Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Jack Roach is a very knowlegeable coach who has a wonderful reputation behind him. However, when he approached me Thursday afternoon and told me of the kick set he had thought up for me and my roommate, Will Copeland, I asked myself..."Ummmm is this dude serious?"
Here's the set...you kick an 800 a 600 a 400 a 200 and a 100. The kicks are on a base of 1:15 per 100. What this means is you need to finish the 800 kick within 10 minutes, the 600 under 7:30, the 400 under five minutes, the 200 under 2:30 and the 100 needs to be within 15 seconds of your best 100 freestyle time. This is all in a 25 yard pool.
I am a good kicker but even this seemed a bit daunting of a task. Between each of the kicks you get a break of five to seven minutes to kick easy, swim around, rest on the wall...whatever you desire.
So it began...I was approaching the 300 of the 800. I looked to my left and glanced at the clock. The clock read 3:40. This was not looking good. I was only five seconds under the time allotted and I was only at the 300. Jack was standing right above my lane, I looked at him. He peered down at me with an encouraging face. I wanted to shake my head and say no *&%*! way can I make this.... I kept pounding my legs. I got to the 400 and my legs were seriously screaming. To me, hard kick sets are the most painful thing you can do to me. I love them because they make me better and they will make the difference for me in the long run...that doesn't mean they don't hurt though:) At about the 450 I remember distinctly recalling the Navy SEAL instructors telling me, "It's all mind over matter." They explained how your body can do it so long as your mind decides it wants to. At that very instant I put my head in the water, yelled, cursed myself, told myself I was a *#@%$ and told myself I had to make it...I had to make all of them. I asked myself how bad do I want it??? I asked myself what the point of even coming out to San Diego was if I just gave up and didn't do what I needed to do??? I fought through the pain and ended up making all the intervals. On the last 100 I went 55.8 which is within 15 seconds of my best 100!
"MIND OVER MATTER"
Posted by Garrett at 10:54 AM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The cool, almost sweet flavored air seeps into my lungs while my body floats on the surface of the water. My legs feel like they've been through a meet grinder and their only salvation is the warm taffy-like sensation they're beginning to experience as they warm down. Up high high in the sky I see a plane. I think to myself..."Whoa dude, it's crazy to think that people are sitting up there 30,000 above the ground in an aluminum cylinder traveling at like 500 miles per hour..." Although I have traveled all over the world and have been on tons of planes I sometimes forget how absurd air travel really is. What's even more amazing is how much faith we all have in the pilots that we literally entrust our lives to. I guess we just have to hope they didn't have a few too many drinks the night before as they line up to land this huge piece of machinery on the surface of the earth at a couple hundred miles an hour...
Now you're getting a bit of an idea what goes through a swimmers mind during practice...
Posted by Garrett at 1:47 PM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Some interesting things have happened here in San Diego lately.
Last Saturday night I went to a big bbq with a bunch of guys who are currently in training to become Navy SEALs. I befriended one of them when we were on the base last Wednesday and he invited me to a party they had at one of their houses. It was awesome to hang out with them again. I'm so intrigued by what they do and how they train. In all honesty I wish I had 30 lives. I would do so many different things. I would totally become a SEAL in one of them. I think we talked about the SEALS probably 85% of the time. The only thing that is discouraging about hanging out with these guys is that you soon realize that the caliber and intensity of your stories is very low...it's like me being a miniature horse and these guys are Barbaro...pathetic. I mean I can tell you what it's like to train hard and be tired...these guys can tell you what it's like to jump out of a plane from only 1200 feet and get your chute tangled or getting sprayed with CX4 gas that literally makes you believe you are dying. Lets get real...we all know what sounds more amazing.
On a different note...training is going very bad. My triceps are killing me. I can barely train due to the extreme pain in the back of my elbows. Last night I tried to train. I sometimes push myself further than I should. Eddie has taught me to always be looking to test myself and push the envelope. At the end of my set last night I had to get out because I could barely move my arm it was in so much pain. The pain was shooting up from my elbow into my shoulder. Unfortunately the pain didn't go away when I got out of the water. It continued for another 45 minutes. I seriously wanted to cry...I restrained. Immediately after getting out of the water I called Eddie. I explained my frustration. He has been my coach for six years and understands me better than most. The thing that frustrates me the most is that this keeps me from working like I want to work and know I need to work. Imagine climbing a mountain and spraining your ankle...all you want to do is get to the top of that mountain and you realize that the injury keeps you from getting where you want to go...annoying right?!? Eddie told me maybe this is a blessing in disguise. He told me to work my kick like crazy and get it better. This will give me an opportunity to work on my biggest, best, most lethal weapon even more than I normally would. I plan on making my legs into beautious, well oiled, slaying machines!!! I know my elbows will get better...it will just take some time.
Finally, I have unbelievably vivid and detailed dreams. My roomate in Texas is always shocked at how much of my dreams I remember and what they consist of. Last night I had a dream that Eamon Sullivan, the Australian sprinter, went 40.9 in the 100 meter freestyle. I was in utter disbelief. I just thought to myself...I better get to work!
Posted by Garrett at 4:52 PM
Friday, March 20, 2009
As I sat in our team meeting on Tuesday night I thought I was about to break my jaw, because I was smiling so much in excitement for the Navy SEALS training I was about to be exposed to the next morning. I had no idea what I was in for. What I knew was that I was very fortunate to experience something like this...I knew I loved challenges...I knew I couldn't wait to test myself.
I woke up Wednesday morning with a big smile on my face again. As I ate breakfast most people looked tired, nervous, annoyed that we had to do this...no way baby...I was pumped! As we pulled up near the Navy base I saw this huge cargo net in the air that was draped between two huge logs. I thought to myself, "Uh oh...I hope I don't have to climb that...I'm terrified of heights." Oh yeah, heck yeah we climbed that thing. The cargo net was 50 feet high at the top. I was one of the last people to go because my team was the last team to go. The SEAL next to me asked us if anyone was scared of heights. I said yes. He looked at me and said, "Good then this will be more entertaining for me." He told me to just concentrate on where my next move would be. I did exactly what he said. I was moving up the cargo net with ease. I got to the top, took a glance around, carefully flipped my body over the top rail and began my descent. Before I knew it I was at the bottom. Once my feet hit the sand my first thought was, "that wasn't bad at all, I wanna go around to the other side and try it again." Push through the fear and get over it.
The obstacle course consisted of about 12-15 different exercises. One I particularly liked was crawling underneath barbed wire and logs. There were two sides. The left was where most people were going. The right was much shallower and harder to get through. I looked at the SEAL instructor that was there and asked him if I could make it through the right side. He said there have been a couple small girls that have made it through. Then he looked me in the eye and with a manly and testing voice he said, "If you really have what it takes to be a SEAL you could probably get through there, you'll just have to dig your way through." I about yelled I was so wound up with excitement and curiosity and threw myself onto the sand. As I crawled through the sand my arms were pushing the dirt and debris out from in front of me. My face was literally in the sand and my breathing was blowing sand into my mouth, nose and eyes...It's time to man up! There was rusty barbed wire everywhere. At one point I had to dig a hole and lean my head to the side just to keep my head from being cut by the barbed wire. Constantly digging my hands into the sand and pulling my body through the small passage. At one point I felt a little tug on my butt. I thought to myself, "uh oh...I caught a barb on my butt-cheek. There are only two possibilities...I either didn't dig away the sand deep enough, or I have a big booty that sticks out from the rest of my backside, haha. I emerged from the other side with a huge grin on my face. I jumped to my feet and looked back at the small opening I had emerged from and thought to myself, "yeah...what, I got this."From the obstacle course we ran to and from the water several times and completely submerged ourselves in the 64 degree water. We eventually ran down to the beach where there were inflatable rafts waiting for us. Each team had a boat. We had to do different exercises with the boat. All the exercises involved carrying the boat into the water, paddling out, as a team, through the surf, doing something (flipping the boat over, doing a back flip off the front of the boat etc.) once we got out past the break and finally making our way back to the beach where we started. This was somewhat difficult because everyone needed to be rowing on the same page so we could keep our straight line into the waves. If you are at all crooked going into the breaking wave you're going to roll the boat...several boats rolled. Our boat got rolled twice. However, there were a few occasions on the way back in to shore where we were seriously riding the heck out of a wave...it was Gnarly dude! (gotta put some Cali lingo in there right haha:))
A huge part of being a SEAL is attention to detail. If our oars weren't placed in the boat properly we all did push-ups. If our collars weren't perfect we all did push-ups. If a buckle on our life-jacked was open we all did push-ups. Let's just say we did a ton of push-ups.
The last thing we did was really intense/awesome. We all got into a line and stood shoulder to shoulder. We interlocked arms and walked into the water. An instructor told us to turn around and interlock our arms again. We then laid down in the water on our backs. The water was probably between six and 10 inches deep. We laid there for about six or seven minutes. Then we got up, walked onto the beach, put our hands up so we felt cold with the wind blowing on us and went back into the water. We laid down in the water four times. The key is to relax. What I learned about the SEAL training is that it's all mind over body. Your body can handle the challenges. Can your mind? My tactic was to rest my head on the sand and close my eyes. I would listen for the oncoming waves. When I could tell a wave was coming I would simply hold my breath and let the wave completely cover my body and push my head down into the sand. I took deep breaths and tried to make myself believe the water was warm and I was just having a great time. It actually worked. Let's be real...I was having a great time! Being in the water was not even cold for me. The cold part was getting out of the water.
I can't tell you how much I loved all of this. I am one of the few people who had a smile on their face the entire day. At the end of the day we ate MREs which are military rations that they take into combat or training with them. Most people thought they were gross, I loved it. I actually took two of them home with me. We'll see how good they are when I'm not so hungry haha...
At the end of the day we had a chance to mingle with all the SEAL instructors and ask them questions. I must have asked 100 questions. I wanted to know everything. I want to feel what it would be like to go through the training. I want to see how far I can take it...how much misery and pain I'm willing to endure...
Becoming a SEAL is not my life's dream. I would like to think I could do it if it's what I set my mind to...and I think I really could. However, there are other things I dream of. Being given the opportunity to train with these guys and get a taste of what their life is like was both exhilarating and eye-opening. I want to thank them for everything they do to protect our country and for risking their lives for to keep us safe. Oh and thanks for making that day one of my best days of 2009!
Posted by Garrett at 3:45 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I will be training with the US Navy SEALS tomorrow...I can't wait to see what they have in store for us. I hope they challenge me to my breaking point. I want to see where that point is:) AAAAAAhhhhhhhhhh
Posted by Garrett at 11:21 PM
As I settled into the worn out seat of 5D on flight 939 from Denver to San Diego, I couldn't help but notice the nervous rustling that was going on all around me. It felt like I was in the forest and all the leaves were beginning to rustle in every direction...the temperature was dropping in anticipation of the incoming storm...the sky was getting darker...everyone was looking at the those around them hoping someone had the answer...hoping someone has the right words that will make everyone feel ok and that everything is going to be alright.
I turn to the young man sitting next to me. He is just like the 30 or so others he seems to be traveling with that are surrounding me. They are all very young looking. they are pretty clean cut. Most of them look like they've just graduated from high school. They all look scared as &!;^%$. I say, "are ya'll part of some type of group or something?" He looks at me and says, "yeah we're all going to be starting 'basic training' for the Marine Corps tonight." I look at him and with an excited and cheerful face and voice I say, "Wow that's awesome!"
Naturally I begin to inquire about everything....What will you eat? How long will they keep you awake? What kind of guns do you get trained on? What will be the hardest part for you? What's the failure rate? Why do you want to do this? Are you sure you want to do this? The last question we discussed several times throughout my two hour interrogation of him:) He told me that every hour for the past several weeks he has asked himself if this is really what he wants. He will go through rigorous mental and physical challenges. The next five years of his life will be devoted to the Marines.
I couldn't help but think to myself how hard it would be for me to be in the armed services. Basic training, traveling around the world to dangerous locations, being out of contact with my loved ones for long periods of time, possibly killing people. I know I could do it if I had to but I'm so thankful I don't have to. The soon-to-be soldier sitting next to me said, "it's definitely not for everyone...it has to be a passion of yours otherwise you'll hate it." My point here is that the flight from Denver to San Diego made me realize even more how thankful and proud we should be for all of our soldiers and for those that risk their lives to protect what we cherish most...FREEDOM!
There are times when I take for granted all the luxuries I'm afforded in this country. I forget how we got here and what keeps us here. Although our country is going through a very hard time right now being both at war overseas and in the financial crisis we have here at home, I take great comfort in knowing that the pride and determination of this country is still alive. The young men that surrounded me on the plane last night proved that to me and will help ensure that our country remains safe. Let's not forget that there is a reason the United States of America is the greatest power in the free world. We must never loose faith in the systems our country was founded on and that once again we will see better times!
To all the armed service personell who may read this from anywhere in the world....I sincerely thank you for all that you do.
Posted by Garrett at 3:24 PM
Saturday, March 14, 2009
This past week of training was wonderful! I got back in the water and the weight-room on Monday afternoon. Eddie and I wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. I didn't fully taper and I didn't shave for the meet so it was important to get back in the water and take my body to its top level of fitness as soon as possible. I felt really good in training all week. I went down in training for two weeks leading up to the Austin meet because I needed to let my body recover some and swim fast. When I started training again I could tell my body and mind had a reprieve and was once again ready to work. Tuesday and Wednesday were literally some of the best days of training I have had in a very long time. I am so encouraged and excited to get super fit and fine tune my skills even more going into this summer.
My sister is currently visiting me in Austin and we have had a great time catching up. We don't generally get to spend much time together so it's great to have an opportunity to reminisce about when we were younger. Today we tried to go to Wimberley, Texas which is supposed to be about an hour from my house. We never actually made it to Wimberley. We did drive through some very beautiful Texas countryside but never actually found the little town... Oh well I guess that's something to try next time.
I'll be traveling to San Diego on Monday to train at the Olympic Training Center for two weeks. I'm really looking forward to training with some different athletes and coaches. I truly believe Texas is the best place in the world to train but it is always nice to get a change of pace. I will definitely be updating ya'll on my training and fun out on the West coast.
Posted by Garrett at 9:20 PM
Friday, March 13, 2009
I snapped this picture at the fish market yesterday! I've never seen a whole shark in the case before but it was pretty cool...I wonder if people buy the whole shark? What would they use it for? How would they cook it?
Posted by Garrett at 10:36 PM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Posted by Garrett at 11:15 AM
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Ahhh the finale of the Austin Grand Prix. My goal for the night was to go 48.5 or so. My plan was to be out at the 50 at about 23.2 or better. Warm-up felt pretty good. I just wanted to get in there and race and was excited for the event to start.
The first 50 I felt like I was working pretty hard to get out at the speed I had planned on. My hands felt pretty choppy on the entry at the front of my stroke. I ended up being out at 23.5. I saw Fred Bousquet a bit ahead of me at the 50. I was focused on holding my perfect stroke and blasting my legs the last 25 meters. I ended up going 48.88. Obviously this is a little slower than I had wanted but it is still a good time and especially for this part of the season.
I'll be back in the weight-room Monday afternoon working on getting stronger and preparing for this summer! Thanks for following the blog this weekend and for however long you've been reading. I really appreciate all the support ya'll having given me. Rememeber if you'd like to show your support in a tangible way check out my t-shirts that are currently on sale at my website for $12.99...www.gwgswims.com
Posted by Garrett at 8:21 PM
100 Free...42.01, out in 20.2. I had a strong finish and was happy with the result. I only took two breaths the last 25 and in hindsight I should have taken one more so I would have had more power the last 10 meters. Tonight is going to be awesome. I'm seeded second. I can't wait to have a good race. There is nothing better than a 100 meter freestyle!
Posted by Garrett at 3:50 PM
Friday, March 6, 2009
This-afternoon was a restless afternoon. I was really satisfied and happy about my morning swim of the 200 free. I ate lunch and took a nap...rather I tried to take a nap. I fell asleep for about thirty minutes and then tossed and turned for about another thirty. The sports psychologist I often talk to who works for the US Olympic Committee told me it is better to get up and do something else that's productive rather than staying in bed while you toss and turn your time away. So I got up, made myself a PB&J sandwich, a protein shake and a banana. I turned the tv on and stretched for a good 45 minutes. I felt good going into finals and was interested to see what I could go.
Warm-up felt even better than this morning. My stroke felt long and powerful my speed felt like it was more readily available than this morning as well. Let me clarify something...when I talk about feeling powerful and having speed I speak in relative terms. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the worst ever, 10 being how I felt at the 2008 Olympic Trials. Three weeks ago when I was in Missouri I was about a 3. During my warm-up tonight I felt like a 6 or 6.5. The reason I sound so excited is because this is the first time in a long time I feel like my body is showing signs of life. I distinctly remember finishing one of my build 50's tonight and coming into the wall and literally made a growling yell. I was ready to go. I knew I was feeling good and after having a great morning swim I was excited to get the chance at going a best time.
The race came and I was suddenly in the water swimming the first 50. I felt really smooth going out. My body felt as though it was a little bit plowing through the water more than I would like it to but that is partly this point of the season. As I rest more all the little intricacies of my stroke seem to press out to perfection like a well starched shirt! I flipped at the 100 at 52. Peter Vanderkaay was a few tenths ahead of me. I could already start to feel some tightness going into the 100 wall. I tried to maintain my long stroke and was working at building the third 50 while increasing my legs. As I approached the third turn my body was starting to hurt. I came off the wall and could tell I was still ahead of the guy next to me. As I headed for home each stroke I took I could feel my arms getting heavier and heavier. My kick was blasting and my quads felt like they were about to explode. There is actually a part of me that likes this...a part of me that enjoys this because I know it's these times, it's these parts of races when I will beat most or all of my competitors. I mentally prepare myself to be ready for the pain so that when it happens my mind is in such a calm state of serenity that there isn't an ounce of my energy or focus that is wasted. Everyone can do this, everyone can get to this point, it's just a matter of practice and mentally staying focused. I ended up getting second and going 1:49.63. This was a pretty good swim. My third best time ever...my best is 1:49.08. I was looking for something better...likely story. I was out at a good pace at the 100 but I died coming home. This is to be expected for the place I am in the season...I don't have to like it though.
Tomorrow is going to be great. The 100 free. Without a doubt this is my favorite race of all time. I'll update ya'll after the prelims tomorrow morning!
Posted by Garrett at 8:37 PM
This morning was awesome! I swam the 200 free. I woke up at 9:20am. This was a bit late because I forgot to set an alarm. I briefly ate breakfast and went to the pool. Although I woke up an hour later than I planned it is crucial to stay calm and not worry about it. There was nothing I could do so the best thing to do was simply relax and go with the flow.
As I dove in for warm-up I felt pretty good. My hands felt like they were gripping more water than they were yesterday. Sometimes it is easier to warm-up and swim faster as the meet goes on because my body just becomes more in-synch with what I'm doing. It's almost like my body knows what's about to happen and is already preparing itself even before I dive into the pool. My muscles felt more powerful and elongated today than they did yesterday. I was confident this prelim of the 200 free was going to be good.
I talked to Eddie before the race and he told me to go win my heat. I told him I was going to pick up my effort level on every 50. He looked at me and smiled...he knew I was full of @#%&. I was planning on doing it but he and I both know I have no idea what I'm doing in the 200. I looked at him and laughed and walked away. I was in the final heat of the preliminaries and would be racing, among others, Peter Vanderkaay who is one of the best 200 freestylers in the world.
The race began. I was cutting through the water with ease the first 50. I turned first at 21.2. At the 75 I could see my teammate Peter Jameson was edging ahead of me. However, I remained calm and kept my focus. At the 125 I pushed off the wall and Peter was even further ahead of me. I was still going strong and felt really powerful. My speed usually gets me out ahead of most people so to be behind at this point I was kind of thinking...uh oh. No matter, I kept pressing and flipped the switch to my legs. As they started churning I could feel my body smoothly switch into that next gear. Oooohhhh Yeah Baby. I love that feeling of power and speed. I pushed off the final turn and my legs were going crazy. I finished and looked abruptly at the scoreboard. I went 1:33.53. I dropped two seconds off my best time!!!!! Yaaayyyyyy...Truthfully I had no idea I was going that fast...Sweeetness
I'm seeded first for tonight and am really looking forward to having another good swim. Morning's like these really make me believe, 'The Sky is the Limit'
Posted by Garrett at 1:34 PM
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tonight I had a pretty successful race in the 50 meter freestyle. I had a relaxing afternoon which included a good thirty minute stretch, a great lunch, I put my legs up for about fifteen minutes, and took a nap. When I woke up from my nap a new Speedo LZR suit had arrived at my doorstep. Before the race tonight Matt Lowe and I were putting our suits on in the locker-room and he told me I had to give this new suit some love so it would take care of me....
I felt pretty good in warm-up. I know at this point of the season I still need a good deal of warm-up to get my body ready to go before I race. Since this is a swimming blog I want to inform you about some of my techniques...generally the more rest I get the less warm-up my body requires. The minimum I would probably do at a meet would be around 1200 yards or so. I never count or keep track of my warm-up. I swim until I feel good and get out. Time also doesn't matter to me. I could warm-up for 25 minutes or 50 minutes...it all depends upon the day.
I got up on the block for the 50 and was ready to race. I was looking forward to having a good swim and doing something productive. My goal going into the meet was to go 22.2 or better. I ended up going 22.17 and placing fourth. I'm happy with that result and can move on knowing I was successful in doing what I set out to do. Eddie told me this is the best I've looked at this stage of the game...meaning without much rest. It's so unbelievable to have the utmost confidence coming from my coaches...it makes me literally believe I can do anything! Now I just need to get some rest and prepare for the 200 tomorrow.
On a side note I saw some spectators wearing my t-shirts in the stands tonight. It was incredibly cool to see fans supporting me like that and sporting my motto, "Train Hard, Eat Right, Swim Fast." We are currently having a promo sale of the t-shirts on my website. They are $12.99! Go buy a shirt:)
Posted by Garrett at 9:25 PM
Here is a video update from this morning at the Austin Grand Prix. I went 19.3 in the 50 yard freestyle and was pretty happy with the performance. I'm really looking to go fast tonight in the 50 meter freestyle! Check the video out
Posted by Garrett at 1:45 PM
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Check this video out...It is a short, funny and informative bit about me and my life. I hope you like it!
It was created by Mel Stewart. You can also check out his swimming blog. www.goldmedalmel.com
Posted by Garrett at 5:16 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Texas Barbecue...So tasty and so satisfying. People always ask me what my favorite spot is. Truthfully that's like asking someone what is their favorite vacation. In my mind there's really no way to completely put my finger on either of them. Barbecue has so many qualities (or possible qualities) that definitively telling someone which is my favorite would be impossible.
Let's lay a little groundwork...Everyone sees barbecue and how it should be prepared and served differently. Many purists will tell you it should only be served on butcher paper with nothing else but some bread and/or crackers. Sauce you ask??? Purists would also tell you there should be none. The true test of good barbecue should be in the flavor of the meat and the meat alone. Others believe the sauce is the boss, sides are necessary and plates are welcome at the table. The beauty of Austin is that you can get basically anything and everything.
I could take you to a place where smoke literally billows out of the front door as if the building were burning down, where they have no menu, where the meat is served on butcher paper and the only side you can get is a bag of Doritos and a whole Avocado. So you say you want plastic? You say you want utensils...come on, let's get real...utensils? If that's the case I will get you a plate, I will get you a knife I will even get you the use of an ATM machine or the possibility of paying with credit...just make sure you're good for that bill, we don't need any more credit problems.
In addition to the varying preparation and serving manner the reason I may go to one place over the other is because each place generally has things they're better at than others. For instance, Rudy's has incredible brisket, Smitty's has mouth-watering ribs that cook so slowly and beautifully that the outside becomes naturally caramelized, Pok-e-Jo's has tender and spicy sausage, Kreuz has a pork chop that will put you on...well let's just say...your pork chop, and the Salt Lick has the Sunday special of baby back ribs that, and I quote, my friend said last weekend, "are these really legal...I mean come on...ridiculous!"
Yesterday my Dad I I journeyed to Lockhart, Texas. It is a town thirty minutes away from Austin and is known for its famous barbecue establishments. We went to a place called Kreuz...great barbecue, not so great sides, lung cancer waiting to happen (really smokey inside), too salty, a great time, totally worth it.
For me, barbecue isn't just about the food. It is about the all encompassing experience. It is about the company you're with, the yearning hunger inside that you've built up all day so that you can eat tons of meat, the varying styles and analyzing every little aspect from the smokiness of the meat to the acidity of the barbecue sauce. No barbecue will ever be the best. They are all simply unique and fulfilling experiences that make me feel lucky to live in such a crunchy place...Austin!