Well, we had a great low key Independence Day, which is what my Sweetie and I hoped for. We did a one hour mountain bike ride on the secondary roads around here, which is a lot of climbing, followed by a trip to the gym and laps in the pool. Obviously, my Sweetie wants to do a triathlon later this year, and since I'm training with her I'll probably do one as well.
As you know if you've read OVER THE EDGE (hint hint, damn it!), you know I've done lots of triathlons...yeah yeah, I don't look like it...so what? I've swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco three times, using my classic "Ancient Crippled Manatee" style; in truth, I think I did it just to make the genetically gifted feel bad — he looks like that and he still finished; are there any PowerBars left?
Anyhow, I do appreciate the mindless repetition of laps in the pool. And speaking of mindless, I got a couple of hot flashes from the Internet today about the upcoming Steel Challenge and the OUTDOOR CHANNEL/SIGARMS $30,000 Challenge.
Here's the deal, and it's not really complicated — this year's Steel Challenge added an eighth stage — ACCELERATOR, sponsored by my pals at Para — and we added an additional $10,000 if you can hit the magic number, 80 seconds for the entire match. Last year the number was 72 seconds for the 7 stages...a number reached by TGO, Rob Leatham, once in 5 years. I asked Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman, the owners of the Steel Challenge and the greatest living experts on that match, to give me the new number...they, in turn, had their Obsessive Steel Challenge Shooters run Accelerator. They cam back to me with "80 seconds." So be it. Not impossible, but DAMN HARD!
Yo, that's why you get the money! If it was easy, Alf the Wonder Beagle would be supporting the whole family by being the best trap shooting beagle in America. Let me repeat that really slowly so even the dimmest of us reading this can catch on — you get a lot of money because the Challenge is hard.
It's sort of the same principal as Roger Bannister doing the 4-minute mile on May 6, 1954...that was a lot harder than Michael Bane doing the 12-minute mile on the same day in 2006, and it made Roger Bannister rich, famous and a knight, with his own entry in the Wickipedia. As it should have.
BEFORE Roger Bannister ran the 4-minute mile, it was considered an impossible feat, beyond the reach of mere mortals. AFTER that amazing May 6, a dozen or so people did it in the next 24 months. How can that be possible? Because Roger Bannister changed the baseline for what a single runner could do; in essence, he reset the mental clock for a generation of runners.
I will grant you that 80 seconds on the new Steel Challenge course is really really honest-to-goodness we're-not-kidding hard; but regardless of what you've read in this or that e-mail, it's not impossible. It's not a conspiracy by the Knights Templar or the U.N. Expeditionary Black Helicopter Brigade to make shooters look stupid — that is the endless whine of the perpetual second-rater!
It is an opportunity to push the boundaries of what we can do.
I think me and Paul Erhardt at SIGARMS are going to give the money away this year — J.J. Racaza, K.C. Escubio, Tasuya Sakai, Doug Koenig, Max Michel Jr., Jerry Miculek and my old and dear friend Todd Jarrett all have the proven ability to step up and run a 4-minute mile.
And, darn it, I'd love to see it, because as a relentless amateur athlete there is nothing I love more than to see greatness in action because it speaks to the central core of why we all compete, why every single one of us reaches again and again for the brass ring. SHOOTING GALLERY will be there, and if it happens, you WILL see it!