Zen and the Art of Speedskating

July 19, 2007

Photos from Napa

Filed under: from the coffee shop — andrew @ 12:10 pm

These images are courtesy of Darlene Prois, thanks!

for larger versions (I did a bit of cropping), click on the images for full size originals.

As my body slowly recovers from the damage of a marathon, it’s wonderfully strange to look at the difference between memory & the objective proof of a photo.

Here is one thing my memory still can’t quite wrap around, Knut in his crazy skinsuit & areo fishtail helmet.

It’s worth saying that the skinsuit did not really look like this, as he moved the light was reflected in a constantly changing pattern from it… It was kind of like multi-colored trippy disco-ball. I was behind him during the race for a few moments, it was quite dazzling.

Here was the start; clearly visible is my open-mouthed “holy crap!!” reaction to racing in a big pack again! The eventual winner, Mike, is on the far right, with a very ice looking long track complete extension to his push.

A good view of the course, it rolled & rolled.

The breakaway of 5, working hard.

Grant Foster in Front, Followed by Andy Zak, Mike Anderson, Myself, & Rob Motta hidden behind us.

As I am fond of quoting

“it never gets any easier, you just go faster”
-Greg Lemond

I think the expression on Mike’s face proves this. Remember, when I say he was the “strongest” in the race, that doesn’t mean he did not work incredibly hard while applying this strength.

Here I am leading the breakaway on the hill, I actually wrote about this moment, as I looked up while skating & noticed photgraphers in an open backed minivan.

We must be near the top as I am double pushing. You can actually clearly see that I am “pulling” the legs together like scissors, helping add oomph to the underpush.

Gosh, I am so friggin pale compared to the other guys! At the back of the group is Rob Motta in the blue, he did a ton of leading this day, and it’s only odd chance that the published photos show him in the back!

In marathons, groups of similar ability skaters tend to gather & skate together. Here is a bunch of rec skaters on a nasty hill a mile or two from the finish. You really don’t need expensive equipment & flawless technique to skate a marathon, it’s a very open sport.

I want to end this with a thought to accomplished inliners. If you wonder about who the largest sponsor of big marathons is, it’s folks like this.

The vast majority of attendees at marathons are rec skaters. Their own personal battles & reasons they skate, turned into race entry fees, make these events financially possible. Without them, there would be no outdoor racing worth spit.

Many advanced skaters understand this, but some don’t.

So when you are speaking to an intermediate/rec skater, answer every question about training or equipment, be encouraging, be kind, keep that sparkle in your eye and the memory of all the folks who have helped you in your thoughts, because honestly, you are speaking to one of your sponsors.

The sport will be stronger for it.

13 Comments »

  1. So does that mean I can ask you as many questions as I want? (jk)

    Comment by Tim — July 19, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

  2. only if you skate lots of events!!

    just kidding!!

    but really, people ask me stuff all the time… the only reason I don’t answer is when I am buried in work…

    Comment by andrew — July 19, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  3. Good point on the rec. skaters. Hiking back after my crash, a number of them asked if I was OK, several offered cell phone use, etc. Lot’s of kindness and lot’s of smiles.

    DJ

    Comment by DJ — July 19, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  4. I remind you about your previous blog about skin cancer.

    I know a number of people who developed melanomas on their legs. In this case it is good to be pale.Sunscreen belongs everywhere there is skin showing.

    Comment by Andrew's mom — July 19, 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  5. Andrew: Well stated regarding novice skaters. The height and strength of any pyramid depends on the size of its base. A few kind words from an expert can be enough to sell a novice forever.

    Andrew’s Mom: Good advice on the sunscreen. Mom’s qualify as automatic experts.

    Comment by Ted — July 19, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  6. A wise friend of mine once said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” Huh? — she meant, OK, you’ll never be a concert pianist, but if you love to play, play! Don’t shy away from skating because you can’t be elite; don’t be intimidated by guys like Andrew (especially Andrew. who’s so kind and supportive) - do it and enjoy it.

    Comment by kate — July 20, 2007 @ 6:33 am

  7. If you don’t try, you will never know what you are missing.

    Comment by grandpa Ed — July 20, 2007 @ 10:57 am

  8. Andrew intimidating? Nah!

    Looking to Andrew and how well he skates is even more reason to push your way through the ranks from couch potato to elite level.

    I’ll take my “Wrath of Grapes” anyway I can.

    Dish it up!!!

    Comment by Tim "Skeeler" Demerjian — July 20, 2007 @ 1:05 pm

  9. I have been lurking on your blog for awhile now and this is the first time I have engaged on a article. Great information!

    Comment by Lou Absalon — October 15, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

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