Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Who Would Do THAT?!?!

It is not right to judge other people.  I have always believed this with one exception - those olympians who involve themselves in skeleton sliding – they are the exception.  CLEARLY they are insane.  I mean who chooses to slide down a treacherous track on a 2 and a half foot long board - face-first, arms uselessly at their sides, with only a thin layer of spandex as protection?  With only their aura surrounding them, they reach speeds that would have them arrested on the highway if they were in a steel framed, air-bag-equipped one ton truck!  To choose this, one has to be certifiable – of that, I am sure. 

On a recent visit to Whistler I went to the Whistler Sliding Center - the site of the 2010 Olympic bobsled, luge and skeleton track - a track well known as the fastest track in the world.   As I entered the visitor center, I noticed sitting just inside the door was a skeleton sled.  Seeing that sled first-hand validated my previous judgement.  “Those people are crazy,” I said out loud.  I could barely even look at the contraption and imagine a person on their belly with their face hanging off the front and their legs hanging off the back, just inches off the ground, without feeling a little ill.  

Luckily I am not crazy, so I walked past the skeleton and went to sign my waiver for the bobsled ride.  You see, there is crazy and then there is adventurous.  I am adventurous.  So yes. I was there to travel down the fastest track in the world at speeds of over 120 km/hr and experience a g-force around 3-4g’s, but I would be sensibly sitting upright in a bobsled - not laying on a glorified crazy carpet face-first.  No, I am not trained in the sport of bobsled, but I figured that if 4 guys from Jamaica could do it, then surely a girl born in the middle of a Saskatchewan winter could too.  Plus, they gave me a helmet and a safety lesson.    

So after a ten minute video I climbed my little butt into the bobsled with a fellow Saskatchewanite who grew up around snowmobiles (surely an asset), an Aussie who grew up around kangaroos and jellyfish (not an asset) and a guy who had been down the track several times before (we let him steer).  And together we reached a top speed of 124.6 km/hr.  It was the best 41.53 seconds of my week by far!  

We climbed out of the sled after it was all said and done, adrenaline pumping through our veins and excited chatter falling from our lips.  Then the lady from the sliding centre said, ‘It’s amazing hey?!  You should try the skeleton!”

A few minutes later, as the three of us traded in our bobsled helmets for smaller helmets and goggles and headed back up the track, I wondered if you put two Saskatchewanites and an Aussie in the same room if any good decision would ever get made...  My first time on a skeleton slide was a little scary as I fought the g-force pushing my head down onto the ice when I reached a speed of 96 km/hr.  But, my second time was just plain exhilarating as I let my chin scrape on the ice without resistance and I pointed my toes to make myself more aerodynamic.  I don’t mean to brag, but on that second run I reached a top speed of 98.05 km/hr and shaved .22 of a second from my previous time!  

I know what you are thinking, but you know, it is really not right to judge anyone...


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