Although we’ve had a ton of rain (that we need) these past few weeks, the sun came out today, YAY!! I thought it appropriate to get out ‘Le Petit Dragon Vert’ and start the season off right. Set the Dragon to 115 feet (35m) and had an hour or so of practice. The video for today shows one of my early attempts to walk. Later in the day I was able to get about half way across, but it is clear that I need way more practice on this type and length of line.
I recently took an interest in the Rodeo Line. For those who don’t know, “Rodeo Line” refers to a completely slack line who’s tension only becomes apparent once a slacker gets on the line. I have also seen this referred to as “Freestyle” slackline.
In any event, I took some line and set up a Rodeo in my basement – suspended between two of the poles that hold up the first floor of my home. These poles are about 20 feet apart, and the line attaches to the poles about 6 ft (1.8m) above the floor.
I had tried rodeo last summer/autumn, in the parks around town, but was never really much good at doing anything but standing for a second or two. Same was true the first day I set up in my basement. But after practicing for an hour or so, I was able to start taking steps.
This past weekend, the kids over at Colorado School of Mines held a slackline festival. There were tons of slacklines set up, and people of all ages and skill levels participating in the fun! We were near this particular 150′ line, so I decided to practice my chongo mount. The video below shows one of my attempts. Although I did not walk far, I was mostly trying to mount the dang thing! Later in the day, I was able to walk 10 steps (at the opposite end of the line).
As a follow-up to my ‘let the season begin’ post, here is a video of my first try on a 50′ line for the 2014 season.
50/50: My first 50 foot line as a 50 year old! Plus, I figure I’ve retained about half of my ability after taking the winter off from serious slacklining.
The two videos below try to show the difference between my abilities toward the end of last season and what I’ve got left after taking the winter off. One thing to note, I only made it to the halfway point yesterday. True, the line from 2014 is more slack (difficult) than the line from 2013. In any case, I hope you are getting out there starting this Spring!
Slacked a bit on Thursday, but none yesterday (Friday) on account of high winds here all day. So, yesterday was a rest day. Set up today about 1p, and slacked for about an hour, taking turns with my wife. She was able to walk about 8 steps on the line today, so she is stoked! It really is fun seeing real progress every time we try it. I am now walking 8 or 10 steps backward, and I can move along the line at a better pace (no more stopping to catch my balance between every darn step!). Will set up tomorrow after lunch (and bowling).
Set up the line around 5p today. Spent about an hour or so, maybe less. After 10 or 15 mins of warm-up, I was able to take 6 or 7 steps backwards. Later in the session I went back to practicing turn-arounds. I was able to turn around twice in a row without falling off the line so while there is a small amount of progress it would seem that we may have hit a bit of a slow-down in our advancements. My wife was able to get up to 3 steps forward, but not quite to the 4 she made last weekend. Slacklining is still a work-out, and still a lot of fun! The drive of championing the line keeps us going strong!!
We will keep at it, trying not to take many days off this coming week/week-end.
In addition to trying to learn to turn around on the line, my wife suggested that I learn to walk backwards. This is a great idea! Now I can take my time learning to turn around because, when I get to the end of the line, I can go back the other way without turning around.
Today we set up the slackline in the late afternoon. We both practiced for about one hour – taking turns on the line. At first, I was walking forward and trying to turn around, but then I started trying to walk backwards. The most I made it was four steps backwards. This is another wonderful thing to practice on the line. So far, there just doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much fun you can have on one of these lines!
My wife had taken the past two day off from slacklining, on account of a 10K she ran on Monday. Returning to the slackline today, she was disappointed that she could not remake her four step milestone from last weekend. We both had trouble getting used to the line this time, and we’re hoping that we soon get back to the skill level we had previously reached.
Next up, learning to walk backwards, and the second part of the anchor series. Rain in the forecast, so it may be a day or two. we shall see…
We spent about an hour or two with the slackline set up in the backyard on Friday afternoon. Then about another hour or so on Saturday. My wife was able to take four steps on Saturday! She is improving, although not as fast as she’d like. She took today (Sunday) off from slacking, to use the day to prepare for a 10K tomorrow.
I set up the line and walked this afternoon. This was the first time I set it up by myself. Usually, it takes two of us to pull the line tight enough so that I am not on the ground. This time, the line was as high as my inseam. I found the line to be a bit more loose, and took a bit to get used to it again.
After getting used to the line and walking a bit, I started trying to turn around on the line. I can now walk most of the line in one direction, so I figured it would be a good time to start learning to turn around. This video shows various methods of turning. I use a version of Adam’s shown first in the video. I step backwards and spin as I shift my weight to my back foot.
It’s been two weeks since Mother’s Day, and I am now learning to turn around. I was able to do it successfully, although not very pretty, about 3 or 4 times. It takes some chance, and some getting used to the art of spinning your weight around without losing balance, but this is yet another milestone in my trek to be proficient. I hope you folks see this as encouragement.
After a couple rest days, we tackled the line wholeheartedly today. We set up the line, and started getting back into the sport. At first, it seemed we had gone backwards in terms of our ability. The line was shaky, and legs were weak. But we were persistent, and spent about one hour taking turns on the line. My wife made real progress today, as she got to take her first step (twice!). As for me, I pushed and pushed, and finally was able to walk most of the length of our 33 foot line. Ahh, determination. It took me about a minute and a half to make the complete trek, but I’ve compressed it down into a 23 second video (see below)
Today marks the 14th day that I have been practicing to walk a Slackline. I hope this provides some encouragement to those who are considering this sport. It is great exercise, and the learning curve doesn’t seem to be as long as one might expect (certainly not as long as I would have thought!). Get to it!!