Tag Archives: training

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.

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.

Happy New Year

It’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions drive the gluttonous masses to get off their asses and into a fitness routine that they’ll maintain for about as long as The Kardashians could keep up with Snookie Polizzi in an all-or-nothing Qwirkle match. Not being one with the patience or intestinal fortitude to watch grossly gelatinous glutes strain against new “form-fitting, not tight” $80 Under Armour in the mad January rush to get ready for “the big Valentine’s 1k,” I work out at home, in a private gym at my place of employment, at the rink, in the street or on the trail.

What the hell can I possibly add to this?

In order to keep my training program on track, I’ve added a new page called…Training Log. The training log helps keep me focused, and it keeps me honest about how hard I’m really working. When I think back on 2010, it was a year where I eased up in a lot of areas. I stopped taking some things too damn seriously. Admittedly I was pretty anal when it came to the amount of skating I do, so easing back some was a good idea. But since I’d stopped tracking my training, somewhere around mid-summer, my skating and attitude suffered. I think I was missing the accountability that a training log affords me. There’s something to be said for having documentation of your effort. To be able to review it compared to your performance, to know what’s working and what’s not. Tracking the time, effort and motivation for each workout is something I need to do, and that’s what this new page is all about. Consider it this inline skaters reality show. It is what it is. So I hope you don’t get all unpositive on me and don’t even see the work I put in, ’cause you know what, you know what? I’ll be like “I’m done with this.” That’s The Situation…I hope yous gets something out of it.

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.

The Seventh Day of Inline Christmas

As before, there’s more…

T’was the seventh day before Inline Christmas…I was off to speed practice so lively and quick, the pace line was swift, even the Fast Kid felt sick; it’s silly t’think at my age I’d compete, with kids twenty seven years younger with much faster feet. But try as I may, try as I might, I hold onto that pace line, I put up a fight. Then with ten laps to go after 90 we’ve burned, the Fast Kid and Coach remind me I’ve much to learn. As they pick up the pace and start pulling ahead, I give all I can to not being lapped instead. Alas I pushed it to fast when it was my time to pull, and at seven to go I dropped off like a fool. When they catch me and lap me with four left to skate, I push through the pain and don’t let them escape. As the speed starts to climb, legs and lungs start to fail, barely finish the drill, this stuff never gets stale.

I came upon this group of seven Swan Uppers when I hit a stray swan that meandered across the Thames River Bike Path.

Here’s one of those bizarre things you learn when using Google to come up with fodder for daily blog posts (I’ll never do this s#!t again)…Swan Upper. No, it’s not a new kind of shoe leather for making exotic inline skate boots, or a strange new type of rare male-enhancement suppository, it’s a job title. These guys count swans on the River Thames for Her Majesty once a year. Seriously…the job dates from the twelfth century, when the Crown went and boldly claimed ownership of all mute swans, because, well, they could. Supposedly, the things are regarded as a delicacy. They’re not supposed to be eating them anymore, as there is a serious conservation effort at the heart of the ceremony these days. But I bet you’ll find the blue bloods in a small, dark, back room off the kitchen at the country house, stuffing their faces in quiet desperation. “I say, finger licking good, eh old chap?” It’s not hard to imagine, considering how close they are to the Frenchies, who still engage in the preposterous practice of eating Ortolan.

So, my Santa list for the day…

For the skater who has everything except the horse he rode in.

This is the low-impact mechanical exerciser that methodically tilts across five axes to strengthen your core muscles, helping improve your balance and posture and relieve back pain. The saddle tilts back and forth, left to right, up and down, and twists in preprogrammed sequences, strengthening your thighs, buttocks, back, and deep abdomen–core muscles that are neglected by traditional training regimens. The gentle swaying of the saddle changes your center of balance and, as you attempt to regain your equilibrium, your core muscles expand and contract. Ideal for both physically limited and experienced exercisers, the device allows you to conduct a 15-minute exercise routine while seated without creating excessive pressure and stress on joints. The exercise routines also provide a beneficial aerobic workout ideal for those who need to maintain low target heart rates. The seven programs (easy, light, moderate, advanced, waist, hip, legs) and nine speeds are easily controlled on the pommel’s LCD panel that also shows calories burned and the muscles being worked during each routine. I wonder if it comes with an expansion slot for the Foo Manchoo Mechanical Bull card. I’d beat 2.7 seconds, that’s fer dang sure. With a set of stirrups and handle to provide stability. (Wonder if the wife and I could come up with some other “excercises.” Hmmm…)29″ H x 18″ W x 35″ D. (77 lbs.)

Bet you’d love to know what this Santa list is costing, huh? We’ll add it all up at the end. Cause you know, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it! “All hail, Her Majesty The Queen, Seigneur of the Swans.”

The Eighth Day of Inline Christmas

And on it goes…

T’was the eighth night before Inline Christmas when what from my blind side crashed into my ear, but a big iron skillet thrown at me from rear. T’was Horseypants’ rage bout what my Ninth Day blog pic is, which I contend was for humor, but she said was just sexist. “Women in panties on skate blogs there’s no place!” She screamed and she swore as she stomped on my face. And as I lie broken, all bleeding and shaken, she said she was sorry, she’d just been mistaken. While she maintained that the pic was just crude and degrading, she could see now, the post was a joke about ‘bating.

"There are eight of us, why do I have to milk it? How do you even milk a Hutt?! I've got a bad feeling about this..."

Wow…took some heat on that one. And you didn’t know it, but you’ve dodged a bullet too. To make up for my boorish post, she originally wanted me to pose in MY underwear and skates and post it here…a piece of man-meat to be ogled and salivated over. Yeah…well not only would that not be the result of you seeing an image like that, but clearly an apology is in order. I didn’t mean to offend women, and in particular any female skaters, and if I did I’m sorry. Women definately belong in the NSC, and when there’s enough interest from the women in our sport, NSC’s said there’s a home for them. It’s only a matter of time, and it will be great to see that happen, really.

So…back to our Santa list, cause there’s still so much to share, and banish those thoughts of FirstLoser in underwear. These next finds are actually something you might really use to work those legs and skate muscles in the winter months…

If I spot one of these bad-boys in Goodwill, I'm all over it.

Available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer, this compact lateral stepping machine’s side-to-side skating motion develops muscles in thighs, glutes, abdominals, and oblique muscles while improving overall balance. When the exercise session is over, it can easily be folded and stored away. The tubular steel frame has non-slip end caps and a carrying strap, and an integrated computer that tracks number of steps, session time, total steps, and calories burned. You Unfolded: 13″ H x 14″ W x 37″ L; folded: 23 1/2″ H x 17″ W x 14″ L. (19 lbs.)

...but when money is no object, I'ma get me some a dem pants.

This is the only cardiovascular trainer that rotates laterally to sculpt the lower body while delivering a vigorous fat-burning workout. I seriously want to try one of these out. Unlike elliptical machines, treadmills, and steppers that focus exclusively on the front and back of the legs, this patented machine’s horizontal figure-eight motion engages the total leg, zeroing in on hard-to-tone areas in the outer and inner thighs and glutes. While the lateral trainer provides excellent sports-specific training for skiers, golfers, and tennis players, any user will benefit from its superior toning and conditioning. The intensity of workouts is easily adjusted at the turn of a tension knob. An LCD readout displays heart rate, calories burned, RPM, speed, distance, and time. Because the trainer requires no electrical power, it can be set up anywhere (requiring less floor space than a treadmill) and operates quietly. You probably wouldn’t be able to read while you use it, but that’s a sacrifice I’d be willing to make if this really works. 65″ H x 48″ W x 36″ D. (140 lbs.)

Cuckin Fold

Cold weather skating never used to bother me but I guess ol’ fart syndrome is catching up with me, cause as I’ve gotten another year older my tolerance for the cold has shriveled up quicker than George Costanza’s manhood in a cold pool. I want to roll on up inside a warm cavity and stay neatly snuggled beneath a warm downy blanket, only to be coaxed out of hiding by a warm shower or a vigorous rub down. (The later with the former being the ideal of course…)

They didn't tell me the skates came with the latest bluefoot technology.

This is my first winter in boots that were built exclusively for speed. Having ordered my boots 1/2 size smaller than my true shoe size, and after heat-molding them to my feet, I can’t wear them comfortably with socks. Yesterday I figured out just how much I’m going to miss the extra padding and warmth when I’m heading out to trail skate this winter…Mmmm, yeah, looks like I’ll be putting in even more time indoors this winter than I did last year. Could be worse, right?

As a lot of you know, indoor inline speed skating is a lot different than skating outdoors. Almost everything I’ve learned indoors has helped me become a more efficient technical skater outdoors, and that’s the primary reason I love it so much. I don’t leave it all in the rink. The knowledge is portable and adaptable. It works when you work it, no matter where you’re using it. But, of course, you’ve got to think it through, find your strengths and improve on your weaknesses if you want to get faster. Since that’s what I want, that’s what I’ve been doing…thinking about the basics and also doing a lot of foundational drills.

This year’s been great, in that I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress, both indoor and out. Indoor, this was the first year where I’d set and achieved a personal speed goal. Getting that out of the way toward the end of what I’d call the regular indoor season, it was hard not to immediately set a new speed goal and go for it once I hit the one I was shooting for. But I’ve purposely resisted the temptation to push it further before the year is out, opting to simply stop, claim some progress, and set myself up to have something to shoot for in 2011. I’ve still got a lot to work on, that’s for sure, and that’s the reason I’m sticking to the basics for the rest of the year.

I’ve been concentrating on balance, body position and simple mechanics. I’ve also been stretching more cause I’m just not very flexible. Never have been. But anyway…Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting some great tips from my coach on how to position my shoulders, use my arms and feather step into turns at high speed. It’s been paying off, but it’s a lot of work. It’s required me to break things down a bit and work on my stride in small pieces, rebuilding from the ground up. I’ll admit, it’s easier for me to actually do this because I teach the Rink Rabbits class, and we’re hammering on the basics all the time. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today if it weren’t for the Rink Rabbits.

Here’s a video of one of the drills that’s been very helpful in attacking a lot of my problem areas. Both Speedy Weezy and I watched and listened and tried to do what Mantia was telling us at the Technical Clinic we had with him and his friends back in September

As you can see, I was all over the place with my arms, swinging and turning my upper body. I was also rushing into the crossover, not really getting my weight distributed properly, ending up with a weak under-push. Speedy Weezy was setting up in an A-frame, and bobbing up and down. Having all this pointed out has helped me help us both, and I’ve been able to in turn help the rest of the Rink Rabbits with their problem areas. We’ve all been working hard at fixing these foundational pieces, and for a lot of the team, the work has really been paying off. Young and old, experienced and noob alike, these simple foundational type drills are really proving to be just what the speed doctor ordered. We’re becoming better skaters from the ground up, especially Speedy Weezy, Speed Demon, The Brothers Speed and Speed Lord. They’ve been much more determined to do things right since the clinic. They’ve become very purposeful. It’s been great to watch and be a part of their growth.

So, not wanting to deal with the cold and the wind anymore, I got up at the crack of sanity and went to Rollerland to “treat” myself to a private practice this morning. Armed with a big cup of Starbucks and an iPod full of instructional video clips that Mantia gave us, I set out to prove to myself just how much I want to be a better technical skater. Seriously, my goal is to do these early morning rink runs at least once or twice a week now through the rest of the year.We’ll see how that goes…

Here’s what my workout looked like this morning:

– 100 Laps Warm Up

– Right Leg / Left Leg Balance – 3x each leg

– Base Position Roll – 6x total

– Right / Left Leg Rolling Leaps – 3x each leg

– Large Circle Drill (Video Above) – 1 minute, 3x total

– Right / Left Leg Glide – 3 laps (6 corners each leg)

– Crossover Glide – 6x total

– Right / Left Leg Push – 1 minute, 3x each leg

That took an hour, and I was back to the house well before I needed to be to work. I wonder if I can get the survailance video to see what my form looks like? Or maybe just ask the coach to review it and give me some pointers. In any event, it was a great way to start the day, and I’m really going to make an effort to get more of this training in.

Or…hell, I could suck it up, get used to the bluefoot sensation and give ice a try, but that’s something I swore I’d never do…just like the rest of this stuff.

Happy Thanksgiving – Gobble, Gobble HEY!

I needed that

In the dizzying spiral of days that wrapped up late summer and started the fall indoor inline speed skating training season, life got faster. Not necessarily on the track or trail, but in general. Somewhere along the way, the rules changed too, and the expectations I have of myself got higher. Commitments and responsibility are starting to get in the way of my inline skating. WTF?

11 days off and I'm right back to where I started...

I’m not the same skater I was a year ago, and training took a toll I didn’t expect this year…it led to fatigue and low-grade burnout. Like Pooky in New Jack City, all I want to do is high-step it into the Enterprise room and get beamed up to Scotty. All these years of smoking polyurethane seem to have caught up with me…

I tried to kick... but that s#*t just be callin' me man, it be callin' me, man... I just got to go to it!

It’s been a great year, the best so far that’s for sure. My involvement in the sport has run deeper than I would have volunteered for at any one time, and it’s all good, too. It’s been a gradual progression, albeit quick. One of those things where you just decide you’re going to do something, set about getting it done and sit back and say, “Wow…how did that happen?” Do that over and over and the s#*t starts to pile up. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced anything like that, or if that statement makes a lot of sense, but I don’t have a lot of time to over-analyze my writing or edit myself if I expect this blog post to get done anytime soon…

The burnout symptoms came out of nowhere, but yet in looking back I guess I could have seen the warning signs if I’d been looking for them. I’ve been in that special place reserved for those that over-train before, and I can tell you…this bout of burnout was something different. It grew over a few weeks of Indian Summer, where the world of long distance outdoor inline skating was bumping up against the foundation building of indoor inline speed training. Here’s my takeaway, the two disciplines play really well together when it’s early in the year and you’re working on building up speed indoor, but that relationship goes to shite faster than Lucy finding Ricky in the back bedroom with Ethel and a sixer of Four Loco when you’re still burning up the trail outdoor, and you’ve torn it all down to rebuild your foundation on the indoor oval…it can snap your will to skate.

Before this, I thought I’d done a stellar job of creating a better skate / life balance this year. I’d put my house in order, allowing the changing needs of my growing little family to take priority. I’d changed my training routine in so many ways this year that at a certain point, although I’d been skating harder than ever, with more purpose and intensity, I felt like I was cutting myself short and not training frequently enough. Of course that was all in my head, but in years past that feeling and thoughts like it had always been motivators to make the time I needed to skate and just get out there and put in the miles. Not this year. Those thoughts and feelings of not doing enough started to weigh more and became de-motivators…

Your passion is...illogical.

The burnout warning signs glow like neon in the cold, dark night now, but I couldn’t see it when it was happening…started taking more days off for “healing” than I used to…was satisfied with shorter distance skates at lunchtime…stopped skating in the morning all together…let a little wind stop me from gearing up…put off updating this blog…stayed away from the chat forums…started to think all of the pros ARE doping and didn’t give a s#*t…was actually happy to tell Horseypants that I wouldn’t bring my skates for 11 sun filled days in Naples, Florida…really didn’t care that we wouldn’t have an internet connection to watch the Inline Speed Skating World Championships when we were on vacation…didn’t miss my skates at all while we were in Florida…found it very hard to get back into the swing of things when we got back to Colorado…for the first time found myself thinking about the logistics of canceling a Rink Rabbits practice the day of practice…gave up the idea of chartering a team…there was actually more.

In all of this, except for our trip to Florida, I’ve been skating. But my heart was a half-beat behind. I just didn’t feel like I was sitting comfortably in the pocket. And it dawned on me that it was fear that was driving me when I was actually skating…fear of losing my legs, destroying my base, that fear drove me to keep skating and doing dry-land exercises. It wasn’t that I really wanted to be doing any of it. And that, for me, is the key. The desire and passion to be on my skates was really just not there like it has been for the last six years. For me, that’s just not right…

My passion for inline was in perfect hibernation.

When I started to realize that it wasn’t so much fun anymore, or at least as fun as it used to be, I started thinking about other sports…and concluded that I’m not a jock and really don’t care to participate in any competitive sports at all. All or nothing thinking crept back in. I’m either in this or I’m just not. Well, at least that was a comfortable emotional place to be for me. And I think it was from there that I started feeling a little bit better. I know I’m in it, it’s to what level, that’s the question.

I don’t know how long the gray skies would have lingered, but I do know what snapped me out of it…

¿Dónde está el baño?

It was a blog post by a writer named Matthew DeGeorge about Alex Cujavante’s, ah, mistake, at the 2010 Inline Speed Skating World Championships in Guarne, Colombia this year. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s really horrendous. Alex is rounding the last corner of a 20,000 meter race and he thinks he’s far enough ahead of the pack that he can stand up and showboat across the finish line in front of a hometown crowd. Sang Cheol Lee of South Korea didn’t stop skating and came right up his rear…taking the gold from Alex and making him a viral internet superstar. Watch the video. I’d love to know what the Colombian commentators are saying.

Anyway…this blog post. Mr. DeGeorge has a way with words. He essentially tears our sport to shreds, writing things like, “…Cujavante was competing in the 20,000 meter race, which, if it seems like a ludicrous distance to cover wearing a child’s toy on your feet…is. (I can only imagine a mile long pogo race as its equivalent.)” And, “…Colombian speed roller skater (seriously!)” Topped off with a third snark, “…Lee’s winning time in the marathon (actually, they have one of those, too!)”

Reading all that I was like, “Dammmmnnnnn. A child’s toy on his feet.” Now I’m not generally known to have a thin skin, and I thought the “pogo race” comment was pretty snappy, but I was ready to call it quits. What a joke. Here in the US, the sport will never be taken seriously. World Champ Wouter Hebbrecht thought it might be a good idea to track Mr. DeGeorge down and bring him to an inline event. Would it help the perception of our sport out there on the internet and in the world? I don’t know, but I bet Mr. DeGeorge would walk away with a new appreciation for our sport after having seen, met and watched some of our best athletes in action.

That aside…At some point it occurred to me…I remembered…one of my problems is that I end up taking things too seriously and THAT’S what feeds the burnout. THAT’S what saps the joy and fun out of skating for me.

DON’T TAKE THIS S#*T SO SERIOUSLY…As it turns out, DeGeorge’s blog post was just what the doctor ordered. The video IS funny. It’s a damn shame that Mr. Cujavante had to learn that lesson in front of the world, but seriously…looks like he needed the lesson. And c’mon…after re-reading DeGeorge’s comments, what he wrote was funny. A child’s toy indeed! This sport does keep you young. Young in fitness and young at heart. And if you’ve lost the ability to laugh at yourself, all is lost. At least in my mind. Hell, I remember when I first heard about the “serious” side of this sport – I was incredulous to the point of ridicule too. Even when I started skating outdoors, I swore I’d never be a skin-suit weenie like you. But hey…look how far I’ve come, despite all of that and crap like it.

Here’s our reality…and sorry if it’s hard to read but it’s the truth. If DeGeorge’s comments are hard for you to swallow, just realize that there are just too many people here in the US who have no clue that our inline world exists. So even coverage like this is good, because it builds awareness. Ain’t that some s#*t?!

It was only after I was able to think all that through that I was able to laugh it all off. All of the months of ambivalence and doubt. The time off was good for me. It’s time to get “serious.” Time to get back to what I love doing, for the reasons I love doing it…I love to eat pizza – like 5 slices on a Friday night – and skating allows me to eat whatever the hell I want with impunity, despite my slowing metabolism. THAT’S why I do this…cause I love to eat and I like being thin. Simple. Oh, yeah, and skating IS actually fun. Almost forgot…

So with that, I went downstairs, got my skates out of the trunk and skated with a renewed passion and interest. The next day it snowed. So it goes…

When you think no one is looking…

Stardate 8/23/10

There are lots of things I’ve done when I thought no one was looking, just to discover later that enquirering minds were lurking beyond my peripheral vision, watching my every move. It’s led to some awkward denials and having a few invitations rescinded. All I can say is let those without sin flick the first boog.

$5 says the Windsor kid eats it.

But this post isn’t about my private predilections and deviations from societal norms, it’s about the definition of character and dedication to our sport. And, in breaking with my inner narcissist, it’s not even about me, it’s about some new Rink Rabbits we took into the club this weekend…

The 2010 Rink Rabbits World Team

We were honored to have Joey Mantia and his friends & team mates Michael Cheek, Sara Sayasane and Wouter Hebbrecht to do a technical clinic with The Rink Rabbits here at our home rink, Rollerland Skate Center, in Fort Collins, CO! Not only is this one powerfully talented group of World Class achievement, they’re all genuinely nice people who truly love inline speedskating. Their love of the sport comes through in many ways.

The clinic itself was custom tailored to be an event open to all of our skaters, from the youngest, least experienced on through The Fast Kid, who’d just returned from Outdoor Nationals with 2 Gold Medals. Everyone skated away with something they could use to make them better, faster, stronger and smarter skaters.

Case in point…Horseypants.

My better half has been a recreational skater for just about as long as I’ve been skating. This year, she’s going with me to Duluth, Minnesota to skate her first half marathon at the 15th Annual Northshore Inline Marathon. We upgraded her to 100mm “race cuff” fitness skates (Rollerblade Speedmachine) a month ago, (which I’ve since bumped up to 110’s with the CadoMotus 4×110 Dual Box) and she’s been training regularly to increase her mileage and improve her time each week. She was at the clinic with us but she didn’t skate. She took all of the pictures and video attached to this post so we could document and remember the day for the club.

Horseypants on wheels.

Well, this morning (day after the clinic) she had already skated 5 miles around the neighborhood before I dragged my old, sorry and sore butt from bed. By the time I’d strapped my skates on and caught up with her, she was rolling and preaching the Gospel According to Mantia. She even started to recognize the elements of my stride that need work. Freakin’ know it all…but admittedly, she was 100% spot-on. And I didn’t need a Garmin to tell me she was already faster and more efficient then she was the day before, it was obvious in the speed I needed to catch up with her, and her ability to recover quickly from her burst activity. And to top it off, when we got back to the house, she asked to try my Pro M1’s. She took them for a two mile roll and declared, “OK, I want a pair.” She’d graduated from recreational to speed skater in less than 24 hours.

She doesn't wear pads anymore...

Like any good predatory drug dealer who can spot the future junkie in their recreational customer pool, I quickly moved in for the kill by rushing to my supplier and ordering her a pair of her own. Alas, that was a bit like trying to convert a toker to a tweaker overnight. Too much too soon. She’s in, but it’s going to take some time before she’s ready for the stiffness of a semi-custom speed boot. Nonetheless, she herself will be joining us in the rink this winter, and she’s encouraged other Rink Rabbit moms to join the team too! Welcome to The Rink Rabbits, baby!

So, you ask in your speed-weenie whine, why all this about her, what about Joey?

So much about her because this transformation, from Horseypants to Horseypower, happened…just by watching the Mantia clinic.

It’s powerful, trans-formative stuff, and you, First Loser Reader, you’re in for a treat…

I’m going to share what we’ve learned with you, as much as I can. Over a series of posts, we’ll share in the Gospel According to Mantia, until we’re all converts to his Stride. Yes – Stride is capitalized. As it should be. Mantia is a Skating God…(and hell, I’m no dummy…the longer I can milk this Mantia story, the more readers I’ll get, the higher my unique and repeat traffic will be, and world domination won’t be far off…and all those Ivy League schmucks I grew up with can suck my knee cap!)

Getting it together

Working with Mantia to set this up was smooth from beginning to end, just like his Stride.  We were able to coordinate the event by email, and didn’t really even speak until about a day or two beforehand. He was really easy to work with, to the point where all I really had to do was let people know he was coming and show up to unlock the doors and turn on the lights.

Even volunteer coordination was a snap. One of the great things about a small club is that it was super-easy to get folks to pitch in and do things like clean the floor, set the lunch counter, cook the food, watch the little kids and clean up. The jobs were gone within a half hour of sending out the email call for help. Rink Rabbits Parents ROCK!

The Rink Bunnies - the real backbone of the 2010 Rink Rabbits.

For such a busy guy Joey was amazingly responsive. I got a real kick out of seeing his name appear in my text message in-box. I was in a business meeting when I got a text from him and leaned over to show the name to a colleague…she smiled politely and shifted uncomfortably, not really sure why I was giggling like a 12 year old. Anyway…

No introductions necessary

Our schedule called for check-in and warm ups between 9 and 10 am. Mantia and Michael showed up on schedule at about 10 to 10 and came in with a couple of extended family members in tow…Sara Saysane & Wouter Hebbrecht from Simmons Racing / Team USA & Team Belgium! Two more world champs to make this the second such surprise Mantia pulled on me…the first was when he emailed and asked if I’d mind Cheex coming along with him. I think that was the day or two after Cheex had run an 8.4 flying 100m and taken the 2010 award for Grand Indoor Champion at National Speedskating Circuit. Cha, do I mind? As if…

For the most part they showed up without being noticed, which was great because Mantia just strapped on his skates and rolled out the floor while the kids were all open skating and warning up. You should have seen their faces as they began to realize who that new guy was…it was a classic entrance!

Moreover, it was more revealing of his character than anything he could have said. With his easy nonchalance and good nature, Mantia makes you feel like you’re on the same team. When we were going back and forth by email setting this up, he more than once said he wanted to help our club and was happy to be able to whatever he could to make the clinic happen. Seeing him roll right out there and mix it up with the kids made him the most accessible, everyday skater super-star in the world. He was really right in his element and looked immediately at home with them. Cheex followed closely after him and by that point to gig was up, the guys were in the house and running the show. Mantia took the wireless mic, called everyone the middle and got the clinic rolling.

Jason was just about to say "Over!"

He got the skaters going building their foundations. He got the MILF’s in the room going with his “fluid grace and power.” (That’s a quote.) Facebook was alight the following day with snapshots of the kids with Mantia & Co., and one drooling comment after another about Mantia’s legs…and the obligatory, “and little Johnny looks like he had a good time too. But really, are his legs THAT BIG in person?!? OMG!!!”

This is a picture of Jason...right.

In retrospect, I should have emailed around a pic of the guys in their skin suits with the event announcement. I could have charged for spectator admission and all the local moms would have funded the club for the next three years.

Where the learning begins – the basics

Ah, back to the clinic…bending your knees and getting low. Weight distribution and edges. They covered a lot of ground quickly and made sure all of the skaters got through the drills with individual attention and moral support when it was needed.

We spent lots of time on our skates doing drills that we normally do as dry-land (skates off) drills. Being on skates for drills like these adds a whole new dimension to the workout, and shows you pretty quickly why these drills are important to get right.

No one was left behind or made to feel “less than.” Rink Rabbit spirit was in the air. As our in-house Olympian and head coach pointed out, they covered a lot of the stuff we been working with the kids on for the past year, but Wow! How responsive they become when the current Champ of Everything Speedskating is teaching!

One of Mantia’s gifts for the in-house coaching staff was complete validation.

It was great that our skaters were somewhat prepared to do some of the drills through muscle memory and the basic knowledge we’d passed along up to this point.  They’ve been working hard all year. But there was a lot of new stuff too, which was just awesome…how to “lock in,” and what locking in will do to help you become more stable and unmovable when you’re in a tight pack and particularly into your corners. Not only did he run us through a drill, but he explained the whys of importance too.

One of the Brothers Speed getting a tip on his form.

A constant theme of the day quickly became “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Performance.” We were shown how World-Class achievement starts with low-level attention to detail. Mantia is very purposeful when he’s training. He’s very precise with his movements, and it was amazing to watch him break down his Stride into smaller parts that he then practiced with a patient determination to get the motion and muscle response as perfect as he could see it in his mind.

Side to side, side to side...can I get an Amen?!

Breaking down the elements of “a skate” or “a race” into smaller, more digestible parts, Mantia worked us slowly through drills that took us from the start, down the straightaway, in on the cone, through the corner and out to the finish line. It’s all in your technique and how you breakdown your form. Wouter said it best when asked to share what it is he knows now that he wishes he’d known when he 14. He told us it’s technique. Form and function are the most crucial things to focus on and get right when you’re just starting out.

What was great about all of these on-skate and dry-land drills was that the kids were familiar with some of them, excited by the new ones, and all of them were endorsed by Mantia & Co. They will now associate “perfect practice” with their visit, and understand that Mantia’s secret isn’t so secret after all – he’s not doing anything they can’t do themselves. He started skating when he was 9 too, so it’s not unthinkable that if they listen to what he said and start doing what he does, they too can be World Champ someday. It’s not out of reach.

We spent a lot of time on starts. Each participant got personal attention and pointed critique and correction of their starts. There’s not really a better example of why this clinic was so worthwhile.

When it comes to starts, opinions vary. As an instructor with the Rink Rabbits, I’ve got an Olympian coach and his method, I’ve got a coaching manual (or two) with methods that aren’t exactly the same but very similar. When you’re teaching a group, you want to be able to get the idea across to everyone in a way that speaks to all, leaving no one behind. Some people progress quicker than others, and eventually someone gets to a place where it’s time they tailor the “art” to their own style. What’s great was having World Champs share their foundational points, but then give the students the freedom to find their own form based on sound principal. They showed the students why the “science” elements (for example, loading up on your front leg in a side start) are important, then they helped the students understand how “feel” (art) takes the sport and makes a custom fit.

Even The Fast Kid showed that active learning is key to future success.

It was during the time that we were going over side starts…which no one except The Fast Kid had ever even tried (we focused on down starts all year)…it was during this time that I spied Cheex, Sara and Wouter being themselves. I looked off to the far side of the rink, and there they all were, discussing the things Mantia was going over with us, over there on there own. They were talking about side starts and running through them by themselves, thinking no one was paying much attention to them. That, for me, was why they were here, and made their dedication resonate with me. I mean, here they were, all Champions in their own right, hanging out at a clinic that their buddy dragged them along to on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and there they were, “behind closed doors” as it were, talking shop, running drills, laughing out loud and being just as engaged as if they were among the student population. What that revealed was that they all have something in common – they possess an athletic character that’s crystallized in the phrase “pure skating.”

That was a huge take-away for me, and what I think is a good lesson for us all. If you want to make it and stay at the top of your game…the game that’s yours alone, your form…then you’ve got to be a life-long learner, and it’s got to be fun. To keep it pure, you’ve got to enjoy it, genuinely. You’ve got to have an open mind, be ready to take someone’s advice and give it a try. Being able to hang out with Mantia & Co. for a day made it pretty clear to me…their dedication and interest in the sport isn’t different than mine at all. Is their training more intense? Sure it is. But their hearts are in the same place as mine. It’s Pure Skating. When no one is looking, you’ll find us all in that same mental place, where Stride & Glide are all that matter, and that’s pretty cool, to know I have that in common with the greats.

Training log

Now that the outdoor season is done for me, I’ve put the Garmin away. It’s back to the rink, and time to slow it down. Break it all down to build it up again. This training season is going to be more intense, I look forward it…bring it on! More soon…

I’m a freak, this I know…

In a world where it’s news that Mariska Hargitay is proud to be a size 8 – a news story that actually warranted an update 2 hours after it was originally published – I’m declaring my freakdom. I’m a skate spaz, the kind you don’t bring home to mother. I’m a skate-tweaker if there ever was one. When it comes to skating, I think I think too much.

Funkin' up your pace line, b!@#$!

It’s taken me forever to decide which skates to roll in the upcoming Northshore Inline Marathon. It’s a big deal for me. It’s the only race I’ll skate this year. Wanting to beat my time from 2009 and finish with the lead pack becomes a tall order when you consider the field I’m rolling in is filled with the best skaters in the country in this age class – Norm Kirby, Tony Muse, Ryan Chrisler, Richard Cassube, the list goes on…including my bud Noel Creager – we came up together this year! I’m truly excited to have the opportunity to start with these guys. I’ve been visualizing the pace lines, breakaways and speed all year. I’ve watched several of these guys break a few records and win a race or two this season. They’re inspiring to watch. Hell, my coach skated with and against a lot of these guys back in the day…they know how to skate. They’re truly a different class of skater. If you’d have asked me a few years ago if I thought I’d be in the same wave with any of these guys, the answer would be…ah, no.

I’ve been training hard. All with a mind to be able to grab onto that pack and hold on till the finish, just to beat my time from last year. All things being equal in terms of weather and road conditions, that’s my goal. I’ve trained religiously on my Rollerblade Racemachines modified with a CadoMotus 4×110 DualBox frame and Road War Reds (thanks to CadoMotus.) The coach downgrade my wheel size about a month and a half ago, then we ruined a perfectly good pair of Buck Bearings by loading them with axle grease. To top it off, we added in a few extra pounds of weight per ankle with some strap-on weight bands. We came to call this “Beat Feet.” It was brutal, but I did what I was told to do.

I've been training on these all year. Great training skate, at 3 lb, 02 oz.

Hills in the heat. Intervals and sprints. Tabata and Super-slow, 5-6 days a week. In Beat Feet mode my goal was to get my speed back up to where it was before Beat Feeting it. Talk about tough. But I’ve heard through the grapevine that these guys I’ll be on the line with work harder than that. Thus, I’m super obsessed with the idea of doing my best.

When I start thinking about this stuff too much, my mind is a dangerous place. I become my own worst enemy. Like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant, I go places I know I shouldn’t, thinking things unspeakable, and smoking way to much crack…

How'd I turn my skinsuit inside out?!

Not quite OCD, it’s disturbing nonetheless. I lose sight of the original goal. It gets perverted into something Nick Cage will try to remake 20 years from now, and it’s ugly.

Last year it was all about form. Early in the season I read 10 Minute Toughness and I crafted a performance statement that I repeated as my skate-mantra (Get Low, Down in the Heel, Full Blade to the Side, Fall Forward.) It served me well.

This year it’s been form and function. Function of form and function of equipment. For me, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to focus on function of form. I’d even say it’s more beneficial in the long run. But you know as well as I do that any skate-gear-head will ultimately come around to, (ah-hem,) evaluating his equipment. And when it comes to playing with it, (my equipment,) I have a lot to learn.

One of the things I’ve learned this year…if you’re going to put 110 frames & wheels on your boots, it’s best if the boot was actually designed to be used with 110mm wheels. The Racemachines I’ve been working with were designed for a max 104mm wheel. Since everyone and their Grandma will be on 110’s this year, it’s really where I needed to be. So I got the 110 set-up and discovered that the second wheel wasn’t spinning freely under the mounting block. So, I made a simple retro-fit using slices of credit cards for shims to jack up the front deck height to get the second wheel to clear the bottom of the boot. Easy, peesy…

For most of the training season I was skating just fine with the front of my boot about 1/4 inch higher than the heel. It really helped me get “Down in the Heel” with my push. I was hitting record times! Then, I got the CadoMotus Pro 110’s and immediately learned that being able to “feel the blade” under my entire foot, from ball to heel, made a big difference in the amount of power being generated by my stride. But my heel and toes were level. This was a great discovery, but as fate would have it I would end up trashing the CadoMotus boots before having the chance to really skate in them. Bummer…but great learning experience & knowledge gained.

Shortly after this discovery, Joey Mantia put up a video blog talking about foot pressure. Another validation point along this path to discovery of a new push.

Then, to my horror, my wife and kids accosted me on my birthday…freaking held me down on the ground by my throat, burned me with a crack pipe and forced a new pair of Simmons Pro M1’s on me for my big 4-0. I took it like a man, but in my shock and confusion over their grotesquely violent presentation of this milestone birthday gift I made a retreat to the internet and did a lot of reading about about how the Pro M1 boot was made. Putting aside my PTSD over the gift giving smack-up, I came to learn something new about the power-points that we should all be focused on if we want maximum control and power transfer. It all dovetailed with what I’d learned on my own with the CadoMotus boots, so I knew I was onto something important. I put the trauma of my birthday behind me and moved on.

With all of this knowledge (and a seven week wait for the Pro M1’s) I resumed my attack on the Racemachines. I was steadfastly determined to wear these skates in this years NSIM as a way of saying thanks to Rollerblade for all of the support they’ve given me and Speedy Weezy this past year. So, the next mod was designed to correct the lop-sided deck height.  It was another simple one…I raised my heel with another 1/4 inch of shim. This was too easy!

My wife was very happy to see such a productive use of my credit cards.

Well, the saggy trumpet began playing because I immediately noticed a significant loss of power transfer in my stride. Having the frame separated from the boot by 1/4 inch of credit card at both mounting points pretty much opened the door to have the energy I was creating just swoosh right through the mounting screws and into thin air, leaving very little to be passed through to my push and roll. I also started getting hot spots on my ankles and insole that hadn’t been there before. I had to work a lot harder to make the skate responsive and I started going through a lot of band-aid donuts and eZeeFits (I cut holes in a thick pair of eZeeFits hoping that would relieve pressure on my ankle bone…it didn’t.) All this because I was trying to wear a boot that I was forcing to do something it’s not really designed for…

After Beat Feeting it for the last six weeks, I’d become painfully aware of how much the weight of your skate, deck height and the design of the foot bed impact you ability to achieve top speed. There was no going back on this stuff. Knowledge gained makes half-assed efforts fall even shorter, because you become aware of your massive half-assed-ness and lose ground you once held through ignorance. To make matters even worse, my Pro M1’s arrived, but they were clearly going to need to be broken in before attempting any serious distance in them. And again, being determined to make the Rollerblade’s work, I didn’t really even consider that I’d wear the M1’s in Duluth this year. Sooo…

Changing the frame .05 oz per boot.

With a firm sense of purpose, I next set out to see if I could improve my situation with the Rollerblade’s through chop-shop methodology. The first thing I did was try and shave some weight by swapping out the frames. I took the Simmons 411’s that came on my Pro M1’s and put them on. Not only did that shave some weight, it lowered the deck height and corrected some of the power transfer issues. Wow – that was easy!

Um, yeahhh…not quite. Try as I might, I couldn’t keep my foot down in the bed (the RB boot is a half size too big, which was never an issue till there was a frame under them that fit the boot without shimming) and now my heel was actually rising because of the new method of pushing I’ve been practicing. What to do…

Give in. And that’s what I’ve done. The itty-bitty committee in my head went on way too long, got too far down in the weeds and ultimately lost sight of the goal. Instead of trying to do my best and beat last years time, it became all about trying to “do the right thing” by Rollerblade. And I know that’s not how they’d want me thinking. They want me focused on achieving a skating goal, not a political goal. So here we go…ready or not, I’m rolling my Pro M1’s in Saturday’s race. The Rollerblade Racemachine’s have been an excellent training tool, and they’ll remain in the feet-fleet. But this weekend I need free my mind of the clutter I tend to create and focus on my goal. To give it my best this weekend you’ll see me on the starting line in these…

All that to get to this...Simply The Best choice I could make.

The Pro M1’s are a skate fiend’s dream. Happy birthday to me.

It's how I roll, run and tell that, homeboy.

See you in Duluth. May you achieve your goal, whatever that is!

Training Log: It’s been a lot of the same you’ve come to expect…I skate a lot. Tapering this week has been made easier by all of the smoke in the air due to the wild fire burning down in Boulder. Lot’s of folks out of homes and lots of destruction. All this skating stuff is somewhat meaningless in comparison. Hoping and praying that the fire is contained as quickly as possible and that no one gets hurt.