First Official Race and NYC

Sorry for the delayed post, everyone! This is going to be a long one. So much has happened in 2 weeks! First and foremost… I get to be a pilot sled for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS! They picked 2 girls from the new sliders to do it and Caitlin and I got the job. A pilot sled is like skeleton’s equivalent to a rabbit in track & field. I will be the first slider to go and will show the other sliders the way which the grooves run. The grooves (that the sled sits in for the first 40 meters) can be cut different ways. So I am not allowed to steer at all going into the first turn in order to show the other sliders where my sled would go naturally. This means I get housing at the Olympic Training Center for the World Championships and get to slide through to Nationals.

I usually post on the weekends, but last weekend I went to New York City! It’s a solid 5 hours from Lake Placid, but it as well worth it. I went down with Nick and met up with Allyson, a former track teammate, at Madison Square Garden for the Track & Field US Open. The meet itself was very small but the quality of the athletes was top notch. I don’t know if you guys follow track but some really big names were there including: Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, LoLo Jones, David Oliver, Nesta Carter, Jenn Suhr, Kellie Wells, Bershawn Jackson a trio of shotputters (Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson, Ryan Whiting) and my favorite track athlete…. Bernard Lagat! Although Lagat got nipped at the line in the mile, it was a great race and an overall quality weekend. After the meet I met up with some of my former USA Track & Field Co-workers and the following day I went (what else?) shopping! The trip back was moderately uneventful, minus the fact that it took Nick and I 40 minutes to find a gas station in Albany. I know Albany is a city and all… but WHERE ARE YOUR GAS STATIONS?! One of the Lugers told me a story about how they ran out of gas at 2am on I-87 and had to call for help. That seemed pretty terrible to me and I am definitely not trying for that… ever.

After returning late that snowy Sunday, I got geared up for another week of sliding. It was definitely a week of ups and downs as the ice was pretty wily all week (mostly because of the weather). Monday started off pretty well as I strung together some decent runs. Tuesday was not the same case, as a poor second run led to a stiff and unresponsive 3rd run. All I wanted was some good runs but by the time Wednesday rolled around it was close to 40 degrees and the track was 10 seconds slow. BOO. After getting up to 71mph, dropping back down to 58mph felt like a snail’s speed.

But on Friday I competed in my first official race! It was for the Empire State Winter Games which is like an mini Olympics for the state of New York. In general, the sports are geared for younger kids, but participants of Skeleton are generally older, so it was the same crew racing that usually races- with the addition of a few more experienced women.

I ended up coming in 2nd! Since the World championships are coming up, they have been working on the track and it was pretty quick. I had down times of 57.75 and 57.96 which is pretty good for me, so I am pleased. The girl that won, Lauren, had 2 solid runs too-her times were 57.47 and 57.71. Sam came in 3rd with times of 58.26 and 58.46.

I have got some pictures and clips or you guys! Firstly, here is my roommate Gracie and myself with our sleds after the race today.

I mentioned in my last post that Gracie and I were teaming up to do our team building exercise- bobsled. Well we took the kid’s sleds from start 4, which is halfway down the track. It was a blast. We each got 2 runs of driving and 2 runs of pushing. Going from skeleton to bob was very different. I felt like I could see everything in bobsled because as a driver, I was sitting up. With skeleton I can really only see as far as my head is up off the ice. If skeleton is like driving my Honda Civic, then Bobsled is like driving my mother’s mini-van. Gracie and I bonded together to make team Keyboard Cat. If you don’t know was Keyboard Cat is, you fail at the internet. I will enlighten you.

Here is our interpretation of it. I just need Keyboard cat to play us off as we start to actually slide. I’m pushing in the first one, and Gracie is pushing in the second one. Yes, we are weird. Embrace it.

The highlight of the night was Corinne doing bikini bobsled. Yes, it is exactly what you think. Corinne. Bikini. Pushing bobsled. Mind you is was really cold this evening but she managed to strip down and tough it out for 50 seconds. Visit Corinne’s blog here.

I will leave you guys with a video Nick took a video of me going through turn 9 on Thursday. Remember last time I was talking about how turns 9-12 are all connected? Well here is the start of that chain of turns. Check out more of his videos at nathancrumpton.com.

I know the video is only 5 seconds, but it is at such a close angle! You really start to pick up speed once you exit 10 (the big turn that is one turn after the one filmed). They open up the shades for the World Championships so perhaps I’ll get a video of of that turn. From what I understand, I don’t get a whole lot of height in 10. Definitely something I need to study and work on. I’ll leave you guys for Superbowl Sunday!

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4 thoughts on “First Official Race and NYC

  1. Glad you got to compete and that you did well. The pilot sled for Worlds sounds like a chance to learn a lot. I was saddened to learn that I have failed at the internet.
    I actually got to watch some of the MSG USA Track and Field event on an ESPN channel during lunch at work. I saw some of a Lagat interview and some High School distance running. I am a fan of Asafa Powell and Cantwell and Nelson are impressive, explosive athletes.
    How was steering the bobsled?
    I’ve done powerlifting and weightlifting at the Georgia Games and I knew there were other state games but didn’t know about Winter Games ( maybe because we don’t much do the winter thing down here ).
    How do you feel about your times? Is there a lot of track variance that keeps you from really knowing how you stack up?
    Best of luck!

    • Hey there again! Glad to see you’re coming back! I don’t know if I’m the best person to ask about steering the bobsled, especially since we were using kid’s sleds. The runners on those sleds are actually skeleton runners, which is atypical. But here’s what I can tell you. The sleds are very basic. The steering are 2 “d rings” which are attached to a rudimentary pulley system. By pulling on the left ring, both of the front runners rotate to the left (and vice versa).

      As far as my times go, I feel really good about how I am progressing. We have a week off and then I slide again starting next week as a forrunner for the world cup athletes. The ice should be really fast.

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