Tag Archives: ice skating

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 Ninth Day of Inline Christmas

This dream gets better and better…

T’was the 9th night before Inline Christmas, and on Facebook a news flash, NSC had just been infused with big wads of cash, Jose and Mantia would build a big monster,  by adding a ladies team to their roster. And t’while ‘ere the original verse speaks of moonlight on breasts, I thought a picture’d show The Ladies of NSC best…

9 Ladies Skating. No need for jokes here. Click to enlarge, er, so to speak.

T’was a night on the couch this one bought me…so since I’m going to hell for it, might as well bring along the tools I’m going to need to stay in shape:

Seriously, it's not mine. Neither is the DVD-ROM of the Playboy magazine archive.

A recipient of the prestigious Medical Design Excellence Award, this is the hand fitness trainer that slips on like a glove and has elastic bands that strap to each fingertip, providing resistance as you open your hand. (For those of us who have hands that put up active resistance, this is important.) By flexing your hand in the opposite direction of its typical motion, the trainer strengthens the extensor muscles in your hands, wrists, and elbows. Ideal for people whose “extracurricular hobbies” require “manual dexterity,” the device strengthens underused muscles and increases flexibility of overworked muscles in the palm, (they’re speaking my language…) resulting in improved muscle balance and joint stability. The resistance can be adjusted individually for each finger and a normal exercise routine consists of 1-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions, every other day. One size fits most, just like those funny smelling balloons they sell behind the glass at Walgreens.

Strong forearms are the long kept secret of the world's fastest wankers.

This is the exercise apparatus that strengthens your wrists and forearms. Unlike free weights that can be awkward and unwieldy for wrist and forearm conditioning, the cushioned exerciser secures your forearm while you grasp the foam-padded handle that can be adjusted to your hand size…A cable and spring mechanism provides resistance as you curl your wrist; three levels of resistance offer a more vigorous workout. Other things do too. You can also reverse your grip to perform wrist extensions. 13 1/2″ L x 6 1/2″ H x 6″ D. (1 1/4 lbs.)

Need I say more? I probably shouldn’t…

Good to be a Gangsta

Didn’t get to skate yesterday morning. I’ve had a side-line as an independent marketing consultant for the last 9 years or so and yesterday, tragedy struck. Yesterday morning will now forever be known as Oh Crap Thursday. I was spinning my wheels in full freak-mode. My first employee had left me sometime past midnight in the wee hours of the morning. All that was left behind was a note:

Primary Drive 0 is not found…

I quickly tried to resuscitate my loyal companion, because I could hear a distinct rhythmic clicking, but all I could bring up was this:

NTLDR is missing Press CTRL + Alt + Del to restart

And this is where it was left, in a looping hell of Hard Drive Death. A post out to Facebook confirmed what every computer Geek forum was saying – the drive is kaput! Good bye friend. You’ve served me well. You’ve provided countless hours of service to the company and the family and you will be missed.

Left a nice scratch on the carbon fiber, but it was worth it.

But why did you have to die on TAX DAY!!! You, you, HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!?! The fear started to creep in. Hell, there was no creeping, it juked me full on at 35 mph in the space of a moment that only a guy like Apolo Ohno (Oh no, indeed!) could insert himself into, and I slipped to the Darkside.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Up yours Yoda. I’m pissed. That’s when it’s a good time to fall back on old habits and new friends that spend time doing bad things. I called my boys to dispose of the goods and send a message to the other computers that work for me.

And as I quickly pass through the stages of grief, I move to a casual WTF place, because after all, I trust no one and nothing, especially technology products. So at the end of the day, the bastard hard drive lost, because everything that was really important I had saved on two external hard drives.

I can even laugh about it now. But it’s because I found perspective…

Dr. Seuss Explains Why Computers Sometimes Crash

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort,
and the access of the mem’ry makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
and your data is corrupted ’cause the index doesn’t hash,
then your situation’s hopeless and your system’s gonna crash!!
If the label on the cable on the table at your house
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
that’s repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,
and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse;
then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
‘cuz sure as I’m a poet, the sucker’s gonna hang!
When the copy of your floppy’s getting sloppy in the disk,
and the macro code instructions cause unnecessary risk,
then you’ll have to flash the memory and you’ll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and get the hell out of town before IT finds out it’s because you spilled your Starbucks in it.

On the tax thing, I had used Turbo Tax and submitted my forms the night before from the laptop. Could you imagine had I not?! That would have been a HUGE disaster! OMG!!! But as it turns out, the impact was actually minor. Thank God! (We said several prayers of gratitude!) So I was able to get an afternoon skate in after all, which is all I care about anyway. Damn, it feels good to be a Gansta.

4/14/10 Training: Was able to get 10 miles in skating in the hood after work. I was skating along when HorseyPants, Speed Demon and Speedy Weezy pulled up alongside me in the Honda to cheer me on, and race me! It’s fun to hear them say with awe, “We were going 25 and we still couldn’t catch you!”

4/15/10 Training: 12 miles on the skate trail in Loveland at lunch. No wind – I didn’t know what to do with myself! I worked on using my knees to push myself forward. Life is good when you’re working on form.

(How’d I do TASII?)

Feels like the first time

Do you remember the first time you did it? Where you were, who you were with? The racing of your heartbeat, the sweaty palms, the dry lips, the nervous anticipation, the rush, the stumble, the blur, the satisfaction? This isn’t the point where you cuddle and light a smoke, stud, but where you roll into the DECC, grab some water, cookies, and fresh bananas, take off your skates and start swapping race stories. It’s The Northshore Inline Marathon

It's what happened in the tent later that night that'll have me in therapy for years to come.

Northshore is my favorite event. It’s the only one I’ll do every year, rain or shine, freezing cold or MN tropical. Duluth is where I fell in love with inline skating and the people who love it like I do. From my first time to my last time, I remember what the air tastes like out there, the feeling of the cool lake air on my skin, the pre-race jitters and post-race laughs I share with my friends and fellow skaters. For me, going to Duluth every September has become ritual, but every time brings back the rush of the first time. It’s why I train all year long. 

The folks at NSIM just posted a video out at YouTube from the 2009 race. I’ve already seen it more than my friend Linda has seen Avatar (she’s up to 10 paid times!) O.K. I haven’t watched this that many times yet, but getting close. The pack in this blog’s header is featured at our finish, about 3:57 into it… 

NSIM2009 is where FirstLoser got his name. Stepher Charrier of Rollerblade USA is the man who gave it to me. It’s the race that defined this blog! This video is like capturing the book of Genesis on tape. How freaking cool is that?! 

The friends that travel & skate together - The Speed Weasels.

I’ve made lots of great friends at NSIM, but 2009 was a topper. Everything about the experience last year was F – U – N. That’s all I went there to do, just have a good time. I even left my Garmin Forerunner in the room. Something just told me to forget the stats, just get out there and skate. I do train all year for this one event, (even maxing out the memory on my Forerunner at least once a season,) and when I finally show up at the start out there in Two Harbors it’s to race against and beat just one guy…me. Just like Stephen is saying in the video, all I wanna do is do better than I did the year before. Placing is secondary and nice when it happens, but beating that schmuck who made me drive all that way for that 1 single race, who got me up at the crack of dawn and made me skate all of those miles all year long, he’s the one I want to leave in the dust. Then come back next year and do it again! 

The timing of this video’s release is perfect. The weather’s getting better, and from what I see out at Facebook that’s not just here in CO. Many of us are getting back out on the trails and starting to get into the season. For me, Duluth is my season, and I can’t wait to get there.

If you haven’t registered for the race yet, they just posted the 2010 race details out at the NSIM site. Looks like another great time on wheels – I hope to see you there! 

2/26/10 – 2/28/10 Training: No skating for me, it was all about Speedy Weezy at the 2010 Classic in Wichita. Recap still to come! Learned so much there, I’m having a hard time getting it into one post! 

3/1/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical, level 9, 6.2 miles. Barely awake after the long ride back from Wichita. I should not be working out. 

3/2/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits. They were all tested for their crossover technique and all achieved basic proficiency. Amazing to see how far they’ve come in the past 6 weeks. Foundational drills work! Also had a post-race pizza party and watched shaky video of the Wichita races on the wall. We had 6 kids competing, they all achieved their goals! 

3/3/10 Training: 12 miles at lunch on the trail in Loveland. A little windy, but great to be back on wheels outside! 

3/4/10 Training: See 3/3/10 – more of the same! Bring it on! 

3/5/10 Training: See 3/3/10 & 3/4/10 – Lost Weight Now, Ask Me How – have a smooth delicious skate trail for lunch every day! 

3/6/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits and did an hour skating around the tennis courts here in the hood. A little tight but great to be on an outside oval! 

3/7/10 Training: We’ve got a few new guys, and I’ve moved back up front a few spots in the line. This is going to get very interesting! All I can say is…WOW – plyos and top speed are going to make for a hard Monday. The big news from this practice – things “clicked” for my daughter today, who just came alive at burn pace and came into her own as a speed skater. She’s now known as Speed Demon. More on this later! 

3/8/10 Training: Pain…can’t…walk…down…stairs…1 hour on the elliptical, level 5, in tears. My daughter and “The Fast Kid” are in the same shape I am. We must be doing something right. 

3/9/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits. MarkTheTrucker timed me and I was a full second below where I was on Sunday…still…very…stiff. 

3/10/10 Training: 10 miles at Boyd Lake with my old buddy John, back from Mt. Shasta for the week! Lot’s of wind, a few snow squalls made for a good workout. Buttkicking good!

The Cold Side of the Blade

A long time ago in an ice rink far, far away…

A Padawan skater schooled in the ways of

polyurethane roll, is being lured toward the razor’s edge

of the steel single blade…

I feel as helpless as Obi-Wan Kenobi watching security holograms in the aftermath of the Jedi Temple massacre. Speedy Weezy, my son, was the one who would bring balance to my inline skating career, rising to become a greater inline skater than I could ever hope to be. But now, with the influence of a very cunning and patient coach (a Dark Lord of the Olympic Ice Oval) and non-stop U.S. Speedskating coverage, Speedy Weezy wants to understand the ways of the Cold Side of the Blade. 

Trust your feelings young one.

After a less than stellar first attempt at ice a few months ago, I was surprised when Speedy told me he wanted to give it a go on the frozen oval again. But I understood. We’d been really wrapped up in what Shani, Apolo and Chad were achieving in Vancouver, so knowing there’s no Gold-On-A-Rope at the end of the inline track, I figured it’d be good to allow this indulgence. Anyway, the ice program here in Fort Collins is very well supported by the city, the coach is world-class, and the facility is excellent, clean & safe. If he’s going to get into something, this is something he can potentially take somewhere. 

The ice Padawans.

Being that this was only his second time on ice speed skates, probably the 4th time ever actually skating on ice, I’ll admit that a father’s pride started to swell. The kid has a natural ability I just don’t have. 

Learning the edges.

The coach made it a point to tell me how well Speedy is handling his edges. I was really impressed when it came time for balancing on one skate and maneuvering around the cones. He did it with relative ease, considering it was his first time trying it. 

The Force is strong in this one.

I’ve got to admit, the kid was making it look so easy, I was re-considering ice. But I’ve got to stop myself because I really want him to find “his sport” without me being “the old man” who’s always gloaming along. I guess if it worked out that ice is his thing, that would be pretty cool. 

I’ll give him this too, he’s brave. Last time we tried this, he took a spill that would have ended my career really quickly. But this guy’s got guts. I admire him for getting out there and facing his fear of falling. He fell a couple of times during the practice, but he got right back up with that victorious “I’m alright!” reserved for sports heroes like him – the guys that get out there and give it their all, fall down 7 times, get up 8. 

At the end of the day, I’m just happy Speedy is going deeper into sports because he wants too. As his parents, we’re not pushing we’re only consulting. Whatever he wants to try that’s OK. But you know I’ll be standing on the sideline using Jedi mind tricks to make him believe inline is ultimately the side to be on.

In racing news…We’re off to Wichita today for the Wichita Speed Skating 2010 Classic. This is Speedy’s first meet, and we’re really excited to be going. It’ll be a 9 hour trip in a rented Prius, but with the recent accelerator enhancements Toyota has admitted to, we should get there pretty quickly. 

With any luck, we’ll be broadcasting live on FirstLoser TV! Provided there’s wireless connectivity at Roller City, we’ll be on the air. Announcements will be made via Twitter and Facebook if it works. No Ross & Chelsea color commentary, but a streaming feed to let you peer into the action. Keep your fingers crossed…

2/23/10 Training: Last practice before Wichita. This was the largest Rink Rabbit class we’ve had to date, and we were even short 4 regulars. I need to talk to the head coach, this thing is getting too big! The kids are in great shape – this is going to be a fun meet!

2/24/10 Training: Wasn’t able to get a workout in today. Call it a day off.

2/25/10 Training: 12 smooth miles on the trail in Loveland at lunch. I miss my buddy John, who’s gone off to Mt. Shasta. That aside, had a great skate, the weather was perfect.

You can skate on ice?

Wow – I took a poll this morning that asked for my answer to what is my favorite winter sport. 39% of responders chose ice speed skating, it was number one. Next week it will be ice hockey I’m sure. With all of this hype around the Olympics, it’s good for us landskaters to remember that “Inline to Ice” isn’t so much a desertion as it is a return migration. Even if an individual I2I skater didn’t start their career on ice, skating itself did. And that so many top inliners go to or plan on taking their game to the ice says there’s something in the blood. Instinctual? Maybe. A desire for gold & glory is more likely.    

As I was taking that quiz and looking at the list of winter sports possibilities, it dawned on me that there’s another transition sport we can advance,that might have more of a chance of making the cut during the next Olympics: Inline Curling.   

The Tar Snakes at Lemon Drop Hill were a particular challenge.

I figure hey, if I can’t train or compete on Jondon, Chad or Apolo’s level, I’d might as well come up with a new game I can dominate early. Inline curling is my ticket to Olympic Gold baby!

And then there’s those b-a-d-d out-fits! Imagine how they’ll feel after pushing the stone for 26.2 miles to drop it on the button. People standing on the side of Old Highway 61 ringing their cowbells shouting “Hurry! Hurry! Harder! Harder! Faster! Faster!” I think I just soiled my stretchy pants. 

We need to start farming a team and training now. There’s a lot to consider: for starters, 110 mm wheels will cause a really high center of gravity. Gonna be hard to stay down in the heel with this game. (Maybe we finally have a good application for clap-skates on the marathon course!) And it’ll be a helluva lot harder to get the stone to the house sweeping pavement! Our athletes will be better, stronger and faster than any of those ice curlers. Then in a few years we’ll start our own I2I program, then take Olympic gold! Yeah! 

Or I could just go the inline figure skating route. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about a situation like this:  



2/12/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical, level 9, 6.1 miles. Burn baby, burn! 

2/13/10 Training: A speedy practice with the Rink Rabbits! 

2/14/10 Training: 2 hours indoors. Did our first mini-pyramid this week. “the fast kid” was in NC so I won! Yeah, baby! 

2/15/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical, level 9, 6.2 miles. 

2/16/10 Training: 1 hour with the Rink Rabbits. These kids are all getting their crossovers. The foundational exercises are really paying off! 

2/17/10 – 2/19/10 Training: Stomach flu had me sidelined pretty bad. Yucky.

Peter Doucet in Verizon ad!

Ladies & gentlemen, the honorable and most distinguished Mr. Peter Doucet of SpeedSkateWorld.com for Verizon. Peter is the guy with the beat phone in the blue suit.

How cool is that?

1/27/10 Training: Did an hour on the elliptical, level 5, 6.2 miles. Took it easy due to the crud. As I type this the snow is falling again. Looks like slideboard tomorrow.

Team Flintstone

It’s been a great week! I’ve been outside nearly every day, rollin’ through run-off, mud, goose poo, slush and ice. And of course I’ve been putting my skates away wet, so each day when I start out I have to crack my wheels to get them rolling, and I look like Pig Pen from the Peanuts with a sulfurous dust cloud coming out of my wheels for the first mile. My wheels don’t really start rolling free again until I hit the first puddle and grab a bit of moisture. 

Hugo Chavez looked at me twice when he got a whiff of my freshly cracked bearings.

My buddy John’s skates are in equally bad shape. Rolling on wheels this crusty feels like rolling on rocks, something akin to what I imagine Fred & Barney would have skated on in the Bedrock Classic. 

"Swing me out wide and I'll clear that ice patch at the trailhead."

Once we get moving it sounds like Freddy Kruger scraping his knives along a rusty pipe. But we’re so happy to get the break and be outdoors we plow forward like dream warriors, Freddy be damned. Our times are strong for this early in the season, and we’re riding winter rigs, which are about as brutal as they come. 

Getting to the point and staying there all winter, these wheels have seen really good days.

Skating on really bad equipment all winter has become “the routine.” If I skate outdoors on new, clean wheels in the winter I feel like I’m cheating myself of the base-building benefits derived from long, outdoor skating on, well, crap. 

Water is the only lubricant these bearing know.

Trying to get back up to the same pace that I hit toward the end of the season on finely tuned equipment is my current goal. It takes time to get back up to season-end speeds, but by the end of February, if the weather holds out, I should be able to do it. I want to break my Colorado “Altitude PBR” before April. As long as the damned snow stays away and an off-leash Dino doesn’t take me out on the trail, I should be able to do it. 

1/19/10 Training: 10 miles out at Boyd Lake solo. Took The Schneid’s 110’s for a spin, had a great skate. Weather was really great. Later in the afternoon we had a blast at Rink Rabbits practice. I introduced a couple of new game drills and the kids had a lot of fun. 

1/20/10 Training: Day off – planned to go out but duty called at work and I couldn’t get away. 4.5 hours with a spreadsheet & a PhD. Joy! 

1/21/10 Training: 12 miles out at Boyd Lake State Park with John. A little colder but the trail was in the best shape it’s been in all week, more dry than wet. 

1/22/10 Training: 10 miles out at Boyd with John at lunch. The weather was only slightly warmer than the day before, but it was still in the 30’s. We were at a loss to figure out how some pretty large pieces of snow and ice ended up in the middle of the trail in a lot of places that it wasn’t the day before. Kinda like crop circles… 

1/23/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical, level 5, 6.2 miles. Went to bed feeling like I was getting the crud my family has had all week so I knew I’d need to get up and sweat if I wanted to beat it. So far so good. Did Rink Rabbits this morning and @SpeedyWeezy was able to spend some quality time with “the fast kid” and John in preparation for the meet in Wichita next month. I took some time at the end of the practice to light it up on the 110’s indoor and I’m definatly feeling more control. That’s progress.

“Yer all wet, kid.”

In a naked attempt to ride in my blog traffic draft, we’re revisiting the subject of wet bearings–a topical subject that gets people talking. Sounds like a lot of us are in pursuit of a quick, tailgate solution to saving our bearings after a long wet roll. 

Clean trails are for sissys.

Since the skating out at Boyd Lake State Park with John the day before wasn’t so bad, I figured the Loveland Recreation Trail would be skateable too, so off I went. There were some pretty deep puddles, but this was day two of balmy 50° temps – it was 55 when I head out, with just a hint of a breeze – so I expected the water. At least it wasn’t thick icy water. So far, so good. 

You've really got to want it.

I got about a mile into the trail when I found the first “Whoops!” in the plow pattern. The trail suddenly veered off into the muddy grass, and because my wheels were wet and I was going too fast coming out of the turn so did I… 

Never put the green-horn on the John Deere.

Makes me long for my LandRollers or a pair of used Rollerblade Coyotes.

…at least I stayed upright and dry. At this point my inner genius piped up and I started to have doubts about the rest of this trail. It goes on for 10 miles out to Boyd Lake, and I wasn’t sure I’d get my heart-rate up long enough (in a good way) to make this a very productive workout. Sure enough, just up under the first overpass, the first of three, the ice and snow and water made it too much to want to deal with. I turned back, and since I had my camera with the timer on it, grabbed a couple of shots of myself winter skating…

People usually smile as I pass them. Turns out they're laughing at my sweatshirt.

At this point a couple of new moms and their strollers came along and I heard one of them say, “Don’t laugh, neon is actually coming back.” Bamn… 

"Say Jim! That's a baddd out-fit!"

Here’s a shot of the Big Thompson River. Comes straight out of the heart of the Rockies. It’s one of the reasons this is my favorite trail to skate. 

Crystal clear, Rocky Mountain fresh. You could reach down and drink that...and end up with pathogenic microorganisms like protozoa, viruses, bacteria, or many other intestinal parasites. A pretty picture though!

Rode hard, put away wet.

So as I sat on the tailgate I started to think of all responses I got when I asked friends and Skatelog.com Speed Skating Forum users to chime in with out-of-the-trunk solutions for stowage of wet skates. Here’s their short list: 

1. Many agreed on WD40. The “WD” stands for “water displacement.” Hit your bearings with this right after the skate to remove the water from the bearing surface. My problem with it is the industrial odor combined with the foot-funk. I drive the family truck, so this just won’t do. Can’t blame that smell on the dog. 

2. Pack your bearings with Mobil 1 synthetic automotive chassis grease. Here’s the narrative from skaterdog: 

“A few years ago I wanted to slow some bearings down (add resistance) so I packed a set full of Mobil 1 and the bearings didn’t slow down a bit. They actually maintained speed better than they had prior to the greasing. This grease is a high temp grease so you won’t have to worry about it melting and running out of the bearings even in hot weather.” 

I’m going to try this one. 

3. Skate on ceramics. $$$ 

4. Put the skates on the dashboard and turn on the defroster to dry them out. I did something similar in Duluth a few years ago with the heater in my hotel room. Let’s just say my skates have fit a lot differently ever since. Again too, I’m afraid I’d create a lingering stench that the next owner of my truck will have to call Click & Clack to try to describe and figure out… 

Caller:…something like the smell of a dead field mouse that’s been eating the salty neoprene liner out of a pair of inline skates or some such thing coming from the ventilation system. It smells worse than Staten Island in August.” Tommy: “Aw geezzee, that’ll cost $1,000’s to get rid uh dat stink! HAHAHA!” Ray: Do yourself a favor, just get a bottle of Fabreeze and a small fan! HAHAHA!” 

4. Micro-ShamWOW inserts! (O.K., I just made this one up.) 

I used to work with an old-school guy named Vinny. He was known as The Beast of the East. He used to tell me I was “all wet” when it came to new ideas and “dat outta-da-box crap yous guys is always talkin’ ’bout.” He was a believer in hard work and being slow and methodical; the tried & true. In Vinny’s world, I’d be breaking my skates down after every roll, and cleaning ‘dose bearings good. Well, I’ve no time for that at lunch Vin, and I’m rolling on Buck Bearings, so I’ll rest easy knowing that if some of these tips don’t work, I can call Glenn Koshi and get another set on ‘da cheap! 

1/15/10 Training: 10 miles out at Boyd Lake after aborted attempt at skating the Loveland Recreation Trail. In five years I’ve not seen the Loveland Trail this unfriendly. It’s going to be a long winter. 

1/16/10 Training: Rink Rabbits ran me around good for an hour. I’ve been skating on the borrowed 110’s to lead these classes, not comfortable enough to roll them with the big dogs at a full Sunday practice yet. But I’m getting there. It’s been great, because I’m running though these foundational foot drills slowly, building flow and speed on the bigger wheels, getting the feel and overcoming mental barriers at a no pressure pace. A hidden benefit to giving my time to the kids program!

Casting call


The King of Casting.

FORT COLLINS, CO: This just in…Glenn Koshi, you’ve seen him on the Bont Gigantathons (6×110’s), the mad caster from Duluth himself, will be here in Northern Colorado February 5th and 6th to cast foot molds for those that need them! And Glenn’s ongoing special of the month FREE SKATE BACKPACK with any skate package purchase! Contact Tony Toffoli of the Speed Weasels Inline Racing Team if you’d like to schedule an appointment. Inline, Ice or Road Bike, Bont Boots deliver!

Contact: amtoff@hotmail.com