Saturday, July 23, 2011



Well it is a bit after midnight here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We stayed for half of Quad Nationals and had a great time.  Josh stayed to ref the remainder of Nationals and just called us at 12:13AM Sunday morning, letting us know that 2011 Nationals were officially over.  As I type this, it has been thundering and lightening for the last hour and a half.  On top of that, it just started raining HUGE rain drops that sound like hail but really aren't.  Something us Californians are not used to! 

This morning the Novice Inline Speed Skaters finished up their 3 separate distance finals, as the Quad skaters prepared for a long day ahead of them.  I was actually surprised at how many "Inliners" stuck around to watch Quads.  One Quad skater stands out in my mind.  Not for how fast he was, or for some spectacular fall or an even better "save" that he might have done, but for what he "shouldn't have been able to do".   Look for an upcoming story on 17-yr old KYLE CRANE (pictured bottom left with Assistant Coach Steve) watching the races.  Kyle's reason for skating is no different than any other speed skater.  He skates because he loves going fast.  However his arrival and his outcome is just a bit different than the other skaters. 

Fort Wayne... we are truly going to miss you.  Not the heat, not the humidity, NOT YOUR SCARY THUNDERSTORMS... but your people!  We will be back in a heartbeat if you'll have us!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

End of Standard Division & Relays


Today was the last day of the Standard Relays.  The 4-person finals are finishing up as I type this back in my hotel room.  Pete is at the arena filming the 4-person finals while I finish up laundry from the last 10 days. 

I finally went down to the vendors area and grabbed a few photos.  It was great.  They had a few tables set up in this area with crayons, crafts and few other items to keep some of the kids busy when they weren't out on the floor skating.  A few records were broken today, together with some incredible skating.  However, intensity, speed and power are the reason many were celebrating, however just as many came away disappointed that they didn't attain the goals or the gold they had hoped for.  All-in-all, it was a successful IDN. 

For our team, we had several personal bests.  6 Gold Medals, 2 Silvers and 5 Bronze medals.  Congratulations to Kevin Boyer, Troy Attwell, Kim Eger, Tanya Welch, Josh Wood, Kyle VanHunnik and Wesley Apgar, for a job well done.  Tomorrow starts all Novice Division races!  For those of you interested in watching, here is Troy & Josh skating their Classic 2-Man Final.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Be sure to stop by the "GROCERY" store in the Arena....

That is what the staff at the Allen War Memorial Arena call the "store" located down the side isle in our venue.  They said it resembled a "Quickie Mart" or "7-11".  Honestly, it is much cleaner and less expensive than either of those two markets, however you won't find bags of "ice" or baby food here. 

You will find other types of food that even the athletes can eat.  The prices for sandwiches run $5.00-$6.00.  And after the turkey sandwich on rye with cheese, you have a choice of cheesecake, chocolate cake or a slice of lemon cake for $2.00!!!  If you are still hungry and in the mood for a fruit salad, they are only $3.00.  I included a few photos of the store itself and some of the products.  You won't go broke eating here and the food has been very good for pre-made food.  The only items that I thought were a bit high in price were the energy drinks, at $4.00-$5.00 a piece.  Other than that, it is pretty reasonable.  They also have a regular snack bar with nachos, pretzels and of course hot dogs and much more.  And those of you who like ice cream... the large waffle cones are to die for (probably will, but I will go happy and full!) and they even have "Dip-N-Dots" that usually has a line in front of it that appears to move quickly.  Plenty of room to sit and eat too (round tables that seat 8 comfortably). 


Neat and clean...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Being down in the "READY AREA" with all of the Tiny Tot (5 & Under), Primary (6-7), and Juvenile (8-9) boys and girls, all at one time, was quite the challenge!!  As you can see in these few photos, it was very hard to find your skater Waldo.  This year we had our first "Quarter Finals" in the Juvenile boys division in many years!!  It was great to see so many young skaters up and coming!

Some great racing tonight by all of the age groups.  The Grand Veteran Men and the Esquire Men heats had to be one of my favorites... we saw more changes going on than a dollar bill machine in a penny-arcade!  For the normal folks... that meant LOTS of passing back and forth for guys 45 and up!!!

Below, left side, trying to control the "masses" before their official warm-up was something else, while the Auburn, Washington girls made great use of their "waiting" by starting a "Scratching Train".  But it's always the person in the back that looses out....  And for those of you that had hoped you would get to stop by the store on the way back to the room and pick up a 6-pack of your favorite beer.... you were sadly disappointed with the sign that said, "INDIANA STATE LAW PROHIBITS THE SALE OF ANY ALCOHOL TODAY"......  Yep... it's a "dry state" on Sundays.  Better plan ahead next time. (Before the word change in this last sentence, you would have thought I had already had a few!)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bermuda 'FORT WAYNE" Triangle ??? - Say what?

 OK folks... it's as if the "Bermuda Triangle" has moved to Indiana!  If you are using a GPS here in Fort Wayne and it tells you,  "to get from Point A to Point B, take this route"..... and then it takes you a different route later that same afternoon, even though you still want to get from Point A to Point B.... DON'T BE SURPRISED!!

It's not you.  Really.  And... it's not your GPS.  Really.  There is some other "force" that is working against you and your GPS.  Really.

At first I thought I did something wrong.  I happened to mention it to some of the other people that were already here, and they said it had happened to them.  After speaking to several "responsible & reliable" people, I finally asked the guy at the front desk and he said it is a well known fact that GPS's don't like taking you through their neighborhoods (those are the light colored lines in the map to your left).  It makes you take the "long way" aorund.... the highway! 

I guess we are really messed up, because OUR GPS kept making us take the surface streets and wouldn't allow us on the freeway.  Unless we were leaving the auditorium and coming back to the hotel, we wound around on narrow streets made for 1 car.  Even then it told us to get off the freeway a few exits early.  After 4 days, we have finally figured out the shortest, fastest route from our hotel to the Arena.  We only use the GPS if we are looking to get lost for a few hours!
Just a few buildings along the "neighborhood route"!!!
Another "Stately" looking building....

Friday, July 15, 2011

View of the floor & seating area from the "BACK" of the arena

Behind the "black curtain" also known as the stage.

Looking at the stage from the "front" of the arena

This is what the arena looks like at 7:30am

Isle behind the second set of bleachers, this is where tables and chairs will be set-up for those eating from the food vendors.  Notice the green massage chair?!
It might appear that not much got done today.  But looking a bit closer, you might notice the first coat of Roll-On is dry and they were preparing to roll out the second coat.  The vendors started showing up and walking "their" area.  The Cricket Loft family, the TV Streaming truck, even a massage area was being set aside.  There is still so much to do until the venue is ready to start the 2011 Indoor National Championships this coming Sunday, July 17th.

Some quick facts that I learned today...     Did you know that the floor, as it sits right now, weighs approximately 42,000 POUNDS?
Each 4 X 8 section weighs 170 pounds!  There are approximately 493 sections, some are not a full 4 X 8 section.  Since 1991 Richard Heard from Southern California, has been responsible for making sure the floor is down, connected and safe to skate on.  Watch for an upcoming article in USA Roller Sports on the "Man behind the Floor".

Check back tomorrow for some obvious changes!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WOW... I can't believe it's been over 2 years since I last wrote something about speed skating!  Way too long.  Jump forward 3 1/2 years and here we are in Fort Wayne, Indiana for the 2011 Indoor National Inline Speed Skating Championships. 

While there is absolutely NO speed skating going on right now, there is a lot of preparation happening so that the skaters can skate in less than 72 hours.  We arrived about 48 hours ago.  While the flight was major delayed, we had plenty of friendly people to talk to.  Most were "going home" to Indiana or to Ohio.  But all were ready and willing to strike up a conversation about whatever "we" wanted to talk about!  It must be the purple & pink hair that says, "hey I'm lonely, come on over and keep us company".  (Smile...)  That was our first introduction to INDIANA.   I could go on and on about all of the wonderful people we have met, but I think you would prefer to see the auditorium and the progress of the floor today and even the vendor area.

This first photo on the left is standing at the top of "Set 1" of two sets of bleachers.  The second set is to your left in this photo.  I asked management about how many people it would seat and he stated "over 2500 people".  What you will notice that is missing, are the bleachers that are usually to the right.  The sections that typically WASHINGTON, CALIFORNIA AND FLORIDA and others, typically sit in.  Now on the right hand side, will be the tabulators and officials (the black staging area). 

Prior to adding the black stage, they laid two strips of red carpet.  Most of this area will be blocked off or unattainable to the general public.  As far as lighting goes... there are 6 lights in each of the round disks.  Only two (2) are turned on in each disk.  And if it was bright for me (and it was!), you will certainly be as pleased as I was with being able to see.  The bathrooms are spotless and the group that runs the ALLEN COUNTY WAR MEMORIAL COLISEUM, take great pride in keeping their facility exceptionally clean and well maintained.  Even the parking lots appear to be in great condition.  Remember that there is an $8.00 per day charge for parking.  In-and-out privileges are allowed. 

Vendors.. are you in for a treat.  Not only do you have your space, you are located directly behind the bleachers and are closest to the only doors in and out of the Arena.  On top of that, they have set-up an additional area where you can store any extra merchandise that you might have.  There will be food being offered as well as something described to me as "being like a little 7-11 store".  Kids will be able to move freely and there should be no lines for the restrooms!

Watch for more photos and more updates.  It's time to be SPECTATIN' again!!