The Press Box: Hooked on skating in urban jungles

While I spend my working hours attending sporting events and writing about them, I like to spend my off hours engaged in recreational activities as well, pumping iron at the fitness and racquetball club in town and traversing Kingman's streets on inline skates.

Since I first rented a pair of skates at Santa Monica Beach a few years back, I've been hooked on skating.

And it's not a skate in the park that turns me on, but urban jungles.

I love skating the downtown areas of major cities.

Just this last year I've skated Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Albuquerque, Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami's South Beach.

Now while Kingman is not a hotbed for urban skating, it does provide a good workout for me and a convenient commute to the gym and other spots around town.

It's not too often a politician does something that makes any sense, or does anything at all except make a bad situation worse, but you have to give credit to the politician(s) who decided to build the sidewalk that runs the length of Stockton Hill Road.

Just about every day I lace up my skates and, from Andy Devine, sail down Stockton Hill to gym.

The path is relatively smooth; it's wide as long as you're the only one on it, and, for the most part, it's free of any pedestrians.

Some mornings the wind from the south pushes so hard that you can really pick up some speed going down the hill, maybe even having to brake now and again.

On less windy days, you can buy a cup of coffee at the top of the hill and enjoy a casual roll to the bottom.

There have been a few days the wind blew from the north so hard I had to actually skate down the hill.

It's better for the wind to push you down the hill because by the time you get to the gym you're warmed up and ready for your workout whereas if you have to skate hard to get to the gym, you might find yourself too tired to do much of a work out.

(Not that I'm not always looking for an excuse to be lazy and get out of doing my workout).

After an hour or so at the gym, it's time to skate back up the hill.

This is difficult enough on a calm day, but most days, the wind blows in from the south and makes that climb back up Stockton Hill a bigger workout than the one I just had at the gym.

Every time I struggle up the hill in these windy conditions, I swear that I'll never do it again.

But once I've made it home, I soon forget how difficult the climb back up was and only think about how much fun it was going down.

So always the next day, I put myself through the torture all over again.

But there are benefits to this hard workout, and it's not just the freedom of flying downhill.

The climb back up is a much more fun way of getting your cardio workout in without having to trudge along on a boring treadmill while watching TV stations with lousy reception.

The climb also helps build my quads and glutes, and nice glutes are one of the things I hear women appreciate about a man.

Not that any woman has ever mentioned to me that I have nice glutes.

But I like to think that that's because they're too busy admiring my massive traps and the cuts in my posterior delts when viewing me from the rear angle.

Unfortunately, no woman's ever said anything to me about the way I carry those muscle groups either.

But getting back to skating, Kingman has its share of challenges and fun skate routes.

Try taking Andy Devine from Stockton Hill down to Beale Street.

While the sidewalk on Andy Devine is too small to pick up any real speed (It's steep and you have to ride your brake going down), and the road is too rough to skate (let's get public works out there), once you reach Beale you have a smooth downhill road and a pleasant little area to skate around.

Better be in some kind of good shape though because it's a workout getting back up to Stockton Hill.

I haven't been around long enough to hunt down all the good places to skate, but now and again I drive by a smooth looking road and make a mental note to skate over and check it out.

And speaking of driving, getting out of the car is another great benefit of skating.

I pulled into town almost a month ago with a half-a-tank of gas and I still haven't been to the pump.

At over $2 bucks a gallon , I figure I've not only saved a handful of dollars, but maybe a handful of human lives (those endangered by greedy oil barons) as well.