John Arias on the trails, post-Rollerblading session. Phtoo courtesy of John Arias

John Arias on the trails, post-Rollerblading session. Phtoo courtesy of John Arias

We’ve all heard that pro-cyclocrosser Adam Myerson started out roller speed skating. Because rollerblading has since declined in popularity, it’s not something you hear about every day. That is, until mountain biker and ’crosser John Arias got in touch with us, wanting to share his inline experiences. We were curious to hear about anything that has the potential to speed us up in the fall, so we had to ask him a few questions.

Cyclocross Magazine: Give us a bit of your cyclocross background!

John Arias: Since my return to pro cycling a few years ago, I have incorporated cyclocross into my training on a regular basis. I incorporate the cyclocross bike into my riding schedule throughout the year as part of my training routine. The number of races that I participate in depends on how my cross country season was, but  I really enjoy racing cyclocross because I am a really strong road and mountain bike racer. I feel cyclocross keeps my fitness through the winter and gives me a great base at the beginning of my cross country season.
CXM: Did you inline skate before getting into cycling? How was it getting started?

JA: I inline skated in high school for fun and fitness, but I really got into it after being at the pro level in cycling in the late 90’s. I met a top inline racer and she convinced me to try it. I thought that me being a pro athlete, I would not have any problem with inline racing, but I was in for a shock when I skated with their inline team. I was blown away that someone with my fitness level got smoked by these people on skates! I then decided to start using it as part of my training, which was a change from what I was always told. Back in the day, my coach said to train on the bike to win on the bike, but after I saw an improvement in certain aspects of my cycling, I decided to continue with it.

CXM: What’s a week of training look like?

JA: My weeks vary depending on what my coach gives me, but I typically ride 10-12 hours on the road, and three hours on the mountain bike. Depending on the part of the season, I try to incorporate 45 minutes to an hour on the Rollerblades. On the off-season, I try to increase the hours on the Rollerblades.

CXM: How do you think rollerblading has/will help you in cyclocross?

JA: Rollerblades have helped to strengthen my core and strengthen muscles that are only used during races when I am pushing my body to its limit. When muscles that are used during cycling get fatigued during a race, the muscles that have strengthened from the Rollerblade cross training are able to carry me through and help me persevere when I feel I have plateaued.

CXM: Do you race inline at all or just do it for training?

JA: I have never raced inline, but I did train with a team years ago. Cycling has always been my passion but I enjoy incorporating the cross training of inline skating in order to break up the monotony of cycling.

CXM: What are some of the major benefits you’ve seen from skating?

JA: I would have to say that the work of the core muscles in addition to the quad work has been amazing. I think I am more agile. You don’t really realize the impact of inline skating until after your first skate and you realize muscles are sore that you would never expect to bother you. With cycling, there is great amount of muscle memory. Certain muscles work only in certain ways. Inline, in addition to other cross training, helps to make certain muscle groups stronger.

CXM: Tips for adding inline skating to your training routine?

JA: Start out slow and try to have fun. Start skating more for recreation before pushing yourself, as that could result in an injury. Work on your form and make sure that it is perfect before spending more time on the skates, because if you develop a bad habit or bad form at the beginning, you will carry that through as you develop your more difficult Rollerblade training routine.