Speedskating outdoors can be a drag. Literally.
Without the controlled conditions of indoors, the ice can be too soft or too hard, and dust and other particles trapped in the ice can cause friction.
It can be a slog.
Whitehorse speedskater Troy Henry went from placing fifth at an international event indoors, to struggling to crack the top-25 outdoors over the last two weekends.
“The season has gone really well so far, aside from the results I got in Quebec,” said Henry. “I am disappointed with the results I got in Quebec, but I’m not dismayed over it. They are not bad for outdoor results for me, but they’re not where they should be.
“I have to learn how to skate outdoors better … I’m doing really well at indoor right now and I’m happy with that.”
The 24-year-old long-track skater took in a fifth-place finish at the 2013 CanAm International indoors at the Calgary Oval the weekend before last.
Henry placed fifth in the 5,000-metre with a season-best time of 6:42.72.
He was the third Canadian in the field of 35 skaters in the race, just ahead of a skater from Belgium in sixth and a Polish skater in seventh.
Henry also raced to 17th in a field of 103 skaters in the 1,500-metre with a time of 1:51.69 and 23rd out of 118 skaters in the 500-metre at 37.28. He set season best times in all three events.
It was a different story at the Canada Cup 1 outdoors in Quebec City over the weekend.
“I didn’t have a very good competition in Quebec, but I did have a really good one here (in Calgary) the weekend before,” said Henry.
Henry claimed 23rd in the 5,000-metre (7:51.31) and 26th in the 1,000-metre with a season-best time of 1:19.58.
He also skated to 28th in the 500-metre (39.86), 33rd in the 1,500-metre (2:07.86) and 41st in the 500-metre (41.17).
“Quebec is outdoor ice, which is quite a bit different than indoor ice,” said Henry. “I’m used to skating on indoor ice because I started with short-track, which is only indoor, and I moved to the (Calgary) Oval, which is indoor as well.
“I never skated that much on outdoor ice. It requires a bit of a different technique. The whole approach is different, which I’m not really used to yet. I don’t have it figured out yet and it was really affecting my results.”
Skating on outdoor ice requires a more frequent pumping of the legs to overcome the ice’s drag, said Henry.
“The technique is different because you have to have a faster turnover,” said Henry. “You don’t glide along in outdoor, you have to keep moving the whole time. The ice doesn’t glide as well.”
In his first meet of the season, Henry placed seventh out of 13 skaters, with a time of 14:11.59, in the 10,000-metre at the World Cup Long Track Trials at Calgary’s Olympic Oval in October.
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