Tag Archives: inline skating

The obligatory “10 Things All Inline Speed Skaters Must Do” post – part 1

If you open the pages of any of your favorite magazines (mag-a-what?), at some point you’re going to come across one of those obnoxious “Our Top 10 Things Our Editors Got Bribed To Tell You To Do Before You Expire” lists. Well, in the spirit of trying to give you something to think about as you’re out there thinking about all of the skating you’ll do in this new year, here’s this skater’s attempt at joining the club of overblown bucket list wonks…

In a nutshell, on this list you’ll find ideas, activities and excuses to spend your hard earned cash on in pursuit of more time on wheels. Take it for what it’s worth, and keep the change ya filthy skate animal.

7 months later, it hasn't gotten any better.

All kinds of good crap, labeled A through K, that I can’t live without. Now where’s my skate wrench…

10. Build the ultimate skate bench. Get all those spare frames, beat bearings, stripped axls, worn wheels and stinky boots out of the boxes and onto the countertop of your very own workspace. As the skater of the house (or Alpha Skater if there’s more than one of you and you need to quickly jockey for this coveted position of ultimate dominance) you need a space to call your own. That quiet, peaceful, wondrous place for you to fine tune your equipment and spend long hours stroking a hair dryer over your carbon fiber. (Makes a good spot to stash girly magazines too.)

"No worries General Kenobi, we'll overtake the Separatists on the highway. Victory is ours."

“No worries General Kenobi, we’ll overtake the Separatists on the highway. Victory is ours.”

9. Skate a marathon. Point or point or crit-skate, there’s really no better way to get a real bang for the buck with every dollar of that entry fee than by skating 26.2 or more miles with your fellow masterblader’s in all your spandex-clad glory. Put it this way, when you’re skating outdoors in a skinsuit alone…you’re a wannabe. But in a large group going incredibly fast in tight packs, you’re a spectacle. You’re part of an unstoppable force to be reckoned with, fueled by tiger’s blood, adrenalin and big wheels strapped to your feet. No one will make fun of you, and you’ll have had the experience of a lifetime, even if you place second.

It was his indulgence of pre-race whip-its that ultimately undid his indoor career...

It was his indulgence in pre-race whip-its that ultimately undid his indoor career…

8. Skate an indoor meet. I haven’t done this yet but they tell me it’s fun. Actually, that’s not true. I used to approach every practice as if it were Nationals, so in that sense, I was skating an indoor meet several times a week. And I was winning, big time. But that was against 6 year old beginners on PlaySkol blades. (Crushed them ankle biters.) But if I had to register in my age division with anyone skating more than three months, it’d probably be a different story. I had planned on skating indoor meets last year, and the year before, but now I’m not so sure it’s in the immediate future. Still, it’s a bucket list item, so on the list it stays. I encourage everyone reading this to at least give an indoor practice a try.

Nothing feeds my ego more than dusting a cyclist on the trail...

Nothing feeds my ego more than dusting a cyclist on the trail…

7. Skate outdoors, preferably on a mixed-use recreational trail. This goes the other way. I’m continually surprised when I meet indoor skaters that don’t own outdoor wheels, and have never even tried skating around a parking lot. Look…there’s a whole wide world out there beyond the funky smell and bad carpet of your local sweat shop (rink). Set your frames in a neutral, middle of the boot position, get some beat up indoor wheels and at least go for a short skate on a wide sidewalk. It could quite literally open whole new worlds for you, not to mention simulating the feel of a WIC event. Dude, the rest of the world competes outdoors…

The closest I'll ever get to that many medals...

The closest I’ll ever get to that many medals…

6. Send me money. You know you want to. IM me for details. It’s the right thing to do.

That's one way to express yourself...

That’s one way to express yourself…

5. How do you keep a skater in suspense? Come back next time, I’ll tell you. Till then, keep it rollin’…

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I’ve been away for too long

Don’t know where I’m going

I  just keep on rolling

I  just keep on rolling

Gotta  roll

Bloody wheel - ODN2011

Bloody wheel – ODN 2011

Rolling is Breathing and breathing is life

stopping is dying, you’ll be alright

life is a hammer waiting to drop

adrift in the paceline and the rolling won’t stop

Don’t know where I’m going

I just keep on rolling

I just keep on rolling

Gotta roll

Can’t see the sky, nothing on the horizon

can’t feel my feet and the speed keeps rising

can’t slow the pace, cause I’ll be dropped

I  just keep on pulling, I just keep on rolling, Don’t know where I’m going

Don’t know where I’m going

I just keep on rolling

I just keep on rolling

Gotta roll

Rolling  is living and living is hard

but  living beats losing all that we are

and all that we know of, and all that we feel

and all we remember, imagined or real

I heard an echo, but the answer had changed

from the word I remember, that I started out saying

drafting is cheating if you’re not pulling hard

but the flyer is leaving, I’ll get mine, you’ll get  yours

Don’t know where I’m  going

I just keep on rolling

I just keep on rolling

Gotta roll

Rolling is bleeding and bleeding is breathing

breathing is feeling, burning or freezing

keep getting dirty, but I started out clean

keep on pulling, I keep on pulling,

I keep on rolling, I  keep on rolling

Don’t know where I’m going

I just keep on rolling

I just keep on rolling

Gotta roll

Adapted from Rowing by Soundgarden – used without permission

If you’ve led the line, you get it.

Ice to meet you

In the course of events in this thing I call my life, I need to mix things up. I’m not the kinda guy that you can expect to sit still for more than a few minutes at a clip, at least with my pants on…

REVEALED: This is how I cop so much time on SkateLog Speed Skating Forum.

I need to be busy. Need to be doing something. And no matter what it is, if I really find it interesting, I can become very disciplined, very quickly and develop routines that I’ll adhere to, religiously, for years without interruption. But once I start getting bored, the routines get hard to maintain, and I need to find something to spice things up, or I’ll start getting lazy and I’ll start relying on anything I can find to use as an excuse to get distracted from that thing I was so engrossed with that it became a part of my daily life and part of the definition of…me.

My career as Skatey Spice was short lived...I just couldn't bring myself to shave my legs.

I’ll admit it…I started getting bored with this thing of ours. That’s right. I started to become a slacker skater. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ve seen the ups and downs. What I’ve published here really only scratches the surface. And yes, my posts do tend to exaggerate the state of things, and go more for a cheap fart joke than any real substance, but that aside it’s a pretty honest portrayal of my skating life. I’ve added emphasis there because my skating life is truly more than roller skating, or, you know, inline speed skating. Ice has become a part of this thing I do. To the extent that I should really just say I’m a skater, as opposed to an inline skater, because the latter implies a singularity of purpose that just isn’t in my make up anymore. It’s like saying “I’m a road-skater,” or “I’m a trail-skater,” or “I’m an indoor speed skater,” or “I’m a marathon skater.” The label “inline skater” has become too restrictive. And since freedom is so much of what I love about this sport, I think saying “I’m a skater” is about as liberating as I can get. That said, inline is really my core so I’m not dumping the label. I’m just more open-minded about this thing I do.

We're just not coming at this from the same place.

Being one of such open mind, I decided that since nude speed skating is flat-out too dangerous and just wrong (God knows the view would be hanus trying to catch a draft,) 2011 is the year of doing things differently. By that I mean setting new goals, tackling new challenges and stretching past my comfort zone. It’s one thing to try to break a personal best time, whether it’s for 100m or 26.2 miles. It’s another to try to become somewhat competent in another discipline, and that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on. I’ve moved to ice. Not in the epic sense of a Jondon Trevena or Derek Parra or Chad Hedrick. No. Just in the sense of being me and trying something new. And it’s been a humbling experience, one that’s done the ego some good.

Taking a similar track to what I did my first year on inlines, I jumped right into the deep end of training and competing. Honestly, the main reason I haven’t been updating these pages all that much lately is that I’ve been using all the spare time I can find to get me some quality ice time on my new Marchese One boots and Marchese Zero blades. (Full disclosure…CadoMotus makes these Marchese’s, and CadoMotus is a sponsor of First Loser.)

These skates kick butt.

Yep…I’ve become a short track slut, puttin’ out on the ice as much as I can, and gettin’ my money’s worth out of the Ice Center Super Pass I bought in February. But I digress…

To really kick up the excitement a notch, I competed in my first ice meet earlier this season, The 2011 Colorado Speed Skating Championships. The meet was organized by Colorado Gold Speedskating, and they’re just awesome! anyway…this meet was a quick test of my ego-resiliency. Considering that my only real competition was a self-described “old lady” and some guys that have been doing short track for all of maybe eight months to a year, I was thinking I was on my way to gold, or at least the claim of having my First Loser status carry over in my ice debut. That wasn’t to be the case. I did pretty well, in that I got the entry fee’s worth out of the event by placing in my heats and skating all the finals, but the podium was a bit further away than I thought it would be.

Turns out I was competing in the masters division. So even though I was on the ice with the Bony Pony’s, or whatever we were being called, I was skating against those guys I was watching and going “Holy S#!t look at that!” So needless to say I didn’t come home with any medals (not even a freaking participation award or a chocolate bar) but I did skate away having had a great time and really falling for this new discipline. (Father’s pride: Freezy Weezy took third in his division!)

Freezy Weezy takes Bronze!

As it stands right now, I’m on the fence about NSIM this year. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to go. It’s a lot of effort for a little better than an hour’s worth of skating time. Yes, it’s the premiere event for me, no doubt. But I’m not excited about the idea anywhere near as much as I’m stoked to go to a short track clinic at the Oval in SLC in June, and compete here in Fort Collins at our first ice meet in October. I’m truly excited and I’m working hard to try to improve my technique so that I can show improvement versus what I did down there at the World Arena in April. That’s got me fired up man. Honestly, I miss that about inline. That same fire just ain’t there anymore.

DON’T GET ME WRONG DAMNIT! I still love inline skating more than any other sport. And now that the weather is somewhat improving here in NoCo I’ve been able to hit the trails with gusto again (94 miles logged last week!) and I’m truly amazed every time I skate in my Pro M1’s on the trail and feel truly in command of every facet of my stride, but it’s that, I don’t know, maybe it’s the novelty of new-found passion that I just don’t have for inline anymore. With inline, it’s like I have something to maintain. I’ve achieved a little something. With ice, I ain’t done s#!t, so I’ve got the world before me. And with a 1:07 500m time, I’ve got nowhere to go but up…at least I hope.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

Crazy F’in Glenn is at it again! Just to make things nice and tidy, he’s offered up a really schweet deal on Bont Patriot Short Track boots and Bont ice blades. Check it speed freaks:

Any in-stock Bont Patriot short track boots, normally $225, this month only, $175. 

Any  in-stock Bont Platinum blades (top-of-the-line!), normally $450, this month only, $375.

NEW – full custom Bont Patriot boots and Platinum blades, $1000!  Note that the blades alone normally retail for $450.  Shipping and applicable taxes extra, please.

Email Glenn today: glenn916@yahoo.com to get this crazy azz deal before it’s too late. Sorry Rick! (Inside joke.)

Bite it

Epic phrases. You know them…they’re those eulogy predicates that are usually uttered in glory-seeking moments leading up to really unfortunate attempts at immortality. In my experience, rarely have I seen anything good follow the exclamation, “Hey guys, watch this!” In the annals of famous last words, these are typically the one’s that take generations to scrub from a family legacy, because the ribbon of shame awarded for stupidity has a longer half-life these days, due in most part to the ascendancy of YouEpicFailTube.

My inline track & field career fizzled pretty quickly. I just couldn't get low enough.

Likewise, when you hear someone shout, “Oh, s#*t!”, the next moments are usually the stuff of legend. These are a little less reputation tarnishing then the former phrase, but only because the disasters they precede are typically not the result of a deliberate attempt at earning a Darwin Award.

Last Sunday, I pulled a move that would have landed me in the opener of Wide World of Sports under the agony of defeat voice over. I’ve never crashed and laughed so hard at a skating practice. If only there were video…

It was the last epic lap of a mini Pyramid of Pain. Up to the “point of critical failure” we’d endured a healthy workout…warm-up laps, speed plyo’s (the heavy set), some speed cornering drills and by the time I’d bitten it, we’d skated through the pyramid, climbing twice. For my non-skating friends that read this to laugh at my stupidity, the Pyramid of Pain is a sprinting and endurance drill. The order for this one (follow along at home) was sprint one lap, rest one lap, sprint two, rest two, sprint three, rest two, sprint two, rest two, sprint one, rest one, sprint two, rest two, sprint three, rest two, sprint two, rest two, sprint one. Follow that? It might seem daunting, but he was actually going easy on us, because we’re just now at the point in our training where we’re starting the speed work. Anyway…if you do the math, that’s 17 sprint laps in quick succession. Pretty intense for most of us mortals, (despite how long some of us have been doing this…)

Going into lap 15 my legs were already toast. I’d made some poor decisions the night before and earlier that morning, choosing to stay up too late and skipping breakfast. And we’ve had some guys skating with us that have been racing all season and can really throw down, so I’ve been trying to step it up. It’s funny because my ego can handle getting my doors blown off by a 13 year old girl, (The Fast Kid) but bring in a senior (Slayer) and masters (The New Guy) guys and I’m all about not wanting to be last across that line.

So…I was doing well with drill. I usually do well with endurance drills because I’m essentially an outdoor, point-to-point ultra-distance skater (that’s a freaking haughty mouthful, eh?) The New Guy was doing well too. We were alternating between 2nd and 3rd on the sprints. As we were coming down the backside of the last pyramid, I was holding onto the two spot, chasing Slayer but not really gaining on him. So anyway…we get to lap 16 and our coach starts screaming at us to crank it up, he wants to see maximum effort, hawking at the line, bawlz to the wall skating. Well, that got The New Guy fired up and I could tell he was right on my backside. Going into that last turn I was gunning to take that cone “clams-azz” tight.

Well…that’s when my left ankle gave out. I tried to recover quickly on the right, but my right gave way too. I landed in an A-frame careening directly for the steel cabinets lining the walls of the rink. I knew they didn’t have much support in the doors and that they’d stop me. That wouldn’t be so bad…the only problem was, Lionheart’s Mom was standing there, like a deer caught in the headlights, right in my path.

In the time that’s transpired between then and now, I’d like to think I had enough time to at least point in the right direction and shout, “RUNFERYERLIFE!!!” or maybe just “MOVE!” But no…in those precious few seconds, when I could clearly envision breaking both of her knee-caps, all I could say was, “Oh S#&T!” Just before I hit the carpet I went down on my hip, but I was going fast enough to get spun around when I hit the carpet and continued sliding backward right toward Lionheart’s Mom. In the blink of an eye she pulled a Diamond David Lee Roth flying split with her back up against the locker…and I crashed into the door, back first, directly between her legs. I stopped, she landed. I looked up and there she was, looking down, straddling my head…uninjured.

Might as well JUMP! Damn that was close.

Full recovery took about two minutes…not because I was in pain but because I was laughing so hard. There are many more jokes I can make…but this is a family blog. (As if…) No. I just wanted to give much respect to my fast-thinking friend, who’s cat-like reflexes and perfect timing have earned her a new name here at FirstLoser…Leeza Lee Fastfeet. I just hope she’s not a Van Hagar fan.

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.

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…

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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!