Sunday, February 24, 2013

Friends in ALL places

As a reflect back on my many years of sport I constantly see one common theme; the creation of Life long friends.  I still have friends from the many years I did gymnastics.  Friends from high school athletics and of course the friends from my UC Davis Track and Field family.

Over the past few years I have utilized my international bobsled friends as an outlet and sound board throughout each season.  We compete directly against each other week in and week out, but a camaraderie between nations is created. I am confident I will still be connected with many of my friends all over the world once this era of my life comes to an end. 

After spending months on the road it was nice to spend time with my friends Emily, who is Canadian and Hanne, who is Swiss, outside of the sport.  My fathers cousin, Coreen, is the head of the American School in London and she was nice enough to allow us to stay with her and explore everything London has to offer.  We did all the typical tourist things that could be crammed into the five days we spent in London.  London is an incredible city and it would take months to adequately comb through.   

Ironically, two of my teammates from UC Davis, one who I also went to High School with, live in London.  They have traveled all over the world and I have had the opportunity to meet up with them in many different locations.  I was able to have a true English pub experience with them watching the England vs. France rugby game this past weekend.  This was quite an experience and one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.  I honestly can not even tell you what the end score of the game was, but it was so refreshing to be around people who I care for from all aspects of my life.  From High School to UC Davis to Bobsled each part of my life was represented with the people in that pub.  There is one thing for sure, I will have many interesting places to visit when I am done sliding and I more life long friends to add to my phone book.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sochi! DA!

After a long season and a World Championships that did not go as planned it is exciting to slide the track and explore the new Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia.  It is crazy to think that the games in Vancouver were already three years ago.  I still vividly remember walking in the Opening Ceremony and all the excitement that came with it.  Afterwards I remember lying in bed wide awake with adrenaline.  I thought about the physical pain, the mental angst and the pure grit that got me to that point.  Not one thing about making the Olympic Team in 2010 was easy for me.  I fought with every piece of my being to earn a spot on that team.  As a laid there I thought of all those times and how very worth it all was for that one moment to walk behind our countries flag.  That is when I decided I wanted to try to have those feelings and that experience one more time in Russia.  So, here I am one year out from the games preparing for the fight to earn a spot in Sochi.

When we first landed in Sochi for our World Cup test event there was group of English speaking volunteers that were very excited to have us here.  They were very helpful and I could just feel the pride bursting out of them.  It is very obvious they are ecstatic to have their country be the location of the next Olympic Games.  As we drove from Sochi up the mountains to the location of the bobsled and alpine venues we were shocked by all the construction.  It feels like a town is being created solely for the Olympics.  There is literally a new hotel or new restaurant sprouting up daily.  I can’t help but to think about what will happen to each of these new establishments once the Olympics have come and gone. 

We have now been sliding the 2014 Olympic track for almost a week and are using every run to learn a little more about each aspect of the track.  Sliding a brand new track anywhere is exhilarating.  It is a combination of utter fear and excitement.  You have no idea what each turn will feel like as put total trust in your drivers experience to get you down safely.  Once the run is complete it feels like something has been accomplished by conquering your fears.  It is probably one of the biggest rushes one can experience. 

Ending the season on this track will help to keep me hungry as I train this summer in hopes of accomplishing another one of my goals of walking behind our flag one more time.


Jamie and I at the finish
The movie Cool Runnings playing at the track