After a few weeks at home it was time to travel once more to Lake Placid. This trip was to be my last camp of the season but significantly it involved a real-life, against actual skeleton athletes, competition!! It was decided a while back that my group of sliders would use the North America Cup Lake Placid double header (two days of races) as our first race and it was finally time. Exciting! Everyone enjoyed Placid the first time around so we were all looking forward to going again. Even better was that Ellie and Craig our teammates would be joining us and sliding with the five of us for the first time this season (due to injury).
As you’ll see if you read this blog, my first day didn’t go so well! A new saddle on my sled and a big contrast between Konigssee and Placid took me by surprise. But by day two these worries were gone in the most part and I could concentrate on getting down the track fast. The weather was weird – unseasonably warm, causing some trouble for the track workers who fortunately kept the track open for all the official training. I was happy with my progress over the first few days but then it stilled and I began to struggle with some new areas. This is pretty normal for skeleton, it’s like when you drop a sock from a pile of washing only to pick it up and a different one fall! But it did bother me somewhat as I was aware the race was looming. However, in general I was happy with my performance in training and the evening before the race I was ready to go!
Race day didn’t really feel that different to official training which was a good thing. The blessing and curse of the sport is that you can only really ever do it at 100%. You can’t make the sled only get to 90 kph if it usually hits 100 kph. Therefore, apart from the start which was super noisy and exciting once I was on my sled it was just another training run. I mean you don’t make mistakes in a race on purpose any more than you would in training. But mistakes happen and over the four runs I did make some mistakes which cost me time, particularly run 1 of race 2. But importantly, I came back and rectified them in the second run. All the GB sliders (myself included) that raced made it onto the podium. This was a massive achievement, surprise and confidence booster! It was fun to rock up as newbies and nobodies but be competitive all the same. We were all pretty proud to have represented our country on those two days.
Winter is over for now. I won’t slide again until October which is sad but the nature of the sport. I have one month remaining living in Scotland before I move to Bath to train full-time over summer. April is also a month to recover and relax; training is less strict and I won’t have to travel to another country (unless I want to) which is a treat. I am using the time to work on some new projects that I hope will add to my exercise, health and wellbeing consultancy. I am also going to find a job as money is running low and get back on to approaching prospective sponsors. Fun fun! At least the weather is looking up J
The past six months has shown me that this is where I want to be. I doubted it at times, and I expect I will doubt it again at some point or another. The good times have outweighed the bad and finishing on a high means that I will go into summer excited for the challenge of full-time training and keen to get back on ice next winter. Now is a good time to thank EVERYONE that has helped me the past six months; every one that crowd funded me, personal sponsors Barratt Homes, family, boyfriend and friends that have given me a bed, brought me dinner, taken me to or from the airport. The BBSA and our sponsors Ignite, SportsAid who provided the means to travel and train all winter. Last summer I wasn’t sure I could afford to pursue this dream up until this point. It is impossible to mention everyone and everything but if you’ve contributed in any way at all then thank you.
Here’s to the next six months. Season 2. Done.