T Minus One Day

Following on from yesterdays safety awakening we spent this morning preparing our pieces of protection to cover our most exposed joints when sliding. With our luxury and expensive protective materials (camping mat, £5) we cut out small pieces and shaped it around our ankles, knuckles, wrists, elbows and some padding on our upper arm. It is inevitable that being such novices of the sport, we are going to be taking hits. Many hits. And hard. Come back from the hotel for a 45min chill period before we went to the ice track. Spent our time talking about where we was or what we were doing when we received our Phase 4 confirmation emails – a mixture of being with friends, work colleagues or actually working – it was nice to reminisce and again realise how far we had come. We also discovered a couple of random facts about each other and Ash’s is worth a mention, a “slight obsession with lamp shades”, which predominantly involves how well a room is lit and across the spectrum of information to the bulb colour. He was already on edge that the two light shades in our living room are different colours. Smooth Ash. Smooth.

Ash and the discriminated shades

Late morning came and we arrived at the track. Icers onto our feet to stop us slipping and we were off. Walking down the ice, listening intently to Woody as he gave us some basic yet key information that will help us cope with the bigger corners. This process over the next two weeks (and the next 3 months for those who make selection) will very much be a layered experience. Drip fed information so that we can manage it and learn, then build upon our knowledge and experiences to better our performances. How very structured. So to summarise todays key learning: Corner 6 – right steer, left shoulder press; Corner 10 – left steer, right shoulder press (put chin on ice); Corner 12 – right steer, left shoulder press; Corner 13 – left steer, right shoulder press. The rest is about holding form and enjoying the ride!

Track walk

This afternoon was pretty cool. We had tickets to the World Cup Ski Jumping. I have not really given any background information about where we are in Norway, but we are based just outside of Lillehammer and the facilities for the winter sports here are still used from the 1994 Winter Olympic Games. And the Ski Jumping arena was no different. What an incredible sport and once again, pictures and videos do not do this sport justice. The steepness of the hill is outrageous (my HR soared when climbing the steps up) and how the athletes have the bravery to launch themselves out into the air is beyond me – then again, people say the same about the sport I am about to try so I am probably on their wavelength.

Back to the hotel and into the sled workshop, where Jake and I put on our attractive beige tubigrip stuffed with camping mat and we set our sleds up to practice moving our weight on the “balance point”, whilst doing some visualisation of the course when in position. Dinner led soon after, followed by a mobility session which I actually really needed as I have done no exercise since being here. I have done a huge amount of standing or sitting. Far too static for my liking. Hit the cabin for the evening where track notes are being re-written, typed or visualised, kit preparations for tomorrow are underway and some discussions about observations in the environment have taken place – which is always interesting listening to and understanding different perspectives.

Tomorrow is the big day, the day we have all been itching for, for at least four months. We all feel that we are ready to go for Day One of sliding which is a great feeling. Track walk in the morning, video session, snow chains, lunch then we load up and go. Followed by a highly anticipated ice bath, outside. Brr.

Wish me luck.

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