Tonight there were a ton of spectators cheering on the competitors. It was both surprising and fun to see the number of television stations broadcasting the event. Indeed, an impressive spectacle.
I spent much of the time filming the races, from many different vantage points. Kinda cool to try an capture a single frame of the bobsleigh, while it hurtles down the track at 120km/hr. Not exactly the easiest thing to do without a tripod or a full understanding of the camera’s potential (new camera with little knowledge on all its functionality). Taking movies was a whole lot easier!
Being the lucky person that I am, I again found myself in a position benefitting from being in the right place at the right time. The Management was looking for eager participants willing to be ‘forerunners’ both at the beginning of the race and during each official run. I was more than happy to be part of the 4 person crew needed, and enjoyed the thrill of a complimentary sprint through the circuit. The reason that they use a forerunner bobsleigh to precede the competition runs is to ‘rough’ up the ice a bit, thus not giving any teams an unfair advantage over the other contenders. It’s amazing how slight variations can increase ones time on the ice, whether it be a weighted bobsleigh, greased / heated runners, etc.
My second time down the course was such a different experience from the first. I think it was kinda like one’s first skydive … everything is no new, exciting and scary, that the 60 seconds fly by without any recognition of what’s going on around in one’s periphery (other than the sensation of the experience itself). This time, I braced my shoulders and neck to withstand the g’s of going around the 14 tumultuous curves. I anticipated the hairy ride and thus didn’t come out of the sled, walking like a cripple. What surprised me about this time was the sensation of my stomach dropping out through some of the steep turns. I rarely feel that in a roller-coaster ride, and haven’t had that perception in any sort of a skydive. Wicked fun!
At the end of the evening, the Monk-Paes team managed 6.02 and 6.06 50 metre starts and 57.7 and 57.9 second finishing times. A thrilling experience surely not to be forgotten.