It's hard to compare one sport to another and say that either one is more difficult. All sports take a ton of skill to get to the highest level. It's impossible to say which is the best.
I've spent a lot of time skating, biking, running, swimming, and even wrestling. All of them have their unique challenges. I've always gravitated more towards endurance sports, probably because I've never been all that great at sports that involve throwing, catching, and kicking. I guess you could say any of those would be the most difficult sport for me.
Out of all of the fitness related sports I've done, the workout I get from skating is by far greater than any other. It doesn't make any sense really. When you watch somebody skate, it looks pretty easy. It doesn't really look like they are working all that hard, but it's like no other workout I do. I can't even describe it, but a 500m race takes between 45-50 seconds and it will destroy my entire body. It doesn't matter how hard I try and run or ride for 45 seconds, the feeling doesn't come close. Same with riding...it would take 5 sprints of the same duration to make me feel that way.
Since the bike racing season kicks off next Saturday, today was my last indoor skating workout for a while. It's a little disappointing because each week I could tell I was getting stronger, but cycling is my main focus right now. As much as I'll miss skating indoor, I'll enjoy racing the bike even more.
Skating really seems to compliment cycling. Both male and female skaters have crossed over to cycling recently and the transition looked seamless. Take a look at the career of Theresa Cliff-Ryan or Chad Burdzilauskas. Hopefully the indoor skating I did during this off-season will give me a little extra boost heading into the road season.
At our indoor practice we do a plyometric workout. Each week we seem to go through each exercise a little quicker, which makes it harder and harder. I guess if you do each of these exercises right you can get a similar feel to how hard a skating workout is. Your legs start to burn, your heartrate jumps up out of nowhere, and you fight for each breath. Instead of trying to explain each exercise, here is a video. This is about half of the workout we do. Do each exercise with 10 reps and between exercises hold a 90 degree leg bend for 10 seconds.
The other thing I love about these practices are how serious all the kids are. They are the same type of kids that show up at our Team Undiscovered kids tri. Motivated, dedicated, and extremely fun to watch. Here is a quick little video I put together from today's practice. We had a bunch of people travel from Tulsa to skate practice with us.
Some friends posted these two pictures on facebook today. Carnage.
I can't even explain what took place here. It looks more like rugby than women's bank track skating.