First point: the title was my roommate, Lindsey’s, idea. She likes coming up with odd names and such.
Sliding was incredible today! After taking it easy this morning (I had an off day from sprinting and lifting) we headed to the track at a quarter to 1, much earlier than the last time we slid (4:00). After a quick photo shoot in the winter wonderland that is Lake Placid, my teammates headed to the sled shed.
The reason for the early start was to sand our runners. When you slide repeatedly on ice, you tend to get scratches, cracks and occasionally gouges dug in the runners. Sanding smooths the steel down and makes the sled faster. One of my teammates showed me what to do, and explained what type of sandpaper to use (smaller number means lower amount of sand, so the rougher it gets).
At 2, we headed to Start 3. Because we were sliding with the entire camp today (Friday, we split up into two groups) we had a while to wait. We had two bobsleds sliding first and, as our announcer, Cam, said in a sort-of resigned tone: “And the next 29 athletes are for skeleton.” That’s a LOT of athletes to get through! At Start 3, we waited about 40 minutes for our turn, since those at Start 1 slide first.
In the meantime, we told stories, listened to music, or, as in the case of two of my teammates, performed minor gymnastics tricks!
One of my teammates, Sam, is a great storyteller. We think she should create her own stand-up comedy show. With great detail and humor, she told us a hilarious story of a time in high school when she fell over off her desk in the middle of a math test. She had us all in stitches by the end!
My first run down was pretty good. As soon as I got on my sled, I felt the track was fast. A good thing of this run was that I knew where I was almost the entire time. As some might know, I’ve been struggling with that. The bad part was, I had my head up the entire time, which creates drag and slows you down. And by head up, I mean like a seal.
My second run was absolutely fantastic! Seriously, it was probably the best run I’ve had of my short skeleton career. As soon as I sat up on the sled at the finish, I let out a big “WOOHOO!”
My head was down, feet were together, I was relaxed, and I knew where I was on the track. It was at the point where I felt the track slowing down (really, I was still going 62mph, but it felt a lot slower). It was also the fastest of my times, as I finished 5th out of the 10 of us at Start 3. Time doesn’t matter right now, says our coach, but sometimes it helps to see your name higher up on the list!
My third run was also a good one, though I hit out of Curve 12. It wasn’t as fast as my second run, but to end on a fairly clean run was encouraging. I will say, my head hurt a lot after this run, and that is probably because of the G-forces from the three combined runs.
Sliding today was so invigorating. I felt ecstatic, pumped, and elated. I know all of those words pretty much mean the same thing, but those are the words! It is so encouraging to get in some good runs, and to finally know where I am, because I’m not nervous at all to go from the top tomorrow!
There was a friend of a slider on the track today taking pictures with a super fantastic camera, so the images are good ones today! He said he’d be back tomorrow and will probably take pictures from the Start 1. Hopefully, one of my teammates will take video and pictures from some of the turns tomorrow, so I’ll finally have video!
If you or anyone you know would like to make a tax-deductible donation or sponsor me to help my skeleton pursuit, please visit http://bobsled.teamusa.org/resources/athlete-training-fund. It’s easy and every little bit helps!
Thanks for reading, and keep sliding!