The top British finisher of the Berlin Skate Marathon, 2014 – This tiger is a champ!
Edmar, what was this race you entered?
I entered the London Inline Skate Marathon. It’s an event that our club runs. We hold 4 different races, that include quad (traditional skates with 4 wheels) and inline (all wheels in one line) around the velo park. These are aimed at newcomers and young people, giving them the experience of racing.
We run a half and full marathon. That’s 13 miles and 26 miles, respectively. Again, it’s an event that we host for speed skating in the UK, but we also invite international competitors.
Which did you do?
I usually do the full (marathon), but I had plans for the day so I did the first event that was available. Also, with the training I’d prepared, I’m glad I did it.
The lead out man
What’s your experience been and how does it help with cycling with the LBCC?
I’ve been with the skate club 10 years. Every year I say 5, but it must be about 10 years by now; possibly longer. I’m part of the club committee and we do what we can to make it both competitive and fun.
The interaction with the group is very good. It’s a great place that gets people talking. Sure, the dynamics change over time, but you work with it. What I like about LBCC, is the things you do: like the socials, the rides, and the WhatsApp group, you’re keeping things small and intimate. There’s no pressure to compete, but a healthy encouragement to improve your skills.
Pump it up! The London Friday Night Skate – with Edmar and Debbie!
What got you into skating?
Generally, I wasn’t very good at sports. So, I picked up skating at around 18. I was able to pick it up quickly to enjoy, and be half decent at it. Then there’s that speed element. I’m not sure that how came about; friends would say, “Give it a go,” and I liked the thought of trying out something different.
I never thought I’d see myself in a skinsuit. I’d always be in ‘baggys’. But, once you see the benefits of being aero, and the practical side too: that even in the wet, you’re far better off than with loose soggy clothing. I might not look good in one, but performance-wise its key in helping me win races. After all, what I can’t see won’t hurt me!
Do you see a cross over from your skating to your cycling?
It’s all about the legs; you do get to use similar muscles. It also depends very much on the conditions you’re training in. If it’s raining, we don’t necessarily like training in the rain. For one thing, it’s dangerous, and another, it ruins your skates – they’re not designed to roll in the rain like bikes are.
One of our club coaches is a big advocate of cycling. I’d have to agree with him, that it’s a great way to cross train, saving you time; particularly if you have a family. He’s helped us learn, that something as simple as a commute, can give you bags of stamina and strength.
I got into cycling late in my 20’s. It’s funny, at the time I didn’t know anything about re-fuelling or about monitoring your energy levels. I now realise how vital it is. It was real character building stuff.
Paris + black n’ white + HipHop = Let’s Skate!
How’s the bike working out for you now?
We had cycling specific sessions to focus on the bikes before and after skate training. This involved cycling to the training centre; that was 10 miles away. I actually fell off the bike because I didn’t know what I was doing, nor had I the right stamina needed to make it happen. It’s crazy how far I’ve come. These days I can’t imagine going to a training session and not commuting by bike. This is why I cycle, to keep fit. It isn’t a replacement to the skates, especially when it comes to skating technique, but it’s an excellent way to keep good form.
What’s been one of your greatest moments?
To be one of the top skaters in the UK is quite of an achievement for me. To think I didn’t consider myself to be good at any kind of sport and to come this far. And, despite coming late to the sport, it is very rewarding. Obviously, the social element is something I’ve come to appreciate, and the travel you enjoy when doing international racing really exposes you to people I never would have met otherwise.
London’s a sweet place for the Skating. Is there a possible Olympic opportunity here?
Will we ever see skating beyond the Winter Olympics?
Ice skating is more technical than speed skating. There’s always going to be that ‘push’ to get speed skating introduced, but you’re competing with other more popular sports, such as rugby, golf and cycling. Like most sports, we need to improve at an organisational level before we can even think of applying for the Olympics. However, there are decent local and international participants. And for now, they are moving over from speed skating into the discipline of ice skating. Of course, it’s for both the money and the recognition, but who can blame them.
The many faces of the London skating scene
Have you ever tried Slalom?
It takes real patience and discipline to go up and down cones. Ironically, I’m very good at going round and round endlessly!
But weren’t you in that Lucozade commerci…?
Skates makes life that little bit louder
Are you going to do the Berlin Marathon one more time?
It’s been a difficult year. I’ve actually been looking to wind things down. I’m still competing well, but I’m not training and that changes everything. I’m quite undecided. Depending on weather conditions I’ll enter the elite. But if it’s a challenging day, or if I’m not feeling good, I’ll opt out. I’ll leave it open.
The London Baroudeurs are proud to call Edmar, aka ‘Tigger’, as one of the family and wish him every success with his skating goals. Go get ’em Tigger!
Tigger is currently the reigning Vets Champ of the London Speed Skaters Championships