21 Minutes

Didn’t post a blog yesterday as it was a rest day for us all, the last block of training was particularly mixed for me personally (and probably others too). Friday and Saturday were challenging. Sunday things clicked and I produced two great runs and finished the block on a positive. This is helpful because I do not have to wait 48 hours to ponder over something negative before doing something about it, something that I think a few of the other guys felt in their own respective ways. I was able to switch off and know come today, Tuesday, I could pick up where I left off, or at least so I thought. I will come back to that in a minute. The day off was nice, I did not really do much except sorting out my sled, bit of taping maintenance and also checking all the bolts were in working order. Simple. Spent the early afternoon watching the GB Youth Bobsleigh athletes (who are 15 years old) try out the “mono-bobs” for the first time – not just trying these new mono-bobs for the first time, but experiencing their first slides on ice in them too. I have heard about bobsleigh messing up our track (haha) and blimey did they do just that. HUGE chunks of ice flying off of the walls where these 160kg lumps bash into the sides. It was actually quite scary to watch from where we stood, for both our own sakes and theirs. Sod taking hits like that. When they flew though, they looked quite majestic.

Outside the hotel in the morning

We checked out the athletes on their runs from a number of different spots and it was just nice to casually roam about and not have to think or focus, or be in a place by a certain time. On our way back to the cabin we (Craig A, Ash, Wil, Tim and I) decided to take a little detour around the site we are staying on. After all, you get to walk through snow and trees – it is all picturesque and calming. We stumbled upon this small mound of snow created by a snow gun, then discovered the snow had frosted over so it was crisp. A little climb to the top for a (slightly) better view of the surrounding area and we quickly decided to slide back down like Skele or Luge athletes (on our fronts or bums). This was a great laugh. Got a few videos too which are comical. It was just like being kids with time on our hands, on a little adventure and just playing around. We got back to the cabin and continued the usual chat and chill time before dinner and then a fussball tournament. I lost in the semi-final, but then joined up with Craig T and we became an unstoppable force. Still undefeated. Fussball session finished with three medium pizzas costing £47 – Norwegian prices for you.

The hill looks tiny in the picture, but it was fun!

First thing on todays agenda was a mobility session prior to breakfast. After this we had a little bit of time to kill then went for a track walk before our sliding session. The sliding session was really mixed for me, my first run wasn’t great, generally, and I think this was because I felt rushed in the morning. I got one visualisation run in (I usually get three in, including lying on the ground), and therefore I wasn’t as psychologically prepared as usual. Plus the fact that we had a 48 hour gap was not ideal when coupled with this preparation. My second run was much better. It felt smooth, I felt the flow, I got 90% of my entries on the money. I even came out of corner 7 and did not hit the wall, first time for about a week! There was a discussion about my second oscillation steer in corner 10 and this was the focus of my third run – if I hit the same line as run 2, remove the steer completely. Unfortunately I thought I had the same line into corner 10 but I may have been slightly later. This meant my sled shot upwards rather than parallel with the corner, then not having controlled the second oscillation I suddenly flew out of the corner off my line and not feeling in control of what I was doing. Late into 12, late into 13, huge hit on the exit. The front of my sled took a big strike into the ice wall, the back of my sled whipped round and so did my ankle. Right into the wall. Cheers.

I was really knocked around on the rest of the run and I stopped very early in the outrun which is not a good sign as it shows I am not carrying speed. I got out feeling beaten up. A small cut on my left hand (which hurt mostly because of the bash it took), plus a hurt ankle on the left and a sore calf on the right. The final run was heavily at the forefront of my mind today until the video session, which thankfully showed me it was not quite as bad as I thought, but definitely some areas to continue working on. So many ups and downs. It is a frustrating sport but now we know why we have been psych tested in the past – to see if we can handle this. What is our perseverance like? It is not an easy ride by any means, we have or are all struggling at different points and we certainly overlook the fact that during our twelve days here so far we have slid 21 times. That is 21 minutes. An average of 3 minutes on ice per day. That context helps us understand where we have come from and what our realistic goals should be over the next couple of days. With no idea what our coaches/selectors are looking for, we just have to focus on what we can manage. As always, it is so helpful to have these guys around for support on a daily basis.

Our panoramic creation on the day off

Tomorrow is almost a mirror image of today, except we have some psych interviews again with the people that interviewed us in Phase 3. They dropped that on us at dinner, I am now quite intrigued. Off to bed now though, I need sleep otherwise my body will ache tomorrow!

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