Thursday, December 31, 2009

Au revoir '09!

The Grateful Dead sang "What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been"...and 2009 could apply on multiple levels. A year that started out with a full-frontal assault of PBR Bull Riding action ended with a surprise trip to England and a 'reunion' with swimming stars i had not seen in a couple of years.

Wrapped up in a big 'holiday bow', as a whole, the year was a perfect example of the axiom to ALWAYS be prepared for anything, and WILLING to work for EVERYTHING you believe in.

I'm not sure where 2010 will lead- aside from the framework of work, family, and working out- but i'm excited for the opportunities that will come. As the clock ticks down on a successful year, i can't help but plan on the next 12 months being even more exciting and fulfilling, both personally and professionally.

So, with that in mind, i pose the question to you...what's your 'story' going to be? Here's to finding out. Happy New Year everybody.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Manchester "United"

Apply the 'key' word on multiple levels...

This city is UNITED in it's celebration of Christmas...
The U.S.A. Swimming Team was UNITED in it's quest to win the 4th 'Duel in the Pool'...
I flew UNITED to get here...
And of course, this town in SOOOO UNITED in it's soccer MADNESS, it's ridiculous...

It was a great trip- a very 'spur-of-the-moment' opportunity- and i'm incredibly glad i got to come here for multiple reasons...first, in my quest for 'world domination', i had never experienced this town, so to be exposed to everything Manchester has to offer was more than worth it.

Second, i'd be lying if i said i didn't love covering swimming. It's my first sport, and one of my life's passions. So, even though it does not happen very much anymore, whenever i get a chance to talk to the US, and world's best, it's a great treat.

Finally, growing up in the Midwest, i know all about 'weather', and more specifically, "White Christmas'". To go from 70+ degrees in SoCal, to freezing temps here, and all that that entails, has been a blast from the past, and brought back some amazing memories.

I spent my final night here doing my own version of a lifeguarding tradition known as the "Bicycle Bar Hop". Of course i did not have a bike, and they are called 'pubs' here, but you get the drift. If you're a connoiseur of the libations, you have to love the names of some of the pubs in this area...

'The Roasted Pig and Bar"- complete with stretched out 'Wilbur'
"The Slug and Lettuce"- my personal favorite
"Ape and Apple"- a subliminal critique on our 'fall from grace'???
"The Tiger Lounge" (timely- hmmm, what do you think goes on there?!)
"Grinch"- perfect for the Holidays (especially for those that can't handle the DRINK)
"Cloud 23"- do you think it's 2.55 x better than "Cloud 9"???
"Panacea"- the drinks MUST be strong
"The Moon Under Water"- with all the 2012 hype...maybe they are on to something!

If you are a fan of swimming, make sure to check out Michael Phelps, Aaron Peirsol, Dana Vollmer, and the rest of the US team in action, and in dominating fashion, on Dec 27th, 2-4Pm EST. It will be well worth it.

Happy Holidays everybody.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Morning "Expresso"

If you travel a lot, you know finding the TIME to work out is often less difficult then finding a PLACE to work out. Having lived my life on the road for the good part of two decades, i'm always excited to come across something that actually makes working out FUN.

If you're looking for a way to give yourself an energy boost and 'jolt' your competitive juices at the same time, look no further than the "Expresso" machine in your local gym. Interactive Fitness Holdings is the name of the parent company, and the Expresso Interactive Bikes are the BOMB!

You can pick your course (close to 30 to choose from); you can pick your skill level; you control your place on the road/trail (via moveable handlebars), and well as your PACE through the myriad of courses. The shifting mechanism gives you over 20 'gears' to choose from, and the best part??? You can race people all around the world via the internet connection.

I used one of these bikes for the first time close to 2 years ago at a YMCA in Kansas City, and have been lucky enough to come across them a few more times since then. And every time it's been a blast.

My 'target' for the day was the course, "Savage Revenge"...plenty of climbing, shifting, and distance. The snowy scenery did nothing to cool down my intensity, and it certainly didn't alleviate the skyrocketing temperatures in my body as i pushed the pace. (I have to thank the woman next to me on the Stepper for not fleeing at the site of so much sweat pooling at the base of the machine!)

As i said before, the machine is designed to MAKE you follow the course, and avoid the fellow cyclists that are on the road. If you are like me, it's much more fun to PASS, than to BE PASSED, so you are in a constant state of what i like to call "Junkyard Dog-mode" (where you CHASE everything in front of you).

It makes for one heck of a great way to spend an hour...just make sure you've got a few more to recover!!

Kudos to the Tacoma YMCA for investing in these machines. I hope your 'regulars' appreciate what they have as much as this intrepid traveler did.