Garage Strength Notes, Day 1

September 27, 2011, ~4:15pm:

I cycled to Dane’s today. The triathlon wheels – the ‘Hed Jet’ wheels I bought from Brian back in the day – were still on my bike from the race Mia and I did last fall. They are heavy, and make a whooshing sound when I ride. They are unnecessary. I took these wheels off the bike, but needed the tires. The tires on my lightweight wheels are bald, some grey stringy stuff showing beneath the black rubber cover of the front one. I recall needing to bum a spare back tire from the mechanics at the last Livestrong Challenge ride I did a few years ago. It would never have made those 100 miles. So I took the tires from the tri wheels and put them on the light wheels. Done and done.

I felt strong riding to Dane’s. Without music on, I thought. I thought I’d write about Dane’s Garage Strength, turn it into a long-term project that I might sell to Outside or Men’s Journal, one of those. And the Reading paper.

Since visiting last time with Mia after (or before?) our wedding, the ‘garage’ (really the barn nowadays) has come a long way. On my last visit, Dane was still training out of his parents garage (hence the name) on Slater Rd (where we use to race his minivan against my Jeep Wrangler). The barn is now complete, and huge. In it Dane has several climbing ropes, monkey bars, kettlebells, weight sleds, Olympic bars, benches, dumbbells and frozen chickens. And a large driving range bucket full of eggs that his hens just laid. He showed me how he eats the yolks, raw. Ordinarily this is supposed to sound disgusting in an article like this, but I see it otherwise. I make soft-boiled eggs for breakfast regularly, and Dane assures me his freshly laid eggs are as warm as the ones I’m eating from the stove. There are no machines in Dane’s barn.

The walls are painted white, and he has several white boards around the place with peoples names and various strength and conditioning programs. Three young girls were working out together. They each did several legitimate pull-ups, followed immediately by rubber-band assisted bodyweight dips. Then they moved on to the sled. It has three snowplane like feet on it, with space to fit weight plates on the top. Attached at the front end is a natural hemp rope, about 30’ long and fatter than my forearm (which is not all that fat). The girls took turns lying flat on their backs on the floor at one end of the barn (on a rubberized indoor/outdoor carpet that spans the center of the barn), and pulling the weighted sled across the room towards them, hand over hand. The two not participating assisted when the one on the floor struggled near the end. Later, they got into a pushup position on the same floor, only their feet were on a 12x12 square wooden platform (like those we played with in elementary school gym class) with office chair wheels on the bottom. They walked across the room on their hands, while a heavy chain hung around there necks. The girls are freshmen in high school. They are swimmers.

“You should be here around 6:30, this place gets nuts.”
Dane took me outside to see the 130 hens he has in the field out back, a flock (?) that has multiplied substantially since I saw it last. The one lone rooster in the pen with the hens strutted. Opposite the movable, outdoor chicken coop (happy chickens!), Dane had set up a concrete throwing platform, two circles for shotput and one for the discus. In the barn on the lower level were a few dozen baby chickens that let me pick them up.

I told Dane of my inspiration, and he is enthusiastic. Tomorrow I’ll start my month-long training and spend as much time at the farm as I can until October 28, when I have to be in Virginia for work.

“Cailtin’s dad had Lincoln baptized while I was gone. I asked him if there was any way to un-baptize him.”

“Everyone thought I named him after Abe. He’s named after a wrestler. Cailtin was unsure at first until we drove through Gettysburg, with Lincoln shit everywhere. She said, ‘I guess I kind of like that name.’ Lincoln’s not named after Abe though.”