The weather is getting cooler. And I find myself wondering how I will approach the winter this year, and maybe not in the way you might be thinking. See, I have a decision to make.
My number one priority for 2013 is to train for and do well in Leadville. By now that’s not a surprise. I am actually going to take this seriously and train for that ride. What that means is I am going to be smart about how I train and dedicate myself to that event. More details on that to follow, but it involves a coach and a training plan designed for me.
Nope. That’s pretty clear. My quandary is what to do this winter with my other sport, luge. At some point I will describe how and why I got into that silly sport. A sport that when I tell people I do it, they get this crazed fearful look in their eyes.
(People also tend to get a look in their eyes because of the outfit ;), but I think I look dashing.)
I get a lot of “be careful!”, “isn’t that dangerous?”, “really?!?!” kinds of comments.
Isn’t it dangerous? Well yes and no. Luge is statistically no more dangerous than recreational skiing. (A sports doctor in Boston did a study, go figure.) My problem is that I am a beginner and the learning curve is steep. That picture actually makes me look like I know what I am doing a little bit (Yes I know my head is up too much, thanks luge friends for pointing that out.). Many times I look more like this going down the track.
(That was a wicked exciting run. One that I got a lot of crap from the track announcer for. It doesn’t take much to get the track announcer to talk about you over the PA, she excels at that. But it was an ugly run.)
Here is how luge run looks from my perspective at times. I spent a lot of last season with a bruised foot and bruised shoulder. On my worst day I crashed, hard. (BTW. This is where MTB and luge are the same. Its not a matter of if but when, and how bad it will be. You will crash at some point.) I gave myself a minor concussion and I was out for a couple of weeks.
I don’t want to over state how dangerous the sport is. Its really about like skiing as far as chance of injury. And I am further up the learning curve so I am doing better. I actually ended my season last spring by winning a race. (I won because the best slider in the group “failed to finish” a run, but I was the best on that day!) And luge is a heck of a lot of fun. For about 50 seconds of your life your mind and body are totally focused on what you are doing (it had better be). And when you do a good clean run the feeling is fantastic. I have made a bunch of great friends through luge and I enjoy spending time sliding with them. I have competed against former Olympians. The experience has been worth every bruise I got. But there is a risk involved. My concern is getting hurt and pushing back my official organized training for next summer.
There are a couple of ways I could approach the season. I can skip sliding the entire winter. I can slide in the fall and through say February (when our competition season ends for the most part). I can slide a full season. I can start sliding and play it by ear. One thing I cannot do is slide scared or cautious. That goes back to the being totally focused and in the moment. If you are worried, you are not focused. And that would be a bad idea.
Part of me says, I do lots of other things. I play hockey, I ski. I could get hurt doing them. Am I going to stop everything for this Leadville thing? What’s the right thing to do? Decision time is coming soon.