Austria, here we come.

Shalom folks,

Well it’s that time of year again. Winter seems to finally be here and it looks like I am about to start racing. The preseason training was a good warm up for me and I’m feeling anxious (in the best way possible) to get back into the racing spirit. That said, I will be focusing on a few key aspects of my training throughout the last training week before the race this Sunday. When it comes to my success, I know that I have to feel confident, determined, and sure of what I am doing.

I just rounded out two weeks of training here in Europe. First off, we had a week of training in Altenberg, Germany and then 4 days of very wet sliding in Winterberg, Germany. These wtwo weeks proved themselves to be a bit up and down. I’ve had to work a lot on my consistency this week. It was difficult for me to nail down multiple consecutive, clean runs. Nevertheless, this week has proven to be really good for my confidence. I am sliding both of these difficult, German tracks with more ease than I have before.

Tomorrow, I head out on the autobahn (where we will drive 9-passenger vans way too fast) with my team towards the Tyrolean Mountains of Austria. Igls was one of the first tracks I went to as a young slider and I have been there every year since that first trip to Europe. It’s safe to say that I know the lines and I am capable of sliding well there. My body is feeling healthy and my weight has stabilized around 90kg. This track is all about flow and letting the sled build speed. I hope to perform my start at the highest possible level to give myself a solid push down the track.

The name of the game is simple. There are approximately 40-50 sliders who each get 6 practice runs early on in the week. On Friday, these racers will have one run to come top 17 in the field. From there, these top 17 sliders will advance to the two-run World Cup on Sunday. The order of the race is determined by the previous three races. I didn’t race the last three World cups last year. It is safe to bet that I will be far back in the pack of those trying to qualify. This fact really only matters when comes down to weather conditions. For the most part, the 1st sled gets the fastest ice and it is beneficial to be close to that.  Having said that, none of this is in my hands.  All I can do is to perform at the best of my abilities.

From Austria, the plan is to travel to the US for two races in Lake Placid and Park City respectively. It is time for me to put my training to use and hit the international scene! I will do my very best to keep you folks up to date and to post the links for online viewing.

Check in regularly (it’s lonely on the road). Hope to see some of you at the track on the 28-29th in Calgary!

Stay frosty, folks.

@johncanluge