I'm not sure how I get volunteered for these things.
A few weeks ago, an e-mail chain popped up at work announcing I would train with Laird Hamilton for a day as he prepares for a four-man endurance-cycling competition called Race Across America. Of course, Laird will stand-up paddle 115 miles from Malibu to Oceanside before the 3,000-mile bike race even begins, and at the race's conclusion he has opted to stand-up paddle to and around the Statue of Liberty; a thorough bench-pressing of America, if you will.
Needless to say, I'm pretty nervous. Don't get me wrong, I'm psyched at the opportunity, but training with living superheroes is a dangerous undertaking. And it's not like we're going to a gym; I've been told we will bike in the morning an undisclosed number of miles, followed by an interminable stand-up paddle through Los Angeles. So if I drown in his wake, well, I guess it's as literal as it sounds: I drown in his wake.
To demonstrate the intimidation factor, I figured a little by the numbers comparison was in order:
Laird: 6'3" 215 lbs.
Me: 5' 6 " 160 lbs.
Most Notable Achievement:
Laird: Riding arguably the most massive wave ever at Teahupoo
Me: Winning 9th grade speech contest with an essay on discrimination against short people
Laird: "The best big wave surfer in the world today, bar none," says Sam George. "He is the sport's most complete surfer, displaying almost unnerving expertise in a multitude of disciplines: tow-surfing, bodysurfing, longboarding, sailboarding, and kite-surfing."
Me: Former collegiate athlete who now works on a computer 10 hours a day and regrets his decision to broadcast past experience as a collegiate athlete. I can hear the rest of the office snickering now, actually.
Laird: Trying to break the Trans-America Cycling world record set in 2004 of 5 days, 8 hours, and 17 minutes.
Me: Being able to walk again within 5 days, 8 hours, and 17 minutes of said training session.
Well, there you have it. If all goes well, I'll be able to report back on the carnage that is a day in Laird Hamilton's superhuman training regimen, but to be honest, I'm just hoping to walk home.
Check back to SurferMag.com in the coming weeks for more updates on Laird's Race Across America.