Training was going very well all week, the track was in mint condition and the weather was ideal for all winter sliding sports. The last day in training I was going faster than I ever have on the Lake Placid track and was confident in my abilities to drive well in the races considering I am a beginner driver. Race day 1 embarks; Leisl and I are ready to go having prepared our sled and selves the night before. We are at the line; teammates, coaches and Coach P are at the start cheering us on with great support. We push the sled, hop in, and I begin driving us down what seems to be a great run, smooth and fast… thennnnn I see it coming, a not so great line, I try to correct the error and before I know it “CRASH.” Leisl and I tip to our right side about half way down the track and slide ½ a mile upside down about 70 mph until the finish. We did not cross the timing eye in order to get a second run and are disqualified from the race. We were a little bit banged up but the track crew was great helping us out and we left the event uninjured.
Race day 2 is the following next day, Leisl and I keep the same routine preparing ourselves and sled, including putting the crash behind us as today is a new day and we are optimistic. My mom and younger sister drove up the previous night from my hometown in NJ to surprise me and were waiting at the finish dock so when I finished my first run on Race day 2 I would see them. I get called to the line once again and Leisl and I are prepared with our game faces. My coach, Mom and sister are all at the finish dock cheering me on without my knowledge. I calm my nerves get ready and Leisl and I are off again. This time my run starts even better than the day before… I get to the same tricky spot I crashed before and entered the curve correctly fixing yesterday’s mistake, and then on the exit, something goes wrong… again “CRASH…” So disappointing. I crashed right before the half mile point where spectators (including my coach and family) were watching waiting for me to come through at a blistering speeds over 70mph, except I crashed and pass through wrong side up. Considering it was the first time my family as seen me race let alone bobsled in general, I did not give Mom a great first impression. Fortunately Leisl and I walk away uninjured again with just some cuts, bruising and a bet up ego. Leisl was a great sport and despite the crazy bobsled experience she had for 3 weeks, I convinced her to try our other sliding discipline Skeleton. Although I was disqualified and did not finish the Lake Placid Races, it was a great experience and I learned a lot. Learning about me as an athlete and competitor, my sport and future driving is all a part of the journey. It was great to have home town support and introduce family and friends to my world as well as have them meet the athletes I not only live and train with at the Olympic Training Center but have grown to call some close friends. It will be great to head home to NJ for the holidays and have some down time physically and mentally from training as well as spend quality time with family and friends that mean most t I don’t get to spend time with regularly.