Tag archive for skeleton

Many Pictures from WC Whistler

I spent all last week in Whistler volunteering at the IBSF World Cup races as an official. There were three days of official training, and five races (W-skele, M-skele, W-bob and 2M-bob (x2)) over two days. It was really tiring (I spent 48 hours at the track in five days!) but it was also really fun and cool.

I did a lot of temperature taking, runner wiping, sled marshalling, bobsleigh weighing, icebox timing, scabbard heaving, and many more behind-the-scenes tasks. In between I got to watch a lot of the action and hang out with friends. No cheering though! Officials are neutral.

Me and Martins Dukurs! The Usain Bolt of skeleton. He has won 6 out of 6 of the races so far this year, and is on track to win his 7th World Cup title in a row. He has something like 50 World Cup gold medals in his trophy collection. Basically he is my (and everyone else’s) hero.

Women’s skeleton! I got to do one of the pre-race jobs so that during the race I could actually watch. I started up top, so I could watch one of Jane Channell’s famous extra speedy starts, and then slowly walked down to the bottom watching a person or two go by at every corner. Normally the whole track isn’t open like that so it was cool to watch people’s lines through some of the upper corners.

I watched the last bit at the bottom right beside the finish line where (some) girls were smashing into the wall extremely hard (like me).

Tina Hermann smashed the hardest and she won… so I guess it is a “good” line. Jane came 4th, after setting a new start record.

 

Men’s skeleton! Again, I finished up my tasks early so I could watch the race. Scott, Rosemarie and Liz came up to meet me too. It was SO COOL seeing all the ultra fast guys run. Some of them can run soooo far!!

Martins hadn’t had much luck in Whistler in the past, he lost the last World Cup in 2012 to a German, and lost the Olympics in 2010 to Jon Montgomery. All through training he hadn’t really been doing that well, so I actually started to doubt whether he could keep up his gold streak.

Buuuut… that was foolish, because as usual he blew everyone away. He even set a new track record on his first run. His brother Tomass set a new new one in his second run, but Martins still had enough of a lead to stay in first. Good day for the Dukurs family!

Jon Montgomery was there, watching. He held the track record since the Olympics until that day! Nice guy. I asked him if it was weird for him to be there not as an athlete and he said it was just nice to not have to deal with the pressure.

Sunset view on a mini break to the icebar and VIP tent with the volunteer crew. So pretty. So needed at that point. Rosemarie and Liz got to go in too since they did some volunteering for guest services too. :)

The bobsleigh races were hella exciting. Super duper close races, track records galore, crashes, the atmosphere up top, holy moly it was awesome. I was “working” but still managed to somewhat follow what was going on.

Photo by Charlie Booker.

Scott, Rosemarie and Liz had a blast cheering and hanging out at the finish with the bobsleigh guys. They all had raspy voices from screaming so much. GO GO GO GO GO! That’s Chris Spring and Lascelles Brown (who Scott is hugging hahahaha) who won gold for Canada!

Then afterwards Scott and I went out to the Longhorn for the afterparty with all the other officials (and a lot of the athletes). Scott talked to a lot of them. I am too shy. He got an awesome terrible picture with Martins where Scott looks like this :D and Martins looks like this >:( hahaha. Fun times.

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Warp Drive

Just a quick update before I head to my work Christmas party and then back to Whistler.

It’s been a busy few weeks since the NAC races. I went back to Whistler for a couple days to volunteer for the ICC races, which was pretty fun. The volunteer crew is a great group of people who do a lot for me as a slider, so I try to help out when I can. Plus watching all the good athletes is very inspiring and exciting. Can’t wait for World Cup (January).

Then a couple days after that I went back up with Lauren (C.) so she could watch me slide. It snowed A LOT. I thought we were actually going to get stuck up there because the highway got closed right as we were about to leave but they actually managed to clear the accident pretty quickly. It was a slow drive back to Van though (THANK YOU LAUREN FOR DRIVING). I missed the dinner part of Scott’s work Christmas party, but he saved me a plate of food. Tru luv.

We played games with Lesley and Ruana (and partners) and Lauren stayed with us for a night on her way back to Ottawa. Her and I had a delicious breakfast at Jethro’s on Fraser.

I’ve been working here and there, but not a lot, to be honest. Bit of a slow month, but it’s kind of convenient because it’s such a crazy time of year.

So thanks to Rosemarie being assertive/complain-y, 14 of us got free lift passes for Whistler (long story), so we skied last Saturday and it was FUN. There is SOOOOO much snow up there compared to last year. It was pretty windy, so a lot of the lifts were closed, but it didn’t matter because the snow was so soft and fluffy and lovely and we all had a great time. Lauren (B.) is a better skier than me now!! He is braver and has more stamina than me, haha. Anyway so Rosemarie, Lauren, Scott and I are not THAT different in skill levels now so we can all go together, which is pretty awesome.

The drive home that night was awful though. OMG. It looked like this all the way to Squamish:

I think it was Scott’s first time experiencing snowy warp drive. He said “THIS IS THE MOST AWAKE I HAVE BEEN IN MY LIFE”.

Scott’s birthday was last Sunday. We had a quiet day, but I made breakfast and we relaxed all day and then went out for a drink at Alibi Room and then to Ask For Luigi’s for a delicious Italian pasta dinner, which I’ll post about later.

This weekend is BC Cup 1 & 2, and I am busy tonight so I did my 2 official training runs last night. Well actually I did 2.5 runs because I crashed on my first run!! I haven’t crashed in over a year!! The first crash since I changed sleds last year. I think what happened is my first 5 corners went so well I thought the track was slow, so I understeered in corner 6, and ended up rising too high and falling off my sled. The track wasn’t slow at all!! It was a fairly smooth crash though, I didn’t hit my head or anything and I only slid down 2 more corners before I was able to stop and climb out of the track. I saw my sled right beside me after I fell off but I didn’t decide quick enough to try and grab it and get back on. I don’t know how people do that. Anyway so then I had to break my personal rule of only doing 2 runs a night and after checking my sled and talking to my coach I went back up to the top to try and do my 2 OT runs. I definitely did them a lot more cautiously. The drive home last night was terrible again, it was snowing all the way to West Vancouver!

I feel a lot more sore today than I thought I would though. I must have jammed my thumb/hand somehow because my right hand is quite sore, and my left hip/thigh area is pretty tender. I think I’ll take it easy in the races this weekend.

Tomorrow is Santa Day, so the gang is getting back together and skiing tomorow. I’m pretty bummed I won’t be able to do it this year since I’m busy with my skeleton races, but it should be another good weekend anyway. Just wait until you see Rosemarie’s Tree 2.0 costume, it is SO AWESOME!!! Fingers crossed the drives tonight/tomorrow/Sunday are better than the last few drives.

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My First NAC Race Experience

This is going to be long.

Whistler North America Cup official training started on November 17th.

November 4th I asked Ivo if I could possibly be in the races since Janelle couldn’t get the time off [SCARY]. November 6th he said I would be on ‘stand by’ and should fill out all the paperwork in case I did get to race [COOL]. November 12th I was told that they had picked the team and I would not get to race [SAD]. November 14th I was told that they had made a mistake and that I would get to race [PARTY]. It was a roller coaster of emotions.

The first week of OT was okay. I was nervous to slide with such a big group of athletes that I didn’t know, but everyone was really friendly. There were a lot of really experienced sliders this year, including Olympians, World Cup, and ICC athletes. The ice was only medium fast, and I had some good runs. I even got a new PB downtime and speed (57.98 seconds, and 131.54 km/hr). Corner 16 was giving me serious trouble though.

Second week of OT was a different story. The ice was speeding up. The problem with corner 16 was getting worse instead of better. I kept slamming down out of 16 and hitting the same spot of my jaw against my sled, which was extremely painful. Disfiguring face wounds are not fun. My start times were embarrassing. I wasn’t getting any feedback from our NAC coach. I questioned why I was even there.

I cried at practice one day after a terrible out of control painful run. Embarrassing.

After much consolation from Matt and Mimi and Snowy and Nick and Diana (:’) thanks guys) I decided to not take a second run that day and take the next day (the day before the race) off. I just needed some time away from everything.

I relaxed the whole day before the race and was nice and calm. In the evening Matt and I met up to polish our runners and chat. As I was putting my sled on the ground to get ready to polish I realized that my sled was actually really quite broken. A weld had snapped and my saddle was completely unattached on one end. AHH!! I was so nervous to call Scott (Ballard) to tell him that I had broken my sled (AGAIN) and hadn’t realized until the evening before the race, after I had wasted away the whole day doing nothing. Thankfully he wasn’t mad and we were able to fix it later that evening. How convenient that our BCBSA coach knows how to weld and stuff.

Anyway I got back to my room, tried to remind myself of all the good runs I’ve had before, all the people that are so supportive of me, and that I did belong there. And sleep.

Race day. I put my rock down a mm to try and get a bit more control (sacrificing speed, but I would rather not break my jaw). Warmed up. Tried to block out everything else that was happening in the start house.

There were a lot of people watching at the start which was nerve-wracking, but also motivating. I tried to run a little quicker and farther than usual and managed to have an ok run. I did NOT smash my face on the end of 16 so I was happy. When I got back to the top I found out that I was in last place (expected) but had pushed a tenth faster than usual (5.64)!! (By the way that is a TERRIBLE start time, but for me it is an enormous victory). I was first off for the second run and again tried to run faster and farther. Run 2 was a little crazier at the bottom, a bit face-smashy at the bottom, but only 0.10 seconds off my PR downtime, and I had pushed another personal record (5.61).

 

All in all I was VERY happy with how the race went. Sure I came in 12th place out of 12, but I had pushed TWO PR push times, not destroyed my face, and had completed my first ever international race!! (Which happened to be my goal for this year of sliding).

That afternoon I went to the Scandinave spa (Scott told me to treat myself) to relax. It was lovely and did the trick. I polished my runners again, hung out with friends, went to bed early.

Second race: perfect weather and ice conditions again so the track was quick. Both my runs were sloppy and hard to control but I made it down. I pushed another PR time at the top (5.57) on the first run, and despite getting a little off balance, matched it on my second run. COOL.

I came in 11th place, out of 11. The three time Olympian (seriously) won, quelle suprise. But anyway, I did it. Another race. I was so happy that it was all over.

Anyway, I haven’t felt that much stress since like… exams or something. It was really really hard, but I’m glad I got to be part of it. I met some really great new people. It also made me realize that I have some really amazing support from a lot of people up in Whistler, and I’m so happy that my first race experience was with all of them around. At least I got that comfort from being in a place I knew, with familiar faces all around. A big thank you to Scott and Rosemarie too who were only a text message away when I needed it, and everyone else who sent me encouraging messages throughout the week. It really did help. <3

Another kind of neat thing is that I have an IBSF athletes page now, and I’m ranked! At the moment it says I am #42 in the world!! Kinda cool.

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First Week Back Training Recap

NOV 4 2015: First day back at the sliding centre. I was feeling very nervous. I knew the ice was pretty fast (from helping out at the selection OT and races earlier in the day) so I decided to do my first run of the season from corner 3. It was a pretty smooth run, no big hits, really fast. So I decided to do my second run from the top. I meant to push VERY slowly, but accidentally went a bit quicker than I planned. I think all those summer push sessions paid off because everything felt a lot less awkward than last year. Anyway so I pushed off faster than I planned, came out of the grooves nice and straight, then got really overwhelmed and forgot to do all of my steers. I smashed EVERYTHING after corner 10. It was extremely painful. I ended up going 128.52 km/hr though, which was like my second fastest speed ever from the top. Yeehaw. What a way to start the season!

NOV 6 2015: I decided to play it more safe and push nice and slow. I concentrated on a few key steers in particular. My two runs were much smoother and much less painful. I still hit out of corner 16 but not like the other night. Confidence was somewhat restored.

NOV 7 2015: I was still incredibly nervous but now knew that I can handle the track. I pushed a tiny bit quicker and everything was fine. For once I didn’t flop out of corner 6. My neck felt very tired on my second run, hopefully that improves as this season goes on. I got a new PR speed: 128.82 km/hr.

I plan on sliding again on Thursday and Saturday this week. Then the week after that the North America Cup OT starts. At this point I have been told I might be able to actually race in the NAC race, but not sure yet. They are going to send me all the paperwork and I will be on standby, basically. If I don’t race, then I will probably at least forerun the races, which will be on November 26th and 27th.

It will be really cool if I get to be in the race, as that has been one of my skeleton goals, but unfortunately it’s out of my hands. Because I didn’t do the testing camps in the summer I am basically the last choice to be in the race, so it depends on who else enters the competition.

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September and October

It’s been an incredibly busy fall. I’ve been working almost full time, weightlifting at Terminal City Training twice a week, training on my own, push training at the Richmond Oval about once a week, walking home from work when I can, working on a really complicated project, meeting up with tons of visitors, and more! OMG.

Everything is going really well though. I am not complaining about being busy at all.

It’s actually the one year mark of me joining Al’s weightlifting gym. I’ve added about 30 lbs to my press and benchpress, and 60 lbs to my deadlift and squat!! Sweet sweet noob gains. Group training is the highlight of my week, tbh.

Push training is also pretty fun. It’s a flat track with a metal skeleton sled on wheels and an emergency crash pad at the end. It’s fairly realistic, although the sled is quite heavy, and there is no chance of popping the groove. We can run as far as we want basically and then you drag your toes to slow down. Running bent over, while trying to accelerate a sled without actually putting much weight on it is very difficult!! I don’t think I will ever be a very fast starter but hopefully it’s still helping me get BETTER.

The Whistler skeleton season starts November 4th, by the way.

Scott walks home from work almost every day now. It takes him about an hour. It’s saving us a lot of money, and he gets his daily exercise. Win win! I walk sometimes, but definitely not as often as Scott. I did walk home from UBC once though, haha. It suddenly started taking 5ever to get home on the bus when the university students went back to school so out of frustration I decided to just walk home. It took 3 hours and it was quite boring and my knees hurt. But I will probably do it again if I’m at UBC again on a Friday.

We’ve been super lucky to have lots of visitors lately!

  • I met up for bubble tea with Anna, one of the German girls I camped with in Bowen, Australia while we packed corn and beans. She had been living in rural Saskatchewan trying to get her Canadian PR but the restaurant laid her off and she had to go home. What a bummer. She came through Vancouver on her farewell Canada tour and it was really nice to catch up after 6 years.

  • My friend Chris, from Halifax stopped through Vancouver too, on his way to his next WWOOFing place. I hadn’t seen him since 2007!! We went to the Richmond Night Market and ate takoyaki and fish sticks and deep fried cheesecake that made our teeth hurt. I was too scared to sit on the Throne of Rotato.
  • Leslie visited from Victoria (so nice that we at least live in the same province again!) for Thanksgiving. She helped document the whole spatchcocking the turkey project (more about that later), and get ready for our potluck Friendsgiving Thanksgiving dinner. We made tons of food and delicious cocktails (hello Automnal Cinnamon Apple Whiskey Sour!!) and had a really nice dinner. I love hanging out with old Ace Gang members.
  • And last night I met up with Catty and Samir who were in town for a conference. Again, I hadn’t seen her in years too! We went out and watched the Blue Jays game with Scott and then went out for ramen with Rosemarie and Lauren. All was good except for the Jays losing, and a super long hair in Samir’s ramen… blech.

Rosemarie is doing her last semester of uni now so she’s very busy these days, but we still try to squeeze in as much hanging out time as possible. We spent one afternoon making 9000 dumplings: some pork and some shrimp. We’re not very good at being able to seal them when the dough is thin so they ended up pretty pudgy… but very very very tasty.

We also went bouldering for free at The Hive, because we voted. They were supposed to offer more free days too but apparently it’s again election law, ha oops. I struggled because my hands are in such bad shape (dry and cracking… gross and painful), but Scott climbed A LOT!

How about that election eh? I watched the election results like Scott would watch the rugby world cup final, hahaha. So relieved we have a non-conservative government again. Scott was pretty happy about being able to vote in Canada for the first time too!

What else what else…

GE randomly threw a free nuclear medicine conference, which a bunch of us from VGH went to. They had a wine and hors d’oeuvres and we… had fun. Closed down the bar. The talks to the next day were pretty entertaining, and I learned a few new things too. It was fun to see a lot of techs from other hospitals that I hadn’t seen since being a student as well.

Scott won tickets to a Canucks pre-season game from work. We actually got to sit pretty close to the ice for once! They Canucks lost and the security people confiscated my bag of cherry blasters I tried to bring in. :/

We had another games day with Marjorie, Latif and Phil. We played King of Tokyo, For Sale (a super simple real estate card game), Galaxy Truckers, and an epic long game of Lords of Waterdeep with both expansions, which I won by 1 point. :D That’s my favourite game lately.

I got a haircut. It’s nice to not have so much hair. It took the girl 2 hours and 20 minutes hahahaha. Fun times at the Aveda Institute. At least is only cost $21.

Oh and like other years, we watched the AFL Grand Final at Moose’s Down Under. We had 20 people this year! Mmm those parmas were delicious. The game was not super exciting, but it was still fun, as usual.

Alright! I think I’m caught up. Until next time my friends!

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