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GOLDEN day for Canada

 

World Cup season was kicked off in Lake Placid, NY and with Hurricane Sandy not far away, weather was sketchy in the east. With the extreme winds the track crew had to make a tough decision and roll up the blinds on the track so the wind and the sun combined the ice on the track melted. With only a couple of days to go until official training, we were sliding on the roughest ice I have seen in a while. I don’t deal well with abrupt style tracks as it is, and then to actually have my sled lose contact with the ice because of the conditions was making me so tense on my sled. Before arriving in Lake Placid I was training in Whistler where the ice was the fastest since 2009 which was challenging and fun, but I got myself into trouble going into the finish corner and I hit the roof at 140.3kmh… Needless to say, I was pretty shaken up and didn’t regain my feel before leaving Whistler. This tight, fearful state carried over to my training in Lake Placid and I was struggling all week. I reached out to my sport psych Matt Brown 2 nights before race day and asked for help. He made a great point. As much as I have been able to balance my barrel racing and skeleton training, I didn’t leave any time to purge or reflect on my crazy busy summer. I literally was racing at the World Finals in Nebraska on a Sunday and sliding in Whistler on the Tuesday… Not much I can do about it at this point other than accept it and learn from it and do my best to keep things simple. The day before the Lake Placid race my 1st training run I felt like me again. Thank goodness!!!

This World Cup was a different format, 2 heats on the Thursday. Then the top 10 would qualify for a 3rd and final heat that would be ran between the Men’s 2-man Bobsled race on Friday. My 1st run I made a mistake in the Chicane (crooked straight away) and had 2 hits that scrubbed quite a bit of time but I was sitting in 3rd just 7/100ths from the lead. My 2nd run was better in the chicane and moved into 2nd spot, just 2/100ths behind my teammate Sarah Reid. It was ridiculously exciting because Sarah had never been in podium position before, let alone in contention to win a World Cup. The next day we were driving to the top of the track and I told Sarah, I accept the fact that everyone wants you to win. Not that they have ill wishes on me, but for crying out loud I want you to win!!! I would have to say that was probably the most fun I have ever had preparing for a race. Many times in my career races have felt like work or your mind is busy trying to sabotage you, but not this time… It was an absolute blast and I had so much confidence in CANADA taking home the GOLD…

My push on the 3rd heat was pretty good, I was 2/100ths from my personal best and working on things technically that’s respectable. I had a later entry into corner 4 than I wanted. Thinking I could get away with it, I was shocked when I hit the left wall on the exit which pushed me away from corner 5, missing the corner almost entirely and catching the pressure on the end and fell out, skidding into corner 6… I could feel my body attempt to seize up on me, but somehow I was able to swim my way out of that situation and have a great rest of the run, with the 2nd highest speed just behind a German slider I crossed the finish line holding my spot. A Canadian would definitely be winning Gold, but who would it be???? Sarah started her run and had a fantastic top portion of the track. As she was heading into Corner 10 she was almost 2/10ths ahead of me, when she entered corner 17 she was 9/100ths, corner 19 she dropped to 6/100ths… crossing the finish line she was 3/100ths ahead!!!!!!! Over almost 3 miles of track and 57 corners Sarah won her 1st World Cup race by an eyelash… and I couldn’t be more proud of her. At the awards ceremony as they were about to play the Canadian anthem, Sarah asked me to join her on the top of the podium. With our arms around each other we watched our Maple Leaf rise and sang “O Canada” with a ton of pride.

 

 

We are in Park City Utah for the 2nd World Cup, which is Friday November 16th at 9am MST. I’m so excited to have my barrel racing mentor Tammy Fischer and her husband Brian and daughter Sydney trackside on Friday. The best part is that the Utah Sliding Center has accommodated us to get both Tammy and Brian down in a bobsled after my race!!! 1 step closer to Tammy understanding what I do all winter long… one day I will be able to get her on a Skeleton☺

Here’s a link to:  3rd heat of Woman’s race Lake Placid World Cup #1


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One Comment

  1. Nora Gompf
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the update on your race in Lake Placid, Mellisa! We are so very proud ofyou as always and wish you clear sledding on Friday! Hugs and much love to you!

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