Can you imagine yourself being an Olympic athlete? I almost feel like one when I am skating on the Olympic speed skating arena. It is less than 1 year from the 2010 Winter Olympic in Vancouver The brand new $200 million Richmond Olympic Oval is open to the public starting earlier this month. A day pass costs $12.5 but Pat got some free coupons from her friend.
The Oval is the largest ice rink I have ever seen, about twice the size of a standard hockey rink. The rink has a 200m long oval shape skate race track. The center area in the rink is converted to basketball court and badminton court. The spectator area in the balcony is converted to a open gym with exercise equipments overlooking the ice. There was a big crowd tonight. I bet most people use free coupons just like I do. Although there are lots people, it is not that crowd when they are spreading out on the ice.
Skating in a speed race oval is a very different experience than in a hockey rink. In a hockey rink people skate in all direction. In the oval everyone has to go counter clockwise. In a hockey rink, I can’t go very fast or I will end up hitting the wall soon. In the oval, I can pick up lots of speed in the long race track. I can accelerate in the straight road, but I don’t have to slow down for the turns. The turns at two ends are so gentle that I can keep my speed. I never skate that fast before. I hit my speed limit of my current skill level. I feel I couldn’t go any faster without losing my balance. I don’t even know skating can be a cardio exercise. Skating in the oval make me feel like I am running in laps.
The free pass expire next week. For those who are interested, you can download it form here. Skating in a speed oval is definitely one of the must do things in your adventure check list.