Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to be a good skater to join Team Rainbo?

No, you don’t. In fact maybe you just started skating, that’s fine. We’ve had many members who have showed up barely able to stand on skates. Many of them have gone on to be excellent skaters. If you’re willing to work at learning, we’re willing to teach you.

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Do I have to race to be on Team Rainbo?

Nobody is required to attend races, but we certainly encourage you to do so. When you attend an event, you don’t specifically have to “race” – you can skate to attain your own goals, such as finishing the event. The point of going to a race is not only the event itself, but also the participation in going with your team and enjoying the event as a whole.

At some races we have team dinners and spend time relaxing and going on easy skates as well. Finally, actually learning how to race and participating to do your best is a great thrill and a whole lot of fun.

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What are practices like?

Outdoor practices are loosely structured. You’ll generally fall in with a group that you can skate with, or you’ll start with a challenging group and fall back to another group. We start with an easy warmup and proceed to skate for about an hour in pacelines, pushing each other. If you drop off a particular paceline, that’s fine. You can skate with another group or even skate alone for awhile if you wish (although we encourage you to skate with others).

If you are not comfortable with pacelines (or don’t know how to skate in them yet) that’s not a problem. There will be people skating that are not drafting with whom you can skate and get both tips and a good workout.

Indoor practices are much more structured and geared toward refining technique. You can read more about indoor practices here.

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What are inline races like?

Races are a lot of fun, first and foremost. At any event there are many different groups of skaters, from the elite pros to the recreational skater. Most events start off in “waves” where the most skilled skaters leave first, and the recreational skaters leave last. This allows you to skate with people at your level without fear of either getting run over or getting caught in a group that is too slow.

Many races have multiple distances, they are not all marathons. Some races have 10 milers, or half-marathon distances. The skating scene is made up of really friendly people and events are very upbeat. You’ll find people cheering you on who you don’t even know, and people are always ready to lend a hand if you need it. The bigger events have expos where you can see equipment and other skating goods and services. The end of the races is just like a running race, where there is food and drink followed by the giving out of prizes.

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What kind of equipment do I need?

First and foremost – a helmet. Nobody skates with Team Rainbo without a helmet! You need skates of course, any kind will do to start. When you skate with the team you can get all the skate equipment advice you’ll need. We do recommend wrist guards and knee pads if you are a beginner, and many of our most experienced skaters still wear them. Nothing else is required, although we would suggest wearing a wicking type material for shirt/shorts instead of cotton so you’ll be more comfortable. You are not required to wear a skinsuit or the two piece lycra. You can if you want, but it is not a requirement.

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Will there be coaching available?

Coaching is a team effort at Team Rainbo. We have a large group of very experienced skaters, some of which have been skating for decades, any of which can step in and advise you at any time. Cale Carvell (the team founder) will often skate up and down the pack and give out tips and advice. If you are coming out to practice and skating with the team, you’ll get all the coaching you’ll need. Indoor practices are specifically coached by Tom Sidor and are more structured, featuring specific skating exercises and drills.

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What are the age ranges of skaters on the team?

No matter what your age, you’ll fit in. We have skaters that are pre-teen and skaters that are well into their retirement years – and everything in between!

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What happens if I fall?

Like any sport, inline skating has its share of risks, and falling is the primary risk. We all fall at some time or another, that is why we require and wear protective gear – especially a helmet. At some point you will fall down, but the most likely result is that you’ll brush off your pride and your scrapes and get up again, little worse for wear.

The tougher falls happen at higher speeds with the more experienced skaters. Because they can be skating in excess of 20 mph, suddenly hitting the ground at that point can be interesting. The most likely results of such falls are generally “road rash” which can be both painful and a badge of honor. You can also end up with some fairly painful bruises, or in the worst cases, a broken bone. The best thing we can do to minimize the risks of a fall in inline skating are wear the proper protective gear and learn proper skating technique.

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What does it cost to join?

For new members it costs $120 in dues, which includes $60 for a team uniform (your choice of skinsuit or a jersey/shorts combination). You also get a free team T-shirt. Thereafter, if you are not getting a new uniform for that particular season, then dues are $60.

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What is the benefit of joining a speedskating team versus skating by myself?

Aside from the obvious cameraderie of a team and meeting new people with a like passion as yourself, there are many benefits. First and foremost, you’ll learn from some of the best and most knowledgeable skaters in the country. Team Rainbo is well respected in the skating community, and many skaters to not have access to a team like Rainbo in their location.

There’s no substitute for training with people who are better than you. You may be a beginner or you may have some natural talent, but training with a team of experienced skaters will benefit you in many ways. You’ll become extremely fit, skating is an excellent workout. And you’ll learn how to race and work with other skaters in a pack, something you cannot do on your own and something that is vital to our sport. Lastly, you’ll enjoy the friendly people who make up Team Rainbo.

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4 thoughts on “FAQ”

  1. Learning from other skaters on the team is as simple as coming out to skate with us. Now that does mean you have to be in the Chicago area. But very little skating experience is needed, only the desire.

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America's Oldest Speedskating Club