Brett Farve & AMP

A friend emailed me today, and observed: “You must be training hard, the blog has been quiet”.

Yes, I have been happily at work in the molten foundries of self again, and it feels great. On my two-a-days this past week, the fatigue tastes as good as any 10 course exquisite meal. I raise my glass of joy to the moment, and appreciate it not for the goal, but for just what it is. Actually, in this picture, I am not raising a glass of wine, but rather a glass of Mountain Dew’s AMP energy drink, a favorite second workout aperitif.

I had assumed that after the Olympic year I would be burned out, and slink gratefully back into cube-land (the natural habitat of an IT person like me, actually, I do have a cube-gig next week).

Like Brett Farve in the NFL, I assumed that my body would be beaten up after a long season, and that a stepping down would be not only in order, but welcomed in every fibre of mind, body, and soul. Brett Farve is two years older than I am, and I wonder how he feels as he contemplates another season.

There are things still to be done, goals still unreached. Some restless part of a person that is driven to what could be, rather than what has been.

I skate because of some fundamental drive that is as primal as the thud of my heart. Skating is nice, but it’s a symptom, not the true illness, or is it true health? The glitter of future possiblity seems more interesting than dull trophies of past efforts next to the desk.

Web design work is flooding in the door, I have a half dozen sites in process, and work is prioritized first this year, but I am finding the time to train, and more importantly, the motivation.

If Brett can step up to the ferocity of the NFL, where giant men who can run like the wind regularly try to tear his head off; compared to his choices my own small moments, joys, and decisions seem less than the light through a green energy drink on a beautiful day.

Question: How many Green Bay Packers fans does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: CHANGE??????

Chad interview

This is something I am putting in Chad's site that is worth republishing here as well.

It's a good interview, he talks quite candidly about his Olympic experience. This interview was taped just before a Houston Aeros minor league playoff hockey game where Chad dropped the puck to start the action, and also where Chad headlined a fundraiser for special olympics.

You can still find news articles talking about the Chad-Shani feud during the Olympics, but nothing about the $70,000 Chad has helped raise for Special Olympics…

friggin media!!!

2 cures for depression

Thanks for those who have written and called. Although this blog is about speedskating, there are moments when life comes up and smacks you with things far more important. My friend is doing much better, and is out of the hospital.

It has been a hard week; here are my 2 small ways of dealing:

#1 attempting to follow my grandmother’s mastery in the art of creating perfect grilled cheese sandwiches:

#2 Riding my mountain bike up into the Wasatch Mountains. Climbing switchback singletrack for an hour and a half straight in your tiniest gear will knock the existential blues out of anyone. If that fails, the white knuckled warp speed descent does pretty a good job too.

It was a 70 degree day, and I got high enough into the mountains to be into the snowpack.

On a mountain bike, one can quickly get waaaaay up into the hills, and feel truly small and alone. I had no company but the music of my hammering heart, squish of mud underneath the tires, and my bike bucking and diving through the trails.

But that seemed to be just the company & perspective I needed.

(p.s. one of the most well know blogs on the internet is also written by a Salt Lake resident, Dooce is astonishingly funny, well written, and thoughtful. On the same day I ruminate about grilled cheese as a depression cure, check out what she wrote, it seems that food is the friday theme in Salt Lake, also her stress cure is far more advanced in complexity & themeatic content than mine.)

Hospitals & Snowstorms

The world is in bloom, green, lush, budding tress and blossoms everywhere. Spring is wonderful, and renews the spirit.

Riding my bike home from the gym yesterday, in shorts and a tank top, I feel in bloom myself, physically “home” again in the rhythms of hard training, and happy to be riding my bike in 70-degree spring sunshine.

Shortly thereafter, the temperature drops 40 degrees and snow comes blustering in, cold slop pours from the sky, and walking to the coffee shop this morning through piles of slush, I see garden after garden looking like this.

A close friend of mine, who happens to be an excellent photographer, is in the hospital today, so I stop for a few moments in the sleet, and take a few pictures thinking of him.

Its alright Ma, (I’m only bleeding)

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge

And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

-Bob Dylan, It’s alright ma, I’m only bleeding

I’ve been on a huge Dylan kick recently, somehow his words just seem to fit this transitional time of blustery spring weather, and the violent uncertainty in the world at large.

Here is the view of the wind torn spring sky over Salt Lake, click on it for a bigger panoramic image. This park is my new favorite place in the world, a good place for dryland speedskate training -or a picnic lunch, depending on your mood.

Sorry for the recent quiet on the blog, I have started training again, and my body is in complete shock from starting up Boris’ intense jump/pylometric program.

However it’s much better than the soreness I felt this time last year. Now I can walk after workouts! but it is quite a funny looking walk, and I eat advil like M&M’s, but at least I can stand!

(its alright ma, it’s just soreness)

Why is it that when you are experiencing pain (emotional or physical), certain musicians seem to make more sense? At least I am not on a cheesy disco kick, what kind of mood would bring that on?

Ok, gotta run to the gym for workout #2 today,

more soon….


Sitting in the coffee shop this morning, swimming my way to alertness-

My motivation is low for much other than drinking coffee. –A half dozen things are muddling their way through my mind, lyrics to old Pink Floyd, the project I am finishing, emailing clients, prototyping a new site, I have some bills that need paying, endless etc etc etc…

I start training again for real today, my break is over, in the past I used to be excited about this, today I am blah blah, blah—-

and then this bird comes zipping along and CRACKS into the windowpane next to my keyboard at high velocity!!!

It spins in the air for a few seconds, a confused ball of wings, and then darts off in another direction at top speed, it NEEDS TO BE SOMEWHERE RIGHT NOW!!!

This bird has goals, and even though it smacked into a window, I admire the intense pursuit of flight across the species line. Like an ant to his task, I will go through the motions of training today, but I don’t feel all that inspired to pursue my goals right now.

To attain a goal, you have to state your goal, and then state the concrete things you need to do to accomplish it. Here is the question I am tossing out to this blog reading crowd:



You do not have to be a skater to answer this question, some of my goals for this upcoming year have nothing to do with skating. I talked with a fellow last night at a dinner party who lost his home to hurricane Katrina, his goals all changed in a few days.

A goal is a goal, but one thing that is true about goals, is that stating them, and then being “process oriented” gives you a better shot at achieving. For example: Last season it was a huge goal of mine to skate a sub 37 second 500m, but I tried hard not to think about that number, instead I obsessed on aspects of skating technique, especially my last 200m, to attain that goal.

Also, imagining your process to reach goals is like creating your flight plan: it’s looking where you are going. Although I admire the drive that bird had, it’s flight plan was not too well thought out. How many people & athletes are like that bird…. trying hard and flying blind….

So now it’s your turn—- So what are your goals?

Cingular Power Rangers

I am so busy with work its not funny… this month I have 5 sites going live, so this will be brief compared to my usual whitmanic standards.

I got paid to skate about a week and a half ago! Occasionally the Utah Olympic oval hosts corporate events. Sometimes they want speed skaters to do a demonstration of what the facility was built for, and I was one of the folks they asked to do a demo for some massive (600+ people) convention for Cingular.

They even made skinsuits for us. Yep, skinsuits in the COLOR OF THE OLYMPIC RINGS. So here we are, looking like the Cingular Skating Power Rangers.

From left to right we have Ray Thacker, Myself, Michael Drews, Paul Nahrwold, Keith Carney, and Inacio Lopez. The Cingular Power Rangers! I like the sound of that, we got to keep the skinsuits too.

The event staff wanted us to skate laps as people were arriving, and then run some demo races to show the sport to the crowd & kick off the entertainment. We were all laughing about the silliness of these primary color costumes in the locker room, but then we stepped onto the ice…..

There was blaring rock music, roving searchlights, rock concert stage lighting illuminating the ice in strange ways, and incredible numbers of people! They were there for some corporate function/celebration, not for us or the other athletes demonstrating other sports; but when we stared skating massive numbers of digital & phone cameras flashed at us like volleys from civil war muskets.

There was a huge projection screen with TV cameras following people in the crowd and us as we skated by. An announcer who was going on and on, there was a giant catering setup with dozens of stations serving teriyaki salmon, wild rice, prime rib, feta cheese salads, endless alcohol, and amazing flowing chocolate fountains you could dip strawberries & pineapple chunks & oreos into.

I had not eaten much that day, and the incredible smell wafting onto the ice was quite distracting. I felt like a dog leaning out the window of a car, with windspeed pressure injecting nasal stimulation directly into my brain stem. Here I am leading the group, feeling hungry, and then here is Ray Thacker taking a pull.

To the crowd (from all over the USA, I talked with quite a few of them after), we were not just a bunch of average skaters; we were the “Olympic Spirit” for lack of a better descriptive term. And I guess since many of us moved to Utah specifically for the skating, I guess we are.

Its funny, but 3 weeks off the ice, and my technique & skate specific strength felt AWFUL! Paul Nahrwold and I were paired together for a demo 500m race, you can see the spotlight following us, and some hint of the size of the crowd. I must admit to glancing at myself in the mammoth projection screen as I zipped by it.

The backstretch was quite dark! Some of the rock and roll stage lighting from the home stretch filtered into the backstretch at odd angles, illuminating the cracks & imperfections in the ice like purple varicose veins. It was quite the rush to skate over that at race velocity.

Afterwards, when it was over, I stepped off the ice & chatted with many different folks. People were coming up to all of us, asking who we were, inquring about our skates, and asking if we had just gotten back from Torino! Thanks, but ummmm, no…..

Then in the locker room, I changed from my Power Ranger blues back into normal clothes, and Inacio and I wandered out towards the remains of the astonishing buffet to do some serious eating.

Suddenly we were just footnotes in a large crowd, No one was looking at us, wanted to talk to us, or even noticed our existence at all… and some selfish part of my heart missed it.

However heaping servings of teriyaki salmon and two visits to the chocolate fountain were sufficient to quell the hungry ego.

Giving Good Lei & Magic Glasses

Recently, I made a post called “Speedskating on Enceladus” that was my entry to a contest hosted over at the wonderful blog Last Girl on Earth

Go figure, my eccentric vision of interplanetary sports fun WON!!! (this has been a pretty good year for me, when it comes to winning).

The contest was called “Giving good Lei” and was originally started at the Hawaii based blog Bitchitude.

The rules of the contest stipulate that I need to host the next contest (there is one every month) and the blogger who wins the one held here, then gets to host the next one…

However the readership of this blog is pretty unique in that there are not too many bloggers within it (in the regular commenters, I count under a half-dozen). It seems to be mostly members of the worldwide skate tribe, some friends & family, and a collection of good folks who somehow enjoy the writing/pictures that I post. In many ways its not surprising that the skate crowd has limited “crossover” with the obsessive tech crowd.

To enter the contest, you need to have a blog… because if you win you get to host the next contest. So I am going to contact the second place finisher, The dog’s breakfast, and see if she is interested in hosting it over there… She has a more typical blog-possesing audience, and would get more entries.

Although I am sure this creative bunch could come up with LOTS of unique entries, when we get the next contest organized/started, I will direct you over there.

It’s a beautiful day here in Salt Lake City. It might get up to 70+ degrees, although I should be relaxing and not training, I can hear the bike calling me. So I am resisting the two-wheeled attraction and taking the dog for a long walk.

Here is the view down one of the steep streets that make up the avenues where I live. Although the view doesn’t really strike my Manhattan-born wife too much, and the dog is more interested in what her nose is telling her, every time I walk Lilly I look over this and simply marvel….

Today one can see all the way down the valley to its end around 30 miles distant. The beginnings of the Wasatch range are on the left.

Here are some unique factoids lying within this photo:

When Salt Lake was first designed, the mormon city planners mandated that the main streets be large enough so that a 4 horse team & carriage could make a U-turn. You can see one of these massive 4 lane thoroughfares, 700 east, pointing right down the valley.

If you had magic vision that could see 1,000 times more detail in each pixel, and could see through those mountains on the left, you would see skiers in T-shirts whooping it up in the spring conditions at the resorts.

Also if your magic vision could detect the level of Mormonism in the roughly 1.2 million people you are looking over right now, with Mormons showing up as red, and infidels like myself as blue; what you would see is screaming blue all around you, and extending for about two miles from where your are standing. There would be a thin line of spotty blue along the base of the mountains (the skiers & outdoorsy types living at the mouths of the canyons) then pretty much 80% red for the rest of this field of vision, with the west valley areas to the right just off the picture to the right, glowing radioactively red!!

If your glasses also detected language & ethnicity, the 19% of the city’s population that identifies themselves as Hispanic, would be in a band separating the red & blue areas, and off to the right on the other side of the interstate. There also would be pockets of Native Americans, Tongans, and lots of Samoans visible (those 3 groups add up to 3% of Salt Lake’s population.)

If your magic glasses could also detect relative levels of obesity, according to recent studies, it would pretty much also exactly follow the blue-red divide. The avenues zip code where this picture is taken from, is the skinniest in Utah, whereas the more religious a zip code gets, on average, the chubbier.

Personally, I am currently winning my battle vs off season weight gain! It must be the zip code I live in ; )

More statistics & history can be found on Wikipedia’s Salt Lake City pages.

1st Blogiversary

I started this blog about halfway through my off-season break last year, (that was February 27th). This year I am at about the same place in my annual yearly training plan (about halfway through my break) it’s a rainy, chilly day in Salt Lake, perfect for reflection, reading, and a fitting day for my first Blogiversary.

So here I am, 218 posts and 684 comments into this little “newspaper of the soul” I spent some time this afternoon reading/thinking, and here are a few links to some favorite posts:

10 Things about:
Salt Lake

A few of my favorite personal musings, from oldest to newest:

The tinman
Hot oil anaerobic wok
Dr Love, Medieval Style
Self Portrait with Rainbow/Driving pictures
Driving Pictures, part II
Redemption Song/Ride
News Flash!
Bonneville Salt Flats
Bad Race Acronyms
Olympic Trials, the Pain Cave
Davos Days
Masters International -The Races

The ever popular Zen 10 Interviews:
Jim Cornell
Dave Tamburino
Joey Cheek
Jennifer Rodriguez
Bob Fenn
Ryan Shimabukuro
Kip Carpenter

And here is a bit of multi-media that seems to stand the test of time.. Press the play button to get these things rolling, and have your sound on!

Day 3 & 4, US single distance champs Music is by Moby, the song is called “porcelain”, making this was a wonderful way to kill some time on an airplane.

Get Back Up Again, a nasty crash I was lucky to walk away from- Music by Chumbawumba- the song is called “tubthumping”.

Nerves & Joey
This is what Joey Cheek has to say about being nervous before a race..

This is how I want to skate when I am in my 60’s, this is Russian Vladamir Budin

In one of my earliest posts, I used this quote from the Book Zen in the Art of Archery, somehow, today, this makes more sense to me than it did when I first posted it.

“I must only warn you of one thing. You have become a different person in the course of these years. For this is what the art of archery means: a profound and far-reaching contest of the archer with himself. Perhaps you have hardly noticed it yet, but you will feel it very strongly when you meet your friends and acquaintances again in your own country: things will no longer harmonize as before. You will see with other eyes and measure with other measures. It has happened to me too, and it happens to all who are touched by the spirit of this art.”

Thanks again for everyone who has been along on this journey…