What a season. It was my longest season ever in terms of number of runs taken, time away from home, and simple length of competition season. I began training in Whistler on October 8th and finished in Whistler on March 21st. In between there were 8 World Cups, World Championships, and my biggest crash ever!
In my first week of training in Whistler during the month of March I made a critical error in curve 6 which caused a small crash out of 6, but the result of me crawling back on my sled as I went into curve 7, and the sled angle it created, caused a massive short wall impact about 3/4 of the way around 7 and for the first time ever I found myself on my butt without a sled. Knowing that the first rule in Skeleton is ‘never let go of your sled’ (because if you do, and it is behind you, it will try and hunt you down and kill you), I had the awareness to look behind me. And sure enough there it was, hunting me. Luckily it was upside down and, thus, slowing down as it came towards me. So, I caught it with my hands, hopped on the pan (sliding down the ice in only a spandex suit at 110 km/hr is really not all it is made out to be) and rode it to a stop in curve 10. Throughout my career I have prided myself on finishing every run I have ever taken and I was not about to let that record be broken. So, I stood up, bent the saddle back out with some help from the short wall, and continued on to finish in a blistering 3 minutes and 24 seconds. My sled frame was seriously bent and my helmet lost some paint, but other than that and a sore shoulder I was fine. According to some witnesses ‘lucky to be alive’ is perhaps more appropriate. All kidding aside, I am lucky to have not gotten more injured and thank God for watching over me and keeping me safe.
I was concerned that I would not be able to continue to slide given what I had just done to my sled, but luckily for me one of the bobsled technicians used to be an auto body repairman! So, Rob took his sledge hammer and worked his magic. When he was done there was absolutely no evidence that I had done anything at all. The runners fit back it perfectly and I was back in business. The following week was full of frustration as I tried to learn how to get down the track quickly, but by the final weekend I had figured out some key things and I am very excited to begin back in Whistler next year.
The past 2 weeks have been half of my ‘time off’ and have been filled with the thrilling duties of accounting and personal taxes. Also, my ‘honey-do’ list has grown quite long in the past 6 months and I am doing my best to whittle it down a bit before my days get filled with training. I have found myself getting quite restless in the last few days so I know my body is recovering well and starting to want to jump back inot some training. I just need to rein it in for a couple more weeks to make sure I am fully rested and then I can hit it again! Can’t wait…..(?!).