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#14) Product review: Flexmeter wrist guards

Here's my quick review of these excellent wrist guards. I suffered two radius fractures to my right arm at the wrist whilst skating. The second was a compound fracture and I was advised by the surgeon not to skate again. I coudn't not skate ever again, so I decided to invest in some decent wrist protection. I did some research and took the plunge with the Flexmeter guards. They were designed with snow boarders in mind and I figured that snowboarding and skating are in a smiliar category in regards to body vs floor impact.

So I took the plunge and invested in some back in 2014 for around 50 pounds. Very unlike me to spend that much on something I don't know will be any good, but I put my faith in the reviews and the product write ups which promised to absorb impacts and save bones.

Of course, not long after I started speed skating the inevitable happened and I crashed hard on my right wrist. I didn't feel a thing through my wrist at all. Nothing. The impact was absorbed though the heel of my hand where there is a floating pad attached by velcro. Across the back of the wrist there is a verterbrated section which allows controlled flex but prevents the wrist being pushed back.

The wrist guards also feature double velcro straps and is longer than the regular wrist guards you usually come across and are fully machine washable.

My pair have been used for over 3 years now. I wear them every single time I skate, whether social or speed skating. I have crashed in them both indoors and outdoors (see picture below) and I haven't (as yet) sustained any wrist injuries! The wrist pad on the front has held up pretty well too. Just some scuffing to the surface. The fabric on the underside of the guard has ripped along the seam though, probably from the impacts, but other than that they've held up brilliantly. I would highly recommend these to all roller skaters, no matter what the discipline.

Here's the link to a website featuring them. They are available on Amazon and ebay if you google them. You won't be disappointed!

#13) Motogp 2017!

Like last year, this year we decided to just go to Motogp on the Friday for the free practice sessions. Security was pretty tight as expected after various terror attacks in the UK this year, but we at least felt safe after our bags were searched. The security guard even quipped that he liked Ginger Nuts which I had packed in preparation of the day ahead!

As always, this is the least supported day of the whole weekend so we could pretty much go anywhere we wanted (except the paddock of course!). It was a lovely late summer's day and we actually wore shorts, yes SHORTS, for the whole day. Usually it rains and is freezing cold. I took quite a few photos of the day but not as many as previous years. For a change we took a couple of BMX's with us so we could get around the track quickly which turned out to be a fab idea and very popular with people there. We had a lot of comments about our 1980's Raleigh Burners! Anyway, back to the racing, we had a little more nostalgia on track in the form of Cal Crutchlow on his Castrol Honda in the 1990's livery released especially for the weekend. It looked lovely! Here are my favorite images from the weekend below.

#12) Inline Skating British Outdoor Championships

This weekend we had the Outdoor Championships. As always I did the photography, but I decided to just stick mostly to the events that had my team mates in. That said, I still managed to snap over 700 photos! I did my time trial and two races (500mts & 1000mts) but it was soon apparent that I need to do an awful lot more training in my technique and speed and I was dead last in each of my events. I feel a little despondant because I train three times a week but I can't see any improvement, but I do tend to skate on my own, so I'm not getting the proper coaching. A steep learning curve for me at my first outdoor championship event.

The photos came out a lot better than my race results, and I'm very pleased with them. I dodged the rain drops on Saturday when the heavens opened and thunder and lightning ensued and racing was suspended til it subsided. I must admit I do like rain photos, the reflections in the water looked pretty good!

Anyway my team did pretty well. We came back with 12 golds, 9 silvers, 10 bronzes and four British Champions. Now we (and me in particular) have to train harder!

Add me as a friend on my new Facebook profile page to view my images from the event.

#11) Thunderstorms!

As you are all well aware by now, we were subject to an epic thunderstorm this July in the South of England. East Anglia was hit pretty hard with an awesome lightning display which started around midnight and progressed slowly into a thunderous crescendo at around 5am. I had the tripod all rigged up for the performance, but little did I know the storm was heading towards the front of the house not the back, so I had to dismantle it and shelter in my porch out of the rain to take photos. The resulting photo shows the lightning zipping across the night sky.

Then came the main event about an hour later, when another storm approached from the south, this time behind my house. I rigged up the tripod on top of the conservatory roof, tied with bungees, and hung out the bedroom window to merrily snap away. The strikes were fast and furious, every minute or so and the second photo below is the result of about eight images in one. It was an amazing spectacle. Then the rain started to fall and the lightning moved overhead so I decided to pack up the equipment and watch from my window.

I hold a great respect for lightning, and so I only venture outside when I know its far enough away! Overhead lightning is a definite no-no! Anyway I hope you like the couple of images below from the night.

#10) Eve McInerney to represent Great Britain!

Yes, our very own superstar racer, Eve, is off this week to represent Great Britian in Portgual at the European Speed Skating Championships. She's had a very successful season so far after becoming British Champion at the Indoor Championships and has numerous race wins under her belt so far. This was after she qualified in Germany earlier this year by recording an impressive time of 4 mins 47 seconds in a 3,000kms points race. Well done Eve and good luck this week!

#9) The motorbike season has started!

Once again I've been very quiet on the photography front lately. I've been wrapped up with speed skating amongst other things and just haven't had the camera out much at all so far this year. But, the motorbike race season has now started and very soon looking forward to the British Superbike rounds as well as Motogp at the end of the summer holidays. To start all this off, the British Superbike championship held an open testing day at Snetterton a few weeks ago, our home track, so we couldn't resist the chance to see them on track. Not all the teams were there, most notably by his absence was my favorite rider, James Ellison, but most of the others turned up. The day was incredibly windy, with 90mph gusts and I did wonder if any of them would be out on track, but they all did! The testing day is mid-week and not very well supported by the public and we could go wherever we wanted except the pit lane. We wandered round the paddock and watched the mechanics in action and I managed to get my picture taken with current BSB series leader Luke Mossey and Glen Irwin who is currently out of action with a broken arm suffered the following weekend at Knockhill! We managed to sit beside the fence at the end of the hairpin on the new section of track. On race day this area is cordonded off and occupied by motorhomes for the paddock, but that day is was totally empty except for a few scattered cars and a couple of bikes who braved the high winds. We watched the riders backing the bikes into the corner, with slides galore and to our suprise we could hear the tyres screeching as they slid into the corner. Something I've never witnessed before because we've always been too far away from the track and it's always been too noisy! The atmosphere was so relaxed Shakey Byrne was lunching with team mate Glen in the track cafe along with the general public. I can't imagine Valentino Rossi ever doing that!

#8) Six hours of non-stop racing!

Gravesend Cyclopark hosted Britain's first ever 6 hour endurance race. Wisbech Speed Skaters were joined by teams from the Midlands, London and Essex to take part in the event and did themselves proud! The Club entered two teams of 5 - Juniors and Masters. The teams completed 248 laps in total and finished in 3rd and 4th respectively. The mile long track looked lovely and smooth but proved to have its own challenges in the form of a downhill slope with a sharp right hand bend (the skaters always skate into left hand bends so this proved tricky for some!) and then was followed by a long uphill slope. Even though I was asked, I knew there was no way I'd be able to take part as I'm too slow and didn't want to let the team down, so I spent most of the day taking photos!

I've updated the media page with the race reports from the indoor season and outdoor season so far this year. The team even made it into the Eastern Daily Press!

I love this picture of the whole team, they all looked very relaxed considering what they'd just achieved. Well done team!

#7) The Outdoor Season Begins!

Easter Sunday was the day that saw the start of the outdoor inline speed skating season. Local skaters Wisbech Inline Speed Skaters travelled to Tatem Park in Enfield to attend the first outdoor race event of 2017. The cold winds and the threat of rain didnít put the skaters off and they returned home with another well-earned haul of medals and trophies.

Eve McInerney finished overall in 1st place in Category 2 and eased to victory in the Senior ladies 5,000mts races Ė her debut race with the Seniors this year.

Flynn McGurk and Warren Eve finished in 1st and 2nd places respectively in the Cadet boys 3,000mts race, with Flynn just pipping Warren to the line after Warren fought back hard from mid-pack.

Both Dylan Taylor and 7 year old Arthur Buckler finished in overall 2nd places in Cat 4 and Cat 6 respectively, with Arthur also finishing 2nd in the Mini Boys race. James Garwell joined Arthur and finished in 1st and 3rd places in Cat 6 and mini boys respectively.

Taylor Barker made his race debut and finished in 3rd place overall in Category 7. His siblings, Kirby and Leah took to the track in the rat races and finished 4th and 2nd respectively.

The team were joined by 19 year old Tom Van Vliet from The Netherlands, representing Team Bont. The main event of the day was the Senior Menís Elimination. 22 laps of the circuit with 19 racers lining up on the start line. One by one the field was eliminated and Tom showed his true racing experience by winning easily ahead of the rest of the pack with Wisbech Skater Mike McInerney bringing it over the line in 3rd place. The team were also joined by Masters skaters Jo Tidman and Graham Freear.

All the photos of the day are now up on my Rock Click facebook page.

#6) Public Photography

Last month I had a few negative comments regarding my excluding of some individuals in the images I took at the British Championships. Whilst it is perfectly legal to take images of anyone in a public place, if I am specifically asked not to take photos of someone, whether they be young or old, I try very hard to uphold this request. Some have found this hard to accept, but I would like to remind everyone that I can take photos of and publish photos of whomever I choose to. I'm not obligated to publish any of the images that I take. I do so because the majority of atheletes are happy to see themselves in action.

I only started taking photos for my team a few years ago and it progressed to taking them of everyone at each race event - mostly to the detriment of my own race preparations. It takes me a LONG time to edit all the images afterwards. I'm talking hours. After everyone else has finished their race weekend (including most of the officials) I'm still sitting here at my desk editing images. The positive comments far outweigh the few negative ones I've had so I'm happy to continue to take images, although these will be fewer than before and I shall be selective on which images are published on the internet.

#5) This Week's Publishings

One of the reasons why I take photos at the races I compete in is to get the skaters recognised for the hard training and many hours they put into getting to where they are now and where they want to be. I take the photos of them in action and write the articles you see in the media (with the approval of committee members from my team) so that their efforts and acheivements are "out there". The team did exceptionally well at the British Championships and the team love being in the paper. Here are the links to the online race reports from last week's championships and the newspaper reports are on the Media page of this site. Feel free to have a browse! You can even let me know what you think on the Guestbook page.

Eastern Daily Press

Wisbech Standard

One last thing, my images can be used, on request, for your own team's publishings too. So long as I get a mention for the photo of course. How will anyone know about our sport if we don't tell anyone? Contact me through Facebook or through the Contact Page on this site if you need any help or copies of images.

#4) Indoor British Speed Skating Championships

Myself and the team have been training hard since the start of the year in preparation for the British Championships held in March. We took a 13-member team to Maldon in Essex to show them what we're made of. We returned with 5 British Champions, 7 bronze and 7 gold medals. Three of those bronze medals were mine. Last year I only managed to bring back 2 bronze medals so my goal was to be on the podium all three times this year. I made a last lap, last corner dive underneath my rival Suzie in front of all my team to secure that final step on the podium and final medal. It felt like a win for me. I pushed myself all race, Suzie managing to keep me behind her every lap. She's a strong skater and on the straights she was pulling away from me, but I knew I could catch her in the corners, and that was my only chance. We raced fairly and had a hug afterwards. I felt bad that I had stolen third place from her after she led me for almost all of the 15 laps, but that's racing!

I ended up taking over 800 images of the day, but I'm finding that as I take my racing more seriously as time progresses, I struggle to concentrate on my race preparation. Luckily I've got someone in our team entourage who's quite handy with the camera so he managed to take some photos of my races as well as the ones before and after, thereby reducing my stress levels somewhat!

All the photos of the day are now up on my Rock Click facebook page.

Now the outdoor season begins (along with rubbish weather!). We have a busy schedule of racing throughout the year and will no doubt bring home more medals and trophies.

#3) New website roll out

I've done what I've been threatening myself to do for ages now - I've streamlined the galleries. I decided to showcase my favorite images and display them in a proper interactive gallery. I hope you like the new style. All of my images from events are still on my Rock Click facebook page.

#2) 2017 season starts with a bang!

Wisbech Speed skaters started their 2017 race season on fine form at the weekend as the team travelled to Derby Rollerworld roller skating venue for the first indoor race of the year. Teams from across the country travelled to the venue and over 50 skaters participated in the event in total.

Wisbech Skaters showed excellent form fighting off tough competition in the mixed races with Flynn McGurk, Dylan Taylor and Jo Tidman taking second places overall in Cat 3, Cat 4 and Masters Ladies respectively. Arthur Buckler won both of his races and Warren Eve finished in third place in one of his races, but both denied their overall places due to separate incidents on track.

The team welcomed back Lucy McInerney, after a long break from the sport, and rookie racer Luke Frary who held his own in the Men's Masters races in his first ever race after joining the club less than four months ago. The team were also joined by Eve McInerney and James Eve.

The ever-expanding team are looking forward to their home race on Saturday 4th March to be held at Skaters Roller Rink in Walpole Highway. Team coach, Mike McInerney, praised the team afterwards but said there is lots of hard work still to do as the team knuckle down and concentrate on their home race and then the British Indoor Championships both to be held during March.

Photos are now up on my facebook page.

I haven't updated the galleries in a little while on this site because I'm currently thinking of ways to streamline it. Less is more as they say, so I'm planning on "decluttering"!

#1) Just a little montage of images from the 2016 Speed Skating season for Wisbech Inline Speed Skaters.

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