How does your league encourage and support off-skates fitness training from its members? At BRDG, we tend to keep our hall time freed up for on-skates sessions, but as we look to improve and become more competitive, it's becoming apparent that we probably need to start sweating a bit more off track too...
With that in mind, our beloved Doc Nox, Lazy Susan and Dame Judi Bench came up with the idea of (in the most literal sense possible) some healthy competition!
And so it came to pass that the BRDG Off Skates Challenge was born. Four teams (named with a nod to some of our skating heroes!), one month, and a Hogwarts' style 'house' system, whereby we're awarded a point for every workout we log.
It's based on an honesty system - no one will check you actually did your workout but sweaty post workout selfies are definitely encouraged! In the run up to the first week of the competition everyone will also be invited to do the Roller Derby Athletics Fitness Test. It's not compulsory, but gives us the option to (hopefully!) see an improvement over the month and feel awesome at the end.
While we may not love the thought of pulling on our trainers after work, to go for a run on a rainy, dark night, we definitely love the idea of some friendly inter-league rivalry - bring it on! (Team Bonnie Thunder Thighs forever!)
What I Do The Night Before A Bout
Strip down skates, clean bearings, check all bolts / toe stops / laces.
Hang out freshly laundered pads to dry and air.
Hydrate; get at least two litres of water down me during day.
Eat a balanced, carb-rich meal.
Mentally focus, practice positive projection, meditate.
Carefully read through my team's default strategy. Twice.
Watch inspirational derby footage.
Lay out freshly pressed team kit on a chair by my bed.
Get an early one.
What I Actually Do The Night Before A Bout
Open kit bag. Reel from stench. Realise no time to wash and dry pads. Eye up Fabreeze.
Sit down to clean bearings. Rage over lost skate tool.
Locate skate tool. Sit down to pull bearings. Knock glass of hydrating water all over carpet.
Remember promise to contribute to cake stall. Abandon bearings. Despair over lack of vegan margarine.
Open laptop to read through default strategy; overwhelmed by pre-bout Facebook notifications. Close laptop.
Back to bearings. Team mate calls to discuss pick up times. And who's going to the after party. And that funny thing that happened at scrim yesterday.
Fire alarm goes off. Cakes are ready.
Dig out team kit. Search frantically for lucky sports bra. Peel off inside of washing machine drum. Hope dry by morning.
Remember untouched giant water bottle. Chug. Hydration for the win.
Up all night peeing.
Last weekend, Bath Roller Derby ran their first ever public bout! Presenting a double header, offering a mixed opener and headline West Country showdown, we had a blast (and did a win!) Now that the dust is settled and the bruises have developed, here are the top ten lessons I learnt from running our first public derby event...
1. Watching People Fall In Love With Derby Is Amazing
Our first bout sold out! Just shy of 400 people filtered through that hall, and the vast majority of them were derby first timers. It was incredible to see so many folk 'get' the game, start to recognise the tactics deployed, go crazy for lead jammers, scream encouragement at fallen blockers - and remember how it felt when we went through the same emotions. The picture above says it all really!
At BRDG, if there's one thing we like more than a three hour bootcamp, it's a four hour bootcamp.
So when we got the chance to book in an epic Sunday session with Violet Attack, captain of the mighty Birmingham Blitz Dames, we jumped at it faster than a jammer who's spotted a cheeky little chance on the apex.
Delighted to report that our online merch shop is open for business! Just in time for our first public home bout; the Blood Bath Double Header – get yourself kitted out in our trademark sunshine yellow, ready to cheer us on from the suicides!
We've also got a range of black and white tops (because really, who can ever have enough scrim kit?) and some really lovely smaller bits and pieces (badges, stickers, keyrings etc)
And if you're planning to come along to the Blood Bath Double Header, just use promo code BOUTPICKUP to save on shipping; we'll have everything ready and waiting for you at the BRDG merch stall :)
Sheffield – Inhuman League
This day was basically of a write off! Long story short – communicating with Sheffield previously had been going great. We’d swapped about four emails together sorting everything out. Their last email said “All good you’re welcome just let us know what day you’re arriving” – I emailed back to arrange Wednesday the 27th.Due to juggling a million other clubs and campsite arrangements I assumed this was sorted – I left it at that. I admittedly never chased it (lesson learnt there!) and it wasn’t till i got there I realised something was wrong. No-one was turning up. Hummmm! I emailed again as I had no way to call. They were super lovely in their emails previously, so I assumed there was a change of plan on this session or something. Oh well – I love wearing derby kit anyway so I wasn’t at all annoyed – just disappointed as I was looking forward to getting my skates on. It just added to the adventure of this whole tour and dealing with unplanned moments.
Liverpool (4 days / 3 nights)
After waking in the services it was around 10.30am. The car park was empty when I arrived late at night and naturally by this time it had become quite busy. First thing I did was whack my jeans on and go to collect my knee pads etc. To my horror they were ALL gone. My heart sunk at the fact I had possibly misjudged crash pad thieves who roam around service stations! As I scanned the car park – to my relief yet utter horror I realised it must have been a windy night and my entire crash pad set had been scattered everywhere randomly around the car park. Dashing all over the place picking them up, I must have looked like a right chimp! Thankfully I managed to collect my pads in one piece but it felt like a scene out of crystal maze! One little wrist guard had gone astray for a while though. I found it about 50 metres away under a car. I’m glad the car owner didn’t see me whilst I was lying on my front wriggling around under his car fetching it! I never considered wind. Sometimes I work out the most complex of things – other times I simply don’t think of the most obvious! Lesson learnt there next time they’re going to be velcro'ed together tied to to a wheel!
Day One - Birmingham: Central City Roller Derby
After packing till about 1am and finally making it to bed I was totally mixed with emotion. Excitement, nerves, apprehension and lots more. I was up at 6am to load the van and head off. I went via Gloucester in the morning for a job interview. I was worried how I'd perform as I'd had about 4 hours sleep by the time I nodded off! Anyway it seemed to go OK (ish) but we’ll see. I felt like a right knob jockey driving a van in a suit and heals! Rest assured first services I came to I got changed. I had hours to kill before reaching Birmingham. Part of this trip is about ‘slowing down’ as well. I'm usually forever dashing from A to B and I'm always late and never seem to get things all done in time. So, as a first lesson to myself I casually lingered at the services. Got the guitar out and strummed a few tunes. Got out my new jetboil water canister and made myself a coffee. Then I realised I was hungry so had my first cous cous with mackerel – absolutely lush. Anyway 2 hours later (which felt very surreal)I headed off to Birmingham.
I arrived at 4pm and training was at 8pm. Hmmm what to do – another coffee and read a book. All of a sudden I woke up at 7pm – I’d caught up on some sleep and perfect timing to be ready for 8pm training!
This is the first in a series of blogs by Bath Roller Derby's S'Mac Down Angel; one of our team mates who's currently touring the UK in a campervan, training with derby teams all over the country and generally having a massive adventure! Jealous? Us?! Massively!
– Hell Cat
Advance warning: I'm assuming that the majority of people reading this will be Bath Roller Derby people, so there will inevitably be some ‘in jokes’ or reference to our players in this (apologies to anyone whose head this goes over!)
OK, so what am I doing? I'm going to live as a roller derby gypsy for a few weeks! Why am I doing a blog? Well, I didn’t plan to but almost everyone I told about this trip suggested I should ‘blog it’ – I have been totally overwhelmed by the amazing responses I've had, and people’s encouraging words and support.
Why am I doing this? Why the hell not?! It wasn’t like I woke one day and thought "Gypsy world please" – it had been bubbling under the surface for a long time. I don’t want to completely expose myself on this, but let's just say it’s been a pretty hairy 12-18 months. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously have had plenty of happy and amazingly fun times too but over all it’s been quite challenging for so many different reasons – some personal, some professional, some private, some just generally, some health related (health one mainly being the ankle break/dislocation and recovery period). And things got particularly tough in this last 6 months. PLEASE don't think this is a sob story. I'm just providing explanation to part of the motivation to do this whole thing.
BATH'S FIRST EVER PUBLIC ROLLER DERBY EVENT!
Bath Roller Derby Girls are delighted to be bringing roller derby to a public audience in their home town for the very first time! This double header event offers two bouts; double the derby, twice the thrills and spills!
Click "Read More" for full details...
All the historic goings on of Bath Roller Derby!