Lake Placid - November 2019
After a long summer of preparation, winter has finally arrived!
It’s interesting how your mentality changes when your goals become bigger. I found myself so focused on the task at hand, I had to make a real effort to stop and take in my surroundings for a moment. I’ve never been to Lake Placid before; it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself but it’s important to stop for a moment to take it all in. And what I saw was exactly where I wanted to be.
No matter how extensive the planning that goes into the season, I always find the first couple of weeks a logistical challenge. But once I was at the track placing my sled on the rack, setting my runners, pulling on my training suit, doing my checks and getting to the start line ready for my name to be called - it was like clockwork.
Lake Placid is a new track for me and it will be hosting the 2021 World Championships. I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe and at Whistler in Canada, so the US tracks are exciting new terrain. This track has 20 corners with your body experiencing 4-5G pressures and my top speed here is 109.31kph. It is renowned for being a “washing machine” for its irregular transitions making it a technical, driver’s track, which suits my sliding style.
Number of corners: 20
Total length: 1680 m
Competition length: 1455m
Maximum gradient: 20%
Average gradient: 9%
Vertical drop: 128m
It's time to slide
Starting with a big thanks to those who donated to my first runs of the season! Your support made it possible to learn this track.
The IBSF provides coaching for smaller nations at various points in the season, which assists individual athletes similar to me with access to coaching resources. The first week in Lake Placid was an IBSF development camp and it was great to be alongside new and familiar friends from all over the world, from Australia and Brazil to Togo; it reminded me what an international sport this is and it’s an honour to be putting Israel into this diverse mix, training alongside Team Captain, Joel and our new teammate, Jared.
With any new tricky track like this, you start at a lower corner so you can familiarise yourself with the flow and progress gradually to the “bob start” - the top of the track. You learn to react to the different outcomes you are presented with, so it feels like second-nature when you reach higher speeds going from the top of the track, which was I was happy to achieve with smooth sliding in just a couple of days. Progress was fast. Progress was great! I was clicking with the track, gaining more understanding each run and I was settling back into the sled quickly. The outlook for this race was looking awesome.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says “I will try again tomorrow”.
Things didn’t turn out as planned for me the next week in Lake Placid. I had to pull from the first race of the season due to an injury and following the doctor’s orders.
After all the work that had gone into just being there, combined with the excitement of strong progress and the trajectory looking so good, it felt as though I had to stop when I was just getting started.
On the positive side, I have experience on a brand new track with exciting progress being made each run with a personal best on my second last slide. I will pick up where I left off and continue that upward trajectory. This is a fun track and I’m content with the knowledge that accidents happen and it doesn’t mean they’ll happen again (something you learn growing up with horses!) Injuries are a part of the journey and learning to deal with what is thrown at you, to overcome disappointment, to be resilient, is a part of the process that counts the most.