A warm Saturday in September finds many of us outside enjoying maybe the last great weekend of the Summer. The Boston Celtics, thanks to some unique thinking and earnest dedication, are no different. This past Saturday found the hard-working members of the Boston Celtics in the gym for an early morning voluntary workout. It was the culmination of a rigorous week of workouts for the team. With some members away to play in a charity event, Al Jefferson and Ryan Gomes suggested the team get an extra day of work. Bright and early but sore and tired, the team showed up to get better.
One of the conditioning tests for the Celtics is the dreaded Five Mile Bike Test. It is a mental and physical test that emphasizes cardiovascular fitness and leg strength. The end of this test is typically greeted with a 10 minute lie down session and a five minute chant of "my legs, my legs". It is a favorite of the "Bigs" (forwards and centers) because mass and strength can contribute to a faster ride. The "smalls" usually favor the running tests because they do not have to move as much mass.
After 30 minutes of torso strengthening and resistance training (lifting), the athletes knew what was coming. Glancing at the bikes and looking at the sunshine outside made for some second guessing as to why working out Saturday morning was a good idea.
Fortunately, Al Jefferson had a solution. At his suggestion, the team and Strength and Conditioning Coaches (Bryan Doo and Walter Norton, Jr.) brought the bikes into the parking lot where the ride commenced. Not one complaint was heard as the sun beat down and the sweat poured off. Officially, it was a voluntary day. Unofficially, it was the most fun any of the athletes have had on the bike all summer.
For Celtics Jefferson, Gomes, and Dwayne Jones there have been many miles logged on the bike and this was a welcome change. For newcomers Leon Powe and Kevin Pittsnogle, it may have been the strangest workout they have been through yet.
Ultimately, Pittsnogle won a tightly contested race over Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Dwayne Jones and Leon Powe. It would be safe to say that Leon Powe did not train on these bikes at Cal, but he is a natural athlete who has improved everyday.
The end of the ride was met with enthusiasm and the athletes began to celebrate the beginning of their weekend. For the jogger or trail walker who happened to pass by, the following could be inferred: this is not something you see everyday and the 2006-07 Celtics will not be outworked under any circumstances.