Wednesday, October 31, 2007

There Is Still Hope

In these days of overprotected kids, there's still hope.

I was walking my dog last week and I looked up a big hill, and saw two boys (~ 13 y.o.) with skateboards. This hill is long & steep with traffic, and a busy intersection at the bottom. The kids had no helmets or pads on (just like the good old days).

The first kid pushes off and comes flying down the hill, carving some big "S" turns. He makes the intersection no problem. The second kid thinks about it for a few minutes, sucks it up and launches down the hill. He has a lot less control, but makes it down without crashing. He also clears the intersection (barely).

I'm all for safety, but it's great to see kids go for it every now and again.

I gave them the thumbs up as I walk away.

Monday, October 29, 2007

100 x 2 = 200 miles

About 10 years ago, I was seriously thinking about doing a RAAM style / light weight bike ride across the USA. A credit card & fanny pack type of a ride. I even began to train for it.

I signed up for a somewhat hilly double century (200 miles) to test the waters.

Bike: My 1985 triple crank touring rig (now a single speed) - heavy, but reliable as heck.

Well, how did it go?

It took 13 hours & 20 minutes to cover the 200 miles. I was solo for most of the ride.

I broke the 200 miles down into 50-mile segments. For the most part, I felt pretty good up to about 170 miles. Then I met the "Man with the Hammer". The last 30 miles took me over 2 hours to complete. I could barely keep my head up.

I was like, "please someone hit me with a car & put an end to this suffering". It was rough.

After the ride I felt OK, but about 3 weeks later, my right knee blew out during one of my training rides.

Was it worth it?

Yes & No.

Yes - I realized that I'm not a RAAM type of guy. I'm into short & fast type of rides/races.

No - my knee still bothers me every now & again.

Did I learn anything?

Ultra distance events require lots of homework. You need the miles under your belt for sure.

But more importantly, it's one big mental test. If you got the brains, the muscles will follow.

Give ultra distance a try, at least once in your life.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Beach Boys Revisited or Skateboarding on Eastern Long Island in the 1970's

I was driving to work one early Monday morning and a string of Beach Boys' songs came on the radio station. If you grew up near the ocean like I did, your first cassette tape was most likely The Beach Boys (or KISS).

I grew up surfing and boogie boarding like a mad dog. I was the first kid on the beach with a boogie board that I ordered from Surfing magazine. And of course, your skating was a reflection of your moves on the waves. This meant you spent tons of hours carving your way down big hills. Then as surfing became more aggressive, we took to the pools & backyard ramps.

Then hardcore punk hit the scene and "skate & destroy" type of skateboarding took to the streets, hell bent on breaking the rules and pissing people off, which is good, I guess.

But I miss the skate - surf connection.

Things are changing though. More long boards are now out there, ripping up the pavement in true surf style.

Snowboarding was the same way. Early snowboarders were just surfers & skaters who couldn't afford to go South in the winter. So, surfers and skaters took to the snow-covered hills in the winter. Then snowboarding got a "screw you" attitude. But like skateboarding, I think, more boarders are moving out of the park/half pipe and experiencing the joy of curving down the fall line.

I love the ocean. I love the waves. I always wanted my skating & snowboarding to have that connection to the water.

Read up on Gerry Lopez (soul surfer). He's the real deal.

Good vibrations everyone.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Last week I did my Hospice clinical rotation, a very humbling experience indeed.

I spent about 45 minutes talking to a patient named John, who was a year younger than me and dying of cancer. John will not see November.

John was wearing a LiveStrong bracelet on his left wrist. It's kind of funny. When these bracelets first hit the scene a few years back, I think most people wore them to be fashionable and in their mind, be linked to Lance somehow.

But right in front of me was John, the real deal. A man who lost the fight.

I'll wear my LiveStrong bracelet with a little more thought from now on.

"The ones that you take for granted the most are the ones that you'll miss the most when they are gone."