a wider range of gears, and understand which situations require which gears.
Now you've read this, and there's plenty to think about, you should also read this article about "Over-thinking it" 😂
Let's go faster