“It's amazing what you can do with a pair of skates”
SkatePro team rider Florian Petitcollin from France is preparing to compete in the Red Bull Crashed Ice.
Four riders sprint down a narrow ice track at speeds well above 30 mph. They are wearing skates and a full set of hockey-gear, and they have only one thing on their mind: Be the first to cross the finish line - no matter what it takes.
On the 3rd of February, SkatePro team rider will participate in his first big Red Bull Crashed Ice event in Finland. Florian is usually skating on inline skates, but when he got the chance to be a part of Crashed Ice, he was ready to take on the challenge.
Earlier this year he participated in a qualifier race in Switzerland and right now all his time is used to practice his skills on ice skates, since he, after all, primarily is an inline-skater.
“The transition between rollerblading and ice skating is not as easy, as one might think. The power transfer and balance is very different. I try to go to small competitions to learn and improve. I mainly train alone, so it's difficult to self-correct,” Florian Petitcollin says.
So how do you train for an event like this?
“I train on a local ice rink in my city to improve my technique on ice skates. I am also trying to perfect my jumps and turns on my inline skates. Overall, it's a nice new experience for me,” Florian says.
The race will take place in Jyväskylä, the largest city in Central Finland. It’s the second event of the season and it will deliver a spectacular and action-packed competition on one of the world's most exciting natural ice tracks. The sport is hugely popular in Finland and the country houses some of the worlds best skaters.
The race in Finland will be the only major stop on a natural ice track, and the season opener was held on an artificial ice track built in Saint Paul. In general, natural ice tracks tend to be bumpier and invariably more challenging with a greater variety of the ice conditions from the start high up on the mountains to the finish lines down in the valley.
“My goal for the competition is to be in the top 64, which will give me access to the final. It’s a difficult challenge since many of the competitors know the track very well. For me, it will be my first time on this track, and there are only two hours of warmup and practice time on the track, so I will have to learn very quickly. My main goal is to have fun and enjoy the experience,” Florian says.
If you want to follow Florian on his adventure, Red Bull Crashed Ice will be live-streamed at Redbull TV.
Check out the men's finals from the previous round in Saint Paul, Minnesota below.