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Steely Dan’s Wake Up Call to Get Down

Recently on an early morning skate with my buddy Dan, I was holding it steady at about 16 miles per hour when my head started ringing with the strains of “Hey Nineteen.”

My mind was admonishing me to speed up.

There’s a moment in that party tune when out of the song pops the spoken phrase “Skate a little lower now.” It’s not in the lyrics because it’s not sung, but it’s there alright. It comes out every time like a shot across the bow, a warning that I need to get my arse in gear in preparation for the real combat of racing that’s imminent on the horizon.

I did like the song says and got down a bit, instantly gaining a couple three miles per hour, and soon I heard a hoarse whisper behind me. “I’m at my limit,” Dan managed, before fading off the pace with clacking and quackenstepping.

Back in the day, that was me at my limit, trying everything I could to stay with the pack in the races in Holland, with nothing working so well as just plain getting down until my chest collided with my thighs.

The Cuervo Gold and fine Colombian may yet vie for my attention, but skating a little lower has always won the day.