New Header & a Question

The new picture on the header of the blog, of my skates cutting through the water, is thanks to the previously mentioned Shadowcatcher LTD photos from the Jack Shea Sprint classic.

I think they have a ton of photos, far more than they posted. If you were one of the skaters at that meet, give them a ring, they might have the ultimate photo of you.

Here is a serious question: When I meet folks who read this blog, I often ask “what do you like the best about this blog? What would you like to see more of?” Usually the answer I get goes something like “I like the variety & unpredictable blend of stuff, keep doing what you are doing”.

The 600-700 unique visitors every day, from all over the world, makes me think this site hit some nerve. “ZATAOSS” (as a friend of mine calls this site) started out a very personal thing, I just wanted to keep my friends & family up to date with what I was doing, and capture my experience leading up to Olympic trials so I could look back on it in 20 years & have a good laugh.

But now it’s something else, a continually evolving thing. Maybe it’s a side effect of the sad fact that the total number of decent speedskating sites written in English is maybe a dozen. A sad number for a beautiful sport that deserves far better.

So for my small part to do better, and be the change, I have just been posting whatever seems fun. Right now video is fun, so I have been playing around with that (it’s worth mentioning a HUGE thanks to the folks who contributed to the tip jar! YOU made it possible!!).

If folks have opinions/ideas, I’d love to hear them. As I sadly scale back my own full-time devotion to skating, due to the hairy-clawed beast of financial necessity, this site will by necessity change, but how it will change remains to be seen.

4 Responses to “New Header & a Question”

  1. Andrew…

    Thank you for all of the mentions for ShadowCatcher. We cannot thank you enough.

    We love your blog any way, shape or form. Keep it up.

    Take care!

    Lori & Mike

  2. Andrew, the new header is marvellous. First and most of all it’s an excellent sharp picture. It shows everything: ice, skates, speed (and what kind of protection are you wearing against the rain and water - did it work…)
    this picture tells a lot about speed and other dynamics of skating.

    Remarkably, it’s also a striking image of this winter-in-progress. This whole year so far it has never been so rainy and windy as ever before at our outdoor skating rink in Amsterdam. Last thursday all kinds of materials started flying around and people had to leave the ice before they started to be blown away and fly around too - gone with the wind; wind force 12. Yes, reality is pouring in at the end of this month: end of the ice-season is getting really close.
    I really like you site because it gives me nice chances to get tastes of american skaters fanatic about ice and skating. And having a good time on and around the ice. I’m especially looking forward to the training related stuff - laps by your famous countrymen-skaters as you have Hedrick, etc.; and also the ten questions-items.
    I really hope you find ways/means and time to continue the site; what about some sponsoring (usa olympic committee.. ?)
    take care
    Keep up the good works -
    mazzel Jules

  3. Hey Andrew,

    Well, you hear a lot of my comments in person or get them on email, but I’ll say a few things here…

    I, like most other people, enjoy the variety of your posts. It is just the right mix of your personality, things that are new and interesting (video), all different skaters skating, interviews, a little bit of politics, skating-related issues people care about, your individual friends that not everyone knows (my hands with that trail mix), and of course coffee.

    You’ve stuck with a lot of your original ideas for the blog while also developing it along with everybody’s interests and where your skating has been going.

    I like that you pick up on a theme for each post and make it 100% excellent every time, for anything from the tree by the road to Chris Shelley’s interview to making sure you get results up.

    You also don’t hide anything, and again, that includes a variety of things - your journey to and through making category 1, experimenting with video formats, issues in masters racing, Lilly’s love of squirrels, whether you are happy or upset. And there’s nothing fake. At the same time you respect everyone involved by asking permission to post pictures, avoiding too-personal information, and answering caring commenters.

    A lot of us can use this as a reference: What does good technique look like again? Did we have an acronym for negative split in a 1500? What’s the best coffee place in Ithaca?

    So…the content should still go along with your life while, as you would say, the “soul” of the blog should stay the same :)

  4. Soul & spirits should definitely stay the same. I from this side of the world like to see how you in USA are skating (on ice/ on asfalt in summertime). So I wouldn’t mind to get links of remarkable races. Like this one of last Saturday, Sweden - Borlange- 150Km. On thursday the organisation was afraid the race was to be cancelled because of thin and very watery ice. For a change the weather changed again. Minus10 C= 14F during the race. Winning time: 4.14.09; the film 23 minutes. Sorry - no subtitles.

    Look in the long list under
    Reportages en interviews Studio Sport (in orange) Go down on the list, and click on almost the last item called

    Marathonschaatsen: de tweede wedstrijd in … that’s the one.

    (Speaking of cold; you may want to watch the next item cycle cross…)

    Let’s hope it works. BTW has live coverages of European and World LT Championships. Of course you knew this already.

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