With less than a week until the tenth annual Bitter Cold Showdown in lovely (read: fucking freezing) Michigan, I can barely keep my ass in a chair. So let’s make this quick.
What to Pack
The nice thing about Bitter Cold is that you don’t have to pack like normal vacations. If you’re like me and landing on Thursday, all you need is a single T-shirt, four pairs of underwear, six sets of Aggressive Mall socks, one set of Vibralux jeans, and a big fucking jacket. Oh yeah, and skates.
While those will quickly be covered in snow, sweat, Scotch and vomit, the nice thing is that the shopping takes care of itself. Besides, you’ll need the room in your carry-on luggage for such essentials as more VX jeans, the latest Print Brigade “I Still Rollerblade” T, Valo sweatshirt, the latest copies of ONE and Be-Mag, ONE lithographs, the famous Intuition cookies (as well as exclusive Stockwell gear), exclusive Bitter Cold Eulogy wheels, GOST jeans, ONE T-shirts (seriously, buy lots of ONE stuff), everything else you could imagine, hopes, dreams, unicorns, rainbows, three-titted lesbians and the FUCKING NIMH VIDEO!!!!
That, and with the complimentary soaps and conditioners at your hotel, you’ll come away with a lot more than just scars, a hangover and possibly a bad case of jock itch.
Person to Watch
Too often I blame my lack of blade skills on my aging, crippled body. Those, however, are just excuses because age is lame.
Take for example the man pictured above. Yes, in his Sports Illustrated for Kids trading card, he is but a mere pup in his roller skates, but Dante Muse can whoop ass.
But, as Bitter Cold turns 10, the man wearing No. 84 in the qualifiers will be 43. And no, I don’t have number dyslexia. That four came before that three. He’s more than twice the age of some people competing.
And, while you’re watching him do shit like a 270 backside backslide to switch sweaty on the coping, you’ll also be wondering why he’s skating so fast. That’s because he’s been the world speed skating champion 14 times. That, and an X-Games gold medal in downhill doesn’t look too shabby on a resume either.
You’ll be witnessing history that you’ll someday tell your kids, “Yes, my darlings, I was there when the old man bladed at Bitter Cold.”
My Bittercold Memory
(If I could have paid Johnny Depp to narrate this is the voice of the great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson I would have.)
It’s 2008 and we’re somewhere in the desolate frozen hellhole that is the Midwest in February. We’re in a rented 15-passenger van and somewhere along the way I sobered up from the night before. Fuck, it’s cold. Tension in the van is getting at an all-time high because when you have more than a dozen people packed into a van full of sweaty skating gear, things are going to get messy.
Snow, ice and rain are flowing down from some ghastly spot in the sky only reserved for the Devil when he’s at his worst. To make things interesting, I put in a copy of Chuck Palahniuk reading his famous story “Guts.” Let’s just say, after the line “If I told you how it tasted, you would never, ever again eat calamari,” the moaning from the back seats to turn it off reached a fever pitch. I couldn’t help but laugh and drive faster.
It wasn’t in Iowa, nor Illinois, maybe Indiana — if we even went there — but not yet Ohio that traffic was backed up to barely crawling. I couldn’t see out of the windshield, but we were losing valuable time. There were three people in the van that needed to get to Bitter Cold to compete in the qualifiers. There were mere minutes to spare. The storm and people’s care for their own lives was irritating. For an hour we crept at 10 miles per hour, every tap of the brakes sliding our big, stinky blue beast of a bitch van all over the road. Blizzards come and go, but Bitter Cold comes but once a year. Sure, death was imminent if we went any faster, but damn it, we’re rollerbladers.
If I could have found something sharp enough, I would have cut the throat of every slow driver ahead of us. The warmth from their blood would have melted the ice for sure. My right foot tingled. Go fast. We can make it, it said to me. Carpe the fuck out of this diem.
There was an open lane all the way to the right. The rational part of me said it was probably empty for a reason, considering the entire lane glistened like a pile of coke on a hooker’s ass crack. The other part of me, the part that would even agree to drive 11 hours in February in such a death machine, said it was time to drive. I moved lanes. I hit the gas. Twenty, forty, sixty miles per hour. The tail end swung around like a tuna fighting for its life. Some guys yelling in the back for me to slow down wasn’t totally unfounded, but I didn’t listen. We were on deadline. Eighty miles per hour. Cars on our right went from a glowing red mass of taillights ahead of us to a streaming glare of while in the rearview mirror. Ninety miles per hour. We’re going to make it, damn it. If even one car would have pulled in front of us even a mile ahead of us, we all would be dead in a pile of steel, foam and glory.
But we made it. Death had no time for us that day because we were driving faster than it. Fuck no, we have no reason to go.
We clogged both toilets in both of our hotel rooms within an hour. We had to buy helmets from Toys-R-Us. One of our passengers broke some teeth during the competition. Buying a Crave Case at White Castle was a bad idea. We bought so much shit at the tradeshow we almost had to sell the 13-year-old with us just to make room and gas money. I managed to piss off my then-girlfriend so bad she didn’t speak to me for days and I have no memory of it. Our van got a flat on the way to the video premiere. The spare was worse than the regular tire. The next day I puked heavily into the garbage can at the tire shop. I had butt-pee for a week.
That was my first time to Bitter Cold. If I miss one it’s because death finally caught up to me where we all left it on that frozen, desolate road three years ago.
If You Can’t Go
If for some reason — deportation, outstanding arrest warrants, fear of Michigan — if you won’t be at BCSDX, I’ll be doing my best, along with others, to keep you in-the-know about the Super Bowl of blading.
Daniel Kinney — Papa Bear of Bittercold — will be handing over control of the Bittercold Twitter news account to let me do my normal WEB ROLL, but at 140 characters at a time, as often as I can.
But mainly, I’ll try to play the part of legitimate journalist and keep everyone updated as far as results, goodies and whatever else I find interesting while avoiding people trying to knock my teeth in for shit I’ve written here.
So, follow @BCSD_news on that fancy, schmancy Twitter thing. Oh yeah, and @oneblademag, of course.
Ubiquitous Item of the Week
I heard there was some comp there. Maybe. I dunno. It’s got the Be-Mag message board a-fire with the usual after-the-fact, this-is-what-should-have-happened glory.
But fuck all that shit.
Here’s what’s up: Haffey. 666 rail. Fake or real? Hmm…2010, bitches. 2010.
All it proves is that Haffey IS the best skater there ever WAS and still IS. If you watch it and you don’t do that finger-slapping thing he does then don’t bother checking yourself into the hospital because you’re already dead.
Comment of the Week
I believe it.
Fail of the Week
Michael Braud might seem like a crazy motherfucker, but Gumby is actually a pretty nice dude. That’s why hearing he has Polycystic Kidney Disease is such a downer. This is a fail by no fault of his own, but a fail to life in general for fucking sucking.
But on the Southbound Connection blog, when realizing he still hopefully has another three decades of life ahead of him, he left some thoughtful and immortal words:
The fail would go to Stephane Alfano again for being banned for life from Winterclash, but since he repeatedly fails at having any kind of class about keeping his tantrums to himself, I don’t think he’s worth the effort of me moving my fingers across my keyboard more than I already have.
See you in a week. Until then, courage.
Thanks for the shout out!!!
I’m saying fuck not skating for a month. It’s on at Bittercold.
Thanks Brian, we’ll be holding an ISR shirt for you!
hey kransy send me a shirt or two, taiwan is boring.
just got word yesterday that i CAN go to bittercold and i will see you there lets just hope my parole officer doesnt find out that im leaving the state again to go rollerblade without asking him b/c he says “its time to grow up tyler its time to put on the big boy pants” haha FUCK YOU i rollerblade and I am going to bittercold!!!!
see you there dude
ps i got a car full of chicks that are comming w/ me r u ready to party? muahahaha
just to get off the subject matter, i’m guessing B unique clothing is dead. . . . . . . If not let me know what the deal is on the company.
I’m coming for you.
dante muse motherfucker!! 43 fkn 3… theres proof that skating until 40 isnt impossible…
BCSD ONE day!! baby!
could we say that haffey is the fedderer of rollerblading.. and incase some dont watch tennis thats the god of tennis.