Finally… Some Almost Warm Weather

Finally had a chance to bust out the boat last weekend on Saturday morning and have a good time on the water. I forced everyone to have a early wake up, even though it is a late start for skiing, still early as we all adjust to a summer morning skiing schedule. I called for people to be at the lake at 830am. As I pulled in just a couple minutes late, I saw Sandy and John waiting. We launched the boat as Teri called to say that Rob and her were “almost” there. About 15 minutes after we got the boat in the water, they arrived, through no fault of Rob’s, or so he claims. Next time, I plan to just tell Teri 30 minutes earlier than the rest of us. They did bring some trail mix for everyone to snack on though.

Back to the skiing… We didn’t freeze, calm water and lots-o-sunshine. John, Teri and I did some footing, Sandy did a little slaloming, Rob got dragged around on the boom (much to our entertainment), and then we busted out my new surfboard. I won’t go into details about the day, I’ll just let the pictures do the talking… We took lots of them, and here the best of the pictures…


John threw some tumbles…


and one foots…


and did we mention he likes to test out his barefoot shorts…


I just did some footing… here I am in front
of the hospital I’m spending a lot of time in now…
(Work reasons, not health reasons)


Teri demonstrated a tumble turn on the boom


John wanted to have some on the boom too


Sandy busted out her slalom ski to rehab her knee…
her she throws up a wall behind the spray from the boat


A better picture…


Here I’m making sure the surfboard works


Teri on the board from up high…


and down low…


That wave looks huge!


John actually looses the rope now and then…


No rope…


But sometimes needs it back


Rob learned how to surf…


Here’s he on top of the water…


Here he’s about to go upside down…


It wasn’t that warm out though…
Sweatshirts made the day very nice
Sandy’s catching some rays here


And here’s the backdrop for our skiing, the state capital

Back to my earlier comment about dragging Rob around on the boom… he tried he hand (or feet) at barefooting. Now he’s not a small person and tested out the boom. He threw up some big splashes with some of his tumble up attempts, even dosing the camera once. We decided to catch them on video. I need to do a little editing and set the videos to music for maximum entertainment value. Be sure to check back.

Links: Picasa Web Album

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22 Miles of Booze, or There and Back Again, a Drinking Tale

This past Saturday, the Best Dam Barefoot Race took place in Beaver Dam, WI. This year, I suited up with Bugsy, Beau, Dano and Marky to go the distance. Russ was driving for us in his Malibu.

Beau, Bugsy, Wedge, Dano and Marky Ready for 22 Miles of Fun

The weather this year, although not warmer than last year, was better than last year. The winds were much calmer, making the race like a Nascar Race. One slip up and you’re not going to win. For the race results, go check out Tales from the Foot. Basically, they messed up a pit stop and lost the race.

We didn’t have delusions of winning, we just wanted to finish. Shortly after the winners finished the race in a mere 23 minutes, we approached the turn around boat. The story in the bar afterwards goes that we stopped for a “drink” before making the return trip. We’ll neither confirm nor deny that, all we’ll say is that we were happy to see the turn around boat and they were happy to see us.

We finished the race, riding the feet of Marky, Dano and Beau while Bugsy and I did our contributions by giving them some recovery time and entertainment. Admittedly for all of us, it was a rough day. I’ve been on the water once, Dano a couple time, Bugsy did a 3-Event tourny (but hadn’t footed) while Beau and Marky suited up for the first time. None of were really ready for 22 miles, but we went anyways. Towards the end of race, the cold started to take affect, but then we finally spotted the bar and the finish line and rolled across the finish line 63 minutes and 43 seconds after we started.

But when the race finished, the party began.

We put the boat away, dried off and made our way into Dawn and Woody’s Moonlight Bar for food and drink. Before anything got too wild, we parked our cars at the Bell residence and car pooled back to the bar. We planned to have a good time.

As we arrived back at the bar, the karaoke was starting up. Beau, Dano and Marky had to head back to Madison for various reason, but we had reinforcements show up. Sandy and Beth were there to cheer us on, John arrived a little later, Teri was there as well with her own team and Douch arrived for the party as well. Many of us took turns on the stage… Sandy and Teri sang many songs, Pa Bell took the stage, Bugsy graced us with a boy band song, I did some Fishin’ in the Dark and got to sing along with Black Betty.

It took a while to get them to play Black Betty. First they said they’d already played and couldn’t play it again. Then I called them on the fact that they had already repeated several songs that night. Then they were like we don’t have a karaoke version and I told them I knew the words. After Douch made a comment about wanting ot hear it, they finally relented. It took way too much work to get that song played.

While I snacked on some cheese curds, Ann quizzed me on how I thought they were. I gave them 3 stars. They had a good batter on them and were white cheddar so they were pretty decent. We agreed that the curds at Old Fashions would be 5-star cheese curds and the variety served at The Coliseum Bar and The Dane in Fitchburg 4-stars. Ann then tried a cheese curd and agreed they’d be a 3-star cheese curd.

Talked with Footstock Dave and Chris Van Zeeland a little bit (he’d seen my other barefooting sight and liked it.) Shot some pool and caught up with some friends from the Must-Skis. All the while, I had a steady supply of margaritas on the rocks. I felt very good by the end of the night and none of us went home thirsty that night.

Here are some pictures from the night…


Wedge, Douch and a One of Many Margaritas


Bugsy on the Dance Floor


T-Bell and Wedge


Bugsy strikes a pose


Bell Duet

Around 11pm or so, we made it back the Bell house for the after bar. We arrived to find the garage fridge nearly empty, but Greg showed up with reinforcements. Meanwhile, Ma Bell kept feeding us with a steady supply of pizza. What some people found amazing was I was eating the pepperoni pizza even though it also had mushrooms on it. I don’t normally eat mushrooms. Correction… I don’t eat mushrooms. Or at least I hadn’t up until then.

Neither Bugsy or Lisa are doing anything particularly interesting…
But look at Ruby drinking some beer while Pa Bell watches proudly!

We made it past midnight and finally called it a night. I claimed a recliner in the Living Room once again and grabbed a blanket and quickly fell asleep.

Sunday morning arrived way too early and Ruby greeted me at 6am with a wake up call. Unlike last year, she didn’t have a pair of underwear with her this time. I was tired, thirsty and very sore, but surprisingly, not really hung over. Around 8am Ma Bell started making some breakfast for the Mother’s Day Breakfast she had planned. Slowly, the rest of the household started moving. I rolled out at 9am so I could make it back for my Mother’s Day festivities.

More pictures on Picasa.

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Breaking the Seal…

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog-casting. Water Skiing and Barefooting season is finally back!

Spring is doing everything in it’s power to push the last remnants of winter away. The weather is slowly warming, and with that, the water is slowly warming.

Unfortunately, the weather and my schedule haven’t been very cooperative this spring. The handful of nice days that we’ve previously had, I’ve been busy. The days I’ve had time, well let’s just say the weather has been a bit wintery. Hell, we’ve even had snow coming down on some of those days. Other days, 50 MPH gusts of wind. All great for water skiing… err maybe not.

But the weather and my schedule finally lined up on Monday. 60 or so degrees, sunshine, calm winds. After texting T-Bell and calling Lisa, I had the magic number for skiing.

After work, ran home to quickly get my boat, put some fresh gas in the tank, and headed to the lake. Teri and Lisa arrived and away we went. The lake’s a little high right now and we all felt the need to duck are heads as we went under the railroad bridge into the bay. I don’t think my head would have hit, but it was definitely low enough to make me think twice.

Once in the bay, I finished suiting up. And unlike last year, where I needed some assistance zipping up my suit…

Last year I needed some help…

This year, I zipped it all by myself. I’m a big boy now… or maybe not quite as big of a boy now since I fit in my suit a bit better.

Anyways, onto the skiing!

I took the honors and took the first run of the year behind my boat. I usually do. Ownership has it’s privileges. Somehow on my first run, I managed to be footing and have slack in my rope. That’s a neat trick. The first runs of the year took their toll on me. 2 sets of 2 runs each. No major runs, but it had it’s after affects. My feet were sore the next day, ear aches from the cold water, and arms that felt like jelly. Completely worth it though… I was back on the water.


Slack in the rope?


Smiling!

Next up Lisa dusted off her slalom ski. After letting the waves calm down from the barefoot circles, Douch took her runs back and forth across the bay cutting up the glassy water.

Lisa cutting hard!

Nice wall!

Teri dusted off her dry suit (not that it was really needed that night) and took her footing runs for the night and the first of the year for her as well.

Teri sporting the dry suit look!

In front of the Capitol

As we headed back to the boat launch, the three of us were treated to a great sunset!

Sunset on Lake Monona

After just a couple runs, maybe totaling 2 miles, I’m off to Beaver Dam this weekend for The Best Dam Barefoot Race. 22 miles of something. Last year it was brutal water, but a hell of a party afterwards. This year we’re crossing our fingers hoping for better water. No matter what, it’ll be a lot farther than I went on Monday.

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Whole Lotta Updates…

Where to start… it’s been about a month since my last post. No, I haven’t gone away, just been busy dealing with “winter” stuff here in Wisconsin.

I guess the first big update from the last month would be I hit up Think Tank. For those that are wondering what that is, it’s a water skiing convention put on by the Wisconsin Water Ski Federation. You can go there and learn about a lot of different aspects of water skiing. 3-event, collegiate, wake boarding, barefooting and show skiing. Lots of show skiing stuff there. It’s a good way to get people excited about the ski season starting here in Wisconsin (not that it has yet, but it’s getting close). It’s also a good excuse to get a bunch of water skiers together and have a big party. Only real complaint from the weekend is the hotel bar at the Chula Vista is not big enough to hold all the skiers. Over at BFC, they’ve posted a pretty good update about there trip to Think Tank.

My personal experience there was a lot of fun. I had my friend Linda, a show skier herself, up from Florida for the weekend. We got up there late afternoon on Friday and hit the water park in the hotel. I think it’s the first time I’ve gone to a water park in about 15 years. That was a lot of fun. Then we hit the outdoor hot tub for drinks before changing and heading down to the doubles competition and fashion show (better known as 2 good reasons to drink at Think Tank.) Saturday was rough, dranks lots of water, taught my tank in the afternoon and partied some more that night.

Shortly after Think Tank, I heard about a new water skiing movie coming out this summer. H2O Extreme. Guess the plot synopsis is a talented water skier and hockey player moves from Wisconsin to Florida to pursue the big money in professional show skiing, passing on a professional hockey career. Personally, it’s like my life story. Grew up playing hockey, in Wisconsin no less, love to show ski and water ski in general, but still not getting paid. I guess the main difference between me and the guy in the movie, he’s got some made show ski skills. Flying high on the wakeboard and fronts and gainers off the ramp, where as I’m a chick hauler who likes to try and jump. Want some more details? Check out the trailer…

If watch the trailer closely, you’ll see the newest skis from HO (yes that’s a real ski company name), twin tip jump skis. Yes, they’ve been doing it for years on the slopes and now they’ve done it for jump skis. Seen on the water ski blog-o-sphere first over on the Row Boat, you can pick up your own pair for four bills over at waterskis.com.

While I’ve been lacking in my blog posts, the Row Boat has not. Then been posting up a flurry lately. Word on the street is the Row Boat has expanded a little bit. It’s no longer one man on the oars and it sounds likes he’s got a couple people over there helping to row himself around the lake.

Meanwhile, it looks like winter may actually be over here in Wisconsin. Spring officially starts tomorrow and my yard is pretty empty of snow (except where I piled it up clearing off the driveway). The lakes are still not open yet, and probably won’t be for a couple weeks yet. Too much ice needs to melt.

To compare the weather from this year (tons of snow) to years past (not tons of snow), back in 06 I actually went skiing without a dry suit and didn’t freeze on Good Friday. This Friday, which happens to be Good Friday I’ll definitely not be on the water. One reason, the water is still frozen solid. The second reason, which actually trumps the first, is it will likely be snowing here on Friday. Southern Wisco is under a winter storm warning from Thursday night thru Friday. 4 to 6 inches expected. Now you’re thinking “but it’s spring”? Well, spring here in Wisco still means we get some snow now and then.

Finally, been busy with Mad-City stuff. You’re thinking, but it’s winter, how can you be busy. Well, Mad-City goes year round. Being on the board keeps me pretty busy, but I’ve been helping out on the show committee helping to plan next years show, also keeps me pretty busy. Plus, we’ve had some winter practices. Those don’t take up much time, but they are there. We’ve got a small army of new people on the team this year and need to get them up to speed for climbing so once the water thaws, we can get the pyramids going.

We’ll, I try not to go a month before posting again. I’ll be getting my boat ready to hopefully hit the hopefully no longer frozen water the first weekend in April. Won’t be breaking my record season start of March 24 from last year, mainly because the lakes are frozen. Although as you can see from the previous post, I did get a little water time in January. (Still get shivers in my spine thinking about that.)

Couple last things… over on the right, you may have noticed it looks a little different. First off, there’s a section titled What I’m Reading. That’s mainly random funny or interesting things I’ve found on the net. Click on one of the links now and then, it might make you laugh. Just below that there’s my attempt to help cross promote the other skiing sites on the web as I Scour the Web for Water Skiing. The good sites that I’ve found, I’ve set up in a feed so as they post stories, you’ll see them in the feed there on the right. Way down at bottom of the right side column, there’s a place to sign up for email updates from here. Put your email address in, and after you confirm your subscription, these posts will come right to your Inbox. Inbox cluttered, just use the RSS feed… don’t know what an RSS feed is? Go here to get a crash course on what they are, then make your way over to Google Reader. Sign up or use your existing Google/Gmail account and it’ll keep track of all your RSS feeds.

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far, you’re a dedicated reader. Show your dedication by sending my a barefooting story my other site… Tales from the Foot. I want to get some reader generated content up there. Send me barefoot successes, failures or funny stories.

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Post Number 400… 7 Tumbles, 6 Bars, Lots of Friends

It has been busy couple of weeks since my last significant post. Sorry ’bout that. In my defense it has been a couple weeks since I’ve been on the water, so I haven’t had much to post about… but I do have a few things.

First up, a little critique of 7’s tumble turn skills. Back on Sept 29, the last day I’ve been on the water, 7 tried some tumble turns. I’ll give him an “A” for his effort. The trick can be broken down into about 5 primary steps…

  1. Sit back down on to the water and transition to your back
  2. Initiate the spin
  3. Spin
  4. Stop the spin
  5. Stand back up and continue barefooting

7 has steps 1 thru 3 down pat. In fact, he has step 3 down so well, he keeps spinning. He’s having some issues with step 4 though. Let’s go to the video…

I’m OK giving out a critique because I’m also willing to admit my last time trying tumble turns looked like this…

Trying to tumble turn or break dance? I’m honestly not sure?

Next up, Imse, the other person out in the boat that day, has been working on his back deeps for a while and at this point I would say he them down pretty well when he’s doing them on the boom. His back deeps themselves are very clean, but his backfooting did produce this awesome photo of one of his falls…

Awesome picture of a backfooting fall

Here’s some video of his back deeps…

As you can see, they look pretty clean. His next step is do them long line.

For a few more pictures from this outing, you can check out the pictures here… there are some good ones of 7 trying a flip on the wake board.

In non-water skiing related news, I’m sure you all remember the really old joke where people ask “Is your refrigerator running?” and most normally people answer “Yes” and then the joke is “Well you better go catch it!” For the past week I’ve been able to answer that joke with a “No” My fridge is dead right now and has been since last Tuesday. I’ve been living out of a mini-fridge from my college days for the past week and a half now and have been keeping my beer in a cooler on the deck. Here’s hoping the neighbor kids don’t find it or realize what’s in it.

Next, one of the most impressive feats of human determination you will probably ever witness… a high school girls breaks her leg and manages to finish her race. I found this on the The Big Lead, but wanted to share it…

At the time that The Big Lead posted it, not much was known, but since then ESPN has had a story on it as well.

A couple weeks ago I had a pretty busy weekend. Nothing too wild on Friday, but Saturday was a long day. Woke up, grilled out, watched the Badgers destroy Michigan in football, then headed downtown to meet up with some peeps… first I hit the Big Ten Pub to meet Paul, Joey, Josh, Cake and Solberg. They had some friends in town. Hung out with them for a while and when the started to head out about 630, I then walked down the street to the Regent Street Retreat to meet up with the Badger Bash Crew. Ran in to KTB, Bugsy, Tristan, Adam and a whole bunch of UW related skiers. By UW related I mean they either skied for the UW, still ski for the UW or skied against the UW in a collegiate event. Met Steve (again) and Meghan from UW-Whitewater’s ski team. Turns out she’s a WaterBug too.

After hanging out a Regent Street for a while, we hit up Toppers and then made our way to the KK… the Kollege Klub. Can’t say I’ve been there recently. About 1030 we migrated to Brats. Bugsy got friendly with The Captain, danced with some random people. Roller Girl showed up with some Healies on and slid up and down the isle… Bugsy, being “smart” asked me to move to my left to be more our in the isle. I had seen what she was doing and new what was going to happen. She came flying down the isle on her heals and ran right into me full speed. Not really an issue for me because a) I knew it was coming 2) the striped bibs she was wearing were hot… especially with the shirt on underneath and not much else from what I could tell and lastly) I’m not a tiny guy, played hockey in my past and knew how to take a hit, but in this case, taking a hit meant catching her so she didn’t fall down after running into her.

After enduring the chaos there, I finally departed about midnight and headed up to the The Dane to meet up with Sandy, Teri, Libby, Scotty, Beth and Sandy’s friend from Florida, Mark. Had some drinks and then we hit up Mike’s Horseshoe Inn near Sandy’s house. It was a little hole in the wall bar and had some great prices and a Patrone Margarita on the Rocks that can kick your ass. Finally, we ended up at Sandy’s for an after bar for a final beer before heading home… crawled into bed at 415am… way too late.

Sunday, watched the Packers blank the Vikings… which was awesome. 7 called during the game asked if I wanted to go the Badger B-Ball game… so we watched them struggle early before dominating IPFW.

Finally, found this video on the net over on BareFootSki Dot Com… guy put together what amounts to a remote control for his Sea-Doo and now he can barefoot and ski solo. No driver or spotter required. Not completely safe or legal, but I still want one.

And finally, finally, a word from Carl about the BCS. Just an FYI… he’s none to happy with the Giants either.

Carl on the BCS

I’ll have my own words on the BCS in the next couple days.
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The Boondocks

boondocks |ˈboōnˌdäks| plural noun informal
rough, remote, or isolated country : we’re out here in the boondocks, miles from a telephone.

That’s where I spent a good portion of last weekend… the boondocks. My friends Beau & Kelly were getting hitched in the north woods, or at least what a boy from Madison would call the north woods. Beau called it the boondocks…

But anyways, the wedding was in the afternoon and was very nice. Then we made our way to the reception with just a slight detour to make a brief stop at a liquor store for some supplies. One of my responsibilities was to start the music at the reception. We then put our stuff in the cabin we were staying in and made our way back to the reception hall and had some cocktails and snacks. The wedding party arrived, dinner was served, a nice video they had put together was played and then the dance started. After playing the part of a wall flower for a while as I continued to drink some beer, I eventually worked up the liquid courage needed to make my way out to the dance floor. I never looked back. I spent most of the rest of the night on the dance floor, only taking breaks to refresh my beer or find another shot. Needless to say, I had a blast. Shortly after midnight, I realized I had enough. Enough what you ask? Fun, drinks, dancing, everything. I was ready to call it a night. I said my goodbyes and stumbled my way to the cabin. It was like someone had flipped a switch. Here are a few pics from the night…

The Bride and Groom… Kelly & Beau

Kristen and I with Drinks in Our Hands

Kelly, Jenny and I on the Dance Floor

Final damage… 12 pack of Stella and a shot of Souther Comfort and about 5 or 6 shots of Jaeger Bombs. Yea… I was down for the count. And you knew you could have so much fun at a YMCA camp?

Next day, roll out of bed about 9am. Get some breakfast, say our goodbyes and head home. Roll into Madison about 11am ready to do nothing for the rest of the day. That didn’t happen though.

First, picked some of the ski teams 2006 DVDs. Next, headed to the ‘rents for some lunch and then got a call to go skiing… so I did. Hit the water at 230 in the cool brisk sunny afternoon air. Other than a few footing runs, I didn’t do much. It had only been 15 hours since the previous night and I was still a bit run down… Did get to see some good footing and some good falls. Here are some pics from the afternoon on the lake…

My footing run… notice there isn’t a dry suit!

7 Did Some Stuff on the Wakeboard

Trying a Back Roll

Trying another Back Roll

Final Back Roll of the Day

Imse did some backfooting… I have really good videos of his backfooting, and I was about to get a really good picture of him backfooting when this happened…

I’d Like to Claim this Was a Planned Picture, but it is Pure Luck

The fall didn’t end his day… he took another run.

How can you not want to be on the water on a day like this?

I have some videos of Imse backfooting and 7 doing his best break dancing imprecation. Both are really good. They’ll be coming soon.

Links to the Photo Albums:
Wedding in the Boondocks
Barefooting in the Fall

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