Tag Archives: christmas

When the lights are out, it’s less dangerous

Like a Resuscitation Annie CPR doll and a cold sixer, my speedskating life and this blog go hand in hand. Or like *something* in *something else*. You get the picture. For years, I was having lots of fun poking fun at myself and our sport in ways that let my inner deviant spread its satanic verses like a jihadi suicide bomber’s inerds, at a least-expected moment in a well-populated marketplace, and all over the front of an innocent’s Shalwar-Kameez.  Yes – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Blessed Festivus – Santa is answering prayers this year and yours just came up on the underside of a urinal cake: First Loser is back.

Forcast is calling for sin. Leave us.

The prognosis is sinful. Leave us.

It’s been with me for a while, the idea of picking this up again. Like a festering serving of pop-radio drivel that’s tunneled its way into your ear, onto your brain and taken up residence in your every-waking thought. For weeks, the idea of breathing new life into First Loser has finally come to a place where I need to deal with it head-on. Since the only way to rid oneself of an ear-worm is to indulge the id-terloper…here we are now, entertain us.

Be warned, my Super-ego is showing no signs of intervention here. We’re coming back full blast, like a Mexicali truck driver on his 84th hour behind the wheel, fueled by 5-Hour Energy and jalapeno poppers. Gas-masks are advised.

It’s been a while since I put any meaningful time into this thing, that’s if you consider what I’ve published before and up till now anything like “meaningful.” There’s a simple reason for it…namely, it’s that my relationship with my skates has changed, again. And again and again and again it changes again. I love them, I hate them, but never really hate them, love them and hate them again. It’s on, off, on, at least five to seven times a week. I’ve never really stopped or left the sport, but I still feel like I’m away and that I’ve not even yet really come back. And, I’m serious, I skate all the time. But my head’s not in it. It’s constantly a struggle. At this point, I skate to keep myself in pizza. That’s really not the ethic that got me to where I was. But it’s a motive that’s hard to shake…especially now that Christmas Cookie season is upon us, and my belly.

The reason for the weezin' at mile 24...

The reason for the weezin’ at mile 24…

At one point, it ceased being fun and it became work, every damn day. And that got to be too much, especially for where my “inline career” was headed. At 40, it really wasn’t going anywhere, fast. Silly-Wabbit, Gold-On-A-Rope dreams are for kids I told myself, so I decided to just tone it down, go low-profile and take a much-needed break. I mean, I was looking for inline fart-jokes wherever I could find them for this blog, and it all started to stink up the place in my head. The noise around me, the blog and my skating was too loud and not very well directed, so I had to peel-off the pack and put it on cruise control for a while. But I guess if Soundgarden and Nirvana can get back together, I can start blogging about this thing I love to hate, and live to do, still, this thing we do called Inline Speedskating.

I’m coming clean here: I haven’t been able to shake the Christmas weight from last year – about 13 pounds. And it’s not that I haven’t tried. But I stopped working as hard as I used to, and my body has said, “Get back! I’m alright Jack, keep your hands off of my stack,” when it comes to my efforts to shed. Ellipticals and bikes, weights and running, all on top of all the regular “heart-rate” skating. But it’s not going anywhere, and I’m getting tired of lugging it around again. So it’s time to hit the training like I used to, if for no other reason than to trick my metabolism just long enough to think I might compete again. Cause if I’m thinking about going to Duluth in 2013, and I believe that thought, then my body will respond, and I’ll get back to where it was.

But the reality is, I don’t think I’ll go again. Not in 2013 at least. I’m in SoCal now, and it’s just too damn far and too damn time-consuming to even think about seriously. So I need to figure something else out. It ain’t gonna be competing indoors, because the nearest indoor teams and practices are over an hour away. And ice is no-bueno muchacho. Fuggedaboudit. Where the pavement giveth, the ice taketh away, and I’m not into being THAT technical about anything. Ice ain’t happening.

So maybe it’ll be a few inline races in SoCal next year, but honestly, I’m not even excited about that idea. I mean, I think about it, and if I’m on the trail when the thought hits, I’ll peel off on a three-mile flyer and pat myself on the back when I’m done and cruising with my hands on my knees for a half-mile in recovery. But right now, I can’t maintain that pace like I used to, you know, before Louie Lovehandles took up residence in my mid-section.

So I guess I need to come back to the place serious skaters know – that place where it’s all live to roll and roll to live. It’s not that I don’t want to be there, I’m just not sure I’m willing to pay the price of admission.

I feel stoopid, and contagious – come along for the ride, we’ll see where this goes. Again.

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Merry Inline Christmas

May your Christmas be merry and bright…Merry Christmas y’all…g’nite!

Thanks for reading First Loser!

The Second Day of Inline Christmas

Let’s do this again…

T’was the Second Day of Inline Christmas when here I sat, sad and broken hearted, tried to finish but only started, a whole new rhyming scheme, that has nothing to do with the theme that had been…so I set right to work winding it down, cause the best day of the year is coming to town, the light at the end of the tunnel I see, and it fills my skating and rhyming heart with mirth and glee. Today we thought it would be rather nice, to spend Christmas Eve skating on ice, so off to the Promenade we went, and a good couple of hours on the ice we spent. And just when it couldn’t get better it seemed, we decided it’d be grand to get ice cream! Italian gelato is still dairy based, with 70% less fat but no less the taste. T’was a yummy treat what more can I say, it certainly was a great Christmas Eve day!

This seems a little extreme...you sure I couldn't just get coal instead?

Unlike inversion tables, this patented apparatus gently relieves lower- and mid-back pain and stiffness without requiring you to be suspended upside down. As you lean forward in the fabric hammock from a kneeling position, Rover takes over. Actually, the device uses your body weight to create a strong, steady traction that relieves pressure on the spine and helps loosen tense back muscles. The optional prostate massage unit is not something I feel the need to discuss here. Don’t ask, don’t tell still applies in some quarters. Butt seriously, for my friends that have severe lower back issues could really benefit from this thing. According to the marketing materials, using the apparatus for just 5-10 minutes a day can relieve back discomfort without medication. In clinical trials at The University of Western Australia, the device helped reduce patients’ back pain and stiffness while improving their quality of life and mobility after only three weeks of use. The unit’s 1″ tubular steel frame supports up to 350 lbs. yet it is lightweight and compact for convenient transport and storage. Assembles easily. 48″ L x 30″ W x 24″ H.

I'd also like a matching set of briefs and a Snuggie to complete the ensemble.

These leg wraps inflate and deflate to improve circulation, soothe sore muscles, and reduce swelling in your lower extremities. Similar to hospital compression boots that stimulate circulation in sedentary patients, the leg wraps have six airbags that wrap around the entire leg and inflate and deflate to help blood vessels expand and contract. The compression intervals stimulate circulation in the thighs, hamstrings, calves, and feet and help facilitate blood flow back to the heart. Too bad they don’t make pants that do that, eh? Ho, ho, ho (heh, heh, heh) The corded remote allows you to select from three levels of intensity and choose from seven programs that pinpoint different areas and at varying intervals. Adjustable Velcro closures ensure optimal fit for all sizes. Plugs into AC. 33 1/2″ H x 30 1/4″ W x 3/4″ D.

The Third Day of Inline Christmas

The anticipation is getting intense…

T’was the Third Day of Inline Christmas…When I looked in the mirror, what looked back was a skater, who’d grown chubby and plump with a little round belly, that when tucked into base position hung like a Hefty sack full of jelly. Too many cookies and holiday treats, would make for slower times the next few skate meets. To maintain not gain was my holiday goal, by mid-December t’was on a roll. But in these last twelve days I’d somehow lost pace, with so many cookies and cakes and tempting treats in my face. But with a wink of my eye and a twist of my head, I’ll turn tonight’s speed practice from work to a party instead. ‘Cause Christmastime is all about fun, and laughter and joy not how many races you’ve won. A few extra pounds this week doesn’t phase, for holiday fun’s what’s important these days, and I know that next week I’ll be shedding the weight, by pulling the pace line, not drafting the skate.

Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom

We’re getting down to the wire…and thank God for that. I’m starting to rhyme everything and I’m getting fat. I love Christmastime, don’t get me wrong, but this crazy twelve days thing has gone on way too long. It’s taking time from my skating, I’ve blown a few days, looking at words and thinking of ways, to make skater rhymes meaningful and snappy, but honestly I know, some are just crappy. And as I sit and I write I keep eating these treats, when I should really be out skating the streets. A Poet Laureate I’ll never be, just First Loser the hack blogger…yep, that’s me.

Greievous' Tsmeu-6. Catch me now Kenobi...b!%#h!

Drawing upon a robust history of development that began with an original design conceived in Marseilles, France in 1869, and perfected by Z-Gomot Ternbuell Guppat Corporation in the Zug system, the Tsmeu-6 is the motorized monocycle made in the Netherlands that propels a single rider up to 25 MPH. While it probably wouldn’t outrun a varactyl beast named Boga, it’ll be fun to draft behind on the skate trail. Powered by a 31cc, four-stroke 1 1/2-hp engine, the wheel operates by using a centrifugal clutch on its inner steel frame to engage the larger 67″ diam. outer flywheel that actually makes contact with the ground with a rubber tire. The ingenious device is steered by leaning to one side or the other, and it can safely negotiate any dense surface such as pavement or grass. A fiberglass frame encloses the engine, drive train, and fuel tank, and provides a cushioned seat and convenient footrests for riders up to 6′ 3″ high when in a sitting position. The hand-holds have a finger throttle that provides progressive acceleration and a brake that provides confident stops for riders up to 275 lbs. (minimum weight of 110 lbs. suggested for proper counterbalance during acceleration and braking). It can run for up to two hours on less than a 1/2-gallon of gasoline. Not a street-legal vehicle, but neither are skates here in Northern Colorado, so who gives! I’m getting one of these bad boys. Oh, but wait, there’s that price tag…67″ diam. x 14″ W. (110 lbs.)

The Fourth Day of Inline Christmas

The song remains the same…

T’was the fourth night of Inline Christmas when…Down the chimney Crazy Glenn came with a bound, he was dressed all in neoprene, a tho’ the room be quite dimly lit, I could see he was wearing a full-body EzeeFit. A bundle of Bonts he had flung on his back, a couple o’ grand worth o’ skates in that pack. Just as I reached for a fresh pair of Vaypors, my wife slapped me hard with rolled up newspapers. “Hold on there Hot Shot, there’ll be no debate, for you really don’t need one more pair of skates.” “But honey,” I said, “Santa knows I need more, I really can’t rest till I have three or four…from each boot maker I need more and fast, for each model skate’s made from a one-of-a-kind last. It’s the deck height and spacing, carbon content and fit, no one’s like the other and till I’ve tried them all I can’t quit.”

“Be they Simmons, or Rollerblade, Bont or Luigino, it’s better than dropping our cash in casinos! Don’t forget Pinnacle, Powerslide, or Verducci, (last night I watched Big Night with that guy Stanley Tucci.) Then I must try X-Techs, Canariam, EdgeTek and Hyper, Cado Motus and Schankel, before I’m old and in diapers. Cause skating keeps me young no matter how old I get, but this rhyming’s for the birds, tis making my head split.” She looked at me sideways as she dropped the club, “Your just do what’s best for us, I’ll be in the tub.” So I asked Glenn to leave, but in a move I found daring, I had him leave me a gross of Buck Bearings.

And it was in bath that I found her later that night, her skin glimmering in the soft, pale moonlight. She shook her head slowly as I got undressed, and said she still loved me, tho’ I’m so skate obsessed.

"Yeah, so we get to Rollerdome, and it's closed. We're like, 'well this sucks.' Then Walter dropped his phone in the toilet. Come get us, Dude."

Whew! I’m throwin’ rocks tonight. I feel like the Dr. Seuss of skating! Trying to write this stuff is like a natural caffeine. I’m naturally wired.

Yep...here's why I won't be competing in 2011. I'm making the transition from inline to skatecycle. I'm gonna own this s#%t!

This is the skatecycle–the next generation recreational vehicle that won an International Design Excellence Award and a permanent place in the Henry Ford Museum. I’m usually leery of these things, but this one looks pretty cool. It combines the foot control of snowboarding, the balanced turning of skateboarding, and the nimble, undulating movements of casterboarding. (Undulating is a perv-word, isn’t it?) Anyway…both feet are placed onto two slip-resistant footboards, and its double-jointed, twisting axle allows riders to move either of the 9″ polyurethane wheels individually by twisting the feet inwards and outwards. This continued foot motion, in synchronization with a twisting upper body, “drives” the cycle over flat, level ground. Dunno…could this be as cool as the Land Rollers were when Apolo was pitching them? Durable aluminum and composite frame supports riders up to 220 lbs. 30″ L x 6 1/2″ W x 9 1/2″ H. (7 1/4 lbs.)

The Fifth Day of Inline Christmas

This post will make your brain bleed…

T’was the fifth day before of Inline Christmas when…And then with a twinkling my kids came to me, and said “Your count is all wrong, we’ll show you, you’ll see.” With calendar in hand, and a smirk on her face, my daughter said “Dad, you’re just a little off pace.” “No, no!” I cried foul, this just couldn’t be. “My countdown to Christmas is on track, can’t you see?” The 25th is the day I count as day one in my countdown of twelve days of Inline Christmas fun. “But Dad, said my son, Mom said your posts start with “before,” so on 12/25, you’ll still need one more…” He held up his hand and counted on fingers…when Saturday came there was one left to linger. Alas, they were right, the posts as positioned, would leave an extra day for which I hadn’t provisioned. And so, from henceforth each post shall begin, as it should have, with “day of” not “before” in lead in…

The only 5 Golden Rings in my future...pass the ketchup.

I love this time of year. Even when things aren’t exactly like I want them to be, it doesn’t seem so bad. There’s nothing a little Christmas spirit can’t overcome. I can’t wait for Rink Rabbits practice this Thursday. We’re gonna crank the Christmas music, get sugared up and just have fun. The kids have been working really hard all year, so it’s time to bust loose and jam. Plus, a lot of them have been getting deeper into the ice program that our Olympian coach runs, so their skating schedules have actually increased here in the “off-season” for inline. They deserve to enjoy this time, but it’s a surprise so don’t spill the beans. (There will be a full practice on the 26th for all of the advanced skaters, so bah humbug effective 12/26 forward.)

Here’s one I could have used a few years ago before I started doing all of the core building exercises and plyos…

Better than taking Midol before a race (if you're a dude.)

This easily adjustable back brace contours to the unique shape of your torso and back for a customized fit that can relieve lower back pain and improve spinal stability. Made by Bell-Horn, manufacturers of orthopedic devices since 1842, the brace has a patented pulley system that allows it to contour to wider areas around the hips and narrow areas around the torso, ensuring consistent, proper compression from vertebra L1 to L5. You can adjust the tension of the brace with one hand; simply pull the cord and fasten it to the front of the brace when your preferred level of support is achieved. The pulley system exerts 5X greater compression than a typical back brace for superior spinal support. The flexible, 1/4″-thin brace can be worn under clothing and won’t inhibited movement while you perform everyday activities. Waist sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL, or XXXL. 11 1/2″ W x 9″ H x 1/4″ D. (12 oz.)

The Sixth Day of Inline Christmas

You want it, you’ve got it…

T’was the sixth night before Inline Christmas when…But wheels they show wear, more rapid than cheese, o’er grater they look to have been shredded with ease. Got a set for outdoor, one more set for inside, and the cost it adds up, from my wife I can’t hide, “Now Matter, now Hyper, now Atom, and Bont! On MPC, on AM Wing, On Gyro and Inlinebus!” They cost so damn much and it’s really no joke, that it’s easy to o’er spend on wheels and go broke. If for indoor they’d require one wheel to conform, for competition to have one wheel that’s the norm in hardness and thickness, and color and flex, then maybe it’s in one less set we’d need to invest. Then come up with a floor coat that’s one size fits all, and adopt it as standard for tracks large and small. Wheel makers could standardize and sell more of a few, and make money at the same time passing savings on to you…dream big.

Your 2010 Speed Geese, they're gonna lay a hurting on Team Sneetches (those star-bellied beetches.)

Boy…my blog traffic is falling off faster than poop through a goose. This “12 Days” thing has been tougher than I thought it’d be. I guess there’s a reason why skate-bloggers really don’t post too frequently…but me, I enjoy the challenge of just trying to finish what I’ve started (and feel good about it!) Today’s featured item looks a lot more comfortable than the weights I used last year…

Note to boot makers, wing tips are going to be huge on the circuit in 2011.

These are the low-profile wearable 5 lb. weights that provide leg strengthening and extra calorie burning during normal skating. Unlike the bulky ankle weights I used this past fall, these distribute weight equally over a larger surface area, freeing ankles from stress and rubbing wounds while providing resistance. The weights are comprised of 1″ sq. x 1/8″ thick galvanized steel plates sewn into a soft nylon/spandex sleeve that secures to extremities using hook-loop-fasteners. Non-slip cuffs on the inside of each opening keeps sleeves from slipping down your leg.