So You Want To Ride a Bobsled
Want to try something different? How about flying down a mountain at 140kmph in a bathtub?
This was never a thought that crossed my mind my entire youth and most of my adult life. I started out my athletic life primarily in Golf and Soccer. As the years went on I dabbled in Track, but a guy named Dylan Armstrong had a strangle hold on my category. Then I developed an unending love of trying to pick up the heaviest things I could. Weightlifting/Powerlifting became an obsession. I then came back to the Track world, feeling I had more to give and more to accomplish.
The Transition from Track to Bobsled
Bobsled came into my life very uncharacteristically. I was sitting in the Calgary airport in 2013, waiting for my delayed flight to be announced when a very friendly guy with an Australian accent sat beside me. We started chatting and I came to learn he was Chris Spring, one of the world’s best Bobsleigh Pilots. We shared some information and before he left he said ‘if Track ends, come give Bob a shot, we need strong fast pushers’, and that was that.
I was excited about this meeting as injuries were cropping up and 2013 had been a trying season. No results I felt remotely came close to what my body was wanting to do and I would have flashes of my uninjured self with some new training PB’s in the various weights I threw with.
Then my first meet of 2014 came around and I was feeling great. Indoors at the Richmond Oval, warm ups were great, and I was ready to go. My first throw destroyed my throwing elbow. Track was essentially over. I knew when I saw the physio, on the following Wednesday when he made a face and suggested maybe I retire from throwing.
I wasn’t ready to be done competing and pushing myself. I was still a bull in the weight room. So I decided to switch gears and give Bobsled everything I have.
Becoming a Competitive Bobsledder
If you want to compete and work towards international competition, then you need to attend several ID camps. The ID camps are broken into two categories; Sprints and Jumps and a Lifting Camp. This year I attended a Sprint ID Camp in Calgary in May, then did two more Sprints Camp in Vancouver, one in August and one in September. I then did one last joint camp where we did Sprints and the Lifts. There are 4 distances covered in the Sprints Camp. They measure your 15m, 30m, and 45m times, as well, they calculate your 30m fly time. In the Jumps, they measure your Standing Long Jump distance and also your Underhand Medicine Ball toss distance. At the Lifting
At the Lifting Camp, they test your 1 repetition max in the Power Clean, Front Squat and Bench Press. Once they have these results they can start to place you within the overall scheme of things. If you have made BC Standards but not National Standards then you will start off Provincially. If you make National Standards then you will be invited to a Push Camp and compete for a position on the various cup teams.
I will be spending this season competing for BC in Whistler. Whistler is known as the fastest Track in the world and is commonly described as 1 run at the Whistler Track equals 3-4 runs at any other track in the world.
With my season being a week in, my next update will be on spending my first week working for the National Team and getting settled in Whistler!
Steve Stredulinsky was the Kintec Abbotsford Manager for almost 5 years before making the move to Whistler to attempt to compete for a spot in a Bobsleigh for Canada in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Steve is a Certified Canadian Pedorthist.