Monthly Archives: October 2009

Why am I blogging?

I’m given to wordiness. You could say I’m verbose (and redundant!) in person. I’ve always known it, but I was watching a video that a friend and team mate shot of the Speed Weasels at the finish line area in Duluth and, my God, I was just blah, blah, blah motor-mouthing for what seemed like an eternity. It was painful to watch, probably harder to listen to, and I’m sure it was all about the race. I just love to talk about inline skating. So why not blog about it?

And have fun with it too. Cause that’s what it’s all about for me. Let’s face it, there’s no Pot’O’Gold (or even a box of Lucky Charms) at the end of the inline rainbow, unless you’re Joey or plan on going to ice (then on to Ice Capades!) So I’m just going to talk about my experience and poke fun at myself when I start taking this skating thing too seriously. Because at the end of the day, win or lose, it is what it is. When I skate, if I’m on the trail, in my neighborhood, at the rink or on the race course, I’m putting out my level best attempt for that moment. I just want to be an athlete who gives it his all. (This after years of, well, not.)

I’ll never start in the back of the pack, and always skate my heart out. Cause that’s me and what I like to do. So what that I’ve missed 1st Overall in the open division in 2007 in Saint Paul, and again here in 2009 in Duluth. (I placed first loser in both instances due to chip timing. Start first, finish first, place second.) I’m not that bitter – really (BS). The truth is, I love skating, and I believe in skating my best, every time. If that lands me 2nd, or 7th or 459th I don’t care. I always want to feel good about my skate. Cause when it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.

In the morning, I’ll be heading out to a strip of road that’s been freshly paved. I’ll post pics – virgin black top. And it’s mine, all mine!

10/17/09 – Training

Morning: Skated 5 miles outdoors in my neighborhood this morning. The cold makes me feel like I just can’t get out of my own way. Really have to focus to hit top speed. Off to indoor practice, nice and warmed up.

Noon: Actually, all of this is before noon…100 laps and cornering practice at Rollerland, and a BONUS 15 miles outdoors on the trail between Lee Martinez Park & LaPorte here in Fort Collins. The city recently renovated the trail replacing the worst 1/2 mile stretch in the city with 8ft wide, beautiful red concrete! What a great morning. Perfect Fall Skate day in Colorado.

As a consequence, I smell rather bad. Worse than Greeley.

It’s evening now, and I actually smell worse. Thanks to a discussion with Mike Cofrin, and encouragement from my wife (and Al Gore) I invested in a reel-mower a few years ago. A Brill. Top of the line. Stay fit, save gas and pollute less.

Brill Luxus

Brill Luxus

Most times I love it, but today isn’t one of those days. (Truly a love/hate relationship.) GREAT! If I missed a workout due to meetings. SUX if you’ve been skating all day. Anyway…Today was the day to take the lawn down for the winter. We’re talking putting green low. Now, granted, my little patches of grass would hardly qualify as a goatee let alone a lawn, but it’s grass that needs to be cut. Unfortunately, it’s long, flat blade grass, which ain’t exactly the easiest to cut with a self-sharpening rotary blade. (Should have researched that a little better before buying.)

Well, twelve passes later, I’m done. No shower after all that skating, and afternoon of @SpeedyWeezy’s soccer game. Not even the dog will sit near me. Time for a shower.

10/16/09 – Training

Morning: Skated in to work on my fitness skates. 5.5 miles of burn. Need to skate back to my truck at lunchtime, so I’ll have 11 miles in before the day is over. Less than usual, but at a high intensity level so I’m happy.

Wow!I forgot how much work it is to keep those 82mm wheels moving forward while you’re strapped into a high cuff! What a great burn. It was hard to stay low and make an active recovery at first, but like anything else, a few minutes on and it all came back. Even managed to get some exaggerated double pushing in. But what is that thing hanging off the back of the right boot?!

It’s only been maybe 2 months since I’ve been on my fitness skates. I don’t know why, but this time I was a lot more aware of how restrictive fitness skates are, and how much harder you have to work to achieve anything like proper racing form in them. Makes me pause to consider how much harder the guy in the picture had to work in Duluth this year.

Advanced Wave A in Fitness Skates

Advanced Wave A in Fitness Skates

We were in Advanced Wave A together. (He’s second from left mixed in with these elite women.) This dude tried to come screaming by me at the top of the off-ramp. I took one look down, saw his skates and kicked it into high gear! Granted, he’s on 100MM wheels, but he still had the cuff.  And now that I think a little more about it, unless you’re going to be out front pulling, or looking to take extended fliers throughout the race, you probably won’t worry so much about having you ankle movement restricted. The extra support may actually help you power through a little more in the paceline. For me, it’s pretty hard to maintain proper form when riding a draft. I tend to stand up more, can’t get down as low as I’d like without breaking the pace. Yeah, maybe he didn’t have to work all that hard during the race after all. But the sprint had to be difficult. Or so I’m guessing.

Today in my old fitness skates, I was very aware of the cuff. I was working a lot harder on “proper” form in these skates. And that’s always good. So I’ll definitely spend more time on my fitness skates this winter. My Rollerblade Aero 10’s with the 82MM wheels. But I won’t be skating casually, I’ll be working hard to exaggerate my form to get as close as possible to my racing form and speed. Why not at least try?

Noon: Another 5.5 miles to pick up the truck. The hills were particularly difficult, probably because I hadn’t eaten much in the morning. Was reminded that you shouldn’t just think you can roll over most debris on the smaller wheels. Oh, and low crossovers in high-cuff boots don’t mix so well unless you’re really, REALLY down in the heel!

Training this week up to 10/15/09

Sunday: Indoor practice 10-Noon. 100 laps and technique.

Monday: Full plyo list, 15 minutes on elliptical.

Tuesday: Indoor practice 4:30-6. 100 laps, cornering technique.

Wednesday: Ice speed practice (just testing the frozen water!)

Thursday: 15 miles in the morning, 15 miles at lunch.

Can I put this in a slap-chop?

The timing chip.

The timing chip.

I like to skate inline marathons. They’re fun, challenging, thrilling, exciting and can even be dangerous. And they can also be stolen from you – by one of these. A timing chip. This blog is dedicated to a frank discussion of what it means to give your best to your sport, and what it really means to win. Even if you place second – consistently.

The timing chip.