OCT. 15 Blue skies. Twenty degrees. Above zero. Sounds like sliding weather to me.

  • Posted on: 18 October 2010
  • By: Michelle

Skeleton is kinda a disjointed sport - you spend all day every day for five months either at a track, sliding down a track, walking a track, sitting on the side of a track, watching video of yourself sliding down a track, travelling to a track, or travelling to a country where there is a track.

And then, for the other seven months, the only ice you get near is floating in the cold tub you sit in after your sprint sessions and gym workouts.

So after seven months of sprinting up hills in the blazing sun, all of the sudden you find yourself standing at the top of the track once again, and your brain is kinda like "Wait ... you want me to do what?"

I made Rob Derman take this picture

We got back on the ice this week in Calgary, where I have four weeks of pre-season training before our first team selection race.

It always (by always, I mean the four times I have had to pick up sliding again after the off-season) seems to take me a few trips down the track for the switch to flip and for me to realize it's on-ice season again. Up until I am done my first run, the idea of getting back on my sled always seems a bit surreal, because I can't remember exactly what it's like. But, it turns out that sliding is kinda like riding a bike. Except there are no wheels. Or brakes. Or gears. Or little pockets on the back of your spandex where you can store snacks.

This year, I started the season off using on a completely different type of sled, just to see what it was like, and whether it would suit my driving style (which I would call "My-coach-is-going-to-yell-at-me-again-for-using-toes").

Okay. Fine. I was hoping that the anal-retentive German engineering of the new sled would jive with my anal-retentive German-wanna-be-ness, and all of the sudden I'd be this prodigy slider that might even manage to make it to the top of the outrun for once.

Which totally didn't happen. In case you were wondering.

But it was definately a good mental exercise. Taking your first run after seven months, on a new sled, with runners you have never tried and a saddle that doesn't fit perfectly, starts you off with the same number of questions, and a similar amount of marginal terror as your first time down a new track. And leaves you with about an equal number of bruises. Including that ever-painful one on the ego.

Regardless, it only takes that first day back on the ice for me to stop saying "Wait ... you want me to do what?" and to start running off the truck yelling "How many minutes left in the session? Three? Oh hells yeah, I'm going again!"