Tag Archives: updates

National skate to work day…interrupted

Nothing like a National Day of “Boogie Flicking” (“insert sport/activity here”) to get a nation of weekend warriors off their collective duff and out on the roads and trails and in the way of those of us who’re out there everyday workin’ it.  Like so many couch-commandos that flock into the gym every January 2nd to stink up the place for three weeks of paying their resolutions lip service, these people are generally a menace to society, my senses and themselves.

"I SAID ON YOUR LEFT ASSCLOWN!!!"

I mean, come on, even most of of the regular recreational cycling crowd are a laughable lot. (Dramatic note: here I take on the role of elitist inline skater snob…the speed weenie.) Most of these guys, and unfortunately some gals too, cut an impressive Big Bad John figure in their phantastic spandex get-ups. They seriously believe that 2 hours a week spent pedaling around town clipped onto their $7,000 carbon-fiber, rolling 2nd mortgages with a long and firm leather saddle jammed up their crack is akin to a healthy, active lifestyle. God bless ’em, I don’t know how some of them do it…

Screw that biggest loser diet, I'm making progress with this bike, one mile at a time. Mmmm, is that Burger King I smell?

While it’s true that I foster a general disdain for cyclists of all sorts, it’s the “roadies” I’m speaking of here. It’s only because of their own arrogance, ineptitude and outright stupidity. I’ve witnessed Lance-wannabes doing some very dangerous stuff on the trails, and I’ve got friends who’ve met a few of these crank-wankers up close and personal-like, with blunt, traumatic force and righteous indignation.

I don’t deny the Rancor-like brute strength of the need for speed, but left unchecked by reasonable restraint in the hands of Johnny Sprockets and the Saddle Stains and it’s a recipe for rec-trail run-ins that you end up reading about in the police blotter. It’s the hot dogs who zig-zag in and out of everyone’s path going 30 miles an hour that are the single greatest cause of bad reputations, poor inter-sport relations, unenforceable trail speed limits and unnecessarily perforated colons. (Actually, that last one is a twisted revenge fantasy not unlike the NYPD/Abner Loima incident that I indulge every time I see a cyclist in full-moron mode.)

At this point, responsible adults would start to wonder about this public display of unbridled hostility…after all, I do coach a team of younglings. My skill at outsmarting nationwide criminal background checks with Force abilities that some would consider “unnatural” notwithstanding, I like to think of myself as a reasonable, safety-minded person. By that I mean that when I’m on a multi-use trail during high-instance of human encounter hours, I have a healthy respect for limits, personal space, common courtesy and trail etiquette.  I can’t say that for most of the Tony Trek-offs I see on a weekly basis. And today was the icing on the cake.

Can you say copyright infringement? Go get 'em Team Rollerblade Legal, LLC!

National Bike Your Slack Butt Into Work Day always brings out the fork-flakes. It’s bad enough when Schmucky Shimano thinks he owns the trail when you come up on him and he’s out there by himself, but put him out there with multiples of other pedal pushing pecker-heads that dust off their seats once a year for “the big two mile ride!” and you really see some amazing stuff. Really – these folks are driving cars the rest of the year, I think that’s an even scarier thought. It’s as if their IQ drops 40 full points just clipping one foot in. All knowledge of basic road safety and decency evaporate quicker than Lady Gaga’s popularity in the Seinfeld home. In the 6 measly miles I skated from my start point to my office I saw 2 stem-rods in Discovery Channel jerseys terrorizing young children and a new mom, a dog walker, a jogger and an elderly woman by flying by unannounced, then flipping the bird when one of the spazed-out victims had the unmitigated gall to call them on it. It’s pedal-power-tripping and it’s disgusting. Really fires up the ‘ol Irish in me. That’s why I enjoy dusting them when I can, every time I can, just because I can. I was able to get one chain-grease choker, and it felt good. Could have been the good Reverend Smedley out there for his morning 5 mile ride, I could give a rat’s tail. No more Mr. Nice Guy. From now on with all of these guys, you see me coming, you’d better move…over…as far right as you can. On your left, Louima!

(Editorial note: Please be sure to start flaming me when I begin posting that I’ve begun cycling cross-training later next month.)

6/12/10 Training: Just did indoor with the Rink Rabbits, helping a certain someone get ready for Nationals.

6/13/10 Training: Got my butt kicked by the kids for two hours in the morning. Set a personal best 100m lap time so I’m not complaining. 110 mm wheels and better technique are helping me level the field with some of the faster guys too.

6/14/10 Training: Day off from skating. Still one of the hardest things to do of all the training, but absolutely necessary!

6/15/10 Training: 19 miles in the hood in darn good time. Happy with the way these training skates are going. Spent the evening being filmed for a music video at Rollerland with Speedy Weezy, Speed Demon and Lionheart, and a few dozen friends from work. Will post it up here someday…

6/16/10 Training: Tabata Protocol for lunch, up the big hill in 85 degree heat. Had to rush back for a company meeting, at which I was sweating profusly, coughing uncontrollably and wondering aloud why the hell I’m doing this to myself…

6/17/10 Training: 10k for lunch, just to keep the blood flowing and the motivation up. Did a special make-up practice with the Rink Rabbits in the afternoon, working on foundational drills and this. If you’re smart, you’ll click that link.

6/18/10 Training: Day off from skating, but took a one hour power-walk at lunch. Sorry, power walking is for people who want to desperately convince themselves they’re working out. Brahahahaha – NOT!!! (Someone is gonna hate me for that one – can’t shake my cycle-rant character!)

6/19/10 Training: 19 miles at sunrise. Beautiful day but I wasn’t happy with my pace. Felt like I couldn’t get out of my own way. Rink Rabbits were awesome, these kids are flying! And the rink now has air conditioning! Wahoo!

6/20/10 Training: 20 miles at sunrise followed by 2 hours indoor with the fast kids. The Fast Kid and Smiley Sk8s are burning down the barn, but of course they don’t feel ready for IDN! Father’s Day was awesome, Dadioso had a very good day!

6/21/10 Training: 10k for breakfast,20k+ for lunch, could not stop eating! Nice sunburn on the back of my arms from wearing this jersey.

6/22/10 Training: Tabata Protocol for lunch. A little easier to breath afterward this time. Rink Rabbits in the afternoon, had fun playing chase the rabbit!

6/23/10 Training: 29 miles today total. Getting ready to skate 140 continuous miles this Friday…oy vey, what have I gotten myself into?

Inline hunters

Horseypants just emailed me links to one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen…Inline Hunters! “Finally a sport we can do together,” she said.

The bumber sticker on our Arabian...

I nearly fell out of my chair! Check this out…there’s finally a good sporting reason to own a pair of Rollerblade Coyotes!

Indoors…

or Outdoors…

Good Lord…I hope she didn’t let our son watch this $#!*. I can’t let him try this…at least till after Nationals.

6/11/10 Training: 12 miles in the morning, another 12 at lunch. The lunch routine included the Tabata Protocol going uphill. Seriously could not breath for a mile afterward.

Silly Wabbit, speed is for kids

Thanks to everyone for the warm 40th Birthday wishes. I spent the day… skating…surprise! I’d planned on doing 40 miles at speed outdoors but got cut off at 22 by the rain. Oh well. Speedy Weezy was just about to join me for the last 18 when Mother Nature let us know she had other plans…

My birthday skin suit didn't go over so well with the women and children, but the new guy Lance sure dug it.

Warmed up and washed out, I headed over to Rollerland and took in a special practice session with The Fast Kid, The Shoulder Roller, Smiley Sk8s and B-Man for 2 hours. They’re all preparing for Nationals, so it was one of the fastest 2 hours I’ve spent in a long time.

Seriously. These kids are pounding out the drills at top speed and getting faster by the day. We even had the sound system cranked. At first the kids were sweet, allowing “the old man” to reflect on glory days gone by with music from Def Leppard, Robert Plant, The Rammones, Bon Jovi, Queen, The Romantics, etc. At one point in the playlist it became necessary for me to point out that I’d seen three of the five bands we’d just heard live on the supporting tour for the albums that the songs appeared on. (To date myself, the songs were: Def Leppard “Animal”, Robert Plant “Tall Cool One” and Bon Jovi “Livin’ On A Prayer”) Well, it was at that point that the eyes rolled, their kindness evaporated and as quickly as you can say Armageddon It, The Black Eyed Peas abruptly took over the sound system, the kids picked up the pace and there was no more looking back. The last hour and a half were a speed freakin’ paradise!

I ended the afternoon with a great Rink Rabbits practice in which I put a group of 7 to 14 year olds through the Tabata Protocol BEFORE timing them on rolling and flat starts. They all either met or beat their times from previous timing sessions! This little “kids only” club is quickly becoming The Mighty Rink Rabbits. They’re a force that’ll need to be reckoned with someday soon…

All in all it was a perfect end to a perfect birthday. At 40 I’m in the best shape of my life, having the time of my life and there’s no place I’d rather be. My wife and kids allow me to indulge my passion, and they’re even sharing in it now too, which is not something I would have dreamed possible a year and a half ago. I can’t wait to tell you about my big present…but I won’t be able to for another 7 weeks!

I’m truly skating the dream, and I’m looking forward to skating the next 40 years worth of sunrises and practices with eyes wide open, getting low, down in the ball and heel, pushing the full blade to the side and falling fast forward into the rest of this skating life of mine!

6/7/10 Training: Day off. Mandatory as a part of the Tabata Protocol. (No, this isn’t the Super Secret workout. For details, check out Barry Publow’s The Science of Speed.)

6/8/10 Training: 22 miles before the rain, 2 hours indoor at high intensity, and hour and a half timing the Rink Rabbits in the afternoon.

Why relays matter

I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. This is due in part to a tragic fall I took from a taxiing Cessna (a small, personal aircraft) when I was an infant. Dad hadn’t strapped me in and the door was ajar. We started rolling and I left the seat like an errant Weeble, wobbling right out the door and onto the tarmac. Landed right on my noggin. I like to rely on this event any time something doesn’t immediately compute. When I’m stumped I bring it up and people don’t quite know how to take it. Stops the conversation dead in it’s tracks. I let them linger on the thought as a stall tactic so I can take an extra second to grasp the bigger concept they’re trying to convey to me, like why a Medical Marijuana dispensary within short walking distance from a skating rink is a good idea…

Yep, shoulda worn a helmet. But Chubsey-Ubsey bounced like you wouldn't believe.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about why relay teams matter so much to the indoor crowd. I wasn’t really getting it. I had my own great “Sports Illustrated Cover Story” idea on how “The Relay” is the only team-play aspect of our otherwise solo sport. Because inline skating truly is a solo sport, where most records are set and broken by individuals. In my grand thesis, I was going to drone on like a certain Sports Illustrated writer and NPR commentator about how being on a relay team is really the only (allowable) time when you’re inline skating as a part of something larger than yourself, working with others to achieve a mutual outcome. How that feeling of camaraderie and a unifying, single minded purpose congeal to form a solid skating machine where timing and precision transform even skaters of modest ability into a cog in the wheel of a high performance engine. Alas, I was really just thinking out my butt…

Everyone's entitled to their opinion, right buttface?

According to The Fast Kid and her friend, Smiley Sk8s, relays are about opportunity. It’s the last chance a skater has to place and/or medal if they didn’t do well in their division. Even if they did do well, it’s another chance at the podium. That’s it. Wow – not much of a story there, eh?

The kids also shared with me that for kids on larger teams, it’s hard to ever know who you’re going to be paired with for any given relay event. Kids from smaller clubs that are always paired together do have an advantage, but it’s because they each know how the other one skates and they can practice together all the time. Those teams are apparently annoying because they win a lot. Hmmm, go figure.

I asked Speedy Weezy what he thought. He says relays are cool because they can make you go faster than you usually do and they’re just fun. I know the Rink Rabbits have been having a great time learning how to time themselves and get set up for the tag. Heck, I’ve been learning a lot too from the guys in the advanced class. It is pretty cool, and yeah, it’s a lot of fun.

And something pretty cool happened yesterday at the Rink Rabbits practice…I had the kids lined up in a single line doing a simple 2 lap, 3 time relay drill. Speed Demon was behind Speedy Weezy so that she’d be the one to take the pass and move on. Speed Demon was scared, but we convinced her that she could do it. That Speedy would make sure he read the timing to know if he should give her a push or a simple tag. (Speedy Weezy is exponentially faster than Speed Demon, and three years younger.) Well, the full-on push tag went off smoothly! I mean, really incredibly well. She absorbed the push without tensing up or losing balance and took off like a shot! What surprised me was what happened next. As Speedy Weezy came back into the box, he came over to me and said in a hushed tone, “Dad, I’m going just a little slower than I usually do so she can get to feel what it’s like to get a real tag since she’s going to be competing next year. I’m going fast enough so she can really feel it and get used to it.” Man – that was a million dollar moment. He’s taking care of his big sister, and actually working with her. I’d never have seen that coming…both of these kids were ready to call it quits 7 months ago! (Insert Dad beaming with pride here…)

If you’d asked me what I thought of relays two months ago, I’d have probably said I can take them or leave them. But seeing how much Speedy Weezy, Speed Demon and the rest of the Rink Rabbits are enjoying them, I think we’ll keep practicing them. If they happen to pick up a few “high-falutin” ideals about sportsmanship, team work and team ethic in the process,  let me get set up, I’ll take that pass!

6/1/10 Training: 17 miles in the hood for breakfast. Rink Rabbits in the afternoon. This is my time of year!

6/2/10 Training: Barry Publow is right – if you want to race fast you need to train fast. So I got the lead out for a 18 miles skate in the morning. Did another 12 for lunch because the opportunity was there. I’ve learned a new technique and it’s really showing promising results.

6/3/10 Training: 10k for breakfast. Not as much as I’d have liked but I’ll take it!

6/4/10 Training: A somber 18 miles this morning thinking about my friend Bill who lost his son in a car accident the day before. Hard to do anything but roll with stuff like that going through your head.

6/5/10 Training: Tried a Tabata drill within the first ten minutes of the skate. 20 sec. 90-100% sprint, 10 sec. rest, repeat 8 times without puking or crying. I did it, but then needed to finish 18 miles to skate off the 5 slices of pizza from the night before. Won’t do Tabata before a distance and speed skate any time again soon…oh yeah, then another hour and a half working with the Rink Rabbits. I like to roll it, roll it.

6/6/10 Training: 12 easy miles on the Windsor/Greeley path followed by time trials and two hours of punishment with the advanced indoor team. Took a face plant trying to avoid the spill in front of me and got banged up pretty nicely. Even with that, managed to pull off my best lap time ever, and keep pace with the lead pack through their high speed warm up and passing drills. Going into 40 with blood vessels in my check splattered, my brow bruised, my pinky looking like an Oscar Meier Wiener and rink rash on me arse. But it’s all good…this is living man, I’m truly livin’ the dream!

Pull my finger (pinch me, we’re going to Nationals)

“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.”

Uh, oh – I’m quoting Steve Prefontaine. Quick! I need to shake off this serious air immediately…HA! I’ve got just the thing:

Did’ja ever fart in a pace line? How about off the start? Did it make you go any faster? Did you create a gap to envy? Why just last week I was…

Whew. I don’t think I need to go any further. That did the trick. Now, everyone gather round and let’s talk about the 2010 North Central Regional Speed Skating Championships in Wichita, Kansas!

Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

This post was going to be called “The Politics of Speed Skating,” cause there was “oh so much!” to talk about when it comes to gossip, misdeeds, missteps  and unsportsmanlike conduct. But the itty-bitty committee in my head got together and issued an advisement: S.T.F.U. was all it said. I conclude from the terse nature of the advisement that I should instead focus on the positive and “play nice.” After all, some of our skaters are on their way to Nationals, and it’s unfair to let the boorish conduct of adults and malcontents interfere with child-athletes’ day in the sun. So damn the diatribe – let’s talk about how well these kids are skating!

I can't hold back - THAT'S MY BOY!!!

First off – father’s pride! Speedy Weezy is fast on his way to the top of his game. The kid was on fire and he’s really thinking when he’s out there! We are so proud of him and I was really happy that Horseypants came along to see him shine. He’s really in his element when he’s on the line. He won all but one start, and his form was locked in and tight. We’ve got some work to do when it comes to knowing what to do when the whistle blows, but other than that the kid is a skating sight to see. I swell with pride watching the videos:

That was the Primary Boys 400M. You can see going into lap three what I’m talking about with the whistle. We need to practice what to do when you’re lapping someone – what you need to do, what the refs are going to be doing – but that aside, I’ve been watching this video over and over. Love watching that kid skate!

Speedy Weezy, B-Man & Lionheart - boys built for speed!

Some of our team came home with a little less skin, and a few came home a little heavier loaded down with silver & gold. All of our skaters did their best, and that’s what it’s all about. To each his & her own style and effort produced a work of art I’ll remember vividly. Each skater tells us their story when they’re out there – what their passion is, how hard they work at it, how much they want to be there, how great their dedication to improvement, how strong their desire to do their best. It’s palpable, especially with the kids. I can feel their excitement. I’m pinned to the wall by the raw nervous energy fueling the frenzy of speed and performances I’m taking in.

The art gets a lot more interesting when you pay close attention. Take the video above. This race was more revealing of the character of each skater than what might be readily apparent in the footage. Watch closely and maybe you’ll see it – the good, the bad & ugly. It’s all in there. I’ll just say this…I was very impressed by The Fast Kid and the way she held her lines and stood her ground in the face of adversity. She’s a real champ – the kind that will sand up for what’s right, protect her friendships and skate like a bat out of hell!

Lionheart put on another display of courage after taking a really nasty spill. The kid was in bad shape but recovered like the trooper he is. His poor parents had driven a long way and got there early Saturday afternoon. Honestly, they both looked like I felt on the last trip. They were on track to be able to start the 10 hour trek back to northern Colorado early on Sunday but the afternoon began to drag on because of a bunch of shenanigans happening with the relay selections that are best left unmentioned. Going into the lunch break we were about 40 minutes ahead of schedule, but that evaporated quickly. Subject of a future post: “What the hell is it about the relays?!”

Now…here’s where I could go on a long rant about things I know very little about. I won’t. I’ll just say this – it’s a damn shame that we’re not going to get to see one of this country’s top male elite skaters paired up in any relays in Lincoln in July. I don’t know what the hell happened but it just seems damn wrong to deny the guy his rightful place on the floor, where he wants to be. Guess he can tap out a few points in Farmville while others less deserving take home a medal. Nuff’ said. (That was a bit “insider” – sorry…)

B-Man & Katie Bug did great as well and both qualified to go to Nationals along with The Fast Kid & Speedy Weezy. B-Man got banged up pretty badly too, but took it with a smile, almost proud to have a battle scar to prove he was in the action. Everyone skated great, but due to an unfortunate series of events, it’s still unclear if The Shoulder Roller is going to Nationals or not. This was another situation where The Fast Kid proved that she’s got The Right Stuff. I hope it works out well for The Shoulder Roller, she’s a tough competitor and a caring skater, whose dedication over this last year to the team effort needs to be acknowledged.

And on the subject of acknowledgment, I need to fess up. I felt bad about not being more overtly supportive of B-Man & Lionheart when they were out there on the floor with Speedy Weezy. I get so wrapped up in rooting for my boy that I forget that I have other skaters there that I’m pulling for too. It often wasn’t until after Speedy had finished that I would shift my attention quickly to the other guys. Call it the zealotry of being a skating Dad, but I want those guys to know how proud I am of them and their achievements too!

All in all it was a great trip. The takeaways for me this time out:

  1. Always allow Horseypants to arrange the travel itinerary. She revealed Wichita to be a diamond in the rough for us. Not only did she find us a better room than we had last time, but she did most of the downtown driving and made the trip a lot less stressful for me. I love that chick.
  2. Old Downtown Wichita has a lot going for it. We explored it on Saturday after the (great) Team United open practice, hitting The Museum of World Treasures – a great kids’ museum that adults can learn a lot from too – and we explored the Arkansas River Front.
  3. Do not eat at Spangles unless you have nothing to do for the next 48 hours. (Did you know the White Castle & Pizza Hut were born in Wichita?!)
  4. Do eat at Promise Tai and Il Vicino and be sure to stop at Freedy’s Frozen Custad for desert (but while you’re at it, have the cannoli at Il Vicino too!)
  5. Late May is twister season in KS. If you see the Vortex 2 team or any of the NOAA guys driving away from a storm that you’re driving into, stop, turn around, and follow them to wherever they’re going.

"I'm still having a hard time keeping NPR tuned in even with this damn antenna."

As luck would have it, we watched a show on TV on Saturday night called something like “When Nature Attacks!!!” or some such thing and it was all about tornadoes. It was clearly in preparation for the ride home Sunday, where we ended up driving right into a system that was producing the storms with frightening up-close-and-personal-reality. We saw two funnels forming simultaneously over Goodland, KS. From where we were on the road, they looked to be to the south west of us. Well as we rounded the bend into Colby it was apparent that they were actually dead ahead between where we were and Denver. Seeing the NOAA guys and those ‘frady pants’ from the Weather Channel running for cover, we decided to do the safe thing and stay in Colby for the night. Given that the clouds were circling overhead, we thought it best to be off the road and someplace with a cellar.

Pretty much what we were staring down with about 5 more hours to go. That stain in the rental car seat? The dog did it...

I guess the final big takeaway, which isn’t really a revelation for as much as great reinforcement: don’t take this speed skating thing too damn seriously. We’re happy Speedy Weezy made the cut and is going to Nationals, but honestly, with the nature of our region, he could have phoned it in and still gotten a medal and qualification. (Subject of another future blog post: “Regionals – Really, What’s The Point?”) Nationals is going to be pricey, but we’re going for him, for the experience he’ll gain, and for the rest of the skaters in our club. I hope he does well, but that ain’t all there is. Sure, we’ll train hard between now and then, but at the end of the day, if he walks away from this and decides he’d rather play soccer or baseball, we’re going to let him follow that path.

Our Top Gun. I'll be your wing man anytime Speedy!

If however, he decides he wants to be the guy who can out-skate Joey’s records, then move on to take Apolo’s, then we’ll be there for him. But we’re not going to kick his butt on down the track. If he decides skating is his art, he’ll choose the colors, the canvas and the discipline. I just want to be there to clean his brushes.

5/21/10 Training: On the road again, no skating today.

5/22/10 Training: Spent an hour and a half doing the Super-Secret Workout in the pool area at the hotel. Put in a tougher workout than I do back home. It was great, but very humid. Glad there was a pool right there. Hope I didn’t leave a slick in it after cooling off!

5/23/10 Training: Race & travel day, no skating.

5/24/10 Training: Too windy by the time we got home, no skating today.

5/25/10 Training: 10k for a morning skate on the Cado Motus Pro 110’s. Rink Rabbits in the afternoon. Gee it’s good to be back home.

5/26/10 Training: 13 miles on the trail in Loveland for lunch. Found out the hard way that they’re resurfacing a crossover with chip-fill. Thank God I was going fast enough to get through it without falling.

5/27/10 Training: 17 miles in the hood for sunrise. I’m really starting to feel good in these Cado Motus Pro 110’s.

5/28/10 Training: 18 miles in the hood before work. Stronger, Faster, Better. It’s all good. Got another 9 miles in late in the afternoon out at Boyd Lake. Found out the hard way that the trail was washed out. Damn…the boots are gonna stink for sure.

5/29/10 Training: 26.2 miles in the hood at speed. Was less than 30 seconds off my Colorado personal best time thanks to the bozo in the white Camry. Thanks pal! Still, all things considered, this early in the season, I’ll gladly take the time!

5/30/10 Training: 2 hours indoors working on nothing but speed drills. Upgraded my Rollerblade Racemachines with a new set of 84a 110 Hyper Sidewinders and by the end of practice really like I was getting the hang of 110’s indoors. (Needed these wheels on this floor, trust me.) I’m not going back to 100’s indoors at this point. These are my new indoor skates, period.

5/31/10 Training: 29 miles on the Greeley to Windsor trail for Memorial Day. Thanks to all those who’ve given all for our freedom. I thought about you a lot this morning.

iPod Surprise Shuffle of the Week: She Believes In Me, Kenny Rogers. WTF…

Ok go (here we go again)

Load up the Prius, snort up some Starbucks Via and point me toward the prarie, we’re Wichita bound once again! Speedy Weezy, B-Man, Lionheart, Katie-Bug, The Fast Kid, Shoulder Roller and the assorted cast of beggers and hangers-on are heading out before sunrise bound for the pancake state! We’re on for the 2010 North Central Regional Speed Skating Championships.

Speedy Weezy's new rig. Rollerblade Rocks!

Speedy Weezy will be rolling his new Euro-import Rollerblades (courtesy of Rollerblade USA & Stephen Charrier) outfitted with CadoMotus Neo frames, Atom Whips (Green & Orange) and Bones Reds bearings. I’m not taking any chances this time and we’re packing light. The skates are tweaked and ready to go.

And if the skates look familiar, yes, these are the Rollerblade/Luigino co-branded version of the Luigino Mini-Challenge called the Rollerblade Racemachine Jr. I personally like the blue A LOT. The fact that they sport a Rollerblade badge I like EVEN MORE! Love those folks at Rollerblade.

My bestest bud - Speedy Weezy.

Well, I just finished packing the car and I’m off to catch a few Zzz’s before waking Team Puz for the ride. I think we’re set. Speedy Weezy & all of the kids have been working really hard since our last trip to KS. I know they’re all pumped and ready to roll. I’m looking forward to having a fun little family get away with some really great racing action on Sunday.  Wish us luck!

And FWIW, we’re leaving the allen wrench home this time.

5/18/10 Training: Indoor with the Rink Rabbits. Working on relays and taking our time. Relays can be very scary with little kids.

5/19/10 Training: 10k in the hood in the morning on slick roads. Did 1 lap in the CadoMotus Pro 110’s, 3 in my RollerBlade Racemachines with Cado 110 Frames. Interesting…Did another 3 laps in the evening after heat molding the Cado boots a bit more. Great time recorded.

5/20/10 Training: 10k in the hood in whee hours. It was a golden sunrise and truly beautiful. 13 miles at lunch on a gorgeous afternoon. All miles recorded on the Cado’s.

If I could talk to the animals

I’m not usually one to threaten small, defenseless animals, but there’s a reason we’re at the top of the food chain, and I’m cashing in my Darwinian Lottery Ticket…Yo, Ranger Rick. Watch your back. Beware I say! This is fair warning. In the spirit of full disclosure, you need to know something about me.  I have a dark side. While my life and household have shared space with many of your domesticated friends, all of whom I’ve loved dearly (all except the freaking parrot,) I’m not an animal lover when I have eight wheels strapped to my feet.

What you need to understand, my furry little friend, is that My Big Backyard has a skate path running through it. You and your little critter friends have A LOT of other places you can frolic and lollygag. Here’s the message I need you to carry back to the burrow: All of you – particularly squirrels, geese, snakes and bunnies – If you want to stay off the endangered list, keep off the damn skate path.

My "Goodwill Ambassador to the Animal Planet" credentials have been irrevocably revoked, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.

When you see me coming, you need to disperse in an orderly fashion. Preferably to the right, but definitely out of the way. These little games of zig-zag and bob’n’weave are going to get someone hurt – and it won’t be me. I’m bigger than you. A lot bigger. And I’m faster too. And with these big 110mm wheels, I’m more inclined to just roll right over you rather than try and guess which way you’re going to finally break. No more hippity-hopping for me. I got no time to mess around.

No time to mess around because I just got bibbed for the 2010 Northshore Inline Marathon yesterday. I’m in a new division, and I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and September 11. Being in a division that includes the likes of Tony Muse and Norm Kirby (among many other notable names and Facebook friends) opens up a whole new world of hurt when it comes to the level of training I need to put in if I want to have any hope of starting strong, getting in a good line and hanging on at their top speeds. So I’ve got no time to watch for goose poop, snakes that look like sticks, and assorted four legged fuzzballs. You take the woodland, leave the 8 foot wide concrete slab to me. This way, we’ll be able to avoid any unfortunate events that may leave a certain little bunny family wondering why daddy went down to the skate path and never came back. Capisce?

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5/12/10 Training: Day off. Mandatory. Weather totally blew anyway so who cares.
5/13/10 Training: Did a pretty intense session in the gym. I sweated a lot. It was only a half hour, but I was feeling the impact for three days after.
5/14/10 Training: Sunrise skate was a 10k on the CadoMotus Pro 110’s I’m test driving. Much more on this whole process of test driving to come.
5/15/10 Training: Took Speedy Weezy & Speed Demon for a “Super-Secret” session. These kids are champs!
5/16/10 Training: Indoor with the Rink Rabbits was fun. Finally came up with a way to make training for relay a lot less dangerous and a lot of fun! Then did 2 hours with the “big kids” working on speed. Lot’s of intervals. The coach was skating so hard that he burned a hole clean through the bottom of his boot and caused a blister on the bottom of his foot. (I could smell the carbon burning during the drills.)
5/17/10 Training: 13 miles at lunch. The weather was perfect, the hills were a bit tougher because of yesterday, but they’re getting easier. I’ve promised myself that I’ll hit every hill on my training route, which forces me to do the one I usually think of as optional because it’s slightly off the route right at the end. Too bad they don’t run SPIM the way they used to!

Smells like (team spirit)

Sometimes I’m amazed at how clueless I am. (No comments from the peanut gallery please – this is about self-realization, not your quick-witted ability to snark at will.) I coach the kids speed skating class at our local rink – the mighty Rink Rabbits Inline Speed Club for Kids. During our practices, there’s often so much going on around me – kids being kids, parents being kids, people not paying attention to rink traffic rules, someone falling down, someone asking for water, someone asking to go to the bathroom…sometimes there’s so much going on I fail to see some of the most important stuff happening right under my nose. It’s like trying to focus on a cornstalk getting spun up in a twister cloud of debris. Good luck focusing on anything for more than a second! But last night, on the way home, Speed Demon shared a glimpse of something that made me feel like a million bucks, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my favorite subject – ME!

Speed Demon and π (pi) showing the coach the meaning of teamwork.

Speed Demon and π (that’s the mathematical symbol for pi, which is cooler than a nickname like “approx. 3.14” and might someday be a cool tattoo for the kid…I’m sure her Dad will love reading that. But I digress,) Speed Demon and π are pretty equal in terms of their ability and speed. Both have been skating for a while now, and while π has been speed skating a bit longer than Speed Demon, she’s not quite hitting the times that Speed Demon can these days.

As it turns out, one of the big reasons that Speed Demon is hitting better times is that, unbeknown to me, π has been helping Speed Demon work on her speed. Sometimes it’s in the open warm-ups – that 20-30 minutes where everyone is getting their skates on before class, which to me is nothing more than an exercise in herding cats – in the pace line when we do active warm-ups, or in the cool down times at the end of class.  Apparently, being close in age and since they’re friends, they’ve been looking out for each other.

Last night during the cool-downs, I noticed they were doing their own drill. Something they’d made up on their own. When I asked Speed Demon why she was having a hard time keeping up with π in what I thought were 200m races, she told me that they were doing a drill to help π get back up to speed. It was a simple chasing drill with a very specific goal for speed skating, but it was so much more than that. It was one friend helping another be the best she can be. A little payout of Good Karma, and it warmed my heart to hear it.

Here we are now - entertain us...Going fast, low, to the left now, yeah!

Speed Demon told me, “She’s helped me and I appreciate it. I want to return the favor and help her kick butt too!” In this class that’s pretty well dominated by boys, these two have a team spirit that’s unmatched. When they’re out there racing against each other, they both give it all they’ve got. But at the end of that race they’re always congratulating each other, regardless of how they placed. They’re being there for each other and cheering each other on, even as they’re trying to steal that cone and that line, each from the other. Pushing each other to be the best they can be, and show us all that everyone gains when you’re a good sport. That’s team work in inline speed skating, Rink Rabbits style. Good job girls!

As luck would have it, the pics in this post were taken last night, when this was all happening. Look in their eyes – we actually caught the heart of their friendship in these pictures. The shot at top is the drill they were doing, and the second shot is the net result: SBFF (Skating Best Friends Forever.)

Girls rule, boys drool, indeed.

5/11/10 Training: Spent about 30 minutes doing “super-secret” workout stuff. Spent an hour and a half tooling around the rink with the Rink Rabbits on the CadoMotus Pro 110’s I’m test driving. The MPC Road Wars caused a bit of a stir with the boys. “They’re light red, NOT PINK!” Shut up and skate boys…

They’re here!

Kraytos, the Dog of War, watches over the UPS delivery from CadoMotus. The test drive starts tonight with the Rink Rabbits!

"Yeah...his coach knows I'm the one who does the pulling when he skates in the 'hood."

5/9/10 Training: Day off to celebrate Speed Demon’s birthday!

5/10/10 Training: 11 Miles, all headwind on the uphills. Brutal. Lots of wind, lots of hills.

They’re on their way…

After months of waiting out production delays and volcanic ash clouds, I’m thrilled to report that The Cado Motus 2010 Test Drive will soon be underway! Got word from Geert just yesterday, along with a tracking tag and instructions for the test ride. I am stoked!

"Enough is ENOUGH! I have had it with these motherf#$%in' skates on this motherf#$%in' plane!"

I’ve been skating Cado (Mogema) frames for years. My first pair of 100mm skates were the Rollerblade Lightning 10’s with the Dual Box frames. I still skate these frames, having moved them to my Rollerblade Problades to replace the stock “spider frames” I snapped a few years ago.

Truly some of the best frames ever made.

Lately, the 110’s I’ve been rolling are the Cado 4×110 set up that I’ve borrowed from my buddy The Schneid. With this test drive, they’re sending the whole shooting match – the Pro 110. I can’t wait to see what the boots feel like, not to mention get to roll a fresh set of MPC Road Wars! This is gonna be motherf#$%in’ fun! Happy motherf#$%in’ mother’s day motherf#$%ers!

As of tonight, here’s the tracking:

LOUISVILLE, KY, US 05/08/2010 1:51 A.M. REGISTERED WITH CLEARING AGENCY / SHIPMENT SUBMITTED TO CLEARING AGENCY
KOELN (COLOGNE), DE 05/08/2010 5:44 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
05/08/2010 12:29 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
APELDOORN, NL 05/07/2010 9:30 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
05/07/2010 9:16 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN
NL 05/07/2010 7:25 A.M. BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all of you genuine moms out there – if you’re a skating mom or a skater’s mom – this is your day. Thanks for being you – we love skate moms!

5/7/10 Training: Skated 13 motherf#$%in’ miles on a beautiful Colorado afternoon. Lot’s of hills, which were made exponentially easier BY A TAILWIND! Nothing make you feel more like “King of the World!” than conquering a monster hill at top speed with little to no effort! Yeaaa Haaaa! Also had the pleasure of getting honked at and flipped off by a woman in an SUV who literally came out of nowhere to be behind me coming down a hill. The kicker was, her bumpersticker said “Have Love For All”… Mother#$%ker!

5/8/10 Training: Super-secret workout was really difficult this morning. Kept cramping up and it seemed like it took forever to get through all the sets. Took and hour and a motherf#$%in’ half to get through it!