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Adirondack Lifestyle ™: Nov 21, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

World Cup Bobsled in Lake Placid

Even though I couldn't ski the cross-country trails at Mount Van Hoevenberg this morning, the Olympic venue nevertheless provided me with a fun morning's activity. For the first time in many years, I attended a World Cup Bobsled competition and had a blast. A little slow out the door this morning, I arrived to packed parking lots and scurried up Mt. Van Hoevenberg to the start, just in time to see the second run of the two-man event. I was reminded how much fun the sport of Bobsled is to watch and was able to observe the idiosyncrasies of Bobsled culture.

This young man, from nearby AuSable Forks, New York, is scraping the iced run between heats, making sure there are no gouges or bumps in the track that could upset a sled. He said he learned the skill on the job, which he has been doing for nine years.

This is a closer look at the nifty tool he is using. It is was designed and produced by Bobrun staff over the years. Adirondack ingenuity meets necessity is the mother of invention.

Shown here is Team 1 from the United States as they start and jump into their sleds, a tricky skill in its own right.

A member of the Monaco Bobsled Team, but I do not think it is Prince Albert. (Since he is not in a can.)

This is how the competitors warm up before their start. I noticed they perform a great deal of plyometric, or explosive, exercises. This make sense since one very important part of winning is to have a good start, for which the athletes need explosive strength and power. As a rule of thumb, a 1/10th of a second lead at the start translates into a 3/10ths of a second advantage by the bottom of the course. It was a great event. Not only was it fun to reacquaint myself with the sport of Bobsleigh, but there is no adequate way to describe the energy of an international and highly competitive event. And I was lucky enough to witness United States team member, John Napier's first World Cup gold medal!