Monthly Archives: March 2011

Carry that weight

Last week I noticed we’re spending more on groceries lately. Innocently enough, I asked Horseypants where all the grocery money is going. She says, “Take a side-long look in the mirror!” So it goes…but I thought this skating thing took care of those details. These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like a guy I once knew,  a guy I’ll call Crossfire. He would consume cubic tons of Bolivian marching powder, in all it’s forms, on a daily basis, all the while cutting and maintaining a figure that would make Jackie Gleason slim by comparison. If you know anything about the physiological effects of nose candy, you’re thinking this is nothing short of impossible. But it is possible and it’s exactly how I feel…despite how much I skate, I need a wheel barrow to cart around ma belly.

"I'm gonna eat your pace line."

I’m just back from a week in Pasadena, California. I was there on business, but my only carry-on was my CadoMotus Travel Bag stuffed with a week’s worth of corporate casual work-wear and spandex. Seriously, I didn’t even bring a brief case, but that’s because I’ve become a simpering, Angry Bird playing, App wetting iPad devotee and no longer feel the need to travel with my “adult viewer,” er, I mean, laptop computer. (We’ve been SO over-sold on technology…but I digress.)

It's quite the tidy bowl I tell you.

3 out of 5 days I was lucky enough to get in a sunrise skate at The Rose Bowl loop (big UP to R (O) (O) (O) (O) GER for the tip!) There’s a great 3 mile loop around the perimeter of the world famous complex.

East side stretch along the golf course.

Along the east side, (I think it’s the east side, as it was closest to the mountains. Might be north…) a 3/4 mile long hill. It’s the gradual kind, it had me crying about half way through. Tree-lined but not too much debris, it was a welcome challenge after having spent much of the winter indoor on flat tracks in Colorado. The West is just the opposite, and I was hitting speeds of 28mph, which got scary on the approach to the parking lots.

The west side...see the cars? They stop for walkers...skaters, not so much.

The first day there I was clearly pissing off the locals by going to the left. The looks said it all. Several of them shouted something, but I couldn’t hear them over the sound of my squealing bearings. I don’t think the hand gestures had anything to do with looking up, despite where their fingers were pointing.

Coming around to the west side (I think).

Nonetheless, I got in a few really incredible workouts. My schedule was such that I skated Tuesday & Wednesday. I rested on Thursday, and by Friday, I was eating that hill on the east side for breakfast.

But it was what I was eating the rest of the time that did me in. Since my wife has scored so well with finding great restaurants in strange cities using TripAdviser.com, I decided to do the same, and man, did I end up packing on the pounds.

If you’re ever in Pasadena, you’ll want to check these spots out:

Lovebirds Cafe: Incredible breakfast burrito. I bought one and it was breakfast one day, lunch the next.

Saladang & Saladang Song: Simply some of the best Thai food in the US. Seriously, the food and atmosphere (particularly Saladang Song) are out of this world and deserving of their Zagat’s ratings.

Smitty’s Grill: this is the one that killed me. I’m still skating off the filet mignon burger. The Chicken Pot Pie is the size of a manhole cover and truly to die for.

Cafe 140: Great food, great atmosphere, with a signature Blue Corn Salad.

Wolfe Burgers: You know it’s good when the entire Pasadena police force is taking shifts on the front dining room and there’s a big guy named Fat Al sleeping at the center table in the back dining room. Another belly bomber of a breakfast burrito, made to order.

And of course you’ve got your Starbucks, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and Apple Store all within easy skating distance. But thanks to these restaurants, I’ve now got some work to do. Time to bust out the fitness skates, crank up Something/Anything? on the iPod, and hit the trails here at home. Ah…it’s winter coat shedding time. 12 pounds to go. Let’s see how quickly I can do this. I’ve got a feeling it won’t be such a long time…gotta love inline skating.

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Thursday Night Throwdown

In just a few short hours it’s on again. NSC is gonna burn up some bandwidth with the fastest turnin’ and burnin’ the net has ever seen. And with all the expectation surrounding Horne’s return to the NSC, let’s not forget “The Big Man,” “Cheex” a.k.a. Michael Cheek. The NSC’s late-season entry who went on to become the Overall Grand Champion and current Fastest Man 100m record holder. Cheex has been battling a back injury throughout the entire second season so he’s not quite up to the form that people generally know him for. And according to those that know him best, the man hates to lose more than Charlie Sheen, and he’s eager to prove he’s back (no pun intended) in full form. Maybe he should get his hair cut like The Situation…that’d show ’em he’s serious.

Separated at birth? I hope he skates better than he roasts...

Then there’s one man who’s billed as a Hurricane – who never lets the crowd down and always keeps the energy up. World Champion Harry Vogel, who dodged every opportunity to be a part of the NSC in Season 1, is in for the action and looking to destroy anyone or anything standing in his path to victory. I saw Harry skate at indoor nationals last year, and if he’s still got the heat, he’ll burn the track up tonight.

Let’s not forget Justin Stelly. This guy can throw a pass on a Bugatti Veyron at top speed. He’s the one I’m always referring to when the Rink Rabbits want to know what a pass looks like. Stelly has been overshadowed with second place finishes to Bowen all season in the Grand Champion race but he’s still the Endurance champ. Apparently, tonight he’s looking to prove he’s not the official First Loser of the NSC. We’ll see…

Live feed starts at 6:45 PST / 9:45 EST – click the banner, bring the noize!

Crank it up babies!

Crazy Glenn Says: Erin go Skatin’

Your favorite Japanese-American Leprechaun is at it again! Crazy Glenn is breakin’ open his treasure chest o’ skatin’ pleasures to help you save a little green-beer money this St. Patty’s Day:

"They may get me wheel deals, but they'll never get me Lucky Charms!"

Be lookin’ over these four leaf clovers why don’t ‘cha:

White G3 wheels, two sets available, $50 shipped. 100mm Hyper indoor Kaos wheels, $50 shipped. 110mm/87a Pink High Rollers (white hub) $60 shipped. Email Glenn today! Glenn916@yahoo.com

As I be lookin’ at these prices I’m thinkin’ he’s off his rocker for sure. The British occupied Ireland for 275 years, and no where in that time did they ever see deals like these! Glenn’s lettin’ ya dip into his Pot o’ Gold on this one, so go grab ’em while they last cause once they’re gone deals like this will be as hard to find as Whee Willie up under the kilt on a cold St. Patty’s night!

Please help Japan

I’ve been learning Japanese for the past couple of years now, so I guess I’m feeling a stronger connection to the people of Japan than maybe I otherwise would. As the full scope of this disaster becomes more apparent, it’s clear that we all need to do what we can to help. One of the easiest ways is obviously to help financially or donate blood or both. The Japanese Red Cross is accepting donations through the American Red Cross. You can donate on-line by clicking through on the image and link below.

Please do what you can. Domo – Arigato.

Banannas for St. Patty’s Day

This NSC season has been insane so far. Even Charlie Sheen was rumored to have said, “Damn, that’s crazy,” when he and the goddesses hit up the live feed for East Coast Carnage last month. TMZ is reporting that NSC is what drove Charlie off the deep end…the timing seems to confirm this.

Before and after East Coast Carnage...coincidence? I think not.

That event was killer…it took the show live to the masses, and from what I hear from those that were there, the racing was fast, the presentation was professional and the event…it FELT huge. That’s great for the sport, and the guys at National Speedskating Circuit deserve our support.

This coming week, NSC returns home to the West Coast for Thursday Night Throwdown. Indoor inline speedskating superstars William Bowen, Michael Cheek, Chad Horne, Harry Vogel, Stephen Carter, Justin Stelly, Jarret Paul, Jeremy Anderson, and many more will be lighting up the West Coast with untamed tiger’s blood.

And like any good sports media event, the plot is getting thicker…check it out – there really is going to be a throwdown going into this next event…

Bowen is a bad azz...and Horne is looking to grab the spotlight.

It seems like the chip on Chad Horne’s shoulder has done nothing but grow since last season. With Mantia pulling out, Horne has yet to find that satisfaction that guys at that level need to feel whole. So now he’s targeting Will “The Wild Thing” Bowen, and Bowen has been bringing it since getting back from Worlds…he’s currently ranked number 1 in NSC – Grand Champion, Top Sprinter and the 100M Fastest Man.

A clone war would be sick.

So you’ve got to admire the fire running through Horne’s veins…he’s always going after the big game. Bowen hasn’t lost a single race the entire season, and according to inside sources, he’s even been claiming to be unbeatable. WINNING! Horne’s been sitting on the sidelines watching all of this while recovering from an ankle injury, and he’s chomping at the bit. Those close to him are saying he’s getting downright unruly like a schoolyard bully, ready to stomp on Bowen’s feelings and snatch the title right from his hands.

Bowen’s stellar performance this season has been driving Horne nuts. It’s ugly…psychologically, the man is cracking. You’d be too, being sidelined and helpless in the face of Bowen’s reign of terror. With each one of Bowen’s victories, sources say Horne becomes more and more eager, more
frustrated, and more motivated. They call this guy “The Unibomber” for a reason, and with his return this Thursday night, his fuse is set to blow.

It’s Turn and Burn Time Baby…

You can view the live feed FREE by clicking the banner Thursday night starting at 9:45 EST, 6:45 PST.

They better be careful, I’m thinking about coming out there myself and showing them all Whut Fer…

Do the namaste

Roll out your stinky mat, light the incense, rub some coriander oil into your pecs and get ready to get downward D-O-Double-G. This is another one of those things I said I’d never do. But here I sit…and I think…they say change comes from within, so the next time I break one off I want to pass a Grant, two Jackson’s and a Hamilton, with interest, ’cause I’ve been holding this exploration for a long time. That’s right Boo-boo…bang a gong and strike a pose as we endure initiation into the world of Yoga. Who’s your Yogi, baby?

A few more inches and I'll never have to leave the house again...

It started innocently enough…Horseypants invited me to attend what her friend Mrs. Needle Pusher (SpeedLord’s Mom) sucked her into…Core Power Yoga. I’d done a Yoga class with her a few years before, so I knew what I was getting into. And since I’m down a few sizes since my Jabba-The-Hutt Mu-Mu wearing days, and I’ve been told that I need to get more flexible, I decided it was time to try again.

My first observation: Yoga isn’t just for unbathed hippies, flatulent vegans or chicks that like their partners hung like a doughnut anymore…not only is my own MILF regularly going, but there were plenty of would-be yogis in what Mr. Needle Pusher calls “distracting” outfits. The talent has really come along since the last time I tried this 10 years ago. But other than the influx of Cougars and Co-eds, not much more has changed, particularly the smell of sweat steeped patchouli and the heat.

The ambient music helped create a mood that allowed me to drop my cynicism just long enough to relax and flow with the experience. We start in Balasana, or Child pose, which I imagine is a very familiar posture for your average practicing Muslim, but instead of chanting prayers toward Mecca you’re silent on your knees, driving your hips and weight down over your heels at the same time pushing your forehead into the mat under you and stretching out your arms on the floor over your head. It creates an expansive cavity for you to focus on your breath and release tension in all of your major muscle groups. It’s very effective as a warm up all by itself.

Child pose...don't eat pork and beans the night before class.

As I’ve come to learn, the practice is centered on synchronization of timing and motion. Timing the motion of your body to be synchronous with your breath. With focused practice, Yoga becomes a moving meditation. In the first few weeks I was moving with nothing like what you’d call Swiss accuracy, but by the third week I began to get just a slight feel for the fluidity that the instructors move with. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but it’s just like those first few times you nail a good double push. You know this can only get better the more you practice, and you start to think about it obsessively, living in anticipation of your next training session to do it again. At least, that’s how I know it’s right for me.

And like skating, you’ve got to start slowly and build a foundation. I’ve chosen to spend time with the breathing, as breath control is something I always struggle with. In Yoga practice, the breath work starts right in Balsana. In pose, it’s simply a matter of taking purposeful long, slow breaths, and timing them so that as you enter a new posture, you lengthen your musculature on the inward breath, and find depth upon the breath release. In some postures, that’s lengthening your spine by lifting your chest to the ceiling as you’re breathing in, and going deeper into a twist or a stretch on release.

A number of these postures were familiar due to the inordinate amount of time I spend being down low as a speed skater or sitting on the crapper. With inline speed skating I’ve built a pretty solid core, so to get down and hold Utkatasana, or Chair pose, isn’t a problem for my quads, but man, it takes on a whole new dimension when you raise your arms over your head and straighten your spine.

Let's see Cheney do this! Heh, heh...

We also use runner’s stretch, and a lot of the Warrior poses put you into a forward lunge that’s familiar. I was surprised at how hard it was to find balance in some of these poses considering the amount of time I spend doing one-legged drills, both on inlines and ice, but I found that as I focused more on my breathing, it was easier to achieve the balance I was looking for. One of the coolest poses is Eagle pose, where you move from the Chair pose to this pose shown below:

Eagle pose: what I usually look like on the floor after attempting a Hawk. To pull this off while standing is a bird of a different feather.

My problem with Eagle is that I can’t seem to get my foot wrapped around by calf, because my blood is tiger’s milk and I have the legs of Adonis. But I digress…The dude in the pic above isn’t fully there, as this one also requires you to get your elbows up to shoulder level. Talk about brutal, but that’s not the worst of it. There’s this inversion pose called Crow pose…

Seriously, WTF am I doing here?

In Crow, you’ve got to balance yourself on the shelf you create with your triceps after you’ve been doing this in a hot room for 45 minutes. This gets slippery…and the danger of face plant is high. Go ahead and try and do this one, naked in front of a mirror (just for added kicks.) Oh, and hold it for a minimum of 5 deep breath cycles. Yeah…Charlie Sheen couldn’t even hang with that s#&t, boyee! It’s Epic!

There are many other poses that skaters can benefit from. And with the Core Power program, they run you through other core building exercises like bicycle crunches. A lot of the poses really stretch out your hammies. After an hour, I’m spent, dripping wet and smelling of rotten feet (but that’s because I hit the Yoga class after having spent an hour on the ice. The chicks really dig the aroma.)

If anything, I’m thinking Yoga will allow me to get deeper in my seat, and improve my core strength, stacked alignment and balance when I’m skating, both inline and on the ice. Am I more flexible? Hard to say at this point. I do know this…I feel a lot more vulnerable, and sometimes really dirty, like I need to take a shower to wash off the ugliness…

I got worried when the instructor introduced herself as Yogi Strap-On Sally.

This might have something to do with Happy Baby pose.