Jan 14, 2009

What do you do when it doesn't get above zero for a week? Go sledding of course!

A photo from a night training session I took a few years ago.

Instead of bitching that 21 below zero (fahrenheit) is cold and just crawling under a radiator somewhere for the next week or so of sub zero temperatures, We need to stay active up here. Enter sledding...not plastic sleds on snowy hills, but fiberglass/aluminum sleds with blade runners going 80+ mph down a one-mile track of twists and turns (on ice). Otherwise known as Bobsledding to you non-euro readers out there.

Typically once a year around this time I work my connections and get a little track time at the site of the 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics just 9 miles away from my house. The last few years I've tried skeleton (one person laying face first on a small "lunch tray") and luge (one or 2 person laying on back on a "lunch tray"), but this year they've agreed to let me drive a bobsled (2 or 4 person in a semi-enclosed sled). I'm pretty psyched to forget about the spit-freezing cold while G-forces attempt to shove my neck out my arse. Unfortunately, for insurance purposes (I presume) they won't let me start at the top of the track where speeds can reach excess of 80 mph, I will start from the Ladies or Junior Start which is about half way down and speeds reach an uncomfortable 45-50 mph (realfeel factor of speed is off the chart). Up to this point skeleton is by far my favorite. I couldn't see jack squat in the luge position, except for the sky and my toes and I've been a passenger many times in a bobsled and that is just an uncomfortable and extremely bumpy ride. I'm sure controlling it will be tougher than skeleton as well.

You can view a POV video of a trip down the track here (link).

Also, if anyone's interested and you don't live too far from here, there is a local league for Luge (wish they had skeleton instead). They slide 5-6 times a year, typically on sundays in January and February. The only league rule is absolutely no whining.

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