Best Dam Race Recap

OK, now I just sound like someone on Fox Sports net, but the name of the race just lends itself to it.

Race day started early. Mad-City was putting the docks and ski jump in that morning and my whole team was at the work day. Things went relatively well and we finished up about 1030/1100 or so.

The jump on the way to the water

Something tells me the jump isn’t sitting quite right yet?

I had to get a little bit of head start knowing I had to both get an early lunch and get the boat loaded up and ready to go. I’m on the road at 1145 heading to Beaver Dam, boat in tow. Arrive at the bar for registration and get the paperwork out of the way and then make my way to the landing with Russ to get the boat in the water and make our way back to the bar, attend the pre-race meeting and then head out in the water as we get the boats lined up.

All the boats in the race tied up to the tiny dock

The Pocket Rockets before the race starts… we’re all still pain free right now!

The boats lining up… the people that win are over there somewhere

Once the boats are relatively lined up, I jump into the water and wait for all the lines to go tight and the horn to sound. Never have I felt so much pressure to make a deep water start. Water conditions weren’t ideal, it was windy and my boat’s bubbles are horrible. Last thing I want to do is miss my deep at the beginning of the race.

The wait finally ends, the boat takes off and I make the deep. Had a decent run through the water, but fall along time before I wanted to. First thing I do, turn and look and see a couple other boats already heading back to pick up their fallen footers. I wasn’t the first fall of the race.

Next up was Sandy, then Bugs, Beau and finally John. The water continued to beat up on us. Finally, Sandy manged to get her low rough water stance down and manages to get us to some ever so slightly calmer water. John has a a good run but when he stands up from the his fall, the water is at his knees. He swims out to the boat and deeper water. We continue.

Finally we see a boat in the distance with a flag. The turn around boat. There is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been waiting for. We finally get there and find out it isn’t the turn around boat… it was just there to help us find our way to the turn around boat. We keep going, watching the the UW Ski Team’s boat that is still behind us in the distance. Everybody else was way in front of us. We continue, taking header after header. I know I came up several times seeing stars.

Finally we see the boat that we’ve been waiting to see. It has a flag in it. It is the Bell’s Barefoot Nautique. It is the turn around boat. We managed to beat the UW Ski Team there, but that is it. An hour has elapsed as we made our way the 11 miles. We talking for a few minutes, we decide to call it. I was kinda of yea, it would nice to finish but man do I hurt. Beau wanted to continue, John wanted to stop. I think Sandy would have kept going, but Bugs was ready to call it a day as well. My mind was saying yes, but my body remembered all of the deep water starts so far and the beating it had taken bouncing on the waves. I was ready to call it.

At the turn around about and ready to cal it a day… everyone except Beau, he wants to keep going

We ask Dave Bell in the turn around boat for some beer but surprisingly he doesn’t have any in the boat. We have to go back to the Bell house for beer, half way down the lake. We throw Bugs some skis and he starts skiing back as Beau looks dejected in the back of the boat and I’m just exhausted. On the way to the Bell’s we find some calm water and decide to make the most of it. I jump and take a footing run. Nice water. After a good run, my right foot catches and I almost manage to recover before my left foot finally slips below the surface causing me to face plant once again.

My footing run on the way back. Look, calm water.

We get to the Bell’s, grab another rope, a set of skis and some beer. Then John and Bugs ski the rest of the way to the finish line. Race “completed” we put the boat away and head to the bar.

John and Bugs finishing up the race, beer in hand

Back at the bar… sunburned, exhausted and ready to drink

After a couple hours of R&R we decided to get the vehicles parked up at the Bell’s house, our ending destination that night. We turn their drive way into a parking lot… boats, trucks, cars completely filling it. Sandy shows up with a couple cases of Coor’s Light. We load up her boat and head north, away from the bars we are headed to make a detour at another bar and a little lake cruising. We eat and refuel a little, getting called asking where are we constantly, and finally make our way to the bar hosting the post race party.

Leaving the bar at the north end of the lake

We walk in the door and T-Bell is doing karaoke and Sandy instantly joins her sister on stage as Bugs buys us some Jaeger Bombs. The drinking starts full force now. What ever we had done before was just a warm up. Beau, Bugs & John step up to the stage and pretty much get booed back off of it for the performance of Crash Test Dummies song Mmm, Mmm, Mmm…

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm…

A couple shots later (some sort of really good tequila with Sandy and the 3 Wise Men with Bugs) I do Pearl Jam’s Smile (still a little peaved that they didn’t have Black Betty for karaoke.)

Jose, Jack and Jim are good friends of ours

Later on I do a little Neil Diamond and then at the end of the night manage to talk the DJ into just playing Black Betty for me to sing along too.

Whhhhooo Black Betty, Bam-a-lam!!!

The DJ does the last song and we decide to head out for a cold ride in the boat back to the house. We make it back in one piece, nearly frozen. 30 minutes later with probably 20 seasoned water skiers working on it, we manage to get the boat most of the way onto the lift and almost all the way into the boat house. It was an exercise in futility as we all had our own ideas on what to do and nobody was listening to each other. Luckily no one fell and got hurt.

Once in the house, it is nearing 3am and I’m exhausted. I find a recliner and a blanket and crash only to be woken up just a few hours later by dogs jumping on me. I manage to get sleep on and off until 9am when Bugs and Beau get up to leave. That’s when I start to move, drinking water and taking decongestant to try and clear my seriously stuffed up nose.

All in all, it was a very fun 22 miles of boozing up and down the lake.

These pictures and more can be found in the web album below.

2007.05.12 – Best Dam Barefoot Race
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Best Dam Barefoot Race

Well, yesterday we (Pocket Rockets) competed in the Best Dam Barefoot race hosted by the Beaverland Must-Skis. We took second to last, beating the UW Ski Team to the turn around buoy before calling it a day. Probably did about 9 or 10 deeps with everyone ending in a fall, most of them violent. The water was very rough and my boat has nasty bubbles.

Sandy managed to get us through a lot of the rough water with a very low stance (that most guys would find painful) and both Bugs & Beau also did some damage to the distance we needed to go. It wasn’t one of my better footing days, but I contributed. John isn’t a fan of the rough water.

They’ll be a much longer recap once I get the photos from during the race, but here is our post race back at the bar and relaxed team photo.

Bugsy, Beau (aka Peach), John, Sandy, Wedge & Russ
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The Pocket Rockets

Here it is, race day. The Beaverland Must-Skis barefoot endurance race is tomorrow at 1pm. My team, the Pocket Rockets, will be competing. We all just love to foot. The team consists of Sandy, John, Bugs, Beau and myself.

Sandy is a very solid footer in excellent shape but has only been out footing twice this year. Throws a really clean tumble too. Probably the most enthusiastic footer on the team after myself.

John is also a very solid footer but has also only been footing a handful of times this year. Likes to ride a long way on his ass during deeps, also throws down the tumble turns as well.

Bugs is kinda of a wild card. He’s a very solid footer as well, but not sure on his distance ability. Threw down a lap on Thursday night so there is promise.

Beau is the wild card. Yes he can foot. He can even backfoot, back to fronts and probably much more as well. He’s only been footing this year once that I know off so distance is the question mark with him. I’ve never seen him go really far.

Then there’s me. Can’t tumble (yet), can’t backfoot, but I can go forward and just keep going. Use to be a good rough water footer, but last summer’s weeds in the bay changed that.

5 footers that are racing to have a good time. Who knows how we’ll actually do in the race, but it’ll be fun!!! And then there will be the post race festivities that will also be a blast.

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Busy Week of Footing

This week has been a hectic one. But that is good. After the weather last weekend, I needed a change and the change came in early this week.

Honestly can’t remember the weather from Monday, but I know we had great conditions on Tuesday. Hit the water shortly after 5, calm winds, warm and sunny. Joining me were Sandy, T-Bell and Paul. I started off the night by doing about 1.5 laps to start with then going again and doing another lap on my second pull. On my second set later on in the night I did 1 lap, then immediately did .75 laps and then another .75 laps. Lots of footing. Sandy finally manged to get her first runs of the year in. She had previously tried on Saturday, but we had the rope issues courtesy of 7. She hasn’t forgotten how to foot either. She was also doing laps by the end of the night. T-Bell also joined in the laps around the bay as well. Paul’s footing night was cut short because of inner ear issues, but somehow still manged to do some flips on his wakeboard latter on. Needless to say, we put miles of water under our feet that night. Here’s a picture from Sandy’s first run of the year (not counting when she dropped a elbow in the water on her first cheek out.)

Sandy’s first run of the year

We actually did a little math to figure out how far we were going. Took 1 minute to go half way around the bay. 2 minutes made for a loop. 40 MPH that is about 1 1/3 miles a loop.

After getting home at 8 on Tuesday, I turned around and headed out for a dinner with a friend from college that was in town. We hit up the Wreary Traveler, Old Fashions (for cheese curds) and finished up at the Dane. Needless to say, this made for a very long, but very fun day and night.

Wednesday, I recovered. Also talked about skiing on Thursday but it didn’t look like it was going to work out so we called it off. Then about noon people started pestering me via email and phone. It was good pestering. After lunch I had decided to head out after work and at 230 had the people lined up.

After making the trip home to grab the boat and then back to the lake, we hit the water at 6. 7 & Ronée were the first to join me. We cruised into the bay. I took the first set, 2 pulls each around the bay. 7 then stunned us by making his deeps and making it half way around in 3 pulls. Ronée took a quick slalom run, even managed to have a nice wipe out as she picked the weeds off the rope. By now, we had been joined by Bugs and John who also wanted to get some runs in. Each did a lap or so. By the end of the night I had down about 5 laps around the bay, managed to hit something with my left foot (it still hurts tonight) and at some point managed to lodge a sliver or something in my right foot. Here are some pictures from the skiing on Thursday.

7 Footing

7 No Longer Footing

Ronée slaloming – her first time on the water this year

Sandy footing

Apparently I’m going around a corner

Bug man testing out 7’s wakeboard

The Whole Crew from Thursday night

Then Friday, I hit the lake again. This time for more recreation than footing. Still took a loop around the bay, but that was it.

Tomorrow… Beaverland Must-Skis Barefoot Race… 22 miles of fun.

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Spider-Man 3

Well, this is one of the big movies of the summer and based on the box office so far, it is doing very well so far. I’ll be curious as to how much does in weekend number 2. Will there be repeat business? Repeat business is what makes the a movie into a modern day blockbuster ($250,000,000+). I don’t think there is any question it’ll do that, but will it do 500?

I caught this movie on the local IMAX on Monday night and my initial impression was it was a fun movie to watch. I had heard parts were complicated to follow but I would disagree. The movie has more plot than the average action movie so you do have to pay attention to follow the story, but it isn’t overly complicated or anything like that.

What really had me worried going into this movie the shear number of villains in the movie… you have the Green Goblin back, The Sandman is introduced and Venom appears. This brought back memories of the Batman movie franchise when the went from one villain in the first movie to two in the second and three in the third with each movie worse than the one before. Don’t even get me started about the fourth movie.

The writers walked a very fine line in Spider-Man 3, but they pulled it off coming up with a good enough story that balanced the 3 villains, introduced them and still kept a story going. My main issue with the Batman movies was in the third one it was an intro, meet villain #1, meet villain #2, meet villain #3, villains individually can’t defeat Batman so they team up… and still lose. There really wasn’t a good story connecting everything together.

I’m still trying to figure out where it falls compared to the first two and didn’t like it as much as Batman’s reintroduction in Batman Begins, but it was a good movie and if you like your friendly neighborhood superhero, you should like this one. Watching it on the IMAX always helps the experience too.

On a slightly related note, with ski season coming into full swing now, the number of movie reviews will slow during the summer. I’ll still try to get the big movie reviews out, but probably won’t be writing about everything I see in the summer. If you want to know my thoughts about a movie, drop me a note and if I’ve seen, I’ll let you know my thoughts.

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7’s Rope Wrapping Skills

The weekend so far has been a windy one. 15 MPH winds out of the east and for Lake Monona, that is a poor direction for this lake. The far east shorline along the city of Monona’s shoreline isn’t very well sheltered like the north shorline and the Isthmus and it is also very shallow in spots. Over in the bay, the east shoreline corresponds to the John Nolen Drive and railrode track shoreline, neither of which do much blocking of the wind since they sit maybe 8 feet above the water level.

Yesterday evening we had planned to do some skiing, but with the strong winds and the threat of scattered showers and it just not being very warm, we called it and decided to head out another day. Without an evening of skiing, we decided to head out latter that night. The group started off small at the Dane in Fitchburg before migrating to the Essen Haus and Come Back Inn where reinforcements showed up. Here’s a picture of the survivors of the night of revelry.

It’s nearly 230am we are are all doing fine!!!

After getting home much too late, Saturday morning came early. I hooked up the boat, loaded stuff up and proceeded to head down to the ski team work day. That’s when I figured out my brakes were not quiet right in the truck. Coming down a hill, not even going fast, I finally get the truck to stop after pushing my foot through the floor practically and then I saw puffs of smoke come from both my right and left front tires. I decided to head back home and started making some calls. About 2 hours latter with a different vehicle I headed to the work day.

When the work day finished up, Sandy and I talked 7 in to acting as our third. I had my rope setup for the barefoot race next weekend and wanted to try it out before hand. After braving the white caps and making it to the bay, we were set to try it out. Well the rope worked and that is when the fun started…

7 was driving the boat and comes back to pick me up. He’s comes over, a little hot, then leaves it in gear as I try to swim to the back off the boat through the prop wash. I climb into the boat and as I’m checking to see if the rope is clear before Sandy hops in and the boat drifts over the prop and you can guess what happens next.

“Stop the boat!!!”

I see rope coming from the distinct location of the prop area. Not good. Pull on the rope. No dice. I get back into the water and dive under the boat and try to untangle it. Still no dice. I’m out breath from the barefoot runs still so Sandy joins me the water.

Now you need to remember that Sandy lived in Florida for three years before moving back last fall. She’s use to nice warm water and bright sunny days. today there was some sun, but not much. There was also some warmth, if you call 65 degrees warm. Just not great weather for our Florida girl’s first runs of the year… if we can get the rope off the prop.

10 minutes later were still playing with the rope. Then I get the idea of lets take the ski platform off the back of the boat, then we don’t need to dive under the water to play with the rope. Platforms off and work on the rope resumes.

20 minutes or so later, we are officially frustrated, laughing about it and slowly making progress. 7 is high and dry in the boat. He hadn’t planned on skiing and didn’t have any ski equipment with him. I tell 7 to grab the camera out of my bag so he can capture our feelings about him at this point in time…

No, we’re not giving you the reader the finger, these are for 7 who
is standing on the other side of the camera and is nice and dry.

We finally get the rope off the prop, apparently undamaged. Both Sandy and I are very cold after spending 30+ minutes in the 60 degree water. 60 degree water is fine for ski sets, but spend some significant time and the toes go a little numb and legs get cold. Sandy was cold enough we she even called it a day without even taking a set. Can’t blame her.

We make our way back to the landing and head home.

Can’t say it was a great day on the lake, but the rope I made up for the barefoot race worked and we have a great story to tell about 7 for the rest of eternity.

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One Good Weekend…

Up north here in Madison we had some very good weather this past weekend… considering it is still April, 70s on Saturday and pushing 80 on Sunday.

On Friday night, it was just a little tortuous to not hit the lake with the good weather, but I had planned on attending a concert that night. Plus everyone that would’ve been skiing with me was going to the concert too. Caught the Wisconsin Singers and UW MadHatters at the Wisconsin Union Theater doing a fund raiser for the UW Children’s Hospital. The Wisconsin Singers were good, they combine unique arrangements of popular music with dance and they pulled off both pretty good. The MadHatters were wow… Definitely recommend catching them at some point in their own show. Very glad I went to the show. After the show we (Bugs, Ronée, Imhoff and myself) hit up the Great Dane and then a piano bar.) Made for a late night but it was a lot of fun.

After working on the our ski team’s doc most of the morning and mowing my lawn that afternoon, I hit the lake on Saturday afternoon with 7, John and Beau. The forecast called for a calm 5 MPH wind out of the northwest. In reality, we had 15 MPH winds gusting to 20. Not ideal ski conditions, but actually a pretty good direction for the wind to come from for Lake Monona. Skied along the John Nolen Drive shore in relatively calm water. Had a couple nice foot runs. The main lake is now a balmy 49 degrees. I braved it with just a wetsuit, but it was cold.

49 Degree Water and I Still Have a Smile on My Face

For those that don’t know, this is how you get up barefooting…


Beautiful day for a barefoot walk around the lake…

7 Displaying is mad wakeboarding skills… can’t give him too much crap… he did make a wake 180

7 can legitimately slalom… nice cut, tight rope, good tail [nice photo by John too!]

John posing for the camera before his run

John on the slalom ski

John on the slalom ski again

Then Beau shows up and back foots

That night I hit the Weary Traveler and ran into T-Bell. Ate some dinner, drank some German Pilsner and then headed across the street to celebrate Bug’s 30th birthday.

The next day I hit the lake with T-Bell and Lisa D. Once again the wind was strong, this time out of the southwest and still pushing 20 MPH with even stronger gusts. We hit the bay in search of calm water. Monona Bay, just off the main lake, had a water temp of about 59 degrees… much nicer. I was still a bit drained from the previous day (read into that what you want) but once I hit the water, I felt great. Still felt sun burned though. Lisa braved the water in little more than her swim suit and didn’t complain. T-Bell, sporting a barefoot suit claimed we were lying about the water being nice and warm.

One of my runs from Sunday… managed to do a couple brief one foots for the first time this year…

Lisa D on her slalom ski. She braved the water in little more than her swim suit. Hadn’t skied in nearly a year
and still can cut it up on the slalom ski. Managed to maintain her cuts all the way through the wake.

Finished up on Sunday by attending our dry land practice… nothing like centering four highs with sun burned shoulders. Not so fun.

All in all, a very good weekend, even with the wind. Now I just need about another 30 or so of these and I’ll be a happy camper.

Links to full size versions of these pictures:
Skiing with John, 7 & Beau
Skiing with T-Bell & Lisa D

BTW, tonight, its pouring rain again. Severe t-storm warning is probably causing my HD recording of 24 to be in SD. That’ll piss me off. Stupid weather.

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