My Favorite Christmas Songs  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Here are two of my absolute favorites. Besides the entire Charlie Brown Christmas Album, these two stand out above all others.

Do They Know its Christmas by Band Aid. I am a child of the 80’s. Yes, skinny lether ties, and pastel Miami vice jackets. So every time I hear this song or see the video, I am taken back. But in addition, this song represents what I think is, or should be the spirit of Christmas. Reaching out to help others. This song started a movement, and I am sure saved thousands, if not millions of lives.

First Christmas, by Stan Rogers is off the live album Between the Breaks. Live versions of some of Stan’s best tunes is on this album. Mary Ellen Carter, Barretts Privateers, and First Christmas. If you have ever spent a Christmas away from home, this will bring a tear to your eye, if not make you outright bawl. There is no video for this one. Stan passed away long before videos were main stream. But give this a listen.

Merry Christmas.

Fall Motivation  


Missy, One of my bloggy buddies recently posted about how she has done virtually nothing in the off-season, that she is enjoying it. In a nutshell, she is feeling guilty about feeling guilty.

I think this is a common occurrence for weekend warriors like us who spend a g good part of our free time balancing our training and our personal life. When the pressure is off, it’s such a relief.

For me, the offseason was dry and slow. No swimming or riding. I jumped into my P90X program, and saw an increase in strength and flexibility, as well as a decrease in body mass. But then came the start of our masters swim season, as well as our bike clubs winter spin sessions.

Going to the pool was getting to be a chore. I would sit at my desk in the morning and think about new excuses for blowing off my lunch session. The thought of more laps just made me want to burn my speedos.

Then our Masters Club scheduled a mini swim meet. I signed up for a couple of free events and a couple of breast stroke events. I got online and searched out drills and advice on beast. We did a few workout sets of breast stroke and drills, and all of a sudden, a fire was lit. I couldn’t wait to get to the pool and practice. The meet went ok, I managed to just break 50 seconds for a 50 breast, and I couldn’t wait for the next workout.

Then at our last workout, our coach decided to try and teach us how to swim butterfly. Some of my swim mates really weren’t impressed, and whined and made excuses like “I don’t swim Fly in a Triathlon.” As it turns out, I am not a bad butterflyer. I am no Michael Phelps, but I did garner a few looks from my lane mates.

So I am now in a situation where I look forward to every session. I don’t need to drag my ass to the pool. I eagerly look forward to practicing new skills, like breast stroke, and fly, and finally learning to do a flip turn. In doing so, I have found that my freestyle stroke count has dropped. Hopefully it means that my freestyle efficiency is increasing.

So here is the moral of the story. If you are starting to feel unmotivated this fall, sign up for a masters club swim meet. Try a new stroke, Perfect your flip turn. Before you know it, spring will be here, you will be 12 weeks out from your first race of the year, and stoked about the upcoming season. And if not, you can sell your bikes, and take up scuba diving, or knitting.

Big George  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Somewhere along the way, I must have stumbled onto the blog of Jenny Fletcher and made a comment about one of my favorite athletes, George Hincapie. In response, she emailed me with a few comments of her own.

I have been slack with my blogging lately, so Jenny's reply got the mind churning again, and it brought back memories from my childhood, and a little insight into why I have such respect for the guys who make up the "Rest of the team" the supporting cast.

When I was a kid, I was a big hockey fan. Our local team brought in a couple of import players. One guys name was Bruce Campbell. He was a pure goal scorer. He was an ofensive machine. Everyone raved about him, and at the end of the year, I believe he racked up enough points to win the scoring championship.

But the second guy's name was Kent Lannon. He was a digger. He was a work horse. He was the first guy in the corners, he was good on faceoffs, he blocked shots, he skated hard to get back into the defensive end to pick up his check. He did all the little things that go unnoticed, but are nesseccary for a team to win. My dad said one time, That's a good hockey player, and since then I had a special place for the guys who worked hard and got little recognition.

That's why I like George Hincappie. I was dissapointed when he missed out on the yellow jersey at this years tour, but it's only fitting. Oh so close again.

I hope he returns. Lance's and Alberto's come and go, but the Pelaton tour won't be the same without the big guy, so here is to a few more saddle sores.

I even have an order in for a team columbia jersey for Christmas. If it fits, I'll post pics.