For the 15h daily installment of Big Wheel Blading’s Inline Skating and Life During COVID-19 series we talk to Eric Cruz. Eric is a 34-year-old inline skater and freelance media professional living in Austin, Texas. He was the winner of the 2017 Big Wheel Challenge and was voted Distance Skater of the Year in the 2019 Big Wheel Blading Awards.

What are the current COVID-19 restrictions in Austin?

We are currently under a “shelter in place” order, with certain guidelines and exceptions for outdoor exercise.

Are you still skating? If so what precautions are you taking to stay safe?

I am still skating, but very differently, maintaining more than an adequate distance from anyone I might happen to come across. Not skating with a mask or anything like that and no extra padding. Just skating smart and being extra vigilant, now is not the time to have an accident.

Where are you skating?

I’m skating my mileage very close to home around my neighborhood and the immediate surrounding area for now. I’m thinking of doing longer rides again because of less vehicular traffic but I’m just trying to be cautious so I’ve stayed closer to home lately. Just making mileage happen with what I have.

I did a marathon, never skating more than 6 miles from my house, and I did a half marathon the other day, never venturing more than 2 miles maximum from my house. The further distance I’ve skated is 40 miles within 7 miles of my home. The roads close to home are not the best but they provide a nice workout. I hope to do a longer road ride soon but might just skate a longer route in my neighborhood . My focus isn’t major mileage but mileage is kind of my thing so I am balancing.

What would have to happen to make you stop skating?

I’m just going to follow official word and advice on anything. Right now they say I can outdoor exercise so I will. Although I haven’t stopped skating, I have stopped trail skating. The trails have just been overpopulated with no one seeming to pay attention to distance. With the roads I can be away from people and choose less populated areas.

Are you doing any cross training?

I am always cross training. I have a garage gym, so I spend lots of time in thI am always cross training. I setup a gym in my garage so I spend a lot of time in there doing HIIT circuit work. Also I have an indoor cycle and am doing an interval program I created on it. Started another 30 day kettlebell swing challenge. Doing 300 KB swings a day and at 2,100 total on day 7 as I type this. Trying to focus more on recovery too, because there are no time constraints.

What other activities are you doing to occupy your time?

Stretching, prioritizing sleep, reading, hanging with my wife Meagan since shes able to work from home and lots of time with my ferret Baloo. Finding waStretching, prioritizing sleep, reading, hanging out with my wife Meagan, since she is able to work from home and spending lots of time with my ferret Baloo. Finding ways to stay creative and active. Also watching lots of movies, horror and sci-fi mostly.

How has COVID-19 affected your normal everyday life?

It has immensely affected my everyday life. My main income is as a freelance camera operator for sporting events, it has always meshed well with my training and skating needs. I no longer have that, nor are there any other events to cover. This throws even more caution into my skating. It even changes things around skating/training like necessary gear, fuel, supplements, etc.

What are your major concerns right now and looking into the future?

As a skater I have to think of how to budget all my fuel and recovery needs. Since I have no major income coming in, I can’t just top off a box of gels or whatever in a few clicks right now. I will have to budget gear, but how? What events will happen? Will I even be able to afford to go to any events this year? Those are all skater concerns on top of the real life, rent, bills, reduced income, family, friends. I feel so helpless to help others right now. Concerned for the overall state of the people and world around me, because unfortunately I’m experiencing a common situation in these times.

How is the skate community in Austin responding?

I’m very much a solo skater these days although I have seen the groups suspend their rides.

Do you have anything you’d like to add?

Just stay strong and as positive as you can. If you can get out and skate please do so. Just get out and enjoy the feel of rolling, focus on the joy and fun it brings. It could truly be stopped at any time and no one knows what the future holds right now. If you can’t skate, then cross train. If you have no workout space, pushups, planks, squats and squat variations can be done anywhere. If you can get a kettlebell! A kettlebell is the absolute best most versatile piece of training equipment you can invest in.

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