When worlds colide

One of my favorite things about being a college professor is that you never know what kinds of fun things you are going to get involved in. You might get a phone call to ask for your help with working on a new wind turbine (We at Clarkson helped design that turbine). This week I went to San Diego to do some experiments in the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel. “Wait a minute” (you might be saying to yourself. “How does this require a helmet? How is this dangerous?” Well give me a minute.

 
In some post down the road I will talk about how I got into Luge. But for now its enough to know that my current involvement with the US Luge Association is, well complicated. I’m the dad of a young slider, I’m a over-the-hill wanna be athlete, AND I am a part of the USLA sled development team. Don’t believe me? Check it out! All nice and official. We even have a web site. Clarkson has partnered with USLA to work on sled development ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi, Russia.

 
So, I have been working for the past two years with USLA to improve their sleds. This week we went to San Diego to use their wind tunnel to test what we have been working on. The trip, while fast and tiring, was really excellent, and brought together two of my favorite things, Luge and biking. Erin Hamlin and head coach mark Grimmette came along on the trip.

 

The wind tunnel is really cool and allows us to put Erin in on her sled and mess with it to figure out how to lower her wind resistance.

We got to test a couple of different ideas that I have been working on. I can’t comment on how well they worked, but we are happy. You will just have to wait a bit to find out.

The SD Low Speed Tunnel is also a hot bed for bike racers to test in. In a strange twist of fate, that’s largely due to US Luge. One person who was helping USLA years ago left and went to work with some bike rider down in Austin TX. He came up and tested in the tunnel. Pretty soon everyone came up and tested in the tunnel.

That’s only part of the wall. Its a who’s who of professional bike racing. Lance, Levi, Alberto, Schelcks (both), Christian, etc. etc. etc…. Here is one of my favorite riders Thor.

And a jersey signed by the whole Discover Team.

So nothing like a trip across the country, one day of testing, and a red eye home to make for a busy week. But I would go again tomorrow, well if I could bring my bike (and helmet) along!

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A quick introduction…..Living Dangerously?

Welcome to my cloud journal. I’m sitting here thinking about what I want this to be and what I want to say. What on Earth do I have to add to the already cluttered world that hasn’t been said? Well, here goes. This blog is a direct result of my decision to become more athletic and active. I supposed that my friends and family, given how things have shaken out over the past couple of years, would say that it is my own personal version of a mid-life crisis. If I look deep in the dark places inside me, I probably could not dispute that.

That decision has lead me to many interesting adventures over the past couple of years including becoming an avid road biker (with over 15,000 miles logged in the past 4 years)…….

and amateur luge athlete (with way too many bruises, and one medal for finishing first in 3 years of sliding)….

and now a budding mountain bike racer (with exactly 1 race under my belt, and many more scares than that on my body)…

Last year I decided to challenge myself and ride in the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race. I bought a mountain bike and have been learning how to ride it. I’m officially entered for 2013 and so am on my way to finding out how good I can be.

I have discovered that all of my “relaxing” activities require helmets to participate in. Sigh….This blog will chronicle what has become known as my “Year of Living Dangerously” as I train for Leadville, learn how to luge better, and see what kind of trouble I can get myself into.

Stay tuned, cause it could be should be quite a ride. Only time will tell.