In 2017 the World Championships took place in Nanjing again. I was in really good shape leading up to the event and then Matter came out with a new wheel, designed especially for track races: The Propel wheel. It was the first one sided wheel concept ever. Quite a challenge to adjust to using the wheel on only one side, but wow what a side. The OBL propel hub torque's like nothing I’d felt before to get grip like no other wheels in the corners. I was so excited to try it out and I loved the feeling straight away. Before I used to race with the G13 Matter wheels on track, but I was missing some kind of flex in the wheel on the corners. The roll of the G13 is for sure great, but on track the corners of course play a big role too, but this Propel wheel had all I could wish for. I spent a long time testing them against some other wheels and the Propel was easily the best in comparison. Generally, we take flying lap times or 100m flying times to collect our data.
With the MATTER engineers and POWERSLIDE management we collect the most amount of data on many tracks across the world to maximise our wheels development. I was so happy with my speed but still there was only one problem left: I was racing on an XXX Hi-Low frame (3x110mm, 1x100mm) but the propel wheel only existed in 110mm. What about the 100mm wheel then? I needed to put on a G13, but the D X blade hub has less flex than the OBL hub of a Propel. This wasn’t perfect, but I had a team of specialist around me including Scott Aldridge, Neal and Tony from MATTER plus also Matthias knoll, the CEO of POWERSLIDE, who has a super technical expertise on the product. In cooperation with these guys, we started to drill some holes in the wheel to make it more flexible and more similar to the propel wheel. It might sound crazy, but we had tried this before when we developed the EMT hub for the 100mm MATTER wheels about 10 years earlier. People stared at us like "WTF are these guys doing over there?!"... because they literally drilled the holes at the side of the track! They were all super confident about it. Neal is probably the most experienced and skilled wheel developer in the world and knew the wheel would handle the holes. MATTER have always been a brand dedicated to the sport and ready to give the best service to the skater. It’s a brand driven by passion and experience looking for every detail to help the athlete get to their greatest level.
“The life of an athlete is determined of medals and glory… but this is only what people from outside see. They don’t see that athletes only work with a great team that is surrounding them. It is about the daily hard work, support, passion and the power of will.”
I won my first individual track medal on my favourite distance: The 500m, and soon everything became possible to me. I will always be so thankful to the MATTER experts that are so creative and confident! Teamwork makes the dream work, and this is also how the company works. This medal is our medal.