Capricorn (December 22nd-January 19th)
It’s the introspection season, Capricorn. I encourage you to write copiously in a journal. Here are several themes it would be fruitful to explore:

  1. Your most amazing qualities and your worst qualities.
  2. The hundred things you want to accomplish in the next 30 years.
  3. Your bitter complaints, horrendous pain, and lost dreams.
  4. Everything you love and everything that’s beautiful and everything that works.

In addition to writing your heart out and your ass off, paste in cut out pictures from magazines, draw pictures, and ask friends to write messages to you.

-Rob Brezsney, Free Will Astrology

Astrology seems as silly to me as numerology: Yet if a horoscope can help someone live a thoughtful life, then how bad can it be? But horoscopes often seem as targeted “to you” as a wal-mart ad. Every horoscope fits everyone! However this particular eccentric horoscope felt like it was written aimed right at me.

So in the spirit of question #1, I have a confession to make.

I am a MasoHedonist.

I very recently learned this term, and love it. This amalagam of Hedonist and Sadomasochist describes individuals who find great pleasure and even personal meaning while focusing on activities that many would find difficult & painful, and often NUTS. As Lance says: “Pleasure? naw… I do this for the PAIN!”

Today is a perfect example of this syndrome in action: I am supposed to be resting, not working out. The independent web design business has been THRIVING recently, and I could easily be spending 12 hours a day plinking away on my laptop.

I had gotten a brief & boring morning workout in, and took the dog for a walk. But there was something gnawing at me, something undone about the day. I was restless & in a mood as I shuffled HTML around. I had not challenged myself athletically for weeks. It was roughly 4:15pm, it was chilly outside, spits of rain coming down. Then this idea avalanches into my head,


I fought this idea for about 5 minutes. I really did, but it was useless to resist such an appealing invitation to MasoHedonism. Many athletes know the irresistible appeal of crazy ideas like this.

Now 25 miles is not too far for an experienced cyclist. But add in a steady cold pouring rain, dense rush hour traffic, the need to keep the speed very high, and psycho Utah drivers, that adds to the difficulty factor.

Oh yeah, I also rode my track bike too, so I only had one gear to mash or spin the whole way (I do have a front brake on my fixie, I am nuts, but not crazy).

The interesting part is, I was completely content with every moment of the ride, even when the rain got quite heavy & the temperature dropped 20 degrees. I was at peace skipping like a stone through lanes of growling traffic, being hyper vigilant for rain-filled potholes, gravel, & ice slick manhole covers.

My hands turned from 5 digit precision instruments into frozen handlebar claws, my arms & calves began to cramp in the cold, I could feel the difference between my cold skin and molten core, it was wonderful.

The complete roadmap of my muscle fibers was illuminated like a Christmas tree, pain made me happier and aware of every joint & piston of this body I live in. It made me more determined to ride as hard as I could, to make each moment of speed perfect. And it was.

My glasses were fogged & rain spattered, but I saw & felt my life as clearly as the SUV’s I danced through traffic with.

If I could bottle and sell these feelings, I would be a rich man, not merely wealthy in sensation & experience. Determination mixed with extreme sensation is fulfilling and addicting. When I rolled into the parking lot of Jessica’s work, I was practically singing with joy, singing through a face covered in road grit.

I think this is my most amazing quality and my worst quality.

Worst quality? On sober reflection this ride was dangerous, and I am not sure if I can ever stop challenging myself like this (the activity is just the medium for this impulse, it’s incidental that I bike and skate). Sacrificing other aspects of life for MasoHedonism is also questionable in some social circles, and it is something I have consistently done my whole life. It makes sense when you can point at something, like Olympic trials, but I do this for fundamentally other reasons.

Maybe I should have kept at my laptop all day, kept working till my eyeballs popped out of my head, but I dove outdoors, towards that which completes me in a fundamental way.

Am I crazy? or is the world full of closet MasoHedonists? does this little online journal have a high percentage of MasoHedonist readers? I suspect it might….. Any other moments out there worth sharing?

Hoth 2014

Think I am crazy about suggesting doing winter sports on other planets?

Check this fellow’s brilliant satire site, supporting Hoth’s bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympic games.

He has a comment section in his blog linked from this site, and here are a few of the events readers have suggested:

  • Speederbike Slalom
  • Snowballing With Jetpacks
  • AT-AT tractor pulling
  • Taun-Taun race… but don’t hold it beyond the first marker after sundown!
  • 2-Man probe shooting
  • icy rope climb into the belly of a moving walker
  • Team snow-cannon shooting
  • Imperial Walker wrangling
  • Long-distance generator destroying
  • Ion Cannon shooting
  • Biathlon, composed of Tauntaun riding and shooting Probe Droids
  • Snowspeeder downhill racing
  • Snowspeeder slalom racing around AT-AT legs, bonus points if you manage to get the cable detached
  • Snowboarding on probe droid debris (held after the Biathlon)
  • Ice desert marathon; cut-up Tauntauns every 10 kilometers
  • Cross Country AT-ST racing
  • The Hoth Halllucination Challenge: Stick a wounded man in sub-zero temperatures and see if he can guess the correct system to visit.
  • Slave Girl Ice Dancing
  • Jet Pack Ski Jump
  • Infantry Trench Snowboard Half-Pipe
  • Ice Hockey using thermal detonators instead of pucks
  • Imperial AT-AT Speed Walking
  • AT-ST long jump
  • Collapsing Underground Base Maze Escape

And here is my own suggestion:

AT-AT 5k relay:
This short track relay race is run around the legs of an imperial AT-AT walking across an ice field, The team that can do the most laps in the time it takes the AT-AT to walk 5k to the finish line, is the winner.

Refs are unnecessary, as any rule infractions, or cutting the course too tightly will result in getting stepped on. Like an elephant, an AT-AT moves its feet fairly slowly, leading to brief shortcuts one could skate, but they would be directly under the Walker’s massive (15 meters across) feet. You could always skate a safer, wider path, but that’s not gonna be as fast, and if you skate too wide an arc, you come into the range of the AT-AT’s facial cannon, and you get blasted to pieces. Passing will probably necessitate daring pivots through the stomp zone!!!

If a skater is squashed or blasted, that team is not DQ’ed, it just has to complete the race with fewer team members!

Speedskating on Enceladus

Another blog I read frequently, Last Girl on Earth, has a contest running now, here are the rules:

If you could go anywhere in the world, or beyond…
Where would you go, and why would you go there?

Here is my entry, its weird enough that I think speedskaters all over the world would be interested in joining me for this trip that would make my excursion earlier this year to Europe seem positively TAME by comparison.

I would travel to a small moon near the planet Saturn called Enceladus. Scientists have described it as a huge ball of smooth ice drifting through space. It is smooth because it has very active geysers that are constantly erupting and covering the surface with water. Think of it of it as a place with it’s own massive geothermal Zamboni.

These geysers blast from blue veins crisscrossing the Enceladus surface, and are nicknamed “cold faithfuls” by Scientists. They are so powerful that the icy particles they throw into space create one of Saturn’s Major rings, the “E” ring, actually.

Because of this, Enceladus rides within, and is the source of, one of Saturn’s rings. These geysers are strong enough to slowly erase impact craters from the surface, and create some stunningly beautiful landscape and frozen structures, the whole planet is covered in ice, as it has the highest light reflectivity in the solar system.

This photo is from the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini got so close, (within 109 miles) it had to rotate itself away from the planet at times, to shield its eyes from the icy debris in nearby space. Click on the photo to see a very pretty & larger version.

If one is thinking of a place to visit for scenery, I think it would be pretty hard to beat the view of Saturn & the rings from a thin atmosphere moon WITHIN one of the rings. The stars would be bright, the colors stunning, The frequent eruptions would be fun to watch (from a distance! water-ice volcanoes are technically known as Cryo-Volcanism). The sky would be filled with multicolored Saturn and other rings arcing past, and the sun bright enough to see things pretty well.

What would I do on Enceladus? Now this is where who I am plays nicely into this unique destination.

I would go for a nice long speedskate across the icy surface. On earth I am capable of briefly sustaining 34+ mph on my skates. According to Dutch speedskating scientists, those terrestrial velocities correspond to me fighting 84% air resistance and 16% frictional forces.

With the minimal atmosphere on Enceladus, and only 1/125 of earth’s gravity, I ought to be able to sprint along at 500+ mph, and easily tour along at 100+. My 28 inch vertical leap on earth would become a become a 280+ foot skyward arc, allowing me to see a great view anytime I wanted, or to leap the fissures, ripples, & craters on the surface with ease.

This would be a tour with a view, and with some extreme sports fun! Scientists say there are five distinct types of terrain on this moon: Fissures, plains, corrugated terrain and several other icy deformations. Some of the most enjoyable athletic moments in my life have been mountain biking the mammoth fossilized sand dunes in Moab, Utah. I think this could be similar, but within the sport that I was born to do.

This moon is only 310 miles around, so I think I could see a significant amount of it fairly quickly, and the Cassini spacecraft pictures of the surface show a playground that could provide years of fun. Ramps, bowls, berms, & gliding among ice walls like the podracer scenes of the first star wars movie.

Here is a black-and-white surface detail of one of the rougher areas, each pixel you see is roughly 37 feet of real life terrain (what magic we can do, that I HAVE this image to show)

Also because of the abundant presence of liquid water, there are likely subsurface oceans, and scientist have seen the chemical building blocks of life present in abundance here, so this particular moon is a terrific candidate for the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. Maybe even the best in our solar system (many point to Jupiter’s moon Europa as another good choice).

Who knows, I might not be the only one skating along the surface, I could blend right in with local life forms, evolved to take advantage of this peculiar environment. The Enceladians could have a speedskating culture that could even rival the Netherlands!

One never knows.

Of course there are small technical problems, such as how to survive the extreme cold of –180 to –203 Celsius, and the lack of good breathable oxygen, and my skates might not glide as well on this extremely cold surface.

But I compete in a prototype of the racing skinsuit Nike spent over a million dollars to develop for the 2002 winter Olympic games. It’s a dreadfully uncomfortable thing to wear, but magically fast compared to normal lycra. Toss a few billion dollars more at the basic design, and I am sure it would be interplanetary worthy. Do a little more research into various steels & other exotic periodic table elements, and I am sure they would find the best bi-metal blade composite and blade dimentions for gliding across Enceladian ice.

As for oxygen, I am a sprinter, and I don’t breathe too well to begin with! Oxygen? schmOxygen!

In Greek mythology, Enceladus was a Titan who was defeated in battle by the God Athena, and buried under Mount Etna, when he tries to break free, his struggles are the source of earthquakes volcanic eruptions.

I think Enceladus might become someday, the top speedskating tourist destination of all time, and for the purpose of this contest, it is my daydream place to go.

Here are some weblinks to this amazing place:

The Cassini spaceprobe raw image diary of its flyby of Enceladus, WOW!

An article about the possibilities of life there

The BBC guide to Enceladus

USA today article about the icy geysers

Boulder strewn surface, fantastic photos

Below is an artists conceptions about what the surface might be like:

Something I said I’d never do

I just did something I said that I would never do.

I bought a bathroom scale.

You have to understand a little background here & why this is important.

For several years of my youth, I dated a woman who had suffered terribly from anorexia. She came close to killing herself, and ended up in a hospital. Although she was very healthy in the two+ years we spent together, her eloquence in describing what she went through, and continued to wrestle with, gave me a lot of insight into how weight affects not just how society treats us as men & women, but even worse, how we sometimes treat ourselves.

In the years I was with her, I also personally changed from a 205 pound hockey player (who worked in an ice cream shop) to a lean & mean 170 pound bike racer. I noticed that people treated me differently after that, especially the opposite sex. That was nice, but I found it profoundly unsettling, after all, my soul did not change, it was just the body.

Since that 170lb Andrew of 1990, I have added close to 20 pounds of muscle, and that is normal, since I am older, and I do a power-based sport that has me in the gym quite a bit. However as an athlete, I do need to understand what I weigh as a matter of health. So once every month or two at the gym or at a friend’s house, I would check. However to avoid that self-esteem crapola that goes along with it, I swore I would never have a scale in my own house.

Fast forward to about this time last year, my break in training after last season ended was about six weeks long, and in that time I gained a lot of weight, really fast. It took me about six months of astonishingly hard training to lose six weeks worth of careless eating and couch surfing.

Not this year dammit! Especially if life tosses me back into cubicle-land, and I am not working out 5+ hours a day, I need to be careful. So about an hour ago I stepped onto my new purchase with trepidation.

And I am pretty happy with what I see, anytime its under 190, that is good. I do weigh a lot for a guy who is only 5’ 10”, but it’s healthy weight, that is if you qualify a butt as ginormous as mine is “healthy”.

But here is my simple public declaration, now that I have this horrid thing in the corner.

  • If I ever complain about weight related issues here, you are all allowed to tell me to go jump in a lake (the lake of get-a-clue).
  • When I travel, I usually lose weight, despite sometimes eating HUGE meals for breakfast-lunch-dinner. Why? Well, the only reason I can come up with is that it’s hard to snack when traveling, and you generally don’t eat very late in the evening. That must be part of the difference.
  • I will never try to eat less, in fact, if it’s healthy & protein-based, bring it on! I could never give up steak & coffee, and I don’t think I need to.
  • For the next few months, I am going to think a lot more about timing of food. The answer to eating right is different, diet wise, for each person, this might be my silver bullet.
  • I only truly deserve the glorious nectar of the gods (I refer to, of course, espresso shots in a extra-thick chocolate milkshake) if I have gone for a REALLY long bike ride earlier in the day.

Now there is some motivation to get out and train! I think I might be riding the bike a lot this summer. Masters Track Cycling Nationals are in Colorado springs this coming year, in early August. I could fit that into my training. Hmmmmm…..

One of my brother’s favorite blogs is Fat Cyclist, (that and the very weird stuff on my cat, somewhere between the two, the truth about my brother exists). Fat Cyclist is really funny, and although I don’t read him regularly, maybe I should add it to my regular reads.

Cats & Short Track on Television

I’m sure you have seen the cat-like Apolo Anton Ohno in action. He’s not only the best-named man in Turin; he’s also the deity of short-track skating…… To watch him skate is a joy. He slinks past opponents like a ghost. It’s raw power elegantly applied.

Letters from a shrinking globe

This is not the first time I have heard speedskaters compared to animals. I have heard them likened to birds, pumas, greyhounds, bulldogs, cheetah, stampeding buffalo, racehorses, etc etc. My brother’s Texan girlfriend, the first time she saw long trackers blasting along at 35mph with their racing hoods up, said this:

They remind me of seals, very athletic seals.

Short track nationals are this coming weekend. And although I will not be there (I truly suck at short track) I know many people who will be. The skill and agility of short track is truly one of the most amazing athletic things I have ever seen in person. Even non-speedskaters can watch the physics-defying skill, dramatic passing, & thrill-a-minute pacing. Its just as cool seeing kids do it as it is with the Olympians.

Catlike… that is short track. My cat Tortibella seems athletic enough to do short-track, no fear of crashing or of wiggling through small spaces, and she is certainly used to walking around with sharp things on her feet.

Are these pics evidence that I am going crazy without constant training? Not as bad as in the past. Actually Jess took these pictures, also I am posting these crazy images in part as a thank you to all those pet-folks who commented & emailed me about my lost dog post. There was some nerve that story hit, and the cat people out there deserve equal time.

However, I have a question, thinking about short track. WHY ISN’T THERE SHORT TRACK ON TV FREQUENTLY???

Short track is a tremendously television friendly sport, and why US Speedskating did not receiving any significant television coverage or revenues from this past Olympic trials is a great mystery of marketing incompetence. They should have had Olympic trials (read: the Apollo/Shani show) in freaking Madison square garden!! Or at least in some major NHL caliber arena. You could have had thousands of screaming fans & generate mothra-caliber buzz. I understand there is a pad-safety issue that requires an Olympic sized ice sheet. But there has to be a technical answer to that, the incredibly safe Calgary oval short track is not huge, has amazing pads, and they run top races on that thing.


The only reason I can think that this did not happen, is there was no do-or-die motivation or interest at the management echelons. People do what benefits them most, that is human nature. If the athletes got a ton of television, would they then start demanding more money? Speedskating is controllable at the size it is now, but if money/coverage/TV professionals suddenly show up, it becomes HUGE, and uncontrollable.

Heck, look at all the political pain & wrath unleashed when a tiny number of Long trackers started cashing in on their Euro-notoriety. What would happen if 10 times that came to short track?

Joey Cheek said in an interview, that the inline talent pool is drying up (all too true, the sport is 1/3 the size it was) and the next wave of talent will come from the Ohno-inspired short track scene. So IT IS do-or-die, in terms of continuing to grow the sport. Get it on TV, call someone the flying whatever, and skating will thrive.

I bet $5 there will not be TV coverage of this coming weekends NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. 99% of local high school football teams get more TV & Newspaper coverage than short track Natz will. There is something WRONG with that. Short track has EVERYTHING that appeals to American sports fans! Crashes, speed, grace, excitement, personalities, controversial refereeing, heroes from numerous backgrounds! Its ALL there.

Ok, I am putting away my soapbox. It’s always easy to piss & moan than it is to find answers. I am no sports marketing professional, but I can RECOGNIZE WHEN THERE ARE NONE VISIBLE!

Here is an image I took from the stands at the 2002 games, this is the split second before the start of the gold medal 500m race. I have never heard a sound in my life like a few moments after this image, when American Rusty Smith took the lead in this race (well, yes, one other time, as a rocketfuel dragster went 0 to 300+mph in a few seconds). Click on an image for your own Desktop sized version.

Notice that each of these top skaters here has their own unique start line position.

This proves a theory I have, that your start line stance is like your underwear, a very personal thing, and although some people have similar tastes & ideal anatomic or stylistic inclinations, there is no ultimate right or wrong fit that can be applied to everyone. Just go fast like a cat, or seal, or whatever -and be ready to turn left when that corner arrives.

The End (of the season)

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land

Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain.

-The Doors

I played this song over and over in 1997 as I was finishing my graduate school thesis. It came on the radio as I was driving home from the oval after my last race of the season. It’s somehow appropriate.

The insane children of the ice speedskating cult are pretty much all looking forward to some warmth. Summer rain would be nice!

Here are some of the faces & moments from the last race of my, and many other people’s season. For the Utah Olympic Oval’s Champion’s Challenge they made ice as fast as the World Cup ice and Olympic Trials ice. Here are the full results of the Men’s races, and the full results of the womens races.

This is Catherine Raney and Maria Lamb, 2 Torino Olympians, going at it in the beginning of a 3k. I had a nice chat with Catherine the day before, I had never really spoken to her, but she seems really cool, and already thinking ahead to 2010

Any skater who is trying to pursue this sport at a high level will tell you that it would be impossible without the encouragement and support of family. This is John Loquai finishing the last meters of really painful 5k, seen over the shoulder of his father cheering him on. John really went for it, and skated fantastic 30 second laps until about 4 laps to go, and then had a slow crawl through the pain cave the rest of the way.

Like myself, 15 year old Andrea Mani is an escapee from the snows of Lake Placid, she and her mom moved to Salt Lake for the coaching and superior training environment. Here she is at the last lap of a 3k, Her mom is both videoing Andrea’s race, and giving running race commentary via cel phone to someone!

Like Andrea, my good buddy Jannicke Mickkelsen is a former figure skater now pursing speedskating. Jannicke also moved to Salt Lake for the training, but from NORWAY! (I love her Norwegian fast skinsuit)

Her parents came into town to visit & cheer her on. Jannicke tried super hard in the 1500m to set a personal best. Her first 700 was quite a bit faster than she had ever skated before. But she paid in the last lap, and collapsed as soon as she crossed the finish line- sliding into the wall right where her mom was standing!

Jannicke missed her PB time, but her mom is incredibly proud of her daughter’s fighting spirit! Me too.

PB’s are nice, but it’s the spirit that creates chances to skate PB’s, not the other way around. Jannicke has what it takes in her heart, body & soul.

My coach Boris Leikin and Tony Davis had a really close 1000m, Tony skated a big PB, moving so fast here that he blurred all the pixels in my digital camera. Boris has kicked & cut himself charging off the start line several times this year, his solution debuted this weekend, a magic green Kevlar sock on his left foot.

As for yours truly, in my last race of the season, something magical happened. Or at least it is the kind of magic that comes after working your tail off and then peaking well. I took another half second off my 1000m PB, and skated a 1:12.75. According to a learned Dutch Skate Stats gnome, that time is the 4th fastest 1000m EVER skated by a skater over 35!! This includes World Cups, Olympics, & all the time trials in Salt Lake, Calgary, & everywhere else. (These Dutch stats folks keep quite different lists than the IMSSC masters records I set this winter, but that is a whole other topic).

This dutch stat list has me with some incredible skaters (I posted the list in the comments), and it does not quite compute rationally to me how I managed to hugely improve my 1000m by from last season’s 1:17.1 to this season’s 1:12.75

I look at these pictures of that race, and see many flaws, on the straight away my knee moves outside the body as it recovers, my skate is not pointed down the track, you can see my upper body twisting from the effort. On the turns, my back is flat, not curled, and because of the velocity, I got pulled off the blocks. My left leg extension was also so much less than you can see my pair, Patrick Meek, attain.

Maybe my self-criticism is a temperamental habit critical to ice speedskating, this is a sport of perfection during tremendous effort.

Flying perfectly, pushing hard, balanced on a millimeter of steel at 33+mph. If I can work my life out to make it happen, these little things are what I will work obsessively on this summer.

Gosh, what a great addiction this sport is.

Zen 10 Questions: Kip Carpenter

I have gotten to know quite a few of the world class speedskaters who train at the Utah Olympic oval, but probably none as well as I have gotten to know Kip Carpenter. This is because we share intense interests outside of skating, Kip is a very talented digital graphic artist & flash developer, and his interests dovetail with my professional web design experience.

Kip is an interesting fellow, and if some of my questions have more of a psychological tint to them than some of my other Zen 10 interviews, it is because of our friendship. I greatly enjoy his company, and I feel like I will still know Kip for years after we have both recovered from our membership in the skating cult (that is, if we ever recover!).

First of all, Kip, thanks for appearing on my blog! I emailed these questions to Kip, and he has called in his answers from Holland, a few days after the Olympics finished, where he was racing in the World Cup Final.

Technical note, several folks said this interview made it hard to load the blog (the audio files were quite large) So I built a separate web page just for this interview

if you want to listen to Kip’s voice, check it out at the above link.

36.72 !!!!!!!!


The funny thing was that I felt pretty bad during warmup. I shoveled a lot of snow yesterday afternoon, and my upper body was sore & the legs felt strong but kind of blocked up. Boris talked to me about how he has researched many 500’s, and when skaters skate 2 in one day, 80% of the time, the second one is faster.

Since I was only skating one 500m race today, I went quite hard in warmup & created some fatigue. Although my body was finding the right skating position, I was out of breath with even easy efforts, and I did not feel the power & snap I usually associate with being 3 weeks into my final season peak.

Also I was terribly nervous between warm-up & the race. The ice was scary fast, and I felt in my bones today was a “put up or shut up” moment of illogically proving something to myself.

Here is Parker Vance and I at 100m, the camera can’t quite deal with the legspeed I had on this day. 250 meters into this race, I heard the announcer say my opening 100m was a 10.21, my fastest start ever!

So I roared through the second half of the race breathing a turbocharged elixir of vengeance, confidence, & good technique. I think I even yelled something crazy as I jabbed my skate at the finish line, something like “RIGHT NOW!!!”

This sport can sometimes break your heart in very cruel ways. But also, in rare moments, it lets your emotions soar as high and as far as all the hard work you put into it.

Thanks for reading…… I race a 500m and a 1000m tomorrow, and then this season is over. I will relax for 4 weeks, deliberately get out of shape for a while (one has to let the body heal) and make some hard choices about next year.

Joey on NPR

Joey Cheek was on National Public Radio yesterday, if you listen to the show as you drive home from work, maybe you heard it. He says some fascinating things about athletes, selfishness, American media, and about his future plans.

It was a fascinating interview, only five minutes long too. Here is the link to the NPR page where you can listen to the interview. You will need Realplayer to listen to this. The way that NPR page link worked on my computer was that clicking on it downloaded a file to my desktop, which I then had to launch in realplayer.

Today was my LAST WORKOUT of this season. I skated my fastest 400m tempo lap ever too, a 26.13, and considering I technically screwed up the first corner, I am bummed I did not pop into the 25’s. Tomorrow and saturday will be my final races of this season!! wow… where did the time go?

And as for next year?? stay tuned….

Eat hard, work harder, rest hardest!

Eat hard, work harder, rest hardest!
-NY mets 47 year old first baseman, Julio Franco
From the Salt Lake Tribune

These are good rules to live by. It took me many years of bicycle racing to realize that training hard actually makes you slower! It wears you out. Hard training, however, does create a narrow window of physiological possibility to become faster, but what actually makes you faster is recovering properly after hard training. Julio’s quote emphasizes this in his ordering of priorities.

There are so many people who take training & their equipment soooo seriously, but if you don’t take care of the recovery needs of your body, sleep-food-rest-etc, then hard work is often wasted.

I am very good about proper timing of food and workouts. I get enough sleep. Honestly I am still sometimes weak on my diet. I was eating a seafood salad sub with a chocolate chip cookie and a giant glass of water, when I was reading the above linked article.

Then the article, and Julio went on:

On willpower, Franco said: ”All the time people tell me that they shouldn’t eat something but they do anyway. They don’t need cake. They don’t have to have it. I walk by bakeries, see things that look good, smell good, but I know I don’t need that cheesecake. It’s not worth it for me.”

On his easygoing nature: ”If it’s hot outside, great. If it’s cold, great. If it rains or it’s windy, I don’t care. They’re out of my control. The things in my life that I can control - my diet, baseball, my interaction with friends, family, teammates - that’s what I can control, and that’s what enriches my life.”

On his predecessors: ”The smart ones were the old ones,” he said, between forkfuls of egg whites.

I stopped munching on my cookie, considered its half moon shape, and then finished it anyway.

There are lots of articles about Franco on the web right now, and the sudden plethora of professional athletes in their late 40’s

Here is a good one from the New York Times (you do need to register to read it, but the Times is a good read). Dr. Steven Foster, quoted in the beginning of this article, is actually a speedskater himself, and has written for many of the skating magazines.