For the past 5 years the ADK Luge Club has held a race early in the season we call the “Icebreaker” (I still want to call this a regatta. It’s the sailor in me.) It’s a way to cap off the early season and to get the kids in the club experience in race situations. And well honestly it’s also a lot of fun to add a little pressure of “racing” to sliding.
The schedule this weekend was practice on Saturday night and the race first thing Sunday morning.
There was a lot of energy in the air Saturday night. The kids were all amped up. The adults, well we were amped up too. Race time give us a time to talk smack to each other. In fact the smack started even before we got to the track. The B&B I was staying at was hosting 3 other sliders. And they kindly left me a note when I checked in. I heard they were at the kitchen table. In I went. Let the games begin.
The track makes its money from running tourists down the track in bobsleds on the weekends. And we learned that the track had run over 300 bob’s down the track before we got there. Usually that means the track is going to be a bumpy adventure, but it looked good. The only real problem was the start ramp which was covered in dirt. But we got our runs in. After we were done sliding the club guru asked how my runs were. “Not great, and not crap. Solidly mediocre.” My times were right about were I was last week. With the exception of my last run where I found wall for the first time this year. Not hard and I did a good job of not carrying that down the track with me.
Time to go out for some dinner, some more smack talk, and then off to bed for sleep.
Sunday morning it was warm. Not just warm, but almost hot for us up here right now. 50F. That may sound like a comfortable temp (which it is, I only wore 1 base layer under my speed suit) but it is hell on the track. While the track is refrigerated the combination of high temps and high humidity made for a frosty slow track. The first sliders went off and everybody’s times were slow. When my time came for my first run I got myself to the line, steels sinking into the ice as I waited for my turn. My first run? Well it felt OK. No major problems. Up the finish ramp. 50.3 seconds. WTF? 50.3 seconds? Yup, the track was 2 seconds slower than normal (for everyone, don’t be mad meat!). It is really disheartening to slide a pretty solid run and come up 2 seconds slower than your normal time. Even if you know its not you, its the track.
Time to refocus. Second run. Well more of the same. 50.4 seconds. Sigh.
Our little group of “B” sliders has actually gotten quite good this year. We are all sliding consistent runs (which is one sign you are ready to make a leap in sliding ability). Where it used to be a crap shoot to see who could put together 2 clean runs, now you can expect people will slide 2 clean runs. It makes the game better. I ended up 6 out of 8 (right where I deserved to be).
The best part of the weekend was sliding with the kids. They have a great energy. They slide with big smiles on their faces. They help me remember to have fun.
The other cool thing about this weekend was sliding with a world champion. We were joined by David Dean. David is a wold champion street luger. He decided to try his hand at the ice game. And, well he was good. We raced him in the “B” group and he did well. 4th out of 8.
My sliding? Honestly I was dissapointed. I had hoped to do better. BUT I am really consistent right now. Which is good, really good. I felt confident enough in my sliding that I pulled out my real race suit. (The one I have not slid in because I didn’t want to tear it up crashing into walls.) I feel close to making a leap. I need to continue to work on the fundamental of laying on my sled. I also need to work at being more “quiet” on my sled. Every time you steer (or move for that matter) you slow the sled down. My ankle is bruised (which is a sure sign I was over driving, pushing too hard on my runners). The track is going well for me right now. I have to learn to be quiet and trust. I slide next on November 30.
Picture of the Day
“Another ‘pro’ to compete against”
David will be back. I have seen the look in his eyes before, many many times. He has found ice. A little more experience and he will be very very good.