A simple story

2 shirts

This is sprint national team member Lauren Cholewinski’s t-shirt just before an early morning practice. She said she got this at inline world championships a few years ago.

It’s a wonderful shirt & I agree with this sentiment.

They say a picture can be worth 1000 words. But what if those words are in another language?

This was a shirt on the back of a Japanese skater training at the Utah oval. We both tried, but since we did not share a language, the 1000 words of this story will probably go unknown.

I do like the idea of being a “skating player”, whatever that is. Any ideas?

to make a Phelps

During the Olympi-gasm, its really easy to get caught up in the overwhelming love-fest directed to the champions like Phelps, Bolt, Misty & Kerri, “the Redeem team” etc etc…

But here is what interests me: How many athletes does it take to make super-champions like those? How many lives throw themselves into the fires?

You need a lot of chances until that perfect combination of body, mind, background, & the right coaches at the right moments result in a medal of any color.

It takes a wide pyramid to create an extraordinary pinnacle, a vast amount of dedicated individuals, almost all of them who never win medals, never reach the games, or even never reach nationals.

I was ruminating about this on my front porch, 18th century fiction in one hand and coffee in the other, when I see an inliner flash by in the park at world-class velocity.

I grab my camera, and in a few moments capture Derek Parra on his bike leading two of his WHIP program skaters-

Derek hollers “go to the other side if the park, that is where we are going fast!”

Wow, I would guess their speed to be almost touching 30 mph.

This is Sebastian Cano & Josh Wood, doing one of their final high speed prep workouts before leaving for world championships in Spain.

A casual observer often thinks powerfully smooth athletes make it look easy. Look at Sebastian’s face in this second series; world class speed often requires world class pain.

How many amazingly talented people, pounding themselves to shreds, day after day, does it take to get a Phelps? Or to put it in ice terms, to get a Heiden, Blair, Ohno, Davis, Hedrick, Fitzrandolph, Witty, Rodriguez, Cheek, Carpenter?

After their workout was over, I had a nice chat with Derek, who certainly belongs on that list. He has been a part of Elite sports his whole life; I’ve been at nationals for only 5 years and in a very different part of the “pyramid-of-pain” than Derek.

Derek’s program has graduated 3 athletes to the national team ranks. He has so much potential from the inline world in his charge, but Derek himself won’t be standing on the backstretch during the games. He has a different role entirely.

How many athletes does it take?

7th anniversary

Who can make their wedding/engagement ring spin the longest? Who can defy gravity & the entropic pull of time with metal and spin?

I like this photo. Make in an oil painting, and add a tiny touch of the fantastic, it could be a Dali. I did not know the cat & my skate bag were in the background until I was photoshopping it.

Usually, on your anniversary, you look backward, and celebrate what has been. This anniversary, our 7th, was focused on the future, on what is about to burst onto our lives. So different than our 4th anniversary, the 5th or 6th anniversaries.

I look at those old posts, and they seem so far away, so long ago. Jess has had a really easy pregnancy so far, even though she is gradually being able to do less & less physically.

The next morning, still full from dinner, I wake up at 5am, to beat the heat and do a long mountain bike ride. The great part of this marriage is that doing things like 5am bike rides is not just normal; it’s better than normal.

Watching the sunrise from your bike is a great way to greet the world. I should be at short track, not on the bike. I’d be faster on the ice this winter if I was at short track instead of bopping across rocky singletrack.

But as I climb several thousand feet up to the first ridgline of the wasatch range, shirtless, my jersey stuffed into my seat pack, the heat of another 100+ degree day just starting, I feel blessed in the deepest sense of the word.


In the morning, effort on the ice.

I like this image, Long Tracker Liam Ortega is followed by National LT/ST team member Ryan Bedford, Derek “I’m just trying to keep in shape” Parra, and good guy Travis Jayner.

I am quite a bit bigger than Derek, and we were paired together in a relay, and Derek was making huge grunting sounds (joking) when it was his turn to push me. I replied that speedskaters need more upper body work. Relays are so much fun.

later that afternoon-

That which does not melt me makes me stronger-

Morning on the ice, afternoon riding your bike in crazy hot weather, it never fails to feel weird. However, at least it’s a “dry heat”.

What would happen if one combined these two images, fire+ice+a speedskater on a bike. I think it might look something like this-

This is Rochester speedskating team/coach/organizer Jim Cornell toughing it out on the bike leg of the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon. It poured rain all day long. Thanks to Marty Haire for the photo.

When Jim skates sick fast times this winter at world masters allaround champs in Norway, this is one of the moments he earned it.