I have spent a few days back on American soil and have been awake for some of it ;-). In all honesty, I have been busy recovering from the first half of the season which has been filled with challenges and achievements. Every athlete embraces the rare rest, but since we are only halfway through the season, I realize this is not the time to let off the gas. It is a time to utilize resources such as warm gyms and full tracks, indulgences compared to the cold parking garages and slushy warm-up areas we have on tour. It is also a time to embrace the more intangible luxuries like unconditional love.
My teammate, Elana Meyers, spoke to this subject in a previous blog post of hers and it inspired me. When I come home, it is so refreshing to be surrounded by friends and family who love me regardless of how fast I push the sled. Don’t get me wrong I have made some great friends in this sport who have been there for me, but at the end of the day, it is all about performance. So while I bake cookies with my mom, watch the Today Show with my dad, stay up late discussing life with my sister, and catch up with some lifelong friends; it’s comforting to know that no matter what I accomplish, they are going to love me all the same.
Sorry for the long hiatus, the North American tour has been full of ups and downs, personally and as a team. Most recently, we raced in Whistler, one of the most challenging and feared tracks on tour. It was a stressful week, considering our pilots have not had experience on the track prior to the six training runs they received this week. We managed to finish all three sleds in respectable positions and on all four runners (even better) :-) We will head home for a few days before venturing across the pond to Europe for two races. Check out our second heat from yesterday’s world cup race (just past the 17th minute).
It’s a new season with a new team and a whole new level of athleticism. Just a glimpse, the standing Lake Placid start record was broken twice in the same team trials race! I have only been in the sport for year, but I have quickly stepped into a veteran role, as four out of the six brakeman selected to the team are rookies. It’s a role I have embraced, but I never would have imagined I would be teaching Tianna Madison and LoLo Jones the ins and outs of bobsled! It’s a crazy world and it’s only going to get crazier!
It is a big sigh of relief that the combine and push championships are over! It was a stressful week, but also really exciting to be able to show how hard I have worked this summer to prepare for my sophomore season. In the combine, I was able to improve my total score by 50 points, scoring a 752 (the max is 800 points and 600 is passing). Next came push championships, where I set out to defend my 2011 title. While I came up short by 13 hundredths to a talented rookie, Aja Evans, I still very satisfied with my second placed performance. Here is the press release, if you would like to read more:
The rookie class this year is absolutely incredible- athleticism off the charts. Most of you have probably heard we have some accomplished athletes from track and field among us; namely, LoLo Jones, Tianna Madison, and Hyleas Fountain. If you haven’t already, you should check out the article Elana blogged for ESPNW about our special guests-it’s awesome:
The next two weeks will be very intense as we have a plethora of talented drivers and brakeman vying for a limited number of spots of the national team. Elana has earned a well-deserved bye onto the National Team for her success at World Championships, but has chosen to compete at team trials to prepare for the season. We will have two team trials races (October 20th and 27th), which will provide data for national team selection. The team will be announced on October 28th. Stay tuned!
With a World Championship Medal to my name, the approach to this season has an entirely different feeling than last year. Sure, I had worked hard last summer, but it was all for an unknown. I had virtually no expectations of the endeavor; I trained hard because I knew if I didn’t give this opportunity everything I had, I would always wonder. I more or less walked into the 2011 team trials with a fresh, naïve perspective; I had a “I’m just happy to be here” mentality. This year, it is completely different. I took my training to a whole new level this summer and was able to use my defined goals to push me past my former boundaries. I have high expectations and am no longer “just happy to be here”; I’ve been working for bigger.
The leaves are changing and people are slowly making their way back into town for trials. The same team selection process as last year will soon be upon us: the combine, push championships, and two team trials races. At the end, the National ‘Team will be selected. Stay tuned!