Curling, Aerial Skiing and oh yeah… Skeleton.

Another week down in the OTC. The season feels like it is almost over! It’s not really, but it is flying by. Sara Mitchell, a good friend of mine, has a new blog called Health Done Right. She’s a fantastic writer and this blog is utilizing her “professional passion — writing — to make healthy and permanent changes to her life.” Be sure to check it out!

I have videos of some push stuff I have been working on recently. Becca, one of our coaches, is working with us to be more explosive and powerful off the block. We have been using a sled on rollerblades with a 45lb plate to practice with. So the sled itself weighs 90-95lbs. That’s way heavier than the sled I actually use, which is about 63lbs. The sled kind of naturally veers off to the side since there is no groove holding it in place, but this is a good drill for working on your knee drive. The hardest part of this drill is stopping the sled. Once you get it moving it’s pretty hard to stop because it is so heavy.

Here’s a new video of a recent push on the track. This push I believe was a 5.52, which is a decent time but I would like to implement some of the new things I have learned from our push sessions to see if I can get it faster. The hardest part of the push for me is getting warmed up enough to run it quickly. I was one of those people at track meets that would have my best jumps after a race because I was so warmed up. There isn’t room to sprint (or really do quality drills) in the start house. That leaves outside. Not only is it cold, but the ice and snow on the road makes doing drills and sprinting rather perilous. I have been wrestling with new ways of warming up but haven’t come up with a firm solution just yet.

We had another inter-squad race on Friday and I won! It was a 3 heat race, which is atypical but I strung together 3 good runs, including a PR (personal record). 57.82, 57.72 and 58.21. The starts were not that great, but I did manage to get turn 12 right for the first time ever! I split the track up into sections and turns 9-12 are all connected in my eyes. If you get one wrong, the rest are varying degrees of bad. My problem has been getting out of 10 at the right time. It’s the biggest turn on the track but there seems to be a small window for exiting it properly. Here’s what usually happens to me: I can’t hold the sled up on the curve in 9 so I don’t get a good cross from 9 to 10. That poor cross makes me too late to exit 10, and if you’re late to 11, it’s impossible to get to 12 on time. See? They’re all strung together. But the point is, I got 12 right for once. Woo!

Here’s a picture of the top 3. 2nd went to Corinne DiPietro and 3rd went to Caitlin Carter.

You can visit Corinne’s blog is here: Head Phirst
or Caitlin’s here: Challenge the Impossible

So we went XC skiing last week which was fun! But this week we got to do curling which was awesome! At the last Olympics I remember watching hours of curling. The entire time I had no idea what the hell was going on. Well after actually playing I still have no idea what the hell is going on. Don’t know what curling is? Here:

This is my boss team.

On Friday night the Skiing Freestyle World Cup was in Lake Placid. So I went outside from 8-10pm at night to watch people do all kinds of crazy flips and twists! It was AWESOME. China also went 1-2-3 for the women and 1-2 for the men. I didn’t know they were that awesome at skiing, but it was a legit Chinese domination on Friday. I stood next to a fire pit for a good chunk of the evening ans still managed to be cold. Let me describe to you what I was wearing:

Thick fleece spandex good for 20 degrees, soccer pants and sweatpants. 2 pairs of wool socks, boots. 2 layers of under armour/nike cold gear tops, a sweatshirt, winter jacket, windbreaker shell. Fleece gloves under thick mittens, and 2 hats. AND I STILL WASN’T WARM ENOUGH. But the thing is, I don’t think I could have physically put on any more clothes. Aw… and as I finished this paragraph, an ad just came on pandora for something in Greensboro, NC. They must think I still live in civilization. So sad.

Well, that’s all for this week. In other news, I met some luge kids! They’re awesome. And their equipment is really weird. The strangest being spiked torture-like gloves. We run the sled off the block, but they paddle with their hands. I’m going to try and get a picture of a sled, runners and gloves sometime this week.

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Meet the sled

The beginning of this week was full of nice weather. It was even sunny for upstate NY! I mean, it wasn’t nice enough to go get a track workout in outside (i’m going through withdrawals)… but practices were pleasant. Workouts and lifting have been going well and I have been trying to incorporate new kinds of workouts but we are somewhat limited because of facilities which sometimes makes it difficult.

As promised, here are picture of my new sled! I will be decorating it this summer at some point and am currently mulling over some ideas in my head. I really had no idea what a skeleton sled even looked like until I came up here. Pictures on the internet are scant so I thought these picture might be interesting for you guys!

So this is the belly of the sled. It is the part that faces the ice. Those silver bars are the runners- which are what actually make contact with the ice. The end of the sled that is sitting on the ground is the front of the sled. So when I slide on it, my chin goes there.

Here’s a close up of the runners. I purchased these in December and they are Davenport Women’s Big Wheels. This type of runner is the standard for newer sliders. They are a good all-around runner. Once I learn more about which runners are good for particular kinds of ice I’ll probably invest in more runners. But for now, these are my practice and race runners so I treat them like gold. You have to cover the runners when transporting the sled so they do not get scratched. Sliders commonly use a plastic garden hose to cover them. The circumference of the runner is roughly equivalent to the circumference of a garden hose. So you just have to cut the hose down the middle to get it on and off the sled. It’s kind of a pain to get on the runner after practice because the hose has gotten really hard and brittle. It doesn’t mold very well but it does get the job done.

The first time I saw runners I was surprised to find out that they were more like a round bar as apposed to a luge sled’s runners. Those look more like the bottom of an ice skate, which is what I had initially imagined they would look like. The picture above is of the spine of the runner. This is the part that makes contact with the sled (and is sharp). But the spine only covers half of the runner, the other half is smooth, round metal.

This is the saddle of the sled. So my feet hang off the right side and my body lays relatively snugly in the middle of the saddle. I hold onto the sled while I am sliding with those “L” shaped handle bars. My hands fit underneath it, while my quads lay ontop of the L-shaped bars to make a sandwich. By having the handles under the body (as opposed to on the side) it forces a slider to keep their shoulders in contact with the front of the sled. You steer with shoulders/knees which would be hard to do if your shoulders were not in contact with the sled the entire time. You have to pad the sled yourself which takes FOREVER. It took me about 4 hours to cut out all of the pieces to the proper size and attach them to the sled. We have to use a special kind of tape called Tesa which can cost upwards of $60 a roll. That’s right. A ROLL. After getting everything secure you have to blow dry the tape to set it in place for good. The tape wont fall off when it gets wet or cold which is imperative for skeleton. Apparently if a piece of tape falls off your sled during a race in Europe there can be a 200 euro fine! Lame, right?

I will leave you with an amazing video of fellow Devo athlete, Kellie doing a 360 on the track before turn 1. I thought I would never see it happen, but alas… it even happened a second time this past week to Alex. I do not have a video of Alex’s 360, but I will for my next post. Just for the record, Kellie nor Alex was harmed in the process! They both managed to enter turn 1 going the correct direction and make it all the way down the track like a champ.