Best weekend of sliding this year. Hands down. Yes, I survived my weekend on my pimped out sled. Jeff definitely earned his whiskey for the rebuild on my sled.
When I got to the track Saturday night sled V2 was waiting for me with new steels, new tighter suspension, and pink tape highlights.
I grabbed my sled and shook it. You do that to get it back to neutral and to see how flexible it is. I used to be able to shake the sled and it would move. This time, nothing. Pretty rigid. A huge difference from what it was.
Jeff said, “Don’t worry you will be fine. Just keep your shoulders back and be firm with your steering.” I wasn’t really worried. Last year I might have freaked out and carried that down the track with me. But this year not worried.”I moved the handles too.” “You weren’t supposed to tell him that. You were going to let him see if he noticed.” That was Jim another friend who likes to torment me periodically. It’s OK, I like to torment him too. That’s luge.
Jeff predicted about a half second faster with the new steels and suspension. Time to see.
My first run with the V2 was a hoot. I got onto the track and settled back onto the sled. I could tell I was going faster just off the bat. When a sled picks up speed you hear it. The runners make a sound, the air rushing past you makes sounds. You can hear acceleration, and I heard it. Around the first real turn on our portion of the track (turn 10). Little correction. Crap. Didn’t need that. Light brush on an inside wall (never did that before). Funky into the next turn (11). Pulled it out. Good the rest of the way down. 47.983. My first run under 48 second this year. Faster than my best run of the year by 0.4 seconds.
Now, the ice was fantastic this weekend. We had extremely low temps last week, but it moderated on Saturday and so the track was about as fast as it could be. So that was part of it. But the sled was running fantastic. I learned I needed to break out of the habits I had on V1. I knew where I needed to correct on the track with V1 and was doing that before I needed to (hence the strange brush with the wall early in my first run). Just let the sled do it’s thing. And you know what? It was a great evening of sliding.
My times were: 47.983, 48.103, 47.987, 47.936. Take the 48.103 out of the equation and my times were all within 0.05 seconds of each other. We call that consistency. Heck even the “bad” run was 0.1 seconds slower. Consistency is a very very good sign.
OK, onto Sunday morning. Three really good runs: 47.690, 47.763, 47.695 and one stinker: 49.232. The stinker (last run of the day) was caused by hitting the wall on the start ramp (sh!t happens) which basically kills all your initial speed and causes slow times. Well that and the fact of it being my 4th run. Which meant I was tired. Which made me be sloppy. That also made the little voice in my head say at the end of the run: “Do not do a 5th run, only bad things will happen!” (Thanks Yeti. Sometimes you need to listen to the little voice.) Once again my other runs were all really consistent, and the fastest runs I had this year. Great ice, faster sled, feeling confident makes for a really fun morning of sliding.
Those times are about 0.8 seconds faster than I was sliding before the December break. Oh, and I hit 53 mph on my sled for the first time ever. Think about that the next time you take a sled down a hill.
OK, funny thing about Sunday sliding. When we slide we have a coach at the track who watches different parts of the course and radio’s feedback and suggestions for us. On Sunday our coach was one of the junior development team coaches. I like her. She is a riot and very passionate about making us better. She does all of this with a thick European accent (its a little like talking to Frau Blucher). “How did you feel on this corner? You need to keep your shoulders down more. Your lines are nice, you don’t need to see…” You know all stuff I have heard before, but apparently I am slow to actually implement 😉 .
After the sliding session was over the coach found me getting ready to go.
“Lay down I want to show you something.” (Remember you need to read this with Frau Blucher’s voice, it really adds.)
“You have beautiful lines. HOW do you steer that sled so well with your shoulders up? You are almost sitting on your sled.”
“Years of practice!?!? 😀 ”
“I never want to see that again.”
(“Don’t look then…….” That was internal NOT out loud. While I like this coach, I am a little afraid of her 😀 )
“You are ready to go to women’s start soon. I will FIX you!” (Gulp…… So much in those two statements I am not sure I want to delve into)
I am officially a “project”.
Picture of the Day
“Black (and pink)”