Monday Morning Slider: Form

“There IS a slider in side of you trying to come out.”

The first half of the luge season came to a close over the weekend. Lake Placid is hosting a World Cup Bobsled/skeleton race in December and the club has no track time till after New Years. Saturday was my last shot at really solidifying the first half of me season.

Unlike the last time I slide, when the temps were high and the track was s…l…..o………w, the track conditions on Saturday were great. Temps in the low 20’s make for fast ice that is drivable. (When you get to about 0 F the ice is so hard it is a different driving experience.) The only hitch was it was snowing. Snow on the track tends to slow it down a little. But no matter off we went.

This week I pulled out my “Darth Vader” speed suit. Jet black suit, black booties, black gloves, black helmet. Back in Black Baby!

In the mood? I love the Darth Vader outfit 🙂

My goal this week was to be relaxed back into my sled and quiet. I can usually tell when I am tense because I get onto my sled and onto the track and then put a death grip on my handles. This is a BAD thing. The handles are for steering and a death grip there means you are steering (probably when you don’t want to be).

First run, on the track, back on the sled, “Off the handles Meat….” (Yeti addresses me as “Meat” when I am sliding. Funny he doesn’t use a name when I am biking.) Into the Labrynth. This is an early spot on the track where things can go to heck. It’s a 3 turn combination (quick left right left). The problems come when you transition from the right to left. When things go badly you are crossed from the right to the left early and hit a wall before the last turn in the combination. I’ve been pretty good in there this year, but on my first run I hung onto the right too long and crossed into the wall before 13. Then it was damage control. Sled back under control. Finish, not great.

The club “guru” was coaching. “Form nice, line great. But you didn’t commit to the steer there (you do this by turning your head) and hung the end of 12.” Yup.

Second run. Onto the track and onto the sled. Relaxed, down, light on the handles. Through the labrynth, into the chicane, head back, look at the guide marks on the roof, into the final combination, bobble the end (where I am really having my driving issues, I think I got air between the last two corners), still a pretty good run.

Club guru “There IS a slider in you coming out.”

Third run. Pretty much a carbon copy of the second.

Final run. Onto the track. Smoking top portion. Into the chicane, steering by the guide marks, sled shifts left into the left wall right before the entrance to the final combination. Buzzers go off. “Scotty?” “Captain we have an problem!” Full on damage control. This is not a section of the track where you want to eat ice. Its fast and dangerous. Through to the end. Worst time of the season.

Club guru: “You had a really nice transition into the chicane, nice form.” “Yeah then I hit the wall at the entrance to 17.” “What was your first reaction?” “SHIT!” “Your second reaction?””I cannot say that, there are too many kids around!” “Just be ready with a hard steer to get the sled back onto the corner in the proper direction.”

It was a good night to end the first half of the season. I am getting very very close to making a leap and wish we could slide some more, soon. I am having a lot of fun this season. My times are not getting a lot better right now, but I feel like I am. Each time I go out I feel better on my sled. I was back and relaxed on my sled this week. I feel like the bad things are not cascading and that I am limiting the “badness”.  The times will come.

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