Always on the lookout for a new kind of torture, Tim Major gets his hands (and aching muscles) on this innovative roller from US based company, Roll Recovery
Did I mention that I once ran with Rickey Gates? It wasn’t just one run either. We were together for 6 days. We crossed the Colorado Rockies. We ran 100 miles from Aspen to Vail staying in mountain hut after mountain hut. Those were great days, indeed.
Rickey had this thing. It was like a pair of rollerskates that had been welded together to create the perfect kind of torture device. It clamped to your leg and squeezed tight and then you could roll it up and down on your quads or your calf using the wheels. It would give this special kind of pain. You know the one. The kind that feels like you’re loosening a knot that’s been wound tight for decades. The kind of pain that’s so deeply satisfying that you want it to stop… but really you don’t.
OK, for the sake of full disclosure, it wasn’t just me and Rickey. There were a few other people with us too…but he was there and I was there. We were running as a group as part of Rickey’s annual Hut Run Hut migration. I met some incredible people on that trip.
Every evening we got together for some mind-blowingly good food (prepared by Dave, the masterchef), some beers and the odd shot (or five) of Mezcal. We also shared a solid collection of torture devices: from foam rollers of all shapes and sizes to spiky massage balls and of course, Rickey’s rollerskate contraption.
Every evening we’d be sat chatting and someone would always be stretching or rolling as Rickey played a tune or two on his ukelele or read us a book (seriously, he did. I think it was The Cat In The Hat). The one device that caught our attention the most and was almost always being used by someone was Rickey’s roller.
It materialised that it was made by a company in Boulder called Roll Recovery. Perhaps it was the Mezcal but that was information that I sadly failed to retain beyond the trip. Whilst I often tried to find it for sale on the Internet when I got home, I could never remember what it was called.
Fast forward a couple of years and, after some Internet searching one day, I finally found a link! By now a second generation roller had been released by Roll Recovery. The principles were the same but the wheels looked different. They were more defined and grippy.
I decided to buy one and pay to have it shipped to the UK. It was not a cheap process by any means but I don’t regret it.
The new roller is incredible. You simply pull on the the side handles to open up the device and then release it when it’s in place. There are springs that then clamp it onto your chosen limb. It’s simple to use and I think it gets deeper into the muscles than using a standard foam roller. You can even use it whilst sat on the sofa, meaning there’s much less chance of resembling a man humping the floor in front of your family when you decide to roll your quads during Strictly. That’s got to be a big plus.
I have had much relief from it on tired legs and even on sore arms. My only complaint is that it is quite hard to roll the outside of the calf because the other side of the roller clamps to your shin. It’s not much fun rolling your shin bone, although maybe I’m just doing it wrong. I found that I can ease this by pulling harder on the shin side of the device to ease the pressure but it’s not as smooth as rolling elsewhere with the device.
It’s not at all straightforward to get hold of one of these if you live in the UK. I got hit with a customs charge as well as pretty pricey postage charges. But then Roll Recovery is a business based in Colorado and they aren’t set up to easily ship internationally. For me, it was well worth the cost and I am so glad to have this product. It’s my go to recovery tool whenever I want to ease those post run aches. Plus it will always remind me of that week with Rickey and the Hut Run Hut family. We most definitely let the good times roll.