Monday Morning Slider: Staying on the Sled

One of the difficult things about being a club slider is that we don’t get any real consistent track time. Its has been two weeks since I crashed out of the Masters race and I haven’t been on the track since then. That lack of regular sliding does a couple of things. First, its really hard to get yourself out of a “slump”. You can’t keep at it till you figure it out. You cannot come back the next day and try it again. The other thing it does is give you a lot of time to think (and that’s not always a good thing).

We finally had some time on the ice this weekend. It’s Bailey’s Birthday (today’s the actual B-day, Happy Birthday Bailey!) and he decided he didn’t want to slide. He wanted to party with his friends. Fair enough, but I wanted to get onto the track. So off I went.

I was a little edgy, but not overly so. Getting to the sled shed and prepping to slide always helps tamp that down and I felt OK going into the session. The weather was warm and the while the track was fairly fast it was grippy and drivable.

My first run was OK. What was the best thing I could say about it? I made it down in one piece and didn’t hit any walls. My second run was faster, and my third run was faster yet. Then a funny thing happened.

I slide my 4th run. It felt pretty good. No real huge mistakes. I looked up at the clock and the run was slow. Slowest of the day. Huh? WTF? The temps were going up and there was a little snow falling onto the track and so the track was slowing a little bit. But for the life of me I could not figure out why my time was what it was. Looking at my split times I was just not carrying my speed.

Usually I only do 4 runs a session. I tend to get sloppy after 4 (Yeah, I know, I tend to be sloppy before that, but its worse after 4 runs OK? Leave me alone!). But we had time for a 5th and so up I went for a last run. My run was going well. No big problems. Then and the end of the Chicane I drifted into the wall and my sled kicked a little side ways.

There is a funny aspect to luge (OK there are lots of funny aspects to it. Here is another.). When you are in trouble corners are really your friend. They can take your sled which may not be going in the correct direction and guide it into a better direction. That may not be an optimal direction, but usually its something you can work with. So sideways into the Heart I went. The curve straightened out the sled. I was on a funny line but was able to keep myself off of the walls after I exited that curve. Onto the finish. Slow time, BUT not bruises, no broken fiber glass, and no ride in the medical van.

Bailey and I are sliding Saturday and Sunday next weekend. Nice to get a couple of days in a row. Also nice to spend some time alone with Bailey, doing something we both like.

I give myself an OK for this weekend. Sometimes OK is enough.

(BTW, if you can laugh with your friends and go home with a smile on your face, well then it was a pretty darn good day of sliding.)


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