Sunday morning was our last practice session before the big luge club race. Last chance to get some things under control before the competition next weekend.
With the whole time change thing (you know “spring ahead”) the usual early morning drive was even earlier. But I was excited. My friend Christa we going to try luge for the first time. She was already in Lake Placid and I was going to grab her on my way through town to the track…..
“Wait a minute, you went to the track?”
“How are you going to discover you are not a ski racer at the track.”
I guess you are just going to have to wait to see Yeti.
Where was I? Oh yeah, newbie at the track. Christa was pumped but nervous. We gave her the 5 minute “this is how you luge” speech (yeah, it’s that EASY. All you need to know we can teach you in 5 minutes. Applying it is another matter!) and loaded up on the trucks to go up to the starts.
My runs were solid. Funny thing is 5 weeks ago these runs would have made me really excited. Now they were just solid. I continued to work on my starts (Had my fastest start time ever. Which is still not saying much. There is a lot of work to do there.) and I continued to work on getting the upper portion of the track down. That definitely improved, but it still isn’t right. The track wasn’t exceptionally fast and so my times were like I said solidly “solid”.
My last run (the one I had my best start time on) was fast. Pretty close to a PB time. Right until the last turn. The last turn is a big left hand turn and goes uphill to the finish. It’s the place on the track that you can hurt yourself for real from the start I was using. My transition to that curve wasn’t great but not horrible. But instead of my sled taking a line around the curve, well it climbed up the curve. This is BAD. Two things can happen. You can hit the top of the curve and bounce back down to the short wall (head first) or the back end of your sled will kick out and you will slide down towards the short wall (head first). Both are not great options. When these things start to happen its important to employ a “fail”. The fail looses you time in a big way, but you live to slide another run. And so hard steer, force the sled onto a line, ride it out. Cross the finish line. Still run in the 46 second range. But I lost a good one.
No worries. And my run was not the most exciting one of the weekend. Nope that goes to the club guru Saturday night who managed to slide with one steel on the track and the other on the wall in the chicane. Not a fast line, but a remarkable job of driving.
Christa? She had took three runs. The first one was the “holy crap what am I doing”. Run. A big blur with bouncing off the wall. The second was a lot better. The third she joined the ranks of lugers and crashed. Welcome to the club Christa. You got many “firsts” out of the way! It only gets more fun. Frustrating but fun! Well it also get you bruised. But its FUN! 🙂
Now Sunday was scheduled to be a really busy day. I was taking part in the “ADK Winter Challenge” a promotional event to highlight the great recreational activities we have in the North Country. (Really if you have never been up to the Northern Adirondacks you should come, it is AWESOME. That part of the event I could agree with.) It was a political event and I was asked to do this by the school (because of the luge work we are doing). I got slated to do the “Alpine Race”. We were bused to Whiteface and given lift tickets. (I won’t lie, its fun to be given the VIP treatment.) We had about two hours on the mountain (which is not enough to have serious fun there) and I skied with the provost from Clarkson who had never been there before. At 2 pm the “race” began. They set up a little slalom course with timing. I made it down once and we decided to try it again (you could do it as many times as you wanted). Big mistake.
I am a good skier. I can make it down pretty much anything on the mountain and have fun doing it. When I did my second run I hooked a ski tip and landed flat on my face. Oh well. Well except they had some guy with a professional video camera taping. Yeah! There you go recorded for all of history. Oh and shown on the “highlights” video at dinner in front of 300 of my new friends….. sigh….. I challenge you all who were at dinner to a luge race….. That’s all I am saying.