LaPlange, France

Pre-race:
This is a brand new track for most of us Bobsleigh athlete’s. There hasn’t been a race here since 2001, and after driving here all week I think it’s a shame. The last time there was a race here, a couple women had some bad crashes and were seriously injured so they ended up closing the track, until now.It’s being brought back on tour because one of our usual track ( the 2006 Olympic track in Cesana,Italy) closed down and they needed somewhere else to go that wasn’t already on the circuit. I was very worried to drive this track for the first time and i know i wasn’t the only one.I had no idea what to expect, but so far it has turned out well and I am very excited to race here. The first day is always the most scary on any track because it has been so long since you were on it last. We only get 6 training runs down a track, then 2 race runs, and you usually don’t go back to that track until the following season. Eight runs down a track per year is not a lot, so day 1 is about making it down and getting the feeling back for that track. On a new track however you have no idea of what it is suppose to feel like, so there is a lot of doubt that can come in. Staying strong in the belief that you know what you are doing is very important.Trusting your instincts is key, and hoping for the best is all you can do. Understanding how the sled is going to react in a corner, and understanding the corner itself is the more important thing. I was able to come to La Plagne a few days before sliding began, so we have done a lot of preparation to minimize the doubt and by the time sliding started I was as ready as i could be. I think being in a new sled this year, I was a little more scared of the unknown than usual, but after the day 2 i was no longer scared. Training so far has been great, I am fast and amongst the top German girls on a consistent basis. This is the most consistent driving I have done all year and I am happy about that no matter how the race ends up. I love the way the track feels, how the sled rides in these high pressure long corners, i think it’s perfect for my driving style and that it suits me very well. This track is fast and the corners hold a lot of pressure, which makes it easy for me to feel what the sled is doing, therefore I can allow it to be free which is always the fastest way. If you would have asked me immediately after day 1 what i thought about the track I would have honestly told you i hated it. I would be lying if i said it didn’t scare me. Everyone around me was saying how much they loved it, but i wasn’t so sure. After day 2 I felt a lot more comfortable and now by day 3 I am hooked. Heading into race day now, I am excited but still hesitant. I know there is a chance to do well, but if we get beat really bad at the start like last race I am nervous that i won’t be able to make it up with my driving. All I can do is my best, and hope that we are better at the start this race, and I drive like I have been all week. I trust in my ability and know that if we are close at the start, I can drive amongst the best of them, but if we are behind at the start I’m scared I won’t be able to make it up. At the end of the day I have to remember that all I can do is my best. As long as i go out there, push as hard as I can, and drive this track like I know how, the rest will fall into it’s place. ?The start on this track is very long and flat. For me as an athlete this is perfect. I am more of a power athlete and less sprinter style, so the tracks where you have to dig it out and really push I do best on. I have to remember though that it’s not just me pushing. I have a fairly new brakeman and I have no idea what type of tracks best suit her. I guess we will find out shortly.

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