Monday, December 19, 2011

No More Snow!

The first half the World Cup season has come to an end and I am finally home after a 12 hour flight, cancelled flight and 8 hours at the San Francisco airport. I am still pretty jet lagged, but ready to recharge and spend some quality time with my family.

Our last race was in Winterberg, Germany, which can now be considered one of my least favorite stops on tour. After the weather issues we had all week and throughout the races I am sure I am not the only person that has gripes about Winterberg. Winterberg is notorious for always being rainy and this time was no different, except for the fact that mixed into the freezing rain was snow, hail, sleet and more snow. The only way to describe the day to day life in Winterberg this past week was miserable. The good news is all the women on our team are officially snow chain certified and can put chains on and take them off, which comes in handy when snow turns to rain and then back into snow and back to rain. Needless to say I am glad to be back at home in California for a few days in my warm bed, not having to worry about waking up early to defrost the truck and put the chains on. I never have had a true white Christmas and this past week has truly made me appreciate a California Christmas. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

World Cup #2

After a somewhat disappointing start to the world cup season in Austria we drove the nine hours to La Plagne, France for World Cup number two. La Plagne is where bobsled was during the 1992 Olympic games and has not been used for a World Cup since 2002 when our coach, Todd Hays won gold in two man. This will be the first time women’s bobsled will have ever been on this track, so it is an adventure for both veterans and rookies alike.

After arriving at the hotel I had to take in a few minutes to look around and appreciate the life that I am lucky enough to live. We are in the thick of some of the most beautiful mountain ranges and we are staying in a resort with a pool and hot tub that over looks the incredible view. So far I have not been disappointed with any of the meals we have been treated to. Last night we were served a 4 course meal, which included some local cheeses and meats. I have never thought of cheese as a delicacy, but this was like no cheese I have ever tasted before. I could go on and on about the dessert or the croissants we had this morning with our home cooked eggs and chocolate muffins, but my mouth is started to water as I write and wait for the next meal. Needless to say we had to continue to remind ourselves today that we are not here on vacation we are here to compete and win for Team USA. I am looking forward to the week to come and am confident that all three of our U.S pilots with be a threat for the podium.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Congrats Kelly!

In the summer of 2010 I met a quiet, shy speedskater named Kelly while she was rehabbing from what should have been a career ending ankle injury. I did not know it at the time, but as I became to know Kelly I learned that she is one of the most resilient people I have ever met.

Kelly went through the 2010 Olympic Trials fighting to make her first Olympic team. The Olympics is something ever athlete dreams of and for Kelly it was a matter of making the sacrifice of switching from inline to ice skating to try and make her dream a reality. After a vigorous trials Kelly was set up to make the team when a teammate fell and was granted a reskate. The conditions of the reskate were optimal for the other competitor and as a result Kelly missed the 2010 Olympic Games. Obviously Kelly was devastated, but she picked herself up and showed up for practice the very next day ready to complete her season. Next, the unthinkable happened to Kelly when she fell during a race and experienced a complicated compound fracture in her ankle and was told she may not be able to skate again.

After surgery and weeks on crutches Kelly moved to the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center to attempt the long task of rehabbing back to first walking and then skating again. I remember Kelly being in sports medicine daily and often twice a day doing what she needed to do to become healthy again. Now, two years later, Kelly is not just skating again, but she is skating at the highest level having made the 2011-2012 World team last week. I am very proud of Kelly and excited for her to continue her career as we move forward towards Sochi.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

After a tough few weeks of sliding and racing our team has been announced. I am fortunate enough to be selected for the World Cup team again this year and I will be heading to Europe at the end of the month to begin competition. In all honesty I did not know where I would physical be after having surgery to repair my hip labrum March, so I thanks for to be selected. I am also very grateful to the ‘team’ that has helped get healthy. I am above and beyond where I expected to be and I am looking forward to progress as I continue to regain my strength and speed.

It is always a stressful process when teams are selected, so I think we are all happy to have a chance to enjoy Halloween! It is not often that we are able to celebrate this time of year, but fortunately Halloween just happened to perfectly coincide with the finale of our selection races. After a long debate over what to dress up as Bree and I decided to be a doubles luge team. Last year, some of our friends on the luge team decided to dress up as the USA 1 bobsled team or as they have been deemed ‘Team Night Train,’ so we thought it only fitting to return the favor. We had a great Halloween, but now it is time to get back to work as we head into racing!

Night Train Bobsled Team

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On ICE.... finally...

After a brief stint in Calgary for some last minute push training I headed off to Lake Placid to begin the season. Usually when we get to Lake Placid it is turning into fall and the cold weather has already begun to move in, but not this time! When I arrived in lake placid the temperature was 80 degrees and felt like it was still summer! I love this kind of weather, but unfortunately it is not good bobsled weather. We were suppose to begin sliding on Monday, but because of the conditions it was incredible hard to keep any kind of ice on the track. The track crew worked around the clock to enable us to take our first runs of the season on Thursday. Because of the warm conditions the refrigeration on the track is increased, but this creates a frost that slows the sleds down. We literally had to hop out and push ourselves across the finish line because the ice was so slow. I was amazed the track crew was able to create enough ice with the conditions they faced to allow us to even slide. Hopefully we will get a full week of solid training this week before our first selection race that is coming up on October 21st.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back to Business

After a summer of getting physically healthy and training hard in Colorado Springs it is now time to get back to work. After packing up my summer life and moving out of my dorm at the Olympic Training Center, I traveled back home to Chico and have begun the process of packing up my winter life to go on tour.

Each year it gets a little more difficult to leave the comfort of Colorado, the kids at the Boys and Girls Club and all the friends I have made. This year at the Boys and Girls Club I was presented with a huge box of home made cards from the kids. I received many hugs and a lot of questions as of why I was leaving. I plan on keeping contact with the kids throughout the season via emails, skype and postcards. I really want them to feel like they are apart of what I am doing.

I will soon head to Calgary for some push training and then off to Lake Placid for our team selection races. I am really looking forward to the season especially because it will culminate with a home track World Championships in Lake Placid. But for now, I am going to enjoy the few days I have at home with my family and friends

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Congratulations to triathlete and In The Arena Alum, Sarah Groff on her break out season and her amazing race in London to qualify her for the 2012 Olympics.  Sarah trained in Colorado Springs and was an art teacher at the Tutt Boys and Girls Club.  I shared the news with many of the kids who had known Sarah when she was at the Boys and Girls Club.  They are all very excited to watch Sarah as she lives her dream.  Good Luck Sarah!  Enjoy every minute of it. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Last Day of Summer Camp Fun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

On July 25, 2011 Jeret Peterson, or as everyone knew him, Speedy, decided there was nothing in his life for which to live. Not his friends and family, not the laundry list of life accomplishments including an Olympic silver medal. Speedy’s Olympic story was one of overcoming diversity and hardships in his life. He was very open about his struggles with addiction as well as depression and had admitted to thoughts of suicide in his past.

I did not know Speedy during this dark time, but had heard stories of a struggling young man searching for hope in a world that felt like it had none. It seemed like miles away from the man I remember. I remember watching him, along with all of America, during the 2010 Olympics overcome everything that had happened in his past to win an Olympic silver medal. I remember how happy he was and how excited we all were for him. He did it. He landed his infamous and incredibly difficult trick the ‘hurricane.’ But once the Olympic flame went out America moved on to the next up and coming sporting event and stories like Speedys were forgotten.

Life after the Olympics is something that is not talked about much. It is an interesting transition for athletes going from such a high at the games to feeling like you are at a low. Many athletes experience some form of a depression once the Olympics are over. For us, we have prepared for years if not our whole lives for those two weeks. Once it is over it is difficult to figure out the next direction your life will go. I have often heard people say, ‘if I make an Olympic team I will be happy,’ but the reality is the Olympics will not change who you are and will not change how you feel long term. I only hope that in the future the tragic loss of 2010 Olympic Silver Medalist Jeret Peterson will help put programs into place to help Olympians move on with life after sport.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Garden of the Gods

Last week we headed to the Garden of the Gods, one of the more historic and beautiful sites here in Colorado Springs.  This was one of my first field trips with the Boys and Girls Club and I loved seeing how excited the kids were to hop on the bus and go on an adventure. I was put in charge of a group of 12 kids.  I had not anticipated how difficult it would be to keep my group together and behaving while we exploring the Garden of the Gods.  My friend, Taylor, a highly intelligent 11 year old girl who goes hiking with her mom each weekend was in my group.  Taylor was literally our tour guide and showed my group and I all around the beautiful red rocks while she eloquently explained to us where the land came from and how it came to adopt it’s name.  My favorite time was when the kids found a huge rock or essential a cave hidden and they figured out they could manipulate their little bodies all the way though the rock.  They would have stayed there all day going back and forth had I not made us trudge ahead.  I had an amazing, exhausting time at the Garden of the Gods and hope to continue going on more field trips in the future!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sliding for hope

The USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation recently announced a partnership with the Susan G Komen Foundation.  Please check the recently launched website to make a donation and get a name placed on the Susan G. Komen sled (the boob-sled) for the this upcoming season.  I am honored to say that my mother, Wendy, will be the first individual placed on this sled.  Thank you to my federation and to the Susan G Komen foundation for allowing me to be apart of something incredibly special.  Check out the below article and video for more information.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

There's more to life than bobsled...

It has been an incredibly busy past two weeks. Last weekend I went home for my Chico High School 10 year reunion. I made the mistake in high school of running for Class President and therefore was put in charge of making sure our reunion happened. It was a great success and I think every one of my classmates that attended thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I have since put in my Class President resignation and I am hopeful that someone will pick up the next ten year term.

After my reunion I headed back to Colorado Springs for our yearly National Team camp.  This is a time when our entire national team gets together to ‘bond’ without the stress of competition. This year I was able to bring a few of my teammates to the Boys and Girls club. I was excited and thankful that my teammates were willing to make time in our busy camp schedule to put the kids through a mini bobsled tryout. There were four different stations for the kids to rotate through including vertical jump, broad jump, ‘shot toss’ and a bobsled push station which included scooters for the kids to push each other. I know the kids really appreciated meeting Olympic bobsledders and even seeing a gold medal!

Bobsledders in the making!

I ended up skipping out on the finale of camp because my older sister, Amber, got married Saturday. I was thrilled to be apart of the wedding as the maid of honor. It was surreal to watch my big sister walk down the isle. She looked absolutely gorgeous and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. I come from a family of four girls, so we are excited to welcome a new brother into our family!

It’s been a crazy, fun, exciting exhausting few weeks, so I am looking forward to getting back into my training rhythm and continue to move forward towards my next bobsled season.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

A day in my life..

The life of an athlete is filled with hard work, complications, joy and freedom. Our ‘work days’ are very different then typical Americans work day, but for us it is very normal. Our lives revolve around meals, workouts, massages and sports medicine. My day starts at 8:30 when I go down to the Olympic Training Center cafeteria and get my 2 egg scramble with ham, mushrooms, spinach, and pepperjack cheese made perfectly by my favorite chef, Flower. After breakfast I head down to start our first workout, which includes hill sprints and explosive starts. I then go to sports medicine and recover to prepare for our next lifting workout later in the afternoon. Our recovery includes stretching, icing, and using noramtec pants, which essential attempts to squish the lactic acid out of your legs. After sports medicine I work my way back to the cafeteria have lunch and head to my room for a quick nap before workout number two. The next workout is in the weight room and consists of anything from squats to Olympic lifts which usually take close to two hours. At the end of the day I head to the recovery center here at the Olympic Training Center and use the cold tub and hot tub to help my body recover so that I can perform for the next days workouts.

My job is unorthodox and does not have the pay that a 9-5 job has, but it allows me to spend my days working towards a huge goal and dream. I think sometimes we may take the things we are giving and allowed to do for granted. I am pretty lucky to have the opportunity to live at the Olympic Training Center where everyday I wake up and see the Olympic rings and motto all around me. It surprises me how fast I adapt to my surroundings and how eating breakfast next to Michael Phelps or training daily with a gold medalist turns normal. A day in my life is anything, but ‘normal’ and I am very lucky to support of the USOC to help me reach my goals.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Back to Colorado

I have finally made my way back to the Tutt Boys and Girls club in Colorado Springs.  It was a great first week filled with some familiar faces and a lot of new ones.  It was very exciting to walk back into the club and a get a huge hug from one of my regular art students last year, Shyann.  Shyann was a big help last year putting together assignments as well as cleaning up the art room after class was over.  She was incredibly excited to see me and was already talking about all the new ideas she has come up with for this coming summer.  There has been a change in leadership at the Tutt Boys and Girls Club, but it seems Miss Michelle has many fun things planned for summer camp and is very willing to listen to any ideas I may have or have seen work in the past.  It should be fun filled summer and I am really looking forward to being back.     

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Autism Speaks

Yesterday, Bree and I had the opportunity to be apart of the Autism Speaks Walk in Denver.  The walk is an event that helps Autism Speaks raise money for Autism research with the hope of coming up with better treatment options and eventually a cure.  Autism is a developmental brain disorder that now affects 1 in every 110 children.  The USA Bobsled and Skeleton has teamed up with Autism Speaks in the hopes of raising awareness by wrapping one of our sleds in the puzzle piece logo.  I can only imagine how difficult daily life can be for the families touched by autism and I was truly inspired by how loving and patient each parent was with their children.  I hope our partnership with Autism Speaks will in some small way help all those affected.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back to Work

After spending the last few months rehabbing and relaxing from a long season it is time to get back to work. Tomorrow I will start the 20 hour drive from California to Colorado Springs (with a few pit stops along the way). I have enjoyed my time in California catching up on my life and spending time with my family. Since my three sisters have grown up it is often hard for us to all get together. Life gets busy for everyone, so it is a rarity to have us all under the same roof. I am thankful this Easter that we could all be together and enjoy reminiscing on our lives growing up. I know that as we continue to get older and we begin to have our own families that time similar to this will happen less and less.

Although I am sad to leave my mother’s home cooking I am excited to get back to my home away from home and begin working towards next season. I am really looking forward to getting back to the Tutt Boys and Girls Club and continue with my ITA project work. I have not been there since our season started in September so I am anxious to see the kids I worked with. I am sure they have all grown and changed in the past year. The off season is a time to get healthy and relax, but now I am ready to get back to the Boys and Girls Club and working towards my goal of becoming the best bobsledder in the world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Congratulations to my buddy and fellow Chico native, Nashon Garret on his win at the high school wrestling National Championship. I met Nashon, a senior at Chico High School, last year at the Chico awards banquet where we were both up for athlete of the year. He is an incredible athlete and person and well deserving of the victory.  Look for a Nashon in the future as he works towards his goal of becoming and Olympian.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red, White, Blue...... and Yellow?

Everyday I wear a friendship bracelet that my younger sister, Geneva, made for me with the colors red, white, blue and yellow.  This bracelet helps to remind me each day of why I do what I do and who supports me in my journey to be the best.  I have a great life full of freedom, travel and competition, but that does not mean everyday is easy.  Each day I am working towards making my country proud and improving my strength and speed, so that I may be the able to win medals for my country.  This is represented by the red, white and blue.  I am proud to slide for Team USA and I remind myself daily what an honor that is.  

Next, the red and yellow on the bracelet are the colors of Chico High School where I was a graduate in 2001.  I have had incredible support from people in my home town of Chico, California and it is helpful to remember that support when times are tough.  I am not only proud to represent my country, but also my hometown. 

Finally, blue and yellow symbolizes the University of California, Davis.  I spent four and a half years at UC Davis working on my degree along with being a member of the track team.  I have some amazing supporters in Davis and my time on the track team was the platform that helped propel me to bobsled.  Each day this off season I will go to the weight room or the track and give 100 percent into what I am doing.  I will do this not just for myself, but for everyone included in on the red, white, blue and yellow.   

Sunday, March 13, 2011

World Championships 2011 Konginsee, Germany

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When in Rome...

Our season came to an end last week with a 10th place finish at World Championships in Germany. Naturally we had hoped for a better result, but I think Bree showed an incredible amount of heart and determination this season. She was racing only two weeks after surgery and continued to press on with the season refusing to have any excuses for our performance. We now have some time to regroup and refocus our training as we move towards next season, which cumulates with World Championships at our home track in Lake Placid, New York. Of course the best way to start the off season is with an Italian vacation to Venice and Rome!

I am incredibly fortunate to be doing what I am doing, which allows me to have the opportunity to travel and to do things that would not be possible without the freedom that I have. Bree and I hopped on a train after World Championships and began to eat our way through beautiful Italy. We started in Venice and then made our way to Rome. I was surprised how similar Venice looked to the Venetian streets of Disneyland! It was hard for us to grasp the fact that we were actually there and not in the Las Vegas Venetian hotel. After a few days in Venice we took a bullet train that reaches speeds of 300kmph to Rome.

In the Venice Streets

We headed straight to the Coliseum to see where the Gladiators use to fight. It was fitting to visit the Coliseum during the same week a year ago that we were doing our own type of fighting at the Olympic Games. We walked into the Coliseum and were reminded of how we felt walking into the Opening Ceremony. I am sure the Gladiators had similar emotions when they walked into the Coliseum to fight. The structure is amazing and can not even be described without being seen in person. After the Coliseum we headed to Vatican City, where we saw St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. These are two of the most unbelievable pieces of history. No matter what your beliefs are Rome is a must see that contains priceless art and history that can be appreciated by everyone.

Rome Coliseum

St. Peter's Basilica

Monday, February 14, 2011

ITA in Germany!

This morning my team and I were invited to an Elite Sports School here in Konigssee, Germany. Today was a very special day for the kids because they received shirts which symbolized being accepted into the sport school. We had the honor of presenting the children with their t-shirts. This school is incredible. We have nothing comparable to it in the states. In the Vancouver Olympics only there were 11 Olympic medalists who were alum from this school. We call this school the ‘factory’ where the Germans create their Olympic prodigy. This is why Germany is so dominate in winter sports because children start their sports at such a young age and they have a lot of time to perfect their skills. In the states many of us are far behind because we start our sports a lot later in life.

The children of the school surprised us by learning our National Anthem, which they sang with us. They will all be coming to our World Championship race this weekend to cheer us and of course the German teams on. One little girl asked very politely how she was suppose to cheer for us and what she should put on the sign she is making for us. It was nice to see that we have some German fans supporting the USA.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We're (almost) Back Baby!

Okay so maybe it was not the epic come back tale we had hoped for. You know the one where we come back in full force and win the race after a two week hiatus filled with surgery and nasty Austrian roommates? I think as athletes we always shoot for a victory and are often disappointed with anything less. Bree and I always go into any race thinking we are going to win. I have learned that if you don’t have confidence in yourself and in your teammate then you have no chance of being successful. We had thought that we could just pick up where we left off over a month ago and work ourselves back up the standings. Some may say our expectations were too high and not realistic (both our mothers would agree with this statement after we freaked them out with the chaos over the last few weeks), but we are competitors and we want more than to be average. We want to win.

It didn’t really hit us until after our first run that we are extremely lucky to be sliding this race together and it is an incredible feat for Bree to be pushing a bobsled and navigating our sled 80mph plus down an icy hill just weeks after being rushed the hospital for a less than routine procedure. As she said today to the media “we are lucky to be here.” I honestly can not imagine how scary it was for her to be heading into surgery in a foreign country with no family or friends in sight. It really showed me how strong and brave Bree is. I admire that she can still maintain a positive attitude after everything she has gone through the past few weeks and is such a competitor that she couldn’t wait to get back in the sled and do what we do best; race. I am excited to see what the future has in store for us as we work our way back and prepare for World Championships in three weeks. I am sure there were plenty of people who doubted Bree and I would be back to race Worlds, but we will be there, minus one appendix proving them wrong and ready to make Team USA proud.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life happens...

I am currently in Igls, Austria one of my more favorite stops on our World Cup tour. Last year, this race was our last race before the Olympics and was the week after our 2010 Olympic Team was announced. Needless to say we had all let our guards down after an incredibly intense year fighting for an Olympic spot and we ALL got very ill. This may have been one of the worst bugs to spread throughout all the countries on the World Cup tour and sent many athletes to the hospital. It was a sickness that struck its victims late in the night, so every morning at breakfast we would look around and see who was missing. Fortunately this year, the sickness we called ‘death’ did not strike again, but we ran into yet another health problem here in Igls. Bree and I came to Europe after a relaxing Christmas break ready to maintain our third place overall World Cup rank, but unfortunately Bree’s appendix was not on the same page! Tuesday night Bree was brought to the hospital and immediately sent into emergency surgery to remove her appendix. Luckily, it was taken out before it had ruptured and caused any more damage. She spent a few interesting nights in an Austrian hospital before we could spring her loose and bring her back to the hotel for some relaxation. Of course, we could not convince our medical staff to clear her for the weekend race or the next weeks race either, but I am glad to report that Bree is continuing to improve each day.

I was still able to have an opportunity to race with one of our rookie drivers and my Olympic teammate, Bronze Medalist Elana Meyers. It was a lot of fun to get in the back of her sled and help push her in her second ever World Cup as a driver. Shauna Rohbock piloted her sled to gold for Team USA, so it was great to have our team bring home a victory. Our team is now headed to Winterberg, Germany, but Bree and I are on ‘vacation’ in Igls as she continues to recover. We will head to St. Moritz, Switzerland soon and prepare for the upcoming World Cup, but for now we will be here appreciating the things, like health, we often take for granted.