Tag Archives: Olympics

OY! Burn me eyes out!

I’ve been known to make fun of figure skating, and it’s probably because I can’t do it, shouldn’t ever attempt it and will never be able to do it. I’m just not that coordinated. Plus, let’s face it, if you currently or have ever answered to the name “Dude” and you express interest in watching Evgeny Plushenko or Johnny Weir skate, you might as well bust out the “RELAX” T-shirt, crank up Right Said Fred and get your butt out on the catwalk, yeah, on the catwalk. But with the Winter Games freshly behind us, I’ll admit, some of what I saw was absolutely amazing. 

His choice of Rihanna for accompaniment made his plumber's butt look well planned.

The other day at indoor practice, I was talking with a young girl and her father who are returning to indoor speed after allowing her time off to heal a back injury. For as much time as she’s been off skates the past year, she had great form and was easily placed in the middle of the pack after a few warm-up laps. So was her Dad!  

As it turns out, she was a figure skater. I asked her if she’d ever done it on inlines and she just kind of looked at me like I was nuts. “There’s no toe pick, I don’t know how you’d do it.” 

Here’s how… 

NOTE: Personally HATE, HATE, HATE that song! It’s the first song in DJ OnIt’s playlist and is usually the cue that speed practice is over. Anyway…you’ve got to love YouTube, because once you stumble upon what you’re looking for, a whole different world opens up: 

I remember finding out that USARS had all kinds of information for Roller Figure Skating, but it looks like that’s all Quad skating. I wonder why they’re not promoting Inline Figure Skating. I’ve seen inline figure skates for sale at several places so I know there’s a small market there. But for the limited time I spent tooling around the USARS site, I didn’t see much. Maybe it’s because of their experience with inline speed. They might just be afraid that they’d attract the wrong crowd… 

He was known for his triple-Lutz jump, which he could only do on pavement in speed skates.

Um. Yeah. How do you follow something like that? That’s one fine piece o’ talent. If only I had the time. So it goes… 

4/9/10 Training: 15 miles on the Loveland Skate Trail at lunch. (Don’t Google-Map that, it’s the Loveland Recreation Trail.) Nice windy skate, per the usual. (But the usual is pretty darn good.) 

4/10/10 Training: 16 miles in the hood with an additional 3 led by Speed Demon. She’s thinking it would be fun to go to MN to skate sometime! I can’t wait! 

4/11/10 Training: 1 hour solid with the Rink Rabbits, 2 hours of Adult Indoor Speed Practice, then spent the afternoon skating the Windsor to Greely Trail with the kids. The entire day spent on skates. This is how I roll! Put a set of 76mm wheels on my speed frames for kicks. Ended up pushing Speed Demon on her bike for about 3 miles uphill in the wind on the way back. Sunday evening didn’t happen. Where did it go? 

4/12/10 Training: 12 miles at lunch. The weather was perfect but the idiots were out in force! 

4/13/10 Training: Another “click skate” at Rink Rabbits practice, this time with the Brothers Speed, two brothers that have been speed skating all of 2 months. Venti (the tall one) Speed took off like a shot from every race start, easily winning or coming really close at the cone. The Brothers Speed duked it out in a 300m and it was one of the best races we’ve ever had. Photo finish and no one fell! Huzzah!

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.

Slippin’, Slidin’, Electroglidin’

I was reading the Old Farmer’s Almanac today and, there’s really no kind, old-fashioned way to put this –  it said I’m screwed. It’s going to be a long cold winter here in Colorado this year. The snow that comes early usually melts pretty quickly. We don’t shovel here on the northern Front Range, we sweep. Not this year though.   

"There's an 80% chance you're pooched till March, Buddy. Take up ice skating, there's more of a future there."

Temperatures here have been frigid, but they’re warming up. It was in the 30’s today. With the sun at high noon, it’s really not that bad to be out and active in. I was going to try to hit the rec path at lunch but that just wasn’t in the cards.

SIDE RANT: I do not refer to the Recreation Path as the Bike Path for obvious reasons. Skater’s Rule, Cyclists Drool. Up yours – I’m faster than you anyway, Lance. ON YOUR LEFT!

I digress…We’re fortunate here in the Loveland / Fort Collins area in that we’ve got something like 40+ miles of paved rec path, and during the winter months the Parks & Rec folks do a darn good job of keeping the paths clear. They’ve got the mini-me of snowplows and they use them! So other than the occasional spot of ice under one of the overpasses, we’re free and clear to skate year-round if we can brave the cold. I’m hoping to get out at Boyd Lake with my buddy John before Friday. We’ll see. 

In the meantime, there’s the slideboard. You know, the skater’s version of a dry-hump. It’s almost as good as the real thing, and it leaves you just as spent and wet in the end. A masterblader’s dream, it’s truly a wonderful invention. I put in an hour on it this evening, and I’m happy to claim a little progress: I’m finally able to do it like Derek  does in this clip:  

down in the heel, belly on thigh, with a tight arm swing. It wasn’t this easy last year. And hey – no (severe) back pain. I guess that’s another benefit of all the indoor training. I’ll take it! 

Or there’s always ice skating. What with that little party up in Canada in a few months, everyone is talking about it. But Speedy Weezy and I tried it, and we both decided it’s not for us. But I really bailed because he didn’t like it. Maybe we could get all geared up like hockey players, but do ice speed skating instead. Or, better yet, Roller Derby On Ice! Really high-speed, super sharp blades, and really cool armor. 

A few years from now, post-apocalyptic Canada will come to know the meaning of Toecutter.

A few years from now, post-apocalyptic Canadians will come to know the Toecutter of ice.

OK – I took the inspiration for that one from a blog I read earlier. The writer said her son likes to skate for the gear. In his case it’s hockey. He can wear a chest protector, shin guards, elbow pads, gloves, and helmet when they go grocery shopping. He does this because “it makes me look like a Transformer.” Should have thought of something like that for Speedy Weezy. 

Man, time to go take a shower, I smell like Mad Max’s leather after a month in the Outback – crikey! 

12/15/09 Training: Did about 150 laps indoor with John & David. John has been working hard on indoor form and is really coming along quickly. He doesn’t see the speed like we do. He’s improved a lot in just a month back inside. Still, we’d both rather be outdoors, and hopefully we can do that before Friday. 

12/16/09 Training: 1 hour on the slideboard. Worked on staying low by keeping my belly on my thigh. It’s easier to do that when you’ve been eating cookies all freaking day.