Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Limit and Terri Bennett are going down

Next year, it’s on and poppin’.

I’ll be gunning for Power 98's No Limit Larry and his crew in the media Pit Crew Challenge, a lead-up to tonight's official Nextel Pit Crew Challenge. Watch the video.

On Tuesday, No Limit’s team - which also had former Hornet Dell Curry, former Panther Brentson Buckner, and some guy named Steve - beat myself, Fox’s Kelli Bartik, WSOC’s Scott Wickersham and MetroNetworks Radio's Mike Markham by less than a second.

They changed two tires, fueled a car, jacked a car and pushed one in 21.80 seconds. Our team did it in 22.64. Call me a sore loser (I am), but I told No Limit that they only beat us because they had two former professional athletes. He claimed Buckner and Curry slowed him down.

Along with team competitions, we had individual winners as well.
Those were: Gasman Curry (4.8 seconds), tire changer Herman Towe (7.69 seconds) and jackman Buckner (4.54 seconds).

Hey Herman, I’m gunning for you and WCNC’s Terri Bennett next year as well. Towe beat me in the tire changer individual competition by like half a second, but I swear he practiced a hundred gazillion times. (I said I was a sore loser).

For real, Bennett is the tire changer to beat. Denny Hamlin’s pit crew could use her. On television she looks all nice and sweet, but put a pit gun (that thingy that pulls the lugnuts off) in her hand and Red Bull flows through her veins. She was a beast.

Her practice time was under six seconds. She couldn’t get it together for the actual timed competition, and kept scoring 10s. Don’t be surprised if you see her pointing to a low-pressure system with a pit gun in her hands tonight.

The Nextel folks should have never invited us out. It’s going to be a war next year. I’m hitting the gym even harder to get ready. (Dell, you might want to join me. I noticed quite a few gray hairs. No Limit might replace you with Emeka Okafor.) Speaking of the gym, be sure to read my blog about training with Walt Smith in preparation for Tuesday’s competition.

Yay! Walt Smith tried to kill me

I always envision that I can work out with any professional athlete and at least hold my own. Personal trainer Walt Smith slapped me back down to reality on Monday.

He works with the pit crews for Dale Earnhardt International, keeping them in top shape so they can jump the wall and change a tire in record time.

I decided a workout with Smith would get me ready for the media pit crew challenge on Tuesday. By the time I finished the hand-eye coordination and agility drills, I was just trying not to embarrass myself.

I lift weights 3-5 days a week and do some type of cardio at least three days a week. I figured, I would have to push Smith not to go easy on me.

We started with a 15-minute warmup on the treadmill. He used interval training, which means I would run with the treadmill set on 3 for a few minutes, then 4.7, then 3, then 6, etc. I alternated between walking, trotting and jogging.

Next we did a hand-eye drill. He tossed me a racquetball with one hand. At the same time, I had to catch his ball with my empty hand and toss him a ball. We spent a lot of time chasing balls that hit the floor.

The hand-eye drill bruised my ego. I thought I was coordinated. The agility drill kicked my rump. Smith bounced a racquetball to my left or right. I had catch the ball on the first bounce, toss it back and be ready to catch the next ball. I was panting after a few tosses. Once again, I chased a lot of balls that hit the floor.

My favorite workout was his leg circuit. We did resting squats, where you squat and hold the weights for five seconds and then explode up. After eight repetitions of that, I did jumping lunges, followed by a wall squat. For the wall squat, you squat with your back against the wall and your quads and buttocks are parallel to the floor.

After about 20 seconds, I was looking at my legs and trying to figure out if the fire burning in Florida had moved to DEI. I lasted for 38 seconds.

The other challenge was the exercise ball pushup. I placed an exercise ball on the floor and tried to do a pushup off the ball. Like I said, I tried. My bench press max is 135, and I couldn’t even do one pushup off the ball. Ugh.

I loved Smith’s abdominal workout. He had me perform a series of crunches in different positions for five minutes. The hardest was the reverse crunch. All of these years, I’ve been doing it wrong. I couldn’t even get my legs to go far enough back without him pulling my feet into the air.

I have so much work to do this summer. The Temple of Tonya (that’s what I called myself in my brief boxing days) will return.

Snug Harbor open in Plaza-Midwood

Ahoy, mates!

That’s the first thing that comes to mind when you enter Snug Harbor (formerly Fire & Ice Martini lounge) in Plaza-Midwood.
The bar, which opened a couple of weeks ago, is really into this pirate theme. The sign above the door has an anchor in it, and there is all kinds of boating memorabilia hanging from walls and sitting on shelves.

Snug Harbor is actually an alternative rock bar. If you like Dish and the Penguin, then you’ll fit right in at Snug Harbor. It has the kind of vibe that's probably good for chilling even if there isn’t a band performing. Plus, the beers aren’t expensive.

On Saturday, the Alternative Champs performed for more than 50 enthusiastic fans. I couldn’t decide whether the crowd, which ranged from Baby Boomers to people in their early 20s, was so diverse because of the bar or because of the band.