Vacation Recap!

No, I didn’t lose interest in the blog. I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks. Didn’t really want to engage in anything that looked like work, and that includes blogging. But I’m back. Sitting here watching NSC#1 – the first race, the 500 meter, all 5 skaters went down at turn 1. Mantia went down twice, knocked himself out of the race. Rough man.

Anyway – vacation. Flew the CO coop and spent 7 sun filled days in Naples, Florida. Spectacular weather! We got out of Colorado just ahead of 22 freaking inches of snow!

snow

Not Colorado but an incredible simulation.

Could not have planned any better. Hat’s off to HorseyPants!

Here’s a recap of my sk8 training, which I’m happy to say, I didn’t have to pause at all!

Point 1: Just a friendly word of advice, don’t increase your plyo reps a level 2 days before you travel (particularly if you’ve got a long flight and a lay-over with two young children!)

atlanta-hartsfield-jackson-airport

These benches don't move and the power outlets are few and far between.

That’s a photo of Hartsfield in Atlanta, and those benches were not offering any comfort. I was very stiff and sore, my iPod needed juice and my son needed a nap. Wahhhh. But all things considered, this was the worst part of the trip and it could have been worse.

PelicanMarshNaples

Sk8 at your own risk.

10/27/09: The Arrival

Pulling into my mother-in-law’s gated community, I was immediately struck by how smooth the streets were. Couldn’t wait to skate through the development, it’s truly top-notch. Over 1,000 acres of beautiful landscaping, lakes and nature preserves. They have several huge, lighted lake fountains located throughout that are quite photogenic.

pelican_marsh

Migrating birds love these spots.

It was dark when we arrived. I fought the urge to go skate by lamp light. Couldn’t wait to get out and skate in the morning.

Got my gear ready for the morning before going to bed. Went to change the regional settings on my Garmin Forerunner and discovered that there is a time-zone called US – Atlantic, which is not EST, thus it the timezone I needed to use because I couldn’t get the Garmin to give me the right time on EST. Guess it has someting to do with being on the Gulf Coast of FL. I still mean to look into this further…

10/28/09: Training

OK, got up at the crack of dawn, geared up, got out to discover that south-western Florida is moist. It’s wet overnight. Not just from the many, many sprinklers, but if the non-hurrican rain is going to come, it happens overnight. So it was hot, humid and the ground was wet. Better than freezing cold, snowy and icy, eh? So all things considered, it wasn’t that bad, and it was drier toward the middle of the road. That’s where I headed to. But that’s not a safe place to stay, even in the early morning. The speed limit in the development is 30 mph, the bike lanes are very narrow, and the old folks in their Mercedes Benz, Bentley’s, Bimmers and Jags don’t like to drive slow (nasty stereotype) and they REALLY don’t like to wait for skaters in the middle of THEIR private road. (Based on my age and activity, they knew I didn’t belong.) Time to hit the sidewalks…

The sidewalks that were very wet from overnight landscape watering. Also very slick from the run-off from some kind of tree. It was like an oil slick under these trees. This was turning into a bummer. Made a retreat back to my mother-in-law’s court.

Skated 15 miles when it was all said and done. Most of it doing laps in the court, which was really smooth, dry, oil free and capped at both ends by round-abouts. Cool. At least I’ve got a safe place to train, and I’ll be able to keep up with cornering technique training without being in the rink. I can handle this.

10/29/09: Training

17 miles in the court. Worked on corners and integrating Eddie Matzger’s double push technique into my own. It’s not that I’m special, it’s that I’ve studied Chad Hedrick’s double push, and I’ve learned that you really need to develop a certain amount naturally before trying to apply any type of coaching to your double push technique. And you should take input from many sources, find what works for you, and practice the heck out of doing what feels most natural and right for a steady flow – and practice it SLOWLY. Slowly at first, building confidence and comfort, building competence and speed. 

Looked like most of the trip was going to be spent showing off for my mother-in-law’s neighbors in the court – but I’m not complaining…too much, yet.

sign

I would skate the corkscrew, but I wouldn't want to disturb the gators.

10/30/09: Training

24 miles of trail skating. We were out doing family vacation stuff the day before. Actually, went up to the Corkscrew Swamp – the Audubon Society’s Crown Jewel – and on the way back, I noticed that there was a significant amount of trail to be had along Immokalee Road. Well, it wasn’t ideal, as I had to cross over Immokalee Road several times, but the trails were smooth and I was able to get some good point-to-point distance in. Spend a lot of time on the double push technique and just enjoying a Long Slow Skate (LSS). The weather was perfect.

10/31/09: Training

21 miles in the court. It was Halloween so I knew a lot of refined sugar was on the day’s menu, and the night before, HorseyPants & I ate at a great french bistro in downtown Naples called the Bamboo Cafe. I ate, well, I ate well, like I was on vacation! Do yourself a favor – go there and order the specials. (That’s how the locals do it – Tony Bourdain would be proud of how we ordered. Not so much of the restaurant, but the way we handled ourselves – truly No Rez!)

Sk8 time was spent on double push and corners. Listened to the whole Lady GaGa album during the workout and was well, shocked, SHOCKED at some of the things I heard. Oh my…Poker Face indeed.

11/1/09: Training

REVENGE OF THE MORNING PEOPLE! Finally – the day I’ve been waiting for. The clocks rolled back overnight, so there was extra time to, um, sk8!

30 miles at North Collier Regional Park

We spent the previous day at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon Water Park. WHAT A BLAST! And from the top of the water slide tower, I spied what looked like a closed-loop course around a small pond (on the right in the photo below.) Looked like it would be a nice change from the court, so decided I’d come back to skate it the next day.

NorthCollierRegionalParkPhotos8-06145

Lots of black top to roll!

Well, the closed loop was there, but part of it was Trex deck over a swamp and at 6 am, it was wet and very slick. HorseyPants had dropped me off, so I was thinking this was going to be a very boring skate until I figured out that there was a lot more park and lots more black top to roll. The photo above shows the entire complex, from the water park to the soccer and baseball fields. The day before, I didn’t know any of the rest of the park beyond Sun-N-Fun existed.

So…at 6 am, there was no one in the park, a stray jogger here and there. More importantly, no traffic in the entire complex. It was mine, all mine and it wasn’t all wet! For about an hour I owned it. And I was able to maintain some serious speed for a while. Wasn’t worrying about “practice” as much as I was just having fun owning the road and dropping the hammer down. At one point, a bunch of Harley’s showed up, (several 81’s in the crowd,) and took part of the course I was skating for an MDA Bike Rally. I wasn’t about to interfere. I was able to get 28 miles in before skating up to the Publix on 42 to meet HorseyPants. Great sk8ing.

11/2/09: Day Off

Well, it is a vacation! We went to the beach early. Spent the entire morning & early afternoon at the Naples Public Beach down at the Pier.

163959_l

City Pier Naples, FL. Sunset here must be on your bucket list.

It was time well spent. The kids fell in love with the surf this day. They learned how to ride waves (which is much kinder on the Gulf than it is on the Atlantic!) We built killer sand castles, found really cool shells, watched a family of dolphins in their natural environment, and had a real beach day. I’ll never forget it.

11/3/09: Training

15 miles in the court, worked on double push and corners. Last day in Florida, and it was the first day where the weather was anything less than ideal. Drizzle and overcast. Was thinking it would burn off as the sun came up but it didn’t happen. And that was fine. It had been a great trip. Almost ran over a lizard though, on the last loop of the last skate of the trip. The damn things are everywhere.

Off to the airport – see you next year Naples!

And I’ve been skating just about every day since our return. The snow was gone and CO weather was perfect for the rest of the week:

11/4/09: Training

15 miles in the hood on the new skates thanks to my good friends at Rollerblade.

Racemachine

These skates are sweet - right out of the box. Rollerblade Rocks.

Thanks Rollerblade – being First Loser has it’s benefits after all! You know – a quick plug here – there isn’t anyone doing more to support the sport here in the US than Rollerblade USA. Think about it…and give them the credit they deserve.

11/5/09: Training

Day off – HorseyPants‘ Birthday! I’m in love with AN OLDER woman…

11/6/09: Training

100 laps indoors at Rollerland, 10 miles on the trails in Fort Collins.

11/7/09: Training

17 miles in the hood & first indoor practice in 2 weeks.

11/8/09: Training

30 miles on the trail in Loveland; 2 hours indoors after. 

Sk8, blah, blah, sk8, sk8, sk8

I’m back but took today off. Just watched NSC #1 – Initiation. Who the heck in Justin Stelly (sp?) WOW! Hasn’t been on his inline skates since indoor nationals, has been doing nothing but ice, and completely dominated all of them – Mantia, Horne, Carter, all of them. Wow. Maybe there is something to this ice thing…there is that practice on Wednesday.

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