[/caption] I’ve been collecting fitness gear for about two years or so. As with any obsession, it started off small—a barbell and some Olympic plates picked up for cheap from some dude online. Cash and carry. A few personal items followed, like a set of rings and a skipping rope and a kettlebell, but things started to get more serious when I started to have dreams about bumper plates. I would actually imagine myself in the cramped University of Winnipeg weight room, because that was the only place where I had access to bumpers and platforms at the time. And a lot of the time, someone was doing push-ups on the platforms or biceps curls, or anything that could be done anywhere else. So I bit the bullet and unloaded on a set of bumpers and a bar. That basically opened the floodgates. Soon, I was placing orders to Rogue Canada and trolling the web. I also contacted certain evil spirits and secretaries of secretaries who brought me long-forgotten gear from long-forgotten places. I lucked into a Concept2 rower with most of the screws missing, and after a trip to Home Depot we were ready to pull 500s. All of a sudden, I had a growing family of kettlebells and a few more barbells. [caption id="attachment_241" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Pumpkin's reverse-hyper desk."][/caption] These small but heavy items were easy to store, even if the kettlebells rolled around my trunk like cannonballs on a pirate ship when I cornered too fast on the way to the Assiniboine Athletic Club. After that, I got more aggressive and put out a call for tires. Within about a month, I had about 1,000 lb. of rubber stacked in my front yard, and when Dale rolled up with a 525-lb. monster–Vader–that actually bent the wall of his truck, we were into some serious business. We actually scrubbed a few of them down in a car wash. A trip to Westside Barbell late in 2009 really set me off, and I started saving for a reverse hyper and an R3 rack based on the one Louie Simmons had in Columbus. At this point it’s worth mentioning that I lived with Crystal in a 500-square-foot second-floor suite. I had gear stacked everywhere, and I eventually used the hyper as a stand-up desk and the R3 cage as a clothes rack I could also do pull-ups on. I always left the guards up in case the weight of Crystal’s Lululemon collection should snap pins. Things started to get a bit tense with all my stuff stacked everywhere, so I started storing it elsewhere. I moved a tire, the kettlebells, some plyo boxes and a barbell to the AAC, and I farmed out a bunch of stuff to Dale’s Garage for our Sunday-morning lifting sessions. With space freed up, I started to pick up more things. A few sets of rings at the Arnold Classic in Columbus earned me a stern talking to from a TSA agent who thought I was smuggling ninja tools. The Intergalactic Throwdown required a bit more gear, so another Rogue order arrived. Dale welded me a pair of prowlers and some fat bars. It was about here that I realized it was time to find a space for all this cool stuff. [caption id="attachment_510" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The R3 rack can hold about 10,000 lb. of clothes and is the choice of fashionistas everywhere."][/caption] And after a lengthy search, we leased the Bomb Shelter, at which point I was able to shout, “Assemble the minions!” and receive the help of Ryan, Derek and Dale, who donated time, energy and trucks. We spent the last four days collecting gear from its various locations, and finally, all the toys are in one place, including an SPX squat rack that was too tall and sat on its side in my basement for over a year. Looking at the collected equipment, I feel a bit like everything is finally as it was meant to be. The Constructicons are uniting to form Devastator. The Sankara Stones are back in the village. Butch Coolidge finally has his dad’s watch. And we’ve got more coming … .
We’re learning about a new sport: biathlon. This one is challenging, but we’re having a lot of fun with the great winter activity in Kenora.