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Bobsleigh Lake Placid – Americas Cup

This last week on tour has been our most successful yet.
We flew from our disappointing no start in Calgary, to Lake Placid in Upstate New York.
We had a little bit of work to do on both the 2 and 4 man sleds to get them back up to race pace. Our last trip down in the 4 man in Park City was the crash!
We were fortunate enough to have the help of Randy Will, a 2 time Olympian himself, and coach of gold medalist in 2002 skeleton.  He helped us realign our sled and did some major panel beating to the shoe that holds the runners.
A bit of panel beating was also needed on the tired and broken bodies! It is not until you feel the immense amount of pressure exerted in a sled, do you have a true appreciation for the forces that destroy ligaments and tendons holding the body together. The seasons accumulated slides is starting to take its toll!
Training went well and we were in the top 3 or 4 sleds each day. The only problem with this, is that you quickly realise that you do not win any medals on training day, and keeping it all together for the race is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds
The two man race was tense. Lake Placid is well renowned as one of the toughest tracks in the world, and it demands a lot of respect from everyone who slides. We had done all the prep and it was time to put the seasons lessons to good use. Heath and Duncan were in the sled and it was up to us to set the pace. Our start was good and very competitive being the 6th fastest of the day. The top part of the track, whilst being the slowest section, offers the greatest opportunity to make gains on the field as any small mistake at the top is magnified at the bottom.
Heath drove the top section brilliantly and we maintained our competitiveness; however, we were still slightly behind the time set by some of the previous sleds.  As we rounded corner 4, 5 and 6 we started to climb through the ranks moving up in positions.
The bottom part of the track is where the sleds are moving at around 130km/h. Any improvement is usually difficult as all the sleds are flying by this stage. Somehow we made even more time and crossed the line in first place! With several sleds still to come, it was a matter of seeing how we would be able to hold our spot.
By the end of the first run we were in 4th place behind Monaco,
Korea and just pipped at the post by Japan.
The second run has been our nemesis all season as we had lost positions in all other races. We changed the preparation of both athletes and sleds to see if we could achieve a different result.
We were the 4th last sled to go, as all sleds go in reverse order for the second run.
Our start again was good but not the fastest, and we started behind the time set by the previous sleds.
Heath made a small driving error in corner 3 which put us even further behind, and it looked like we were to repeat our previous performances and drop a few spots.
As he went through the lower corners however, the preseason trip to this track, and the brutal bone bruising rides in October started to pay dividends. We were making time through corners 13 and 14. With just 4 corners to go, we were still behind but the time difference was falling. It is almost impossible to gain time in the final section and we were waiting to see how many spots we had lost as we crossed the line. Somehow we had continued to climb and crossed the line in first place again. It was now up to the final 3 sleds to hold their place!
With bated breath we watched each corner on the monitor to see if we could climb the order. Each sled in sequence held onto its spot and we finished in 4th place! Our best result of the season!
With Korea (1st), Monaco (2nd), Japan (3rd) and Australia (4th), it was noted by all in attendance, that these so called smaller nations of bobsleigh, are a force to be reckoned with, and no longer looked down upon.
USA, Russia, Great Britain, all power houses in the sport, finished lower in the order!
Our 4 Man race was very similar, except for one important factor.
We came 3rd!
An even better result. It was a very proud moment having the Aussie flag raised at the medal ceremony!
This week we are racing on the World Cup again here in Lake Placid. Full TV coverage, and also live streaming. With 2 Man and one 4 Man race still to come this week, we are hopeful of good results.
You can watch live or replay on fibt.com
Race is Friday 8:30am Saturday 8:30am and Sunday 1pm local time.
For most of you that would be around midnight Saturday and Sunday, and 2am Monday.
Hope you are all well, and I look forward to being home this time next week, and back at work before Christmas!
You can check out some great photos of the season so far at
http://rjphotography.viewbook.com/bobsled

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