Saturday, 27 August 2016

3rd adaptive skiing lesson

Just got home from my 3rd lesson and it finally feels like I'm beginning to be able to do it independently. We started off with one bucket run from the top - Adam, my teacher, holding onto the back and steering. After that we did several runs from half way, with me doing the steering and Adam holding tethers. I asked how much he was controlling my speed and he said about 80% is me and 20% is him. Well that's better than my first lesson where it was 100% the teacher and 0% me.

Picture of me in a sit-ski, holding myself up with outriggers.
Towards the end of the lesson, Neil braved the cold and took a photo and some video of me. This one was at the bottom of the slope. Adam needed to untangle the tethers, so I had to hold myself up and steady while he sorted them out.

In this picture, you can see that I'm quite low to the ground, which helps with my balance. The first bi-ski I used, at ChillFactore, was higher and I got the feeling that I would never be able to balance in it. I like the design of this one better. It's a bit minimalist - just three straps holding my legs in place - but it's reasonably comfortable. I'd prefer a more padded seat really but you can't be too picky with borrowed equipment.

In each hand, I have an outrigger. This is rather like crutches with little skis on the end. If you squint and look very carefully, you can just see a string going from near my thumb to the pole. If I pull that string, it flips the skis into the straight position. They have little spikes on the end that I can dig into the snow to hold myself still. When I'm skiing though, I have the skis down flat and use them to push myself from one side to the other. This helps me steer.

Sit skiing has some things in common with regular skiing. Because the two skis are fixed, you're basically parallel skiing the whole time. Snowploughs are not possible. Turning is done by leaning to the side you want to turn towards. This makes each ski go onto its edge and that's when you turn. Last time, I was turning too sharply and I kept falling over. This time, I got the hang of it and by the end of the lesson, I could ski from halfway (the gentle part of the slope) on tethers. On my next lesson, Adam wants me to learn to do the top of the slope, which is steeper. And eventually, he wants me to progress onto a monoski, but I'm still not sure about that one!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Still making my move

During June and July, I took part in a BBC Get Inspired challenge called 'Make Your Move'. The aim was to become more active by getting out for a walk every day... or in my case, a roll. I did the challenge for 30 days but what then?

Google Fit, telling me we travelled 1.9 km in 15 mins.Well, I enjoyed being more active and sometimes pushing myself quite close to my limits but at this time of year, with all that sun and wasps, there was no way I was going to keep it up through the summer. About that time, Neil and I decided that we really must lose some weight and we found the NHS Choices diet. We're now coming to the end of week 4. I can't claim that it's a magic diet where you can eat what you want and lose 3 stone in a fortnight, but we have both lost about a stone in the last 4 weeks, partly through counting calories and being more aware of how much we eat and partly through more exercise.

We're back to swimming several times a week, which I absolutely love. At the moment, I close my eyes as I glide through the water and imagine myself competing in the Paralympic games. We swim in the slow lane because it is wider and you get kicked less, so we regularly overtake our fellow athletes, which feels amazing!

On cooler evenings though, we still go to the park for a burst of exercise. Tonight was fun with the strong wind. We went full pace for 15 minutes, with my Spotify playlist singing out from my pocket. "... and I would roll 500 miles..." (yeah, right!)


So here's some pics Neil took of me zooming round the park. When he took these, I was riding into the wind, hence the strange face I'm pulling.

Motion shot of my seriously cool Loopwheels

Fighting against the wind

Forcing a smile as I zoom past

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Relaxing in the garden

They keep talking of another heatwave but at the moment, it's not too bad. Today has been at least partly cloudy and a reasonable temperature to sit out in my netted gazebo.

Me sitting in my gazebo


I've done my work for the day - given my wheelchair a really good wash down. Neil is still doing his task - mowing the lawn.

Neil mowing the lawn

We've been trying to make sure we do some exercise every day. I think mowing probably counts for Neil, whereas sitting probably doesn't for me. Problem is, I've got no motivation to do anything else right now. I'm quite happy just sitting here, relaxing.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

2nd adaptive skiing lesson


As I'm on leave this week, I booked another skiing lesson, but this time at Xscape, Castleford. My teacher is a chap called Adam and today we had the added benefit of a helper (one of the other teachers) called Tom. I get the feeling Tom fancies becoming an adaptive ski teacher too.

Before my lesson started, just after I'd got changed, a lady in a wheelchair came up to me and was asking about my Loopwheels. Turns out she also uses a freewheel, like me. Anyway, she started talking about sit-skiing and I told her I was about to have a lesson. Her name is Jo and she was a Paralympic skier, though she's retired now and coaches other skiers. She said to let her know next time I have a lesson and she'll come and ski too and give me some help and tips.

So, onto the lesson... I was skiing in this thing - a bi-unique sit-ski.

Picture of the sit-ski that I had my lesson in


To start with, we did two or three runs, mostly from the top, with Adam holding onto the bar at the back. That was pretty much like what I did during that first lesson a couple of months ago.

Then he taught me how to hold and use outriggers. They are like crutches with little skis on the end. They help me to balance and turn, only turning was quite tricky. I dug the wrong side into the snow and fell over. That was quite good though. I was really frightened of falling over and hurting myself but falling didn't hurt because every part of me was strapped in and safe. At first, I wondered how I would get back up again but with Adam and/or Tom's help, it was easy enough.

At the moment, I'm quite slow and just working on the bottom half of the slope but next time, he wants to get me up to the top so I can get some speed up and apparently, that will make it easier to turn and balance. I've got another lesson in just over 3 weeks.