HAPLab becomes HAPSmear
Free ski is back and so am I. CBMR’s return to the brilliant marketing campaigns of yesteryear. I heard about it from a friend of a friend from Montrose (pronounced Mon-Trose or "the Trose") when I was pulling down, match it and ratchet, in Indian Creek, Utah. Cracks and what not.
Problem is, I’m a bit out of shape and with Free Ski coming up soon, I needed to figure out where I was, physically, and what I needed to do to prepare myself.
I heard about a new scientific process to determine one’s physical capacities such as VO2 max, lactate threshold, Wingate power, metabolic caloric assessment test and resting metabolic rate through the use of modern technology. And, believe it or not, this scientific process is available at the High Altitude Performance Laboratory (HAPLab) at Western State College and open to the public.
The lab is happy to test anyone from weekend warriors to advanced athletes for a fee amenable to the masses. While most private enterprises may charge over $100 for a VO2 test, the HAPLab keeps its fees lower in an effort to generate interest from the public.
Once your levels are established through a series of tests, the staff at the HAPLab will then suggest a training regimen to meet your desired level of activity and accomplishment.
Incredible considering the only other test site of similar extent is at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. A place I am forever persona non grata for one reason or another. Something about my affinity for "observing" the gymnastics team workouts.
Anyway, the idea is to get one to train smarter, not harder.
So, it was off the Western State College for testing and to find out what all this modern science is all about. I’m kind of an idiot savant, except without the savant.
Plus, as I was saying, I’m out of shape, relative to my usual fitness level for a variety of reasons, and I needed to get back on it.
You see, I’ve had quite an interesting run of things over the past three or four years. It was probably four years ago when I rolled through town to match wits, and possibly bump uglies, with the Playboy Extreme Team training in the valley. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t quite what I expected, in a number of ways.
First of all, one of them was married and another pregnant so it was a rather sterile experience. Not that I’m sterile.
While the experience, like I said, fell short of my hopes and dreams, I did meet some people who know some people and I was on my way to fame and fortune.
I rushed out to Los Angeles for a photo shoot for a magazine that’s under the umbrella of the Playboy publications. It’s called ManBoy
Sounded innocent enough until I was driven out into one of the surrounding housing developments in the hills above Los Angeles blindfolded for the photo shoot.
Once there things got a little weird. Let’s just say they weren’t looking for a man with equipment, they were looking for a well-equipped man. I mean, I got gear and I got junk but never the twain shall meet.
Penniless and pants-less, I made my way back to the city to work, fell into a life I’m not proud of, but eventually emerged on the other side committed to a clean lifestyle.
Ironically, it was shortly thereafter that I met two guys dressed in white dress shirts, dark pants and ties wearing backpacks and holding books. They were some kind of witnesses from a latter day and told me I might find salvation in Salt Lake City.
Once there, I met a lot of extremely nice people, similarly dressed, and I heard of a place called Colorado City, Utah. Now I love Colorado and Utah appears to be a rather clean lifestyle state, my lifestyle, so a place called Colorado City in Utah seemed to be the perfect place. Thoughts of Utopia filled my head as I made my way to that fateful town.
In Colorado City I found what could be best described as a communal situation. I would say a majority of the homes I was invited to had a man, a handful of women and a lot of children living together.
I’ve spent some time in a commune before, back in the ‘70s—problem was the commune soon became communicable so I’m reminded, every month, of my time on the commune as I refill my penicillin prescription.
Aside from the communicable part, communes can be rather pleasant, though.
Now the reasons for my stint in Colorado City were two-fold. First, I needed to get back in shape. Second, I needed to find a healthy woman within whom I would be able to plant my seed in an effort to prolong the Expedition Boy legacy. I mean, I’m not getting any younger.
I met a guy by the name of Warren Jeffs, interesting guy, lots of ideas, very sure of himself. He invited me to his house for dinner and I obliged.
That night after dinner I was looking at some family photos on the wall. I noticed that a young woman in a Jeffs’ family portrait from a couple years back on one wall was then standing next to Mr. Jeffs at the altar in a more recent wedding photo.
I inquired about the strange coincidence that his wife looks so much like a young woman from his family and he explained that it was the same person and smiled, beamed actually.
After a rather uncomfortable silence I asked what he meant, he said it again.
"That’s the same woman."
Wow, that’s messed up and it all started to make sense, terrible sense. One guy, a lot of women and a lot of children soon to become women and then soon to become one guy’s wives.
I’m all about free love but familial love? That’s one gene pool I’d rather not jump in.
A knock at the door interrupted my next question and the next thing I know, the entire Jeffs’ family was escorted out the door by the FBI.
What the hell? What now?
Rather than tempted by the fruit of another, these guys are tempted by the fruit of each other.
The shock sent me into a whirlwind and I spent the next couple of days online searching for answers. It turns out, asking certain questions in online chat rooms leads to interesting offers on my email.
Each of which seemed perfectly legit.
"End pain with Vioxx."
"Extend stamina with Cialis."
So I purchased some of both and headed to the desert to begin a personal rigorous training regimen.
Pushing the limits of my own physicality caused intense pain. While Vioxx offered serious pain relief, I found myself short of breath, numbness in my extremities and a sharp pain in my arm. Not to mention loss of bladder control and anal leakage.
I turned to Cialis without much success. I saw no increase in stamina when running across the desert landscape. In fact, it wasn’t until I came across a women’s empowerment group, dubbed Estrofest 2007, that I found out exactly what Cialis was all about.
Believe you me, it got a little embarrassing at the tantric campfire and I was asked, not so politely, to leave. As a result of Cialis, I had to find a place to hide for the next 36 hours. Any longer and I would have to consult a physician.
I turned to the walls of Indian Creek to clear my head and find direction and that’s where I heard about Free Ski and ultimately landing me in the HAPLab at Western State College.
After signing a series of release forms asking questions about chest pains, who doesn’t get chest pains while sitting let alone during exertion, and whatnot, director of the HAPLab Scott Drum, HAPLab manager Josh Dayton and HAPLab exercise specialist Ashley Quiggle proceeded to rig me to the treadmill and a variety of tubes and wires.
In addition, I was hooked up to a gas analysis machine, think part electroshock therapy mouth guard, part orthodontia headgear. Both of which I’m very familiar with. The 1950s were a different time and the government paid good money for human testing. I did some, subjecting myself to electroshock therapy sessions to test the human mind’s threshold. I passed. So this all seemed rather comfortable to me.
The test started at an easy pace and my thoughts wandered to the slopes of Crested Butte Mountain and the idea that it would be free to ski.
I was asked at intervals what my exertion level was on a level of one to 20, one being no stress and 20 being redlined.
Cruising at a one for a while I wondered how this would really test me as I gazed at a motivational poster of Steve Prefontaine, the University of Oregon distance runner.
It was then that I found out how the test really works as Drum mentioned increasing the pace on the treadmill.
Immediately I was at an eight.
Quiggle proceeded with a blood test in an effort to determine my lactate threshold. Let’s just say I’m lactate intolerant.
The pace increased again and I was at 12 and when he ramped up the pace once more I was hitting 20 and then some. The technicians started shouting and everything got a little dark.
"Pulse rate 180!" yelled one.
"Pulse rate 187!" soon after.
"Bring it down, bring it down!" screamed one of the technicians and that was the last thing I heard before I hopped off the treadmill fearing pulmonary explosion.
Apparently, the VO2 test on the treadmill is designed to last 10 to 15 minutes. I made it exactly eight minutes and 47 seconds.
While in "warm down," i.e. sitting and smoking, Quiggle took my blood pressure and we spoke of getting on the stationary bike for a similar test specific to biking.
I gave it a quick go at an easy pace just to see but decided enough was enough and called it good. When the lab results were printed Drum stated, "You have the VO2 level equivalent to the girls’ cross-country runners."
Pretty damn good considering the WSC girls team has some national championships to their credit.
My lactate threshold and everything else were documented on the computer and printed out to me for consultation with Drum and Dayton.
Dayton explained that there was hope for me yet based on my results and just when the humility of the tests had me thinking of packing it in for good, Dayton said I’ve got a good base to work with.
While the tests are somewhat sport specific to running and biking, the lab will soon add a six-foot by eight-foot treadmill to their burgeoning batch of equipment in an effort to conduct Nordic skiing tests as well, a sport that I hear is pretty popular in these parts.
In addition, Drum hopes to further expand their testing capabilities to accommodate its use by disabled athletes.
As for me, my training regimen is under way and I am currently involved in preparation for the upcoming Free Ski season. Drum suggested that I return to the HAPLab mid-season to see if I’ve improved, we’ll see about that.
As for Free Ski, I’ll see all of you up there to lap up the strip on the mighty RLX, that’s the Red Lady Express. And if you see this guy from the Trose—you’ll know him when you hear him—tell him I’m looking for him.