Archive for November 18, 2007

Skating at Majestic Medeo

flagspouring teathree happy skaterswhole groupMedeo from aboveMedeo’s big rink

Think Olympics grandeur and that’s where we went yesterday just south of Almaty which means UP the hill!  We passed many posh looking homes that weren’t along the road 14 years ago.  We breathed the fresh mountain air once in the Medeo compound.  What a thrill to enter the Olympic size stadium where many years ago athletes broke records in speed skating, especially those from the former Soviet Union. 

After many years of NOT skating, I wasn’t sure how I would do with rented skates.  After once around the rink I figured that the wobbly ankles were a function of not tightening up the laces enough.  Many of the Kazakh students who went on this excursion were first timers.  At first I felt like a first timer and fell down only ONCE when someone skating backwards ran into me.  He apologized profusely and helped me up.  No worries, my camera was safe.  We had two hours to skate and after I ditched my leather jacket, gloves and hat, I was warmed up and skating backwards like the good old days. I didn’t feel quite comfortable with cross-hatch front or back but it felt REALLY good to skate again!!!

For fun,  I would push some of the students backwards or forwards and I far preferred the inside ice.  The ring around was overused and the ice was of poor quality on one side by the time we had arrived.  I thought I’d be suffering from sore muscles today but that was not the case.  It seemed skating backwards was easier than forward for some reason, maybe the rented blades were unaccustomed to “backwards skaters” like me. Perhaps I need to find my own skates and get exercise where the air is good and you feel virtuous for the exercise afterwards. 

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