2 Weeks To Siberia

Originally Published February 2, 2011


I was lying on the floor in my loft last night. This, this was the hardest training I had ever done. I was lying there in a mess of creamy chalk, sweat and spit, fading in and out (I am sure you all know this feeling) and I had a thought. After all of this time, after everything I have done. After all the things I have seen, people I’ve met, friends I’ve made, loves I’ve lost, and battles I’ve waged I have finally, at the age of 33, tried as hard as I possibly could at something. My body is wrecked. It wasn’t my wind (my running, rowing, swimming, and hill climbing had handled that). It wasn’t my grip (all the glove snatches, farmers walks, pullups, and grip 365 had handled that). It was my whole body. My muscles burned and were melting off the bones. My skeleton, my very structure was pulverized. I couldn’t see anything. The air was hot.

In 14 days I leave for Siberia with my brother Jason Dolby. We have both been training under coach Sergey Rudnev since this past October. We first met him in St. Petersburg, then again in Los Angeles at Jason’s One Hour Long Cycle charity event. We told him that we wanted to go to Siberia and train study under him. We told him that we wanted to compete in a competition if that was at all possible. We told him we had been dreaming of this crazy idea. We thought he would laugh at us. To our surprise and delight he welcomed us with open arms. We are to compete in Siberia on February 27 2011. Lewis and Clark. Why the hell not? What else are we doing? Why not do the most awesome thing we can imagine? This is who we are. We just want to do things. Famous last words…

I tried to sit up. Nyet, no legs. So I broke into my v-snaps, 20…then another 20, then the cramps hit. I was down again. 14 days to Siberia. I need to get better. My Jerks are a joke…my snatches…I need more. I am so scared to embarrass Coach Rudnev. He is a legendary trainer of great champions, titans of the sport, and fat giants from Long Island New York by way of Oakland California. I missed my numbers… again.

I met Coach Rudnev in May 2010, and now I can run 10km without much worry. I can do pullups, pushups, v-snaps, snatches, Jerks. I can swim for an hour without stopping. I am nowhere near where I need to be. I am nowhere near where I am going. I am in the 4th stage of my 1st cycle of training. This is the beginning. It is harder than I could have imagined. I have never felt like this before. All I do is train, eat, recover, and sleep. I hardly work. I never go out. I don’t drink or eat sugar or dairy. I have lost 50lbs since St. Petersburg and I need to lose more so I can rack better. I have thoughts like “If I climb the mountain today I can get some extra cardio in. But, I may be tired tomorrow and I’ll miss my numbers”. Incredible. My training, my numbers, they have taken over my life.

I am staring at my bars now. I have these two 2” thick 7’ long parallel bars in my loft that I do grip work with. They are about 8’ off the ground. I do pullups mostly. Sometimes I just hang and swing from them. They are great for grip work. I am crawling now. I’m a mess. Time to jump up and at least try to hang. I manage to swing for 60 seconds and then I slip and crash to the floor again. It didn’t hurt. I can’t be hurt. Not until I am back from Siberia.

Aleks told us that we are going to get to train and study under the great champion Aleksandr Khvostov when we get to coach Rudnev’s as well. We will fly for 30 hours then take the Trans Siberian Railroad for 30 hours to get there. We will be doing our gpp on the train, running laps around the hotel in Vladivolstock, doing lifts with our luggage…anything we can do to stay fit while we are on the road. Dolby is a much better lifter than I am. He is the hardest working person I know. His enthusiasm is contagious and he actually has me excited about the prospect of running around a Russian hotel in Siberia in February. I can’t think of any place I would rather be.

I’m back on the floor. Thinking about all of this. Thinking about how I have finally pushed myself as far as I can go and I didn’t die. Knowing that no matter what happens now I can’t fail. Knowing that I have pushed myself, and been pushed by Nazo, Jason, Aleks, Rudnev, and the people who love me, all the way to Siberia…in February, to do the thing that I love. I was lying there thinking all of this, seriously. I was thinking of all of this and one more thing. I was thinking about a year from now. February 1st 2012, I know that I will be back on this floor. I will be lying here in my own sweat and sticky chalk. The color of the bells will be different. The numbers will be different. These things are certain, but my resolve will be the same. I know what it is now. I can almost touch it, almost with a fingertip. I am so much closer than I have ever been, even if I am still glued to this floor.


One last little thing. Nazo took these pictures. She has seen the best and the worst of me over the years. She is not coming with Jason and I to Siberia and she will be missed terribly. We are the steak and she is the sizzle. The only two things in this world that make everything better are Bacon, and Nazo. We don't know how this is going to go. We don't know how we will lift or what might go wrong. I just keep thinking of Paulie's reaction when Rocky said he was going to fight in Russia on Christmas "ARE YOU NUTS???" I guess... maybe... probably we are. But, we have this chance to do this thing with these guys in this place soo... if we die, well, we die. (But I think we will make it out alive) :-)