July 28, 2011

T-shirts for Sale

These t-shirts would look very nice at the upcoming Mini Ice Capades Reunion in Chicago over Labor Day!

July 26, 2011

Sun Valley folks!

ProSkaters will hold its annual meeting on Wednesday evening immediately following the conclusion of our annual seminar.

LOCATION: Indoor rink at Sun Valley Skating Center

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, July 27, 2011- approximately 8:45 p.m. following the conclusion of the ProSkaters' seminar.

Miss Ice Charades really wishes she could go to the meeting, but mostly wishes she could get to Sun Valley someday!

July 21, 2011

Tour de France - A Primer

Okay skating fans, buckle up, because I'm giving you a tutorial on the race, in case you ever wondered why so many would get excited about spending twenty-one days, three or more hours at a time, watching guys ride a bike.

Yes, Ms. Charades, when you put it like that it does seem boring.

Nope, not at all. And here's why:

1. The scenery - it is beautiful, especially from here on out. They're racing in the Alps for the next three days and on Sunday, they will be in Paris. It you have a nice HDTV, consider this a poor man's European vacation. (Wine and cheese sold separately.)

2. The strategy- it isn't just about the winner of the yellow jersey. While that is the overall winner after all of the races, a.k.a. stages.

But there is always a contest going on for who will win that day, who will win in the sprint category (green jersey), who will win climbing the mountains (a.k.a. King of the Mountain, in the red and white polka dot jersey), and who is the best rider under the age of 25 (white jersey). Yes, while under 25 is quittin' time for figure skaters, it is "young" in racing.

This sport favors maturity and experience. It favors endurance (drugs), training (drugs), and team tactics (more drugs).

That is what is so disheartening if you're a fan of this sport. At some point you have to give in to the notion that MOST, if not close to ALL, of these guys are doping. It's a suspension of belief that the guy standing at the top of the podium was clean when the rest of the top ten were not.

Okay, back to the race.

Another incredible aspect of pro cycling is the notion of domestique riders. Their sole purpose in the race is to help their best rider (called the GC rider - General Category) get up the hill and over the finish line faster. Can you imagine your pro career being all for someone else's benefit? That's how they roll.

Why are they so important? Drafting, that's why. The rider at the front of the race has to break the wind and it takes a lot more energy. Think of when you see birds flying in "V" formation, they are riding the slipstream to conserve energy.

I think this quote best explains why domestiques are crucial to winning the Tour:

It is team tactics which so often win or lose races - and the lieutenants and the dog soldiers who expend their energy blocking chasing moves when they have riders up the road in a position to win. It is they who ride out into the wind so their aces can get an easier ride tucked inside their wheel [close to the rider in front and in his shelter]. Rare indeed is the major victory that cannot be credited in large part to the groundwork laid by the domestiques

Yeah, dog soldiers. Kind of like the chorus in an ice show. Without us expending our energy in some ten-minute, drawn-out production number as trees or Smurfs or something, the principal wouldn't get to soak up all of the applause in their two-minute solo, free of any scratchy, migraine-inducing "skin" or headgear.

("Skin" is the industry term for being engulfed inside a costume. Think amusement park characters.)

Bitter much, Ms. Charades?

Yeah, sorry about that. I shouldn't be bitter. Dressing up as a tree isn't so bad when you get to do it in another state or country the next time.

Enjoy the race, kids. Today will be gorgeous scenery and probably the most exciting stage yet.

July 14, 2011

Is The Best Skater Already Alive?

... meaning the best skater that will ever be ... not someone thirty or ninety years from now.

If you think about it, that's kind of depressing and cool all at the same time.

I ask this, based on an article I read, via the Daily Dish on the website Grantland, asking whether we are approaching the fastest times humanly possible for the 100-meter dash. Right now Usain Bolt, pictured above, is the fastest at 9.58.

The article written by Chuck Klosterman boils down the argument to this:

Is there an irrefutable dead end to the 100-meter dash? Is there a speed at which a human body would just break down and disintegrate, no different than a machine pushed beyond the capacity of its individual components? Some have been arguing "yes" for years. Reza Noubary, a professor of mathematics, computer science, and statistics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, has estimated "with 95 percent confidence" that the ultimate time for the 100-meter dash is 9.44. [The current record, held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 - a .37 improvement from 40 years ago.]

That number seems as good a guess as anything else. But if Noubary is correct, it would force us to accept a depressing, unreliable notion — it would essentially mean we're about 25 years away from the pinnacle of human performance. It would mean that most of us will see the fastest man that could ever exist within our own lifetimes.

So are we getting there with figure skating as well? Will we ever see quintuple jumps? A quad axel? There were some years when I wondered if we would ever see a women do a triple axel. But they got there.

Well, while we may never see a quintuple jump, skating has the creativity that track and field do not. To me, creativity will always improve, change, and adapt.

What do you think - quad axel? If so, predict what year.

July 12, 2011

Facebook Friends

I'm now FB "friends" with Oksana Baiul.

Me and 2,164 other people. And counting. In a few more days, who knows?

If you ever wanted to be friends with an Olympic Champion ('94) - Oksana's your gal, or in other words, your soon-to-be-friend.

Now, I've posted before on the weird phenomenon that is getting to be friends with A-List skaters here or what Facebook taunts us with "People You May Know."

I ask you, could Oksana be the gateway skater to the rest of them?

When I noticed that my girlfriend, who had no connection to Oksana, was friend's with her, I knew I had a pretty good chance of being friends with her. And I do have a connection to Oksana - very tenuous, but ...

I got to push her in a sleigh during the '94 Nutcracker on Ice tour. But Oksana's skated with, worked with and met with thousands and thousands of people over the years, so she can't be expected to remember any of them.

But she's on a roll and by the weekend she could be friends with those thousands of people I just mentioned.

July 6, 2011

Another Ice Capades Reunion

Mini-Reunion Chicago Labor Day Weekend - Sept 3-4, 2011

They don't seem to stop, do they?

Here are the details:

The venue for the Ice Capades mini reunion Saturday night cocktails will be at the Java Bar at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, 301 East North Water St., Chicago, IL 60611, Sat. Sept. 3rd, beginning at 7:00 pm.

Those joining us for the Odyssey Brunch Cruise – Sunday Sept. 4, 2011, boards at 11:15 am at the Navy Pier. Cost: $75.00 (group rate which payment must be sent to Ken by July 15th). Mail check to: Ken Shook, 140 Twinspur Close, Roswell, GA 30076.

The Sheraton Hotel is the host hotel for many of our guests. Hotel room group rates for this event are not available but room discounts are currently available 10%, 15%, 20% depending on number of days staying. Please follow this link.

Sheraton Hotel and Towers
301 East North Water Street
Chicago, IL
312 464-1000

July 2, 2011

The Tour starts Today!

... you know where this ex-showgirl will plant her butt for the next three weeks. For the first summer in three years, we get the race on our cable channel.


I love seeing the beautiful towns and countryside in France as the bikers whiz by. This, to me, is the official start of summer.

For those of you in the US, the weekend of the 4th of July is synonymous with summer. However you celebrate this time of year, I hope it's a good one for you.