The week of Push Championships is always pretty stressful, and this year it was much earlier than usual. My Physical Testing went better than it ever has before. I scored 714 points (total of 800 possible) I ran the fastest in the 15m, 30m, 45m that I ever have and power cleaned a personal best of 92.5kg (203.5lbs)!
I got 5th in Push Championships, I was really hoping for 4th but I will be content with 5th for now.
I am back training in lake placid and working at the whiteface lodge until I our first team trials race here October 11th.
This past week we had our last race of the season. FIBT North America’s Cup in Lake Placid, NY. There were two races back to back, day one Ida (my brakeman) and I got third, and day two, I had a bad skid early in the track which cost me a lot of time, after my second run I moved up quite a bit (for a third place second run) -but alas, an overall 6th place finish.
Ida and I drove the rest of the way to Igls, making it safely. We had the rest of the Sunday off and then were going to slide Monday. In the middle of the night Ida got sick with digestive and vomiting issues, but was a trooper and able to slide the next day. We then picked up my Junior World Champs brakeman Kaeli from the airport. After getting her situated we prepared for tomorrow went to the track, and explained everything to Kaeli -everything went well and we were all feeling pretty good. Later that night, I started to feel ill … it only got worse with digestive issues on both ends… at first then i continued to vomit for 6-7 hours and frequently… I probably vomited over 45 times what worried me was the very intense pains in my stomach. Eventually we decided to take me to the hospital… and the car wouldn’t start. We tried to find a taxi and other stuff but eventually we had to wake up a skeleton athlete and he drove me to the hospital.
Once we got to the hospital I was treated by a nice female doctor who mostly spoke german and after the ran blood work and such they told me i had a food poisoning/flu/gastroenteritis combo after meds and IV and such I started to feel a little better and went home. I tried my best to be ready for tomorrow, got up ready to slide and make the best of it and our car tried to be jumped, but it took us a very long time to figure out how to do that. Then we finally got to the track, but were very late, i was parking the car and it stalled and then it wouldn’t start again so I had to leave it parked badly. We slid but only one run.
Then we finish I go to the team captains meeting and Ida and Kaeli try to start the car, eventually we get it started, we let it run and then we back it up to load the sled and the back doors are locked, the only way to unlock them is to turn off the car and use the remote…. we cross our fingers, but it doesn’t start. So then we try to jump it by pushing it down a hill -which works! So we are driving home, and we get to the st our hotel is on, all we need to do it make it to the end of the st and go through the roundabout and get to our hotel and the car just stops. it dies all the lights go off, everything is dead.
So Ida runs across the st to our hotel (Austria’s version of the olympic training center) and gets this man who runs it to help us. The KINDEST man ever! He gets one of the vans and a rope and we try to tow our car… that seems to work but at one point the rope breaks!! we have to push our huge truck and cars are honking at us ugh… so we reattach it and keep driving and then go through a roundabout -mind you no emergency lights or anything are working on this drunk i’m trying to steer without power steering -and someone tries to cut in between us in the round about which could have been ultimately disastrous! We make it to the hotel finally, thankfully and call the car rental company for someone to come look at our truck.
It gets fixed, we start to do sled work to prepare for the race tomorrow! We think we’ve conquered everything, we sand runners, wash and wax the sled, etc etc the next day we wake up…. and Kaeli begins to not feel so well. Apparently she caught whatever it was and she can barely walk/stand/etc during the warm up she is throwing up in the snow, laying down -team doctors from other nations try to help but nothing seems to be working. We take the first run… she barely pulls the brakes, and can’t get out of the sled, about four people come to help her get out, and the medic calls an ambulance… needless to say we didn’t take our second run and were disqualified from the race. This was one of the saddest days of my life…. after all of the work i put in all summer to save money, after all the effort we went through, things we conquered on our own -it still wasnt’ enough. That is the worst feeling and I was truly devastated, it took me awhile to recover.
We still stayed for the awards to cheer on our friends from other countries and went to the two man race the following day and brought milka bars to give to all the people who had helped us while we were in Europe. Find a place to put the sled away… headed out from the track and then drank some ghluewein and champagne
Ida and I in our massive Europcar with a 400lb bobsled were off to trek to La Plagne France from Igls Austria. Now despite what google maps may say… it is not a seven hour drive. it took us 13 hours, and we might have happened to get lost along the may due to an address that was unable to be located by the gps, and google maps, but somehow i was able to make a reservation at… After driving for 10ish hours or so we decided to attempt to find the hotel where our friends on the US skeleton team were staying in la plagne. We didn’t exactly know if we would be able to find them without working cell phones, or where they were staying, but it was that or sleep in the van (which for a time was a very probable option).
Somehow we managed to come across a stroke of good luck or fortune or something… We eventually found the general area in which they were staying after a couple more stops and questions. I am so fortunate that I studied French in highschool. I used it so frequently and even though I’m well aware my accent was most likely incredibly garish -it still helped so much. So we eventually drove up the side of the mountain passed a bar that we hoped they might be at or might contain someone who could help us. We were driving by and there was a group of people outside, so Ida asked someone if they could help us. The guy who walked over happened to once work at the place he thought we wanted to go to. Like all of Europe… no one works past 5 or so on any day in any location including hotel reception, so this guy gets us into the hotel and sets us up with a room for the night. THANKFULLY!!! We go back to the bar where he was and insist we buy him a drink to thank him for his help, went back and went to sleep!
The next day was paid training… I took one run from a lower start and there was a bit of a problem in the braking stretch… the finish ramp is very steep and my brakeman did not pull the brakes hard enough and we started going backwards… I had expected the sled to stop and had started to get out, as we started going backwards, I climbed back in and pulled up on the brakes… pulling them through the sled and ripping the fiberglass… this was a sled I had rented so now the damage was on me. We brought the sled back up to the top and decided to take one run from the top because the damage wasn’t too substantial and I needed to go off from the top. I went, it was a really good run… and the Great Britain Team offered to help me re-fiberglass.
The next few days were training only for men so I track walked and watched lines. I learned as much as I could, lifted, did sled work etc.
The following Wednesday was the first day of official training. It went well as did the rest of the days following. Our biggest concerns were generally shoveling our truck out of the snow, figuring out how to move our sled, dragging a 400lb sled on wooden transports upon concrete is no easy task for two women weighing 165lbs. We got so so so much snow in La Plagne and our hotel and the track and literally on the slide of a mountain where all the roads are built in switch back style, and there are frequent stops to put chains on your tires… unfortunately for us we did not have chains, or snow tires… this proved to be quite challenging. Even other trucks vans and cars with chains often got stuck, but lucky for us, we seemed to make it through the week. I had considered driving down the mountain to the closest town called Aime, but I was worried that if I drove all the way down there and the store was closed, that I would not be able to make it up the hill to our hotel. Given it was a small town, and Europe’s inconsistent and infrequent hours, we never drove down and we rarely had time to anyway.
On Race day, we slid almost a second faster than we had during practice and placed 6th. On a track I’d never been to, with only one other teammate sliding with me all week, I was very happy with how I drove and how we placed. We attempted to drive back to Igls after the race but got a late start. We drove for awhile, our GPS attempted to send us the wrong way up the side of a mountain, onto a road that we were not allowed to drive up and resembled a got path… With snow covered two roads made large enough for one car, the darkness of night, no snow tires, no guard rails, and low gas… we turned around and went back down the mountain in neutral. We made it to a gas station, found a Mcdonalds that we could access the internet from, got some directions, and ignored the GPS until it finally took us the correct way to Austria.
We drove and drove and drove and after listening to the same cd for a very long time we decided it would be best if we stopped because we were not going to make it to the hotel in Innsbruck until 5 in the morning and we had been up since 5:30am and raced. Finding a hotel along the way was a feat in itself… absurdly we presumed that maybe roadside hotels would even be open -but they were not. We tried a couple, we tried to find some close to us on the gps, stopped in a couple cities along the way… to find something… then as we were continuing down the main highway we saw one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen -AN OPEN HOTEL! It was the first roadside stop type complex we had seen! We checked in, did our best to haggle that since we were staying only one night and it was past midnight… about 2:30am at this point. It was the most expensive roadside hotel i’ve ever been to, but with no other options -what choice did we have, and when you’re that tired… it was worth it.
We woke up and continued on… finally making it to Innsbruck after about 5 hours -we weren’t even close I can’t imagine what would have happened if we have kept going and never found another open hotel.
Hello followers I must apologize for the delay in posting. I had a couple of crazy weeks in Europe and am about to submit the story of all the events that occurred. Nothing about that trip was easy, although not that I expected to be, yet it will still much more difficult than I could have ever imagined….
Friday, November 23rd 2012:
Fly overnight to Munich Germany from Buffalo, NY get the rental…van -large enough to fit a bobsled in, and drive two-two and a half hours to Igls, Austria. Meet up with the luge team, including my boyfriend Chris. I get there in time for the doubles race and then watch Chris the following day in his race as I adjust to the time zone change. The next day I lift, and figure out what sled I will be using from the rental area under the bobsled track. Then for the next couple days I do open training on the track in Igls, to get extra runs in before Junior World Championships (it’s 45 euros per run yikes!) The luge teams takes off to their next venue and then I’m left in Igls alone. With the help of the Zurich bobclub team, I’m able to find someone to break for me and I’m able to practice. I just have to spend a lot of time at the track and need quite a bit of help when I get to and leave the track. Everyone there is very friendly so this proves to be a worthwhile endeavor. My brakeman Ida gets into Innsbruck Thursday and the following day we do 2 last training runs. Unfortunately, she injures her back, and lucky for us the Russia Doctor helps us and treats her. The Russian team is traveling to la plagne, france the following day as well so we plan on meeting them there. That Saturday… we take off to drive to La Plagne and run into a couple mishaps along the way…
Family, Friends, Followers -Hello! I am unfortunately in the need to reach out and ask for help. I am planning on traveling to Europe in order to compete in Junior World Championships. In order to do that I need to be there for three weeks, and as I’m sure you can imagine that can get quite expensive rather quickly. My largest goal of the season is to win junior world championships in hopes of competing in world championships in St Moritz Switzerland this year.
What I don’t think that most people know is that World Championships is as close as an athlete can get to the Olympics -in a non Olympic year. In an off Olympic year -this is the premier event. During the season after all of the World Cup, America’s Cup, Europa Cup races there is World Championships, based upon the number of points each nation has earned in the previous races they are allowed to enter a certain amount of sleds (competitors). During an Olympic year, World Championships is replaced by the Olympics.
Needless to say, this would be the highest level of competition I have ever entered. But I do truly need some help getting there. Over the summer I tried my best to balance my physical training regiment and working as a waitress in Lake Placid, while living at the Olympic Training Center. While I was able to save some money, I was not quite able to save enough to set out and reach my goals. ANY help anyone could give me would go a really really long way, any donation can be made tax deductible as well and the contact information for that is listed below. Or contact me directly via email at: email@example.com
The first day back on the track is always one of nerves and excitement. What bobsled is, is an adrenaline rush, what is requires is the utmost confidence and control in the face of unnerving speed and fear. Rookie brakeman always tend to savor their first reactions after the first trip down the track -and if they don’t want to well…. we do it for them…. haha It’s synonymous with a coming of age or rite of passage for bobsled, and you never exactly know what to expect until you go run down and hop in the sled for the ride…!
Just finishing up our team selection races…. There as not a lot of pressure on me as my main goal this season is to win junior world championships! Jamie Greubel my teammate (and once a driver that I pushed for) broke the start record with a new rookie brakeman named Aja Evans -the first race! It was insanely fast! I placed 3rd and 5th in the two races with Tracey Stewart as my brakeman. All of the new athletes have been phenomenal but it has been exceptionally exciting to work with track stars I’ve always admired as well. Tianna Madison (2012 Gold Medalist and world record holder), Lolo Jones (2008, 2012 Olympian), Hyleas Fountain (2008 Silver Medalist, 2012 Olympian) -not to mention all the other accomplishments they’ve done over their careers. Tianna and Lolo were just named to the national team this Thursday and will start their careers as brakemen!
This year’s push championships were by far the most competitive they have ever been! This link focuses on some of the best track athletes in the world who came out to try being a brakeman. It was so cool to watch them and they are all fantastic people as well. One girl who was not mentioned but also deserved notice is Tracey Stewart -who got 6th this year at US Olympic track and field trials in the triple jump! She is showing a lot of promise as an up and coming brakeman this year!
Our Combine (physical testing) is coming up this Tuesday and then Push Championships at the push track are on Friday! Some absolutely phenomenal track athletes who competed for the US in the past 2012 London Olympics are here and it is so exciting!!!