Where?

My mom & a few other good friends have emailed me, asking “are you ok? Your blog is silent!”

Before I get to that, here are some images:

The ice at the Utah Oval has been laid this past week, here is what it looked like on Friday-

And finally, today, it was skatable! Yay!

Here it is on the last few moments before any skate touched it.

It’s pure, clear, and feels like a virginal baseball diamond before spring training begins to tear upon it with frantic cleated intensity.

I shuffled out on the ice in my socks to get this image. I am standing at the 500m start line. Click on the image for a larger one

I’m an extreme night owl who married a morning person, and I do a sport requiring lots of early mornings. If it weren’t for occasional moments like this, I’d consider mornings a huge ripoff.

My training mix right now is technically focused short track, maximum strength focused lifting, and bike racing for a nice dash of brutality.

On this 3 hour mountain bike ride, I could not get that song “fields of gold” out of my head. Of course the terrain had something to do with it, downtown Salt Lake is in the distance.

Cycling is a solid fitness base for skating. In another one of my two dozen semi-finished posts that will probably never see the light of day, I wrote about the “speedskaters hillclimb” that about 30 athletes took on.

Here is April Medley hammering up a relentless grade. Does she have a grimace of effort? a smile that the finish is just around the corner? Or is it a mystery?

Her best friend Ashley, fighting the switchbacks. The incomparable Teri Willingham shot many photos at the event and the huge party afterwards (thanks Don for letting your house be overwhelmed by skaters!)

I take back every nasty & doubting thing I have ever said before about short track. I finally have some control, but not nearly as much as studs like Matt & Anthony.

It’s surprising how much short track seems to improve everything else. It’s like this activity seems to supercharge the bodies’ capacity to “do”.

The national team long trackers are also doing some short track. Brent Aussprung has just moved out to Utah, to join the national sprint team (he has a very nice website, by the way) and his folks were briefly out here.

This photo would have been perfect, Brent skating along, his parents just over his shoulder, the Utah sun reaching in the windows. However I made one mistake- The skater is the identically dressed Tucker Fredericks. Oops.

Originally the knife was the skaters body, the fork & spoon were where the blades are & Eric Krann was explaining some points of weight transfer technique over dinner.

and then I had to add snow (salt) and then some comment about skating on gravel in lake placid (the pepper), and then heaps of splenda to represent the artificial ice in salt lake…

Then a glass of water was knocked over and chunks of ice scattered everywhere, and that became the oval at Butte. The whole table was in stitches.

It was one of those weird, skater moments that 99.9% of Humanity would just not get.

So, how I started this post was to answer the question where have I been?

I’m exhausted, utterly and completely crushed beyond caring. Why? Here is the list:

1. Work has been extremely intense, professionally very promising, but emotionally intense.

2. Morning short track plus a full work day plus a second workout takes a lot out of me

3. Bike races are HARD, lovely, fun, but taking away my last grams of strength

4. I am still writing posts, and photographing, but I am so tired much of the time, I just can’t “finish” them. It’s not training tired, it’s just that there is too much “going on” kind of tired.

5. Some stuff I seem to be writing these days is a tad too personal for this space.

6. Oddly enough, watching my wife ripen like a watermelon (Jess is six months pregnant now) has not added to my exhaustion, it’s absolutely fascinating to see your partner go through this & it must be profoundly weird to experience.

I think, 3 months from now, I will have even more reasons to be tired.

All this said, I skated long track for the first time this season, and felt absolutely astonishingly good, go figure.

12 Responses to “Where?”

  1. Andrew, the ice looks gorgeous. Kudos for you guys!

    All your exhaustion will pay off; you can sleep when you’re dead. ;D

  2. Hooray for the new ice. When I was there in May it was just a big, concrete slab. Would love to know how they introduce the water onto the pavement.

    And Horray to see a post from you. Glad all is well (in the big scheme of things!).

    There’s a current spot on the daily Tour de France updates about skidding out…”If you want to know what it’s like, strip down to your underwear, get in a car and go 45 mph and jump out the window”. Ouch…Travis and Anthony take that to a new height in the photos.
    Hi to Jess!

  3. […] Posted on July 16, 2008 by peterdoucet Andrew Love’s most recent entry is called Where?. It’s an original and great post that covers a wide array of […]

  4. Hey Andrew- love the fork, knife, and spoon story!

  5. Quite a few people that I’ve spoken with over the years of skating have told me how detrimental short track is to a long tracker, and the older you get the harder it is to go back and forth without losing something.

    I know from skating both that yes, it’s a transition that takes time and a feeling that you have to relearn, but doesn’t get worse overtime, you just build stronger motor pathways that enable a skater to make the switch easier. Short track is also much more technical at a higher rate of speed. Instead of having 100m. to get something right or being able to screw up and still recover; short track allows you almost no time. You screw up and you’re in the back or close to it. I’ve been doing almost all short track every weekend and weights, and running (not so much biking) and it’s paying off. Plus living 1000ft. higher than Salt Lake makes a transition much easier, as well as the springs which is 2000ft. higher than the Salt Lake valley.

    I understand that condiments story as I’ve skated on Keystone lake and nearly had my blade go into a crevasse a couple times not knowing there was one because of all the snow. It’s also the first time I realised that ice and water can have differing elevations. Going uphill on a lake felt very strange, but the whole thing was rewarded when I was given a free beer (I think the bartender forgot to charge me for it, oh well. Oor maaybe he didn’t (no typos there btw).

    I’m also getting my new LT boots within the next month with a nice custom design (ok, so it’s a flag) on the lace cover and blades to go with it.

  6. The blog is back! Hey Andrew, if you can’t do any writing for the blog, at least keep posting your fantastic pics (and others’), they tell their own stories!

    SOL (shrieking out loud) about the Butte analogy…

    Cycling burnout can kill an athlete’s enthusiasm so much, I sometimes don’t even WANT to eat as much as it demands me to-then I turn to calorie dense, non-filling, cold delectable icecream just to get by :D. a new meaning for “comfort food.” Maybe you need some kind of comfort food to get by in these hard stressful days, Andrew!

  7. Andrew,

    Really GREAT PHOTOS as usual :)

    Perhaps It is time you became just a bit more selfish.

    A little less blogging, and more focus on YOU and your Family.

    A GREAT Dutch coach once told me “If you want to be a great skater, You have to be a bit Selfish”

    You have Much Talent, and perhaps a good idea to focus more….Just a thought.

    Also, remember too with Training, it should be QUALITY, over quanity………Week after week of High Intensity, is not a good thing.

    OK a “Shock Cycle” at the end of summer for 2-3 weeks, FINE…….But cycle in an EASY Week, every 14-21 Days May-Aug, so you can climb that “Ladder Of Specific Fittness”.

    Focus IS Key :)

  8. Isn’t that Nick Frank in the picture with Anthony?

  9. The oval pictures are utterly beautiful, and since it is the oval it looks utterly EMPTY too!

    Show up tomorrow night at about 7pm to the oval. there should be close to 2,000 people crowding the oval for ROLLER DERBY!

    Yes, NOS will be playing! BTW, you missed the demolition of Ft. Collins. 135 to 91 last weekend.

    Maybe “El Blue Demon” can make an appearance at the “lucha en patines”!!

    Home alone 2night? Come out for some FNS. (friday night skating!). What the hell, it is only your legs you will be frying!!! Tomorrow at 9am we go inlining! care to add that to the mix?

  10. Wow. Those pictures got me really PUMPED for moving out there!

  11. Ooo, I love the pictures (as always)! That one with Ashlee makes me want to jump right into the picture with my bike. That is really funny with the fork etc. And I think you have most of the 0.1 percent of humanity here and getting it!

    I agree with you and Bri that short track helps, and I would never say it had anything to do with age. It’s all about experience and comfort skating and switching around.

    Mel, I like the “comfort food” thought!

    I hope you get to enjoy things instead of letting ‘em be stressful!!

  12. ooooh baby… ice porn…

    (adds to the love-in)

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