Knowing you have a problem is half the battle

When we luge our runs are timed. At the end of the session you get a “time sheet” that has split times and finish times (and your speed 🙂 ). I admit that as a science type person I love data. And so I have a spreadsheet of every run I have ever taken on a sled recorded. Data……yummm………

Despite warnings from the club guru I do look at my times. I mean in the words of Vince Lombardi (the Saint of Wisconsin):

“If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”

AND if you ride a bike you know an essential truth to the way the world works….. If two people are doing an activity together…. its a competition.

So yeah, I look at my times, and compare my finish times to myself and others. And on those rare occasions when my run is faster than one of the fast sliders, because they crashed into the walls, well…..

What I have never done is look at the split times compared to other people. I looked at the results from the Empire State Games and something popped out at me. Here is the time sheet. The names have been blacked out to protect the innocent. Well except for mine which is highlighted.

2-8Luge MASTERS RACE

You will notice I highlighted two runs. One is mine and the other one from the guy who eventually finished third in the race. I got onto this line of thinking when I noticed that our start times were just about the same. This was unusual since my start times stink. Then I started looking at the split times. They were just about identical. Yeah I picked up the start difference and became a little bit faster and he very slowly ate into that lead. Then we get to the split time at about 30 seconds. Pretty much dead even. Then we jump to the final split time before the finish and…….

Holy Crow…. I am 0.8 seconds behind. That was my clean run. No walls no skids.

Clearly something went south (Besides the fact that you stink Meat? Hi Yeti, now GO away!)

Yeah something happened.

This is where the reality of what has been happening this season and my blissful/purposeful ignoring of the situation came crashing together. This is where I acknowledge that while I have come a long way with my sliding, I knew even before I saw these splits why I have not gotten the much chased 45 second run.

Right after the 30 second split is the chicanes. They are kind of a strange section of the track. The look straight but hide two little curves. The track goes uphill just a little bit before cresting and going into the bottom section of the track. Its not a really hard section, but its an easy section to loose time on, if….

If you are not relaxed and quiet on your sled. I know that I get tense in that section and that I anticipate bad things happening before they happen. I just never realized how badly unrelaxed I was and how much that affected my finish times.

For full disclosure, I am sure that the lower section of the track that comes after the chicanes are also places that I am loosing time, but still.

My goal for this year is to become fast enough that if I throw down a really good run, and if one of the good sliders throws down a real stinker I can be in the mix. We have about a month of sliding left before the US National Masters Race in March.

Its time to be mindful and relaxed.

Authors note: If you look at the splits for my second run they were a cc of my first until the same spot. That’s good. It means I am consistent on top. The second run I steered myself in the chicanes into more significant trouble. Hence the additional 0.4 seconds on my second time. If you take off the 2 seconds (accumulated over the two runs) then I am right where I want to be.

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One thought on “Knowing you have a problem is half the battle

  1. Doug,
    Once exiting Bendham’s Bend, simply drive the sled straight, AND look directly up (yes — drive BLIND) at the overhang. You can gauge your sled’s position by the support members. By doing so, your shoulders will remain in direct contact with the pod (and there should be alot less squirrelly sled movement). Eventually, you WILL feel the sled rise right then left just in time for your entry into 17.
    Good Luck in the 2015 Masters…. wishing I was able to be there in person…. Down and Through Badger!

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