Saturday, May 5, 2012

Inside Looking Out

I got a new bike yesterday and promptly got my but kicked this morning on the major hill on my street.  It's one of those 180 degree ocean view streets that JUST KEEPS CLIMBING!  I made it but it was work.  I don't have my computer on yet but I'm sure I was well over 55 mph. on the decent.  YES - helmet!!  I will combine bike and StairMaster Gauntlet in an effort to get more high quality jumps in my practices.  Beats running 300s, 200s and 150s.  I normally get 6-9 jumps and I'd love to get 15.  That's part of the vault goal.

Before I jump ahead to poles I want to revisit the injury bug as I left one out yesterday.  I had a pain on the outside of my right foot that I got shot last year.  I noticed it would flare up again from time to time and even made an appointment to get it shot again.  Well, I figured that one out too.  Turns out it was from calf work - standing and sitting with heavy weight.  I stopped those and it hasn't been a hint since then.  I'm using the bike, Gauntlet and some light plyos to make up for the lifting loss.  A week ago today I strained my groin.  Leave it alone.  Nuff said.  I'm entering the 14 month grind phase for the most part uninjured except for the groin which I now have a preventive cure for as well.

I was going to start by talking about my vault plan and progression but the more current subject is poles.  I jump on 14' 7" (4.45m) poles that have been cut off 5.5" (13 cm) because I couldn't make them roll at their full length.  I cut from the bottom obviously as cutting from the top does nothing to change the properties of the pole.  That said, I trim the tops afterwards to just above my grip so the pole will fall under the bar instead of knocking it off since I always jump with my standards all the way back.  This also keeps the kids from using my poles.  Sorry but they have screwed up to many before so I learned my lesson.

I moved up from 14' 1" (4.30m) poles because as my grip went up they felt a little more mushy where I was looking for a quicker response.  The cut 14' 7" at 5.5" should be about the same as the full length 14' 1s but they are not. - they are MUCH more responsive with a quick and powerful return.  As you know I only use Essx poles, designed and built by Bruce Caldwell, who has designed and built my poles since college.  He makes, in my opinion, the best and most consistent product and understands what I'm trying t do with my jump.  I jump up well so I can uses higher sailpieces.

All of this said I have challenged him to come up with a hybrid design that allows me to jump on a full length pole that requires no cutting on the bottom. My guess is that he will tweak his spreadsheet to make me a 4.35m (14' 2 1/2") or a 4.40m (14' 5 1/4") pole.  Though I love the poles I have, I will be moving my grip up 3-4" (6-8 cm) from day one.  Reason - I've seen my videos and I am way under gripping, and when I cut them all off the final 3" last year I never changed the grip tape so I actually move my grips down 3".  Bottom line is that I normally hold where I will raise it to, and then maybe go up and inch or two from there.  Because of this, and the fact I trim the top of my poles, then I need a new set of 6-8 poles that are long enough for me to hold higher.

SO, Bruce will make one pole and have it flex out around a 16.0 on a 4.30m span.  This is the standard me and my coach Kris Allison always use because I know the feel of 4.30m flexes very well.  So Bruce could make a 4.35m, 4.40, 4.45, 4.50 or even a 4.60 pole, flex it to a 16.0 on a 4.30 span and I would be able to immediately see how every other pole in the series works.  So the question becomes, if I couldn't roll a 4.45m uncut, YET I'm moving my grip up 3-4", what is the best uncut pole length for me?  Would a 4.45m roll with a higher grip?  NO!  I tried it before I cut it and it was too much of a struggle - 30/70 ability to complete a jump.  My guess is that a 4.35m or 4.40 pole is the best but we won't know until he makes one that flexes out on a 4.30m span as a 16.0.  So that is what Bruce will do; take this information, plus what he knows about my vault, design what he feels to be the perfect pole that comes out to a 16.0 on a 4.30m span and send it to me.  If it's a 4.40 and I can't quite roll it, I will trim it and now he will make the rest of the series out of 4.35s.  He's the absolute master at this so I will leave him to his magic.

Magic is what I will need as I try to win both World Masters Games in Italy and World Masters Athletics in Brazil next year when I'm fortunate enough to be the youngest guy in the group - 60.  Also only one person in history, John Altendorf, who will be visiting me shortly, has ever vaulted 13' at 60.  I want to be #2.  For that I need special preparation and special poles.  So Bruce will make me 6-8 poles especially for that purpose.  Can't wait!! Have a great day!  Bubba

GFR - "Sin's a Good Man's Brother" got me through my bike grind this morning -

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