Skating with Andrew

I usually point my camera at other people, but today a masters skater, Ryan Border, showed up at the oval, and pointed a helmet cam at me.

This was about an 80% effort, My legs are still very tired from this past weekend, but my technique was (for me) pretty on.

I was probably up to 28 second lap speed by the end of the turn (around 32mph), about 2 notches from my top speed.

I talk a ton about technique on this website. After 9 years of devoting my life to speedskating, all of my good & bad habits I have are visible in this 200m accel.

(just for the technique geeks, here is another one, 60% effort, just trying to skate precise).

Video from Marty

Marty Haire is the lone American attending Masters allaround worlds this year. He was the champion of the crazy-competitive 45-50 age group last year in Erfurt. The next 9 guys in the results after Marty were all Dutch.

Masters Worlds is being held this year in the new indoor rink in Bjugn, Norway. Marty arrived in Norway yesterday, and today he posted this video of him skating a lap and looking at the inside of “The Fosenhallen”.

Races start friday! Good Luck Marty!!

Does seeing this rink make you want to skate there? It does for me, and I almost was there on the ice too.

12 hours before I was going to get on the plane to Norway I realized there was no way I should go. Jess had improved, so I had been hopeful in the week leading up to my flight. And then her health fell apart again & I cancelled my ticket.

I know I made the right decision to stay & I don’t regret it. Even though I had had thought about this race almost every workout in the preceding year.

Weirdly enough, I don’t miss the opportunity to race, but I miss skating in new places like this, and I definitely miss the friends I have among the international masters community.

But there is always next year.

Sprint Nationals Video

The allarounders will get their video soon, but the sprinters are out of the gate first. I honestly had this song “Seven Nation Army” running through my head as I was watching the skaters whiz by.

Here are the complete results for the men, and the results for the women.

Click here for the high quality quicktime
, or start the youtube below.

Complete Shotlist

Clay James Cholewinski, 500m start
Matt Shanahan being chased by Chris Needham
Trevor Marsicano stepping onto the ice
The warmup lane & pads at the Pettit
Elli Ochowicz & Heather Richardson, 1k
Tony Sargent, 500m start
Mitchell Whitmore, 500m
Christopher Needham, 1k start
Shani Davis & Brent Aussprung, 1k
Michael Stein-Stewart, 500m start
Rollshot just after warmup
Rebekah Bradford, 500m corner
Ashlee Barnett & Erica Lanser, after a 1k
Parker Vance, whoosh!! 10.06 opener
Bob Fenn – High 5!
Heather Richardson, 500m start
Tucker Fredricks, 1k start
Shani Davis, 500m
A really nice camera, & my cheap one.

Let’s Get it Started!!!

The racing season is ON!!! And with it comes my first video creation of the season.

A number of very fast Japanese skaters have been training at the Utah Olympic oval, and they were racing these weekends; it’s a joy to watch them skate. Oh yeah, the US national team is in here too. They are also pretty darn good.

It’s pretty easy to tell the American skaters from the Japanese. Americans seem to wear solid color skinsuits with nothing on them. The Japanese wear a kaleidoscope of interesting suits & often have things called SPONSORS printed on them. Hmmmm….

Click here for the high quality quicktime, or here is a link to the high quality Youtube

or just click below to get the standard quality YouTube going.

There was racing this Saturday out at the Utah Oval, and because of my back I missed it, But I should be on the ice again within a week or two. I’ve been sick as well, & that couldn’t have happened at a better time, as I want to get all the crappy karma out of the way now!

This is going to be a great year.

1000m analysis

For speedskating around in the sweet mud of the Grass-roots, YouTube is awesome!

I raced a 1000m this weekend, and by the time I was home, Don Nelson had emailed me a link to a youtube of my race! real time & slow-mo, whooo!

(I am still working on my own long video from the last two weekends of racing)

I like what Don calls his YouTube account, speedskatinganalyst.

This was my first 1000m of the year, & since I’ve been bike racing a ton and only skating once a week, this was a race to make mistakes in, and refine physical & psychological execution.

Here is my analysis of what I see, it was a typical early season messy race.

Start: good off the line, snappy for my lack of snap-work. I make a serious mistake not holding the turn on the blocks & sitting back deeper. It costs me time. There is no room to lose time in a sprint! 17.99 opening 200m. It “felt” faster than that time.

First lap: Felt fast, knees together (I skate like a bowlegged old cowboy when I don’t work on this daily), and I get a good draft from my pair, world cup skater Roger Schnieder of Switzerland. My hips are not as strong as I would like them to be in the turns. 27.35 lap, a fast lap for an 18 opener. So I developed more speed in the first 200m than my time suggested.

Last Lap: Ouch! I completely blow up, , and skate position goes to pieces in the final turn, 30.97 lap time. It’s embarrassing to slow down this much & look this bad. The last turn is painful to watch, and painful to do as well.

I have trained so many different ways, over so many years, to fix the last lap blow-up, but I am what I am, and a 3.6 second fade is average for the body I was born with. Many pure sprinters are like this.

Short track does seem to help my fade more than anything else, even more than a whole summer of marathon inline racing. Probably because it helps hip strength to hold the position in the turns.

(info for non speedskaters, anything over a 2 second lap fade in a 1000m is bad, I did load the training pretty hard this week too.)

Overall I am happy though, I skated a 38.12 in my 500m earlier in the day, and this race was a 1:16.3, and those are excellent early season times for me. Usually my first race of the season is a high 38 & a low 1:17. So this is an optimistic weekend.

Both of these races qualified me for Olympic trials in October 2009. 54 weeks from now.. Hmmmm…

I joked with my pair Roger before the race that people always skate PB’s when paired with me.

At masters worlds & US nationals last year, 75% of the races for my pair were PB’s. And sure enough, Roger skates a PB in this 1000m race! His splits were more like a true allarounder. 18.16 / 27.40 / 28.04

Korea Video

Occasionally, people send me things, & ask that I post them on the blog. This one was very unusual.

An American living in Korea, David Jensen, wrote me this note:

I’m an American ex-pat in Korea and an (amateur) speedskater.

I recently posted on youtube a video of my adventures at Taerung Ice Rink in Seoul. It doesn’t have much actual speedskating, just footage of Seoul, the training facility and a little bit of commentary on Korean sports.

Hopefully, I will be able to get some footage of some competitions in the near future.

In his video, there is a tantalizing moment, 1:09 in, where you see the long track in Seoul, and a little kid in a very Korean hat skating by.

The rest of his video is commentary on a Korean Olympic Museum.

David continues:

There seems to be a lot of misperceptions about Korean speedskating. First, everyone seems to think that Korea is really cold.

Compared to upstate New York (my home), Korean winters are mild. It would be really fun if the Han River iced over, but sustantial snowfall and natural ice are very rare here.

Second, people seem to think that everyone in Korea is a ST skater.

Seoul, Korea has maybe half a dozen ice rinks with a population 20+ million people. Needless to say, most people aren’t ice skating on the weekends.

I think the Koreans have adopted an East German style training (minus the steroids) - take a few talented kids and train them to death.

Since the vast majority of Koreans lives in proximity to Seoul, you don’t have the kind of issues that young U.S. speedskaters have with being far away from professional training facilities.

Like in the US, Korean speedskaters are a small but very dedicated group of people.

I have always thought that if you added up all the medals won at Long track worlds, short track worlds, and inline worlds, Korea would, in sum total, be the leading skate nation in the world.

I wonder how many licensced, competitive speedskaters there are in Korea? I do know that their masters championship had 60 skaters in it.

Hey David, where are you from in Upstate NY? That is my ancestral stomping grounds!

Here Comes the Sun

I asked Phil Brojaka what his favorite song was, he said, “Here comes the sun by the Beatles”.

Good idea Phil!

So I used this classic tune for this video, showing the last race of the season at the Utah Oval, the Champions Challenge.

Listening to the lyrics, I heard a part I had never paid attention to before-

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it’s all right

How appropriate… Click here for the quicktime, or press play for the YouTube

I always want to try and show the humanity of the people who throw so much of their lives into the “appearance of effortless skating” because it’s anything but effortless, and the human struggle “underneath the hood” is such a fascinating part of this sport.

Thanks to all the skaters at the oval, it’s been an intense season, and thanks to Jessica, because I raced every single distance at the champs challenge, and she shot about half of the video you see here.

Also the sun is has finally arrived in the mountain west,

this week I’ve been riding in shorts in Salt Lake, yeah!!

Masters Worlds Video

8 days since my last blog post! Whoa!

Jet Lag has completely flattened me since I got back from Germany, I am fine during the day, but by late afternoon, I turn into a burbling, useless waste of human protoplasm (well, more than usual).

Not drooling on myself in public has become my primary goal, so blogging has been a bit beyond my capacity.

But, last night I finally finished editing video from Master’s Worlds. This video has athletes ranging in age from 30 to over 75, and every one of them is an inspiration-

Enjoy- Click here for the quicktime, or press play below for the YouTube.

Here is a shotlist of the scenes:

1. My plane, descending into Europe, I think that’s a suburb of Frankfurt appearing through the clouds.

2. Very crowded warmup ice time, following Italian Sylvia Tassara. The final training session before worlds starts is amazing, scary, crowded.

3. The opening ceremony, flags of all participating nations. The kids are from the local Erfurt club

4. Italian Roberto Sighel getting ready for a race.

5. Roberto starting his 500m, in the other lane is Austrian Hurbert Kreutz. Wow.

6. Canadian Genevieve Provencher, starting a 1000m

7. Yours truly, starting a 1500m

8. A Norwegian with a cool sweatshirt, I wonder if he was an Olympian in ‘94.

9. Ingunn Sandø, starting her 3k.

10. Dutchman Jan Duif leads Marty Haire in the 3k

11. Marty leads Jan in the 5k.

12. Art shot, the skates are Danny Witkamps.

13. Ironman Jim Cornell, ripping a 3k.

14. Warmup Bikes of all nations..

15. Ragnvald Naess finishing his 5k, deep in the pain cave. He thought he might win his age group right here, he came up a few seconds short.

16. Two Norwegians, after a race. I think one is Arne Stenhaug

17. More Norwegians, singing in the Erfurt rink bar. American culture lacks many things, one of them is good, short, hearty drinking songs.

18. A Dutch Coach.

19. Dutch skater Victor van den Hoff. Finishing his 5k and clinching the overall in the 50-55

20. I think this is Wim Brand, winning the 3k, and the overall in the men’s 65-70 for the Netherlands.

21. Art shot of a Norwegian & Swiss skater in a 1500.

22. Canadian Pierre Gange. In the 75+ category, zipping out fast 3k laps.

23. Rather Inebriated Norwegians, pounding the pads & hollering, as countryman Arne Kjell Foldvik hears the bell lap in the 3k. Arne was 2nd overall in the 70+ category. He is one of the “youngest-at-heart” men I have ever met.

24. USA skater Tom Cole, 3,000m, riding that straightaway glide!!!

25. Austrian Hurbert Kreutz again, incredibly happy with his 2nd place finish in the 40-45 category. He skated huge PB’s this meet.

26. The winner of the 40-45’s, and one of the top skaters of his generation, Roberto Sighel.

27. The scoreboard.

28. Marty Haire, after the best day on skates in his life, winning the 45-50 category & quoting from the wizard of Oz.

All of us on the US team truly enjoyed our time in Europe, and all the wonderful people we met. However, there is no place like home…

ST women’s races

Katherine Reutter mentioned to me at the rink that she has not been able to find any videos of her races from the world cup on YouTube.

Ha! I have them, so here they are-

Usually I am much more able to just tape & not cheer so loudly, but for the women’s 1500m, I was a bit more vocal. Short track is exciting stuff, and Katherine had many freinds & family in the stands, so it was quite a rowdy crowd….

When I say, “just go” as I am taping, I am referring to something I saw in an earlier race when two Chinese skaters were at the front of the pack, and the skater in front took off, the skater in 2nd did not chase. A gap immeadiately formed & that Chinese skater won the heat.

There was a brief moment of this race where two US skaters were in the lead, and I was hoping they would do that.

Click here to start the QuickTime, or press play for the Youtube below.

In the result of this 1500m, Zhou Yang was first, with Katherine in second and Allison Bayer in third. A great result for the US women.

Also I have the 1000m race, it must give an athlete goosebumps to be out there competing, and to hear your hometown crowd start chanting “USA” “USA”.

Click here to start the quicktime, or press play for the Youtube below.

Meng Wang of China won this race. Katherine Reutter of the United States was second. Korean skater Shin-Young Yang finished third

World Cup 1000m

Video shot February 10th, of the 1000m final at the Short track world cup. This race has a lot of what makes short track exciting, crashes, contact, a fast, close finish, and one of the best skaters of our generation, Apolo Ohno, winning in front of the home crowd.

Click here for the quicktime, or press play below for the YouTube.